Students at the University of Hong Kong will have to complete an internship in order to graduate as part of a planned course revamp under the '3+3+4' academic structure. Another key part of the revamp is the introduction of general studies, or 'common core' courses, for all students. The university is the first institution to announce changes to be introduced under the new system. The internship programme, or 'experiential learning' as the university calls it, will include - but go beyond - occupational training. 'It aims to enable students to gain some outside-campus experience,' a university spokeswoman said. At present students taking some courses, such as architecture or engineering, are required to take internships linked to those fields. Under the new course structure, the scope of internships will be much broader. 'We will try to be flexible. For example, many arts faculty students may not find job internships that specifically correspond to their studies. Instead, they might do voluntary work, such as playing some role in the rebuilding of Sichuan , to fulfil the requirement,' she said. Details still needed to be worked out by individual faculties, she said. HKU pro-vice-chancellor Amy Tsui Bik-may said the programme was being introduced in response to some employers' complaints about a lack of problem-solving and communication skills among Hong Kong university graduates. University of Science and Technology vice-president Wong Yuk-shan said it was too early to say if his university or other publicly funded tertiary institutions would follow suit. 'Each university designs its curriculum independently,' Professor Wong said. Professor Tsui also said her university wanted to introduce from the 2010 school year a 'common core courses' system. As many as 65 courses would be offered and students would have to complete six courses to qualify for graduation, under the initial plan. Examples of common core courses include the understanding of biomedical science, cyber-societies and the rise of China. Ho Hon-kuen, a vice-chairman of the teachers' group Education Convergence, urged universities to consult the secondary school sector before carrying out changes. 'Secondary schools may need to do something to prepare students for the course,' Mr Ho said. Similar restructuring of undergraduate degree programmes are underway in other universities. Lingnan University also plans to require students to take core curriculum courses irrespective of their major, while Polytechnic University aims to provide 'holistic education'. In its 2008-09 to 2011-12 strategic guide, PolyU mentions plans to provide opportunities for students to enrich their experience outside Hong Kong. The changes are part of a revamp by the university in the wake of the government's secondary school education reform - commonly called the 3+3+4 system to represent three years of junior secondary education, three years of senior secondary education and four years of university education.