Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The PhD degree is a highly recognised advanced research postgraduate programme and is available in all faculties and schools/departments. The PhD programme is intellectually demanding, requiring strong analytical skills, critical thinking ability, and language proficiency for undertaking independent research to produce original ideas with significant impact.  It aims to cultivate competent researchers who would like to develop their career in research, academia, and other professional areas.  

The University offers 3-year and 4-year PhD programmes. Applicants who have a good Bachelor’s degree with honours and/or a taught Master’s degree will be considered for admission to the 4-year PhD programme, whereas those who already hold a research Master’s degree (e.g. MPhil) can be considered for admission to the 3-year PhD programme.

PhD candidates can commence their studies on the first day of any calendar month, and are generally expected to complete the degree within the following time-limits. The minimum study period is half of the normative study period.  

Normative study period:

3-year PhD Programme 4-year PhD Programme
Full-time Part-time Full-time Part-time
36 months 54 months 48 months 72 months


PhD study focuses on conducting independent research, under the supervision of a dedicated academic or a team of academics, leading to the final submission of a thesis. In addition, candidates of the 4-year PhD programme will be required to follow an approved course of study and research, including coursework on discipline-specific knowledge, language and research skills. The coursework component is well designed to equip students for their research work and thesis writing. Candidates for the 3-year PhD programme may also be required to take courses and satisfy coursework requirements.

Click here for the details of the coursework requirements. The award of the PhD degree is based on satisfactorily completing courses, where prescribed, submitting a thesis that should be an original contribution to knowledge and worthy of publication, and satisfying the examiners in an oral examination (and any other examination if required) in matters relevant to the subject of the thesis.

Click here for the Regulations for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.