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MPhil and PhD Degrees

MPhil and PhD Degrees Handbook Short Courses Core Reading Thesis and Defense Award and Scholarship Overseas Attachment / Exchange Activities and Conferences Incentive Scheme

General Information Period of Study Coursework

General Information

Both the PhD and MPhil degrees are research-oriented. A student is required:

  • to complete an approved programme of supervised research;
  • to present a written thesis which demonstrates an advanced level of knowledge and understanding in the candidate's field of study which describes and summarizes the research undertakings and findings;
  • to satisfy the Board of Examiners in an oral examination, (and any other examination if deemed necessary), on matters relevant to the subject of the thesis; and
  • to comply with supervision, attendance and all coursework requirements as laid down by the respective Faculty/ School.

A full-time candidate registered provisionally for the MPhil degree is subject to a probationary period of up to 12 months (for a part-time candidate, up to 18 months).

A full-time candidate registered provisionally for the PhD degree is subject to a probationary period of up to 18 months (for a part-time candidate, up to 21 months). At the end of the probationary period and after the submission of a research prospectus to the University's Committee on Graduate Studies, the candidate will be assessed and candidature will be confirmed or terminated.

Period of Study

Both the PhD and MPhil degree programmes may be pursued either on a full-time or a part-time mode.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Period Full-time Part-time
Minimum period 24*/30 months 36*/60 months
Normal period 36/48** months 72 months
Maximum period 60 months 96 months
* The shorter period is applicable to PhD entrants who possess a Master's degree in a closely related field.
** The longer period is applicable to PhD entrants who do not possess a research Master's degree. A studentship is normally provided for 36 months. If students wish to extend to beyond 36 months, they should apply in writing, with the recommendation of the Dean, for approval by the Academic Registrar, at a time when he/she has pursued his/her studies for 24-30 months.

Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
Period Full-time Part-time
Minimum period 21 months 36 months
Normal period 24 months 48 months
Maximum period 48 months 72 months


Candidates will pursue a course of study approved by the Graduate School, and shall present themselves for relevant examinations and at such times as may be required by the examiners.

The course of study shall comprise:
  1. supervised original research work culminating in the submission of a thesis;
  2. coursework as required by the Department, as well as the respective Faculty;
  3. attendance at lectures, study groups and workshops as well as participation in seminars, colloquia and conferences as directed by the supervisor(s) and the Department. Please note that students are requested to attend all seminars (e.g., Colloquia, Distinguished Lectures, etc.) organized/indicated by the Department by default. Students who are unavailable to attend a seminar should report to the Seminar Coordinator in advance, if possible;
  4. any other courses needed to make up for the candidate’s deficiencies as required by the supervisor(s).

PhD and MPhil students should successfully complete a minimum of 12 units and 9 units, respectively, of coursework as laid down by their respective Faculty. Each course carries 2 to 3 units per semester. Furthermore, as a departmental requirement, students who are admitted in Academic Year 2007-2008 or afterwards should take the seminar course: COMP7080 Postgraduate Seminar per semester in their normal study period. The unit of this course is, however, NOT counted towards the coursework requirement, i.e., NOT counted in a minimum of 9 units and 12 units for MPhil and PhD programmes, respectively.

In course selection, please note that not more than two courses (which must have direct relevance to the research area of the student) are to be taken at advanced undergraduate level (i.e. 3XXX series courses). As a reference, the detailed courses offered by the Department can be found here.

Any course to be taken by a candidate will need to be recommended by the Principal Supervisor and endorsed by the Department Head with due reference to the candidate's academic background.
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Hong Kong Baptist University