- Full-time: 2 years
- Part-time: 4 years
- Full-time: 3 years (with a relevant research master's degree), 4 years (without a relevant research master’s degree)
- Part-time: 6 years
The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) Program is designed to provide rigorous training in the research methods required to conduct substantive research in one of the following disciplines related to China (in the majority of instances): demography, economics, geography, political science, psychology, and sociology. The MPhil degree is intended to facilitate students interested in pursuing a PhD degree.
The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Program is designed to prepare students for careers in academia, policy research or consultancy related to the affairs of society, polity or the economy. A candidate for a PhD degree is expected to demonstrate mastery of knowledge in the chosen discipline and to synthesize and create new knowledge, making an original and substantial contribution to the discipline.
What You’ll Learn
Minimum Credit Requirement
MPhil: 15 credits
PhD: 27 credits
Research Methodology Courses
MPhil: 9 credits
PhD: 12 credits
SOSC 5090Quantitative Methods for Social Science Research3 Credit(s)
SOSC 5110Social Science Research Design and Methods3 Credit(s)
SOSC 5170Qualitative Research Methods3 Credit(s)
SOSC 5340Econometric Approaches to Social Science Research3 Credit(s)
SOSC 5500Computational Social Science3 Credit(s)
SOSC 5800Causal Inference in Social Sciences3 Credit(s)
Subject to the approval of the supervisors and the PG Coordinator, PhD students may also take other advanced statistics or econometrics courses not specified in the list to meet the methodology course requirements.
A minimum of 6 credits of postgraduate courses offered by the Division of Social Science. Subject to the approval of the supervisors and the PG Coordinator, students may also take MGCS courses offered by the Division for the MSc Program in Global China Studies to meet the coursework requirement. Additional coursework may be required as a part of the research preparation.
A minimum of 15 credits of coursework, of which at least 9 credits have to be taken as taught courses, and 6 credits among courses designated by the PG Committee as relating to the students’ major field of studies.
Graduate Teaching Assistant Training
PDEV 6800Introduction to Teaching and Learning in Higher Education0 Credit(s)
All full-time RPg students are required to complete PDEV 6800. The course is composed of a 10-hour training offered by the Center for Education Innovation (CEI), and session(s) of instructional delivery to be assigned by the respective departments. Upon satisfactory completion of the training conducted by CEI, MPhil students are required to give at least one 30-minute session of instructional delivery in front of a group of students for one term. PhD students are required to give at least one such session each in two different terms. The instructional delivery will be formally assessed.
Professional Development Course Requirement
PDEV 6770Professional Development for Research Postgraduate Students1 Credit(s)
Students are required to complete PDEV 6770. The 1 credit earned from PDEV 6770 cannot be counted toward the credit requirements.
PhD students who are HKUST MPhil graduates and have completed PDEV 6770 or other professional development courses offered by the University before may be exempted from taking PDEV 6770, subject to prior approval of the School.
SOSC 6400Research Postgraduate Students Seminar1 Credit(s)
Students are required to complete SOSC 6400. The 1 credit earned from SOSC 6400 cannot be counted toward the credit requirements.
PhD students who are HKUST MPhil graduates in Social Science and have taken and passed SOSC 6400 may be exempted from taking SOSC 6400, subject to prior approval of the School.
English Language Requirement
LANG 5000Foundation in Listening & Speaking for Postgraduate Students1 Credit(s)
Full-time RPg students are required to take an English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA) Speaking Test administered by the Center for Language Education before the start of their first term of study. Students whose ELPA Speaking Test score is below Level 4, or who failed to take the test in their first term of study, are required to take LANG 5000 until they pass the course by attaining at least Level 4 in the ELPA Speaking Test before graduation. The 1 credit earned from LANG 5000 cannot be counted toward the credit requirements.
For PhD students whose native language is not English, and do not have a TOEFL score of over 600 (paper-based total) or 250 (computer-based total) or 100 (internet-based total), or an IELTS score of 6.5 or above, or a score of 4 or above in “HKDSE English Language”, they are required to take a course on English writing offered by the Center for Language Education.
PhD Major Field of Study
The PhD program is composed of two fields. Each field includes a number of academic specializations:
Political Economy covers the specializations in politics, economics, regional geography, international relations, and Science, Technology and Society (STS).
Social Relations covers the specializations in sociology, psychology, anthropology, and demography.
PhD students must choose one of the two fields as their major field of study before the end of their second regular term of study. They should also identify a supervisor in one of the specializations before the end of their third regular term of study, and prepare for the qualifying examination in this academic specialization under the guidance of the supervisor.
PhD Qualifying Examination
PhD students have to pass a qualifying examination related to their specialization before the end of their fifth regular term of study in order to become doctoral candidates. Students who have been granted 9 or more transfer credits are required to pass the qualifying examination before the end of their third regular term of study.
The qualifying examination will be a four-hour written examination, comprising two questions in each of the three parts: a) social science methodologies; b) general theories; and c) research developments. The student will be required to answer one question in each of these three parts. The student’s Thesis Supervision Committee composes the examination questions, and is also responsible for grading the examination. Students will be graded Excellent, Good, Pass or Fail. The qualifying examination can be retaken only once.
A PhD thesis prospectus should be presented and defended within one regular term after successful completion of the qualifying examination. The thesis prospectus should be a substantial document in the neighborhood of 30 pages, which demonstrates a mastery of the literature on the subject, identifies a significant intellectual problem, and lays out a plan for solving that problem. It must be given to the Thesis Supervision Committee at least two weeks before the scheduled date of the prospectus defense. It is defended during a two-hour discussion with members of the Thesis Supervision Committee. The Committee will either formally approve the prospectus, or specify required revisions to be made within a specified time period for final approval.
SOSC 6990MPhil Thesis Research0 Credit(s)
SOSC 7990Doctoral Thesis Research0 Credit(s)
Registration in SOSC 6990; and
Presentation and oral defense of the MPhil thesis.
Registration in SOSC 7990; and
Presentation and oral defense of the PhD thesis.
Students are expected to work closely with their supervisors on an informal rather than formal classroom basis.