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Master of Philosophy (MPhil) / Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Mode of Study

Full Time / Part Time

Normal Study Period

2 - 4 years


The School of Modern Languages and Cultures offers Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and 3-year and 4-year Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) research degree programmes in both full-time and part-time study modes.

Applicants need to complete the graduate School Administrative requirements for eligibility and scholarships. They should also connect with a potential supervisor in the School to locate a suitable willing supervisor for their proposed thesis.

Applicants should bear in mind that the allocation of higher degree places in the University of Hong Kong is a very competitive process. Applicants need an excellent undergraduate record – at the very least an Upper Second Honours – to even be considered. If you come from a university that does not have an Honours system you will need to be in the top 20 percent of students to be considered.

Graduate School requirements

Applications should be submitted to the Graduate School via the Online Application System. Applicants for admission to the full-time MPhil and PhD programmes can also apply for the postgraduate studentship.

Prospective students may also find it useful to consult the step-by-step explanation provided by the Graduate School.

School of Modern Languages and Cultures requirements

You will need to demonstrate to the selection committee processing applications that you are hard-working and have initiative.

This means that you must design a research proposal that will indicate to the committee that you have already started thinking seriously about your topic.

The research proposal should be between 3-5 pages, and it should illustrate that you are familiar with the basic literature and positions in the field. [MPhil 3-4 pages; PhD 4-5 pages].

Details of research proposal requirements for both MPhil and PhD are found under the Faculty of Arts headings on the Graduate School website.

These are research degrees that require the ability to work independently. You demonstrate initiative and your suitability for the programme by writing this proposal on your own. Do not expect your potential supervisor to design the proposed topic for you.

Contact the appropriate supervisor in your proposed field of research to see if they are willing and able to serve as your supervisor. 

Postgraduate Admissions Advisor

Prof. Stefan Auer
Tel: 3917 2911
Fax: 2548 0487

Current areas of staff interest:

Stefan Auer
European History (with a particular focus on the politics of memory); Enlargement of the European Union; Eurozone crisis; German post-1945 History and Politics; Nationalism in Central Europe; Political Theory and Political Philosophy (i.e. Hannah Arendt, Edmund Burke, Jürgen Habermas and Carl Schmitt); The self-limiting revolutions of 1989 in Central Europe; the Geopolitics of EU-Russia relations and Ukraine.

Samson Bezabeh

Dr. Bezabeh’s research interests include diaspora studies, state- society interaction, colonialism, religion (Islam and Orthodox Christianity) as well as issues of citizenship, ethnicity, and class in Africa.

Paul S. Cha
History of Korea, 19th century to present; Religion and Nationalism; Christianity in Asia; Colonial Modernity; Postcolonialism

Bárbara Fernández Melleda
Latin American Studies (cultural theory, visual arts, material culture); Literary Studies (focus on poetry, narratives, self-referential writing); Southern Cone literatures and cultures (dictatorship and post-dictatorship contexts); Latin American gender studies and activism; Latin American Boom.


James Fichter
European studies; American studies; Maritime and business history; Histories of the following: English and other East India Companies, British and French imperialism, early modern Atlantic, colonial America, United States, US in the world, US-China relations, whaling, coal and commodities.

Tim Gruenewald
Memory Studies (with a focus on collective memory of traumatic past in the United States); Cinematic Virtual Reality; VR film theory; U.S. cinema and television; U.S. graphic narrative; Visual Studies.


Loretta Kim
History of China and Inner Asia, 1600-present; Ethnic minorities and ethnic policies in China; Borderlands and frontiers; Histories of indigenous peoples; Chinese ethnic minority languages and literatures (including Manchu and Mongolian).

Su Yun Kim
Modern Korean literature & culture; Modern Korean cultural history; Japanese empire & race, gender and sexuality; Popular narrative.

Ji Li

Social and religious history of late imperial and modern China; History of Christianity in China; History of women and gender


Edwin Michielsen
Modern Japanese Literature, Modern Japanese Cultural History, Modern Japanese and East Asian Literary Exchange, East Asian Proletarian Literature.

Daniel Poch
Modern and early modern Japanese literature and culture; Gender and sexuality; Theories of emotionality and affect; Japanese literature in transcultural and comparative perspective (China-Japan-Europe).

Monica Lee Steinberg
Visual culture, art, new media, and law and politics of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, with a specific focus on fictional attribution, legal studies, and activist humor in a global context.


Roland Vogt
European politics, foreign policy, and political economy; International Relations (incl. IR theory); Democratization and political culture; Sino-European relations; Latin American and African politics.


Dixon Heung Wah Wong
Anthropology of Japanese companies; Comparative management studies; Comparative study of popular cultures in Hong Kong and Japan; Comparative kinship studies; Anthropology of colonisation and decolonization.

John D. Wong
Transnational business history; Social, cultural and economic history of the Pearl River Delta and Southeast Asia.

White Feather

Course Description

The MPhil Degree is 24 months (full time) or 36 months (part time) beginning on September 1 or January 1.

The 3-year PhD Degree is 36 months (full time) or 54 months (part time).

The 4-year PhD Degree is 48 months (full time) or 72 months (part time).

During their candidature students undertake coursework and a thesis.



For students admitted after September 2021


Students must complete:

Module 1: GRSC6100 Doing Research @ HKU (2 hours)
Module 2: GRSC6106 / GRSC6104 Introduction to Qualitative/Quantitative Research Methods (Humanities) (3 hours)
Module 3: GRSC6120 / GRSC6140 Introduction to Thesis Writing (3 hours)
Module 4: GRSC6101 Responsible Conduct of Research (3 hours)
Module 5: GRSC6102 Stream-based Responsible Conduct of Research (3 hours)
Module 6: GRSC6108 / GRSC6138 Professional Development Training (12 hours)
SMLC7002: Research Colloquium I
SMLC7021: Research Colloquium II

* Students may take SMLC7003: Research Methods (The Humanities and the Area Studies) in lieu of GS compulsory Module 2 when it is offered.

See full details of GRSC courses on Graduate School’swebsite:

These courses are assessed on a Pass/Fail basis.

For Students registered between September 2013 and August 2021

Student must complete:

SMLC7002: Research Colloquium I
SMLC7003: Research Methods (The Humanities and the Area Studies)
GRSC6020: Introduction to Thesis Writing (The Humanities and Related Disciplines)
GRSC6008: Transferrable Skills
SMLC7021: Research Colloquium II
GRSC6030: Research Ethics for Graduate Students (Faculties of Arts and Architecture)

Students may also take up to two further courses from another School, if given permission by their supervisor and the Chair of the DRPC. However, passing such additional courses does not form part of the coursework requirement of the School.

Students may elect to replace the following courses taught in the Graduate School with SMLC7003 when offered:

GRSC6034 Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods (The Humanities and Related Disciplines)

GRSC6036 Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods (The Humanities and Related Disciplines)



MPhil students complete a thesis that is normally around 50,000 words long under the guidance of their supervisors.

PhD students complete a thesis that is normally around 90,000 words long under the guidance of their supervisors.

Course Description

Research Areas

Our postgraduate students conduct research on a wide variety of topics. The list below outlines the research of our graduates in recent years.

2023 Graduates

2022 Graduates

2021 Graduates

2020 Graduates

2019 Graduates

2018 Graduates

2017 Graduates

2016 Graduates

2015 Graduates

2014 Graduates

2013 Graduates

2012 Graduates

Students' Research
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