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

Introduction | Research in the School of Law | Admission Requirements | Accommodation | Financial Assistance | Visiting Research Students | Applications and Enquiries



Consistent with its focus on relevant and applied legal research, the School of Law offers two research degree programmes; a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Both these two research degree programmes consists of a limited coursework component and a substantial research project. The areas of graduate studies offered by the School of Law reflect the diversity of its research expertise, whilst advancing new research frontiers and contributing to scholarly capacity building. The School of Law puts a high premium on research quality, thus providing for relevant structures to ensure outputs of unassailable integrity. An MPhil thesis, for example, must make a substantial contribution to knowledge, and a PhD thesis must make a substantial original contribution to knowledge in the subject area concerned.

The University has stipulated the following study periods for research degree programmes, and students are required to complete their studies, including the submission of their theses, within the said periods (for 2019 entry):

Programme of Study Full-time Part-time
MPhil 2 years 4 years
(students with a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree)
4 years 8 years

To be recommended for the award of an MPhil or PhD degree, students must successfully complete the coursework requirements, and satisfy the examiners in respect of the thesis submitted, in an oral examination on the thesis and area of study concerned, and in any written or practical examinations as required.


Research in the School of Law

The School of Law, City University of Hong Kong, is a small collegiate institution with an outstanding reputation as a leading law school. It fosters a culture of integrated research and teaching, drawing on the expertise of its faculty and a diverse and representative student body, thus contributing to relevant and fundamental research in Hong Kong, China and beyond. We aspire to attract dedicated PhD students to contribute to the School’s varied research activities. Graduate students will benefit from the School’s research culture which emphasises both fundamental and applied aspects of advanced legal studies and research, while local relevance, comparative insights, and critical analyses are encouraged.

Pertinent, but not exclusive research strengths of the School include Chinese and Comparative Law, Maritime and Transportation Law, and Arbitration and Dispute Resolution. For potential areas of research supervision, browse our staff profiles for more detailed descriptions of individual staff members’ areas of research interests and expertise, as well as their recent publications.


Admission Requirements

Applicants seeking admission to a research degree programme must satisfy the following minimum entrance requirements:

  1. Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
    • hold a relevant bachelor's degree with first or second class honours (or equivalent qualification) from a recognised university.
  2. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
    • be a current MPhil student in the University who seeks transfer to PhD candidature; or
    • hold a higher degree by research (or equivalent qualification) from a recognised university; or
    • hold a Master's degree (or equivalent qualification) from a recognised university; or
    • hold a Bachelor's degree with first class honours (or equivalent qualification) from a recognised university.

Equivalent qualifications mentioned above include relevant professional qualifications or other scholarly achievements recognised by the University.

In addition to the above, applicants from an institution where the language of instruction is not English should satisfy the following minimum English proficiency requirements:

  • a minimum total score of 580 (paper-based test); or 92 (internet-based test); or 66 (revised paper-delivered test; sum of Reading, Listening and Writing section scores) in TOEFL or
  • a minimum overall band score of 7 in IELTS; or
  • a score of 520 in the Chinese mainland's College English Test Band 6.

(Take note that the School of Law has stipulated a validity period of three years for results of the above tests. Thus, only test results obtained within the three years immediately preceding an application to the School of Law, will therefore be considered valid.)

The University may also prescribe other additional entry qualifications, as deemed appropriate.



Residential accommodation for research students is available. All full-time research students of UGC-funded programmes are eligible to apply.


Financial Assistance

Postgraduate research students are eligible for, and can apply to a number of financial support schemes. Postgraduate Studentships are, for example, granted to selected full-time government-funded research students on the basis of academic merit. Research Tuition Scholarships, on the other hand, recognise and reward full-time government-funded students with outstanding academic performance. (These Scholarships are in the form of a tuition fee exemption.) Government-funded research students can also apply for conference grants to support their attendance at conferences, and for research activity funds to support their research related activities outside the territory of Hong Kong.

Other forms of financial assistance include the Chow Yei Ching School of Graduate Studies Entrance Scholarships aimed at encouraging outstanding international students to undertake MPhil or PhD studies at the University (applicable to government-funded students only). And, the Hong Kong Government and the University also offer various grants and loans to help students who are in financial need. Prospective and current research degree students are also encouraged to apply for external financial awards and assistance.


Visiting Research Students

For students who wish to apply for visiting research study in the School of Law:
•       they must be enrolling in a postgraduate programme in the law discipline in a recognized university; and
•       (applicable to applicants from an institution where the language of teaching is not English) they should satisfy the minimum English proficiency requirements stated above; and
•       they should identify a faculty member who agrees to be his/her supervisor before submitting the application.

The final decision on assignment of supervisors for successful applicants rests with the University.

For the application period and procedures, please visit


Applications and Enquiries

Apply online at

Applications are accepted throughout the year and will be considered mainly in one admission round.

Further details on the application procedures, programme requirements and tuition fee are obtainable from

or contact:

Chow Yei Ching School of Graduate Studies
Tel: (852) 3442 9076
Fax: (852) 3442 0332
Website: //

Important: Before submitting a formal application, which must be accompanied by a research proposal, applicants are advised to consult the designated staff member of the School of Law with regard to their proposed research topic and desired area of research activity.

The designated staff member is:

Dr THOMSON, Stephen
Associate Professor
Research Degree Coordinator
School of Law, City University of Hong Kong
83 Tat Chee Avenue
Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 3442 6592
Fax: (852) 3442 0190



For further enquiries, please contact:

General Office, School of Law
City University of Hong Kong
83 Tat Chee Avenue
Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 3442 8008
Fax: (852) 3442 0190
Website: //