Doctor of Philosophy in Materials Science and Engineering
Doctor of Philosophy in Materials Science and Engineering
Award Title
Doctor of Philosophy
Offering Academic Unit
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Mode of Study

Credit Units Required for Graduation

14 and SG8001

Programme Aims

This programme aims to train and produce independent researchers with state-of-the-art expertise who can create original knowledge through innovative research.

Programme Intended Learning Outcomes (PILOs)

Upon successful completion of this Programme, students should be able to:

1. achieve general intellectual proficiency and specialization in their chosen subject areas;
2. apply appropriate research methodology/tools to conduct independent research for discoveries;
3. formulate and derive effective, innovative and original solutions to fundamental problems in their chosen subject areas for discoveries;

4. communicate effectively with the learned community about the research process and findings for discoveries;
5. discover through in-depth investigation of the chosen subject areas;
6. build up ethical and social responsibilities;
7. perform multi-disciplinary research with new ideas;
8. strengthen independent learning and researching abilities to suit future versatile employment requirements;
9. enhance proficiencies in scientific language and skills in numerical and IT solutions;
10. collaborate effectively and healthily with colleagues.

Programme Requirements

Research Area(s) in which research students will be admitted to:
• Energy harvesting devices and systems
• Devices and Systems
• Opto-electronics/Condensed Matter Physics
• Materials Science and Engineering
• Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology
• Biomedical Physics and Engineering.
Programme Core Courses: (4 credits)
Course CodeCourse TitleCredit Units
AP8001Survival Skills for Research Scientists2
AP8004Postgraduate Seminar2

AP8001/AP8004 will be replaced by MSE8001/MSE8004 from Semester A 2019/20 onwards.

Programme Electives: (10 credits)

Please refer to the updated list of approved courses for research students posted in the SGS website. 

Other Requirement (not counted towards the University’s coursework requirement)
Course CodeCourse TitleCredit Units
SG8001Teaching Students: First Steps1

Qualifying Examination:

The Qualifying Panel will assess the student’s suitability to continue his or her studies on the basis of the qualifying report, coursework results and any other assessment as considered appropriate by the Panel. The Panel’s recommendations will be forwarded to the Department/School for approval.

Qualifying/Annual Report Submission:

Students must submit a qualifying report (typed in English) within the specified qualifying period as follows:

- Full-time: Within 6–12 months from start of study
- Part-time: Within 9–18 months from start of study

A qualifying report should include a survey of the relevant literature, an identification of a specific research topic, the research methodology and a discussion on possible outcomes.

After the qualifying period, students must submit progress reports (typed in English) on an annual basis until they have submitted the final version of their thesis for oral examination and completed any other academic requirements. 


The thesis at the core of the PhD study enables a student to demonstrate his/her independent research work, design and conduct experiments, analyze and formulate physical and engineering problems, correlate and verify data, explain problems lucidly and reach sound conclusions. The data obtained and conclusions reached are placed in logical context substantiated by physics and mathematics. The output of the PhD thesis results from the student’s creativity and original ideas. It represents a tangible contribution to science and engineering. The PhD thesis is unique and represents evident contribution to science and /or engineering in the field of study. It contains experimental and/or theoretical output supported by theoretical physics and practical implications.

Normally, students are expected to submit their thesis not earlier than six months before the end of the (normal) study period. Early submission of a thesis requires special approval from the College/School.

Students must submit a thesis for examination by the end of their maximum study period or the stipulated study period.

Additional Notes:

Students are also required to complete a compulsory 1 credit unit course “Teaching Students: First Steps” (SG8001). The credit unit earned from SG8001 will not be counted towards the minimum coursework requirement.

The student’s research project is normally supported by RGC projects or other projects acquired by the supervisor. Therefore the research interest of the student is aligned with the research project of the supervisor. In accordance with the topic of the thesis, a qualifying panel (supervisor and two other experts in the field) prescribes the courses taken by the student. The qualifying panel monitors the research progress and annually evaluates it based on a written progress report, an oral presentation and an oral examination. As coordinated by the SGS, the final research output presented in the form of thesis is assessed by two internal examiners, one of whom is also the panel chair, and two external examiners who may recommend the thesis for oral examination if it meets the standard required for PhD theses. Other details can be found in the Guidebook for Research Degree Studies published by the SGS.