The Department of Public and International Affairs  The Department of Public and International Affairs

Joint PhD Programmes

The Department of Public and International Affairs (PIA) offers a diverse range of Joint PhDs with universities around the world. Some of these are open in terms of fields of study and some are focused on specific themes or areas.
All Joint PhDs have the same general entry standards as HKPFS or CityU PhD programs: namely a Distinction-level CGPA for the Bachelor’s degree. Frequently our applicants also have MA degrees with a similar level of performance. If the first degree is from a non-English medium of instruction institution or program, then an IELTS result is also required. The IELTS result needs to be a minimum of 6.5 in all four components (speaking, writing, listening, reading) not just as the final average.
As the Joint PhDs are undertaken at – and awarded by – two separate institutions, applicants should be aware that there may be different funding provisions, coursework requirements, or other standards that need to be met. Please take your time looking at each of these options.
There are currently two types of Joint PhDs – those organised by the University with our mainland partners and those organised by the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences or PIA.


Mainland Collaboration Scheme

City University has signed over Joint PhD agreements with over 20 Chinese universities. Calls for applications for the Mainland Collaboration Scheme will be made by the CityU Graduate School or HK-Macau-Taiwan Office of the home university in Mainland China. Research students who are interested in a joint PhD programme with City University of Hong Kong under the Mainland Collaboration Schemes must be recommended by their home university.
Announcement and endorsement of this scheme will be made by the Graduate School or HK-Macau-Taiwan Office of the home university in Mainland China. Applications will be open in early November of a year for commencement of the joint PhD programme in September of the following year, and the deadline is usually set in mid-January. For more details, please approach your home university. For enquiries, please send an e-mail to


Yonsei University
PIA offers a Joint PhD with Yonsei University in South Korea. The Joint PhD Programme is a full-time PhD programme offered by City University of Hong Kong and Yonsei University. It offers a unique opportunity for aspiring students to purse their PhD studies at two prestigious Universities in East Asia and receive rigorous scholarly training while immersing themselves in the thriving urban cultures of Seoul and Hong Kong. This fully funded programme is aimed at young scholars whose research interest and scholarly aspirations would benefit from the training and experience gained at both institutions and whose interest closely align with the faculty at City University of Hong Kong and Yonsei University.
Our partner at Yonsei University is the prestigious Department of Public Management and Policy. Students enrolled on this joint-degree program will have the opportunity to gain advanced research skills across two of the top public administration programs in Asia and the world. At the end of the program, students will graduate with a PhD certified by both institutions.
Programme Duration
Students under the Joint PhD programme will spend 24 months at CityU (out of a 4-year programme) and the remaining study period at Yonsei University (or vice-versa).
Prospective applicants should apply for admission to the Joint PhD Programme according to the regular procedures at both universities (CityU’s deadline for application is December 1st, 2022). The applicants seeking admission to this programme could also be current PhD students at CityU or Yonsei University.
English Proficiency Requirements
Yonsei - The minimum English proficiency requirement for Ph.D. programme is 540 (paper-based test) or 200 (computer-based test) in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) OR 600 in Test of English Proficiency developed by Seoul National University (TEPS) OR 700 in the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) OR 6.5 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
CityU - A minimum TOEFL* score of 88 (Internet-based test), with a minimum of 21 for Reading, 21 for Listening, 25 for Writing, and 21 for Speaking; OR a minimum IELTS 6.5 for overall band score and for the sub-categories of Writing, Speaking, Listening and Reading.
* TOEFL Paper-based test (before October 2017) and Paper-delivered test (after October 2017) will not be accepted as there is no Speaking component.
The primary medium of instruction and assessment in both programmes is English. Korean may be used in specific courses and activities at Yonsei.
Tuition Fee and Financial Assistance
Yonsei - At Yonsei, the rate of studentship offered by different academic departments/supervisors may vary according to their regulations. Tuition fee is Approx. KRW 4,854,000 per semester.
CityU - At CityU, students receive a monthly studentship of HK$17,510* (2021/22 rate, subject to annual review) for 24 months (half of the 4-year programme). Students are required to pay tuition fee of HK$3,508* for 24 months (4-year programme).
* subject to revision in September each year
Yonsei and CityU shall jointly appoint a thesis supervisor from each Institution. The thesis supervisors shall undertake to mutually and fully supervise the thesis and act respectively as the student’s research supervisor.
Qualifying Examination
A student who is on this Joint PhD program must pass a Qualifying Examination as stipulated by the agreement between CityU and Yonsei. Detailed information on this arrangement will be available in due course.
Coursework Requirements
Yonsei - 30 credit units (one credit unit is equal to 16 hours of learning)
CityU - 15 credit units and other CityU’s requirements (one credit unit is equal to 13 hours of learning)
Coursework and Credit Transfer
Yonsei - A maximum of 21 credits obtained at CityU may be transferred.
CityU - Credit transfer for up to 50% of the programme’s required credit units is allowed.
Upon approval by CityU and Yonsei, the credit units earned by students in their programmes may be mutually recognized and accepted by both universities.
Residency Requirement
Yonsei - The minimum required residence period is 3 semesters, including 1 semester for taking courses (regular semester) and 2 semesters for conducting research work (research semesters).
CityU - The required residence period for research degree studies is equivalent to half of the relevant (normal) period of study. To fulfil the requirement, physical residence is required. Participants of this programme are therefore required to stay in CityU physically for a period of 24 months (half of 48 months).
Publication Requirements
Yonsei - While there are no specified rules on publication requirements at Yonsei, individual academic unit may stipulate publication requirement as part of the graduation requirement.
CityU – Students will be required to publish at least one paper during their 4-year candidature.
Thesis Assessment
The student shall write and defend his/her single thesis prepared in English, and shall include a summary written in English and in Korean. The thesis shall be written, presented and distributed in accordance with the rules and standards as required by both institutions.
Examination Panel
A joint examination panel shall be formed to assess the thesis and conduct the oral examination. The composition of the joint panel shall follow the regulations set forth by both CityU and Yonsei. The panel will have examiners from both CityU and Yonsei, and additional examiners can be invited from the institution at which the examination will take place.
Awarding of the Joint PhD Degree
A student who has satisfied the academic and graduation requirements of both CityU and Yonsei will receive a PhD degree. The student will receive two award certificates, with CityU’s indicating that the PhD degree is awarded for the successful completion of the joint programme with Yonsei.