School of Law

Earn a PhD in Law from a prestigious law university

Proceed with further studies in law at the City University of Hong Kong to advance your career. CityU not only offers courses from which you can attain your PhD in law, the university also offers financial aid programmes.

Becoming of greater value to society

It is without a doubt true that the more knowledgeable an individual is, the greater the contributions on can make. Earning a PhD in law affords you the privilege of being of even greater help to those around you as a result of the knowledge and experience you gained throughout your formative years in higher education. The City University of Hong Kong strives to produce graduates that are not only globally competent but are also highly capable of creating a lasting and positive impact in the history of humanity.

To become the best at one’s chosen profession, one must seek conscious and continuous growth through development and improvement. One such way to achieve that is to attain a PhD in law from one of Asia’s leading law schools. The City University of Hong Kong has long established its legacy as a leader in law education in the country.

Taking up PhD in law studies at the CityU

The prestige that comes with being a lawyer by profession is not easily attained. It takes years of hard work and a certain financial capability to complete the additional number of academic years required. The School of Law mandates that students looking to earn a PhD in law must be able to commit to a 4-year duration for a full-time schedule and an 8-year period for a part-time schedule. Considering as how the PhD is the highest level of educational attainment, individuals that are qualified to apply for entry to PhDprogrammes in law have endured a considerable financial obligation.

Growing the community of law professionals in Hong Kong

The City University of Hong Kong, in its efforts to increase the number of PhD in law graduates, encourages its applicants to look into the financial aid schemes that are available to them. There are a host of available financial aid programmes that are offered to all eligible students applying to earn their PhD in law.The university promotes the furthering of knowledge and experience in each of their graduates by encouraging them to take full advantage of the comprehensive financial aid made available to unique individuals like them.

Eligibility and the application process

To be accepted into the PhD in law programme of the CityU School of Law, the applicant must be at least one of the following: Holds a status of MPhil student of CityU, or, have completed research of a higher degree at a recognized university, or, have a master’s degree (or anything equal to) from a recognized university, or have a bachelor’s degree with first class honours distinctions (or anything equal to) from a recognized university.

Other documents an applicant must have to be considered for entry to the School of Law must all come from recognized universities.

Furthermore, all applicants from non-English-speaking universities must submit documents or certifications of their English speaking and writing skills. The university also reserves the right to mandate supplementary documents and requirements.

Financial aid for PhD students

The City University of Hong Kong provides each of its PhD in law students the opportunity to be rid of financial burdens throughout their years of study. They are encouraged to apply under Postgraduate Studentships and Research Tuition Scholarships for government aid and funding. Private institutions also offer scholarships to deserving applicants that they deem will be of great benefit to both local society and legal communities.

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

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


  Application Deadline
HKPFS 2 December 2019, at 12 noon (Hong Kong Time or GMT +8 hours)
MPhil, PhD 2 December 2019

Applicants applying for the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (HKPFS) have to submit BOTH an initial application to the Research Grants Council (RGC) and then a full application to CityU.



The School of Law offers two research degrees:  Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).  Each degree consists of a substantial research project and a limited coursework component.  A PhD thesis, in particular, must make a substantial original contribution to knowledge in the relevant subject area.  Research postgraduate students are encouraged to be active members of the School of Law research community.  Supervision is available under regional and international experts in a diverse array of subject areas, including public law, human rights, criminal law, private law, comparative law, international law and maritime law.  The University also offers excellent financial assistance to eligible students, widening access to research postgraduate study.

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 thesis, within those 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 with regard to their submitted thesis, 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 student body, contributing to timely and fundamental research in Hong Kong, Greater China and beyond. We seek to continue to attract quality, dedicated PhD students to participate in and contribute to the School’s research environment. Postgraduate students will benefit from the School’s research culture which encourages both theoretical and applied research with local, regional and international significance.


Potential Supervisors

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to contact potential supervisors in their subject area before submitting an application, to ensure that appropriate supervision will be available for a given research project. The research interests of our potential supervisors are as follows.

Staff Member
(for 2020/21 admission round)
Research Areas
Prof CHAISSE Julien
  1. WTO law
  2. International trade law
  3. Investment law
  4. Investment arbitration
  5. Commercial contracts
  6. Transnational law
  7. International arbitration
  8. Cyber law (Internet governance, ICANN, domain names, dispute resolution)
  9. EU law
  10. ASEAN law
Dr CHAN Peter
  1. Civil procedure
  2. Chinese court system
  3. Comparative law
  4. Financial regulation
  5. Law and society
Dr CHOW Pok Yin Stephenson
  1. Public international law (with particular focus on treaty law, the use of reservations, community interests, the classification of international legal obligations)
  2. International human rights law and theory (with a particular focus on cultural rights, multiculturalism, ethnic conflicts and prevention, the rights of persons with disabilities)
  3. Comparative public law
Prof CROFTS Thomas
  1. Criminalization
  2. Criminal responsibility
  3. Comparative criminal law
  4. Criminal law reform
  5. Children and criminal law
Dr DEVA Surya
  1. Business and human rights
  2. Corporate social responsibility
  3. International human rights law
  4. Comparative constitutional law
  5. Sustainable development
Dr HE Tianxiang
  1. Intellectual property law in general (copyright, trademark, patent)
Dr HO John
  1. Corporate law
  2. Corporate governance
  3. Financial law
Prof LIN Feng
  1. Basic law
  2. Constitutional law
  3. Administrative law
Prof LOKE Alexander
  1. Contract law
  2. Corporate finance
  3. Financial services
Dr LONE Fozia Nazir
  1. General public international law
  2. Territorial disputes, international water law
  3. Human rights and humanitarian law
Prof LOW Kelvin
  1. Property law
Dr ONG Rebecca
  1. Data protection laws
  2. Privacy and information technology laws
  3. Succession
Dr PASCOE Daniel
  1. Criminal law
  2. Criminal justice
  3. Criminology
  4. Southeast Asian law
  5. Islamic law
  6. International human rights law
Dr QU Charles
  1. Corporate law
  2. Securities regulation
  3. Finance law
  4. Corporate insolvency law
  5. Cross-border insolvency law
Dr THOMSON Stephen
  1. Administrative law
  2. Constitutional law
  3. Comparative public law
  4. Legal system structure and design
Dr TOMASSETTI Julia Louise
  1. Work law (including labour and employment law)
  2. Law and society
  3. Law and political economy
  4. Contracts
Prof TSIMPLIS Michael
  1. Maritime law
  2. Law of the marine environment
Dr WANG Peter
  1. Law and society
  2. Comparative constitutional law
  3. Administrative law
  4. Hong Kong basic law
  5. Comparative procedural laws/legal systems
  6. Chinese and comparative law
  7. Law and religion
  8. Asian and international law
  9. Human rights
  10. Jurisprudence/legal theory
Prof ZHU Guobin
  1. Public law
  2. Chinese law
  3. Comparative law
  4. Human rights


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.

(Please 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 is available for research postgraduate students. All full-time research students of UGC-funded programmes are eligible to apply.


Financial Assistance

Postgraduate research students may be 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 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 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). The Government of the Hong Kong SAR 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 legal discipline in a recognised university; and
  • (applicable to applicants from an institution where the language of teaching is not English) they should satisfy the minimum English language 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 the assignment of supervisors for successful applicants rests with the University.

For the application period and procedures, please visit


Applications and Enquiries

Prospective students should apply for admission online at  Applications must be accompanied by a research proposal.  Applications are accepted throughout the year and are mainly considered in one admission round.

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

Prospective students may also contact:
Chow Yei Ching School of Graduate Studies
Tel: (852) 3442 9076
Fax: (852) 3442 0332
Website: //

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to contact potential supervisors before submitting an application, to ensure that appropriate supervision is available for a given research project.

Routine admissions enquiries may be addressed to:

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: //



Other enquiries may be addressed to the Research Degree Coordinator:

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