Department of Media and Communication Center for Communication Research

Ph.D. Studies in Communication

Frequently Asked Questions

Entrance Requirements:

Q: I have only a Bachelor's degree. Can I apply for your PhD program?
A: Yes, any superior student whether with a Bachelor's, taught Master's, research Master's or MPhil degree may apply for admission into the Ph.D. program. Three years of financial support will be provided for students admitted with a research Master's or MPhil degree, while those admitted with a B.A. or taught-Master's degree will receive four years of support.
Q: Does your Department accept Ph.D. from students outside Hong Kong?
A: Yes, we would admit qualified students from anywhere around the world.
Q: The medium of instruction in my university is English. I still need to provide an English language proficiency test result?
A: No, if your academic transcripts show that English is the medium of instruction.
Back to Top

Chances of Admissions:

Q: I would like to apply for you PhD program. Is it that possible for me to be admitted? Can you give me some advice?
A: It's impossible to answer the question because the admissions are determined based on competition among applicants in terms of academic performance, research ability and achievements, English language skills, and other qualifications. If appropriate and possible, try to improve yourself along these lines to enhance your competitiveness.
Q: I am from xxx University with a GPA of xxx and an IELTS score of xxx. I would like to know how likely I will be admitted into your program?
A: Your academic performance and language proficiency meet our entrance requirements. However, the number of qualified applicants always exceeds the number of students we can admit. Therefore, only the best qualified applicants will be admitted. Furthermore, the admissions decisions are made by three admissions committees in our Department, College and University. Therefore, it is impossible to assess your chances at this point.
Q: How many Ph.D. students in communication are admitted every year?
A: There is no fixed quota. High-quality applicants are admitted on a highly competitive basis.
Q: I am the applicant for the PhD program of your department. I wonder if you could tell me the result of my application because I have heard that someone has already received an offer.
A: The admissions practice at our university is that: the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) makes decisions and then informs the applicants directly through their online application accounts. We in the department will be notified much later on. Therefore, you'll find out the results earlier than us. If your online status is "Under Review", it means that SGS has not made a decision on your case yet.
Q: I have participated in several research projects, but have not published any paper in journals. Will this lead to failure of my application?
A: It all depends on your other qualifications in comparison with other competitors.
Q: I found that my application was unsuccessful this time. I would like to know the reasons why my application was rejected and how I could improve my chances in the future.
A: As has been mentioned several times above, the admissions are determined on a competitive basis. That is, our university selects to admit the best applicants (in terms of academic records, research achievements, English skills, and other qualifications) from a large pool of good applicants. As such, there may be nothing seriously wrong with your record; there were just stronger competitors who won the quota.
Back to Top

Application matters:

Q: Where and in what method should my referees submit their Report Forms?
A: No matter of whether you apply for Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (HKPFS) or the regular PhD program at CityU, please inform your referees to submit their Report Forms to CityU by mail, fax, or Email, at the following addresses:

Mail: Chow Yei Ching School of Graduate Studies, City University of Hong Kong, Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Fax: (852) 3442-0332
Q: When is the deadline of application for next year?
A: The deadline for next year is in December of previous year. For example, the deadline for the 2013 academic year was December 1, 2012 (for Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme) and December 10, 2012 (for regular admissions), respectively. No exception can be made. The exact date for either of the schemes may vary slightly in the future but will be likely to stay in December. Please find the officially confirmed deadline from our School of Graduate Studies website.
Back to Top

Research Proposal:

Q: I am interested in doing a study on xxx. Please advise me how to write a research proposal to meet your requirement?
A: Please refer to To Apply page for instructions on research proposal. In particular, pay attention to the stated purposes for us to require a research proposal, which will be used to assess a) your research interest, b) the fit to our expertise areas, c) your familiarity with the relevant literature, d) conceptual ability, e) methodological skills, and f) English writing. You can ask for clarifications on our research interests and training approaches. However, requests for advice on "how to write a good proposal (to get admitted)" are usually not entertained because that is exactly what we look for from the proposal.
Q: Attached is a draft of my research proposal. Can you give me some comments to improve it?
A: Please read the above paragraph to understand the purposes of research proposal. We will take these characteristics of your proposal into account in the decision process and, if necessary, may approach you for clarifications. Meanwhile, please go ahead to complete your online application and submit all other required materials.
Back to Top

Selection of Supervisors:

Q: How can I find a supervisor?
A: Please take a look at the Flowchart.
Q: Where can I find information about the research interests of potential supervisors in your Department?
A: Please visit the profile pages of our faculty members.
Q: Do all the professors listed on your website accept PhD students every year?
A: Associate professors, professors, and chair professors are eligible to supervise PhD students. Assistant professors will supervise PhD students jointly with a co-supervisor at associate professors or above. However, no pre-fixed quota is given to any faculty member in advance. Instead, the university select to admit the best applicants from the pool, regardless of who the proposed supervisors may be. In other words, the decision is made based on the competitiveness of the applicant, instead of the supervisor.
Q: Can I specify more than one supervisor in the application form?
A: Yes, but you are strongly advised to indicate the order of preferences if multiple supervisors are listed in the application form.
Q: Do I need to specify a supervisor in the application form?
A: You don't have to. But if you know the expertise of the prospective supervisor well enough, it may be desirable for you to indicate your preferred supervisor in the "Person Contacted" section.

If no preference is specified, a supervisor will be assigned to you based on the expertise and availability of faculty members.
Back to Top

Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (HKPFS):

Q: What is the difference between the regular PhD program and the new HKPFS program?
A: HKPFS (Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme) provides better funding. Therefore, it's far more competitive. There is only one round of HKPFS, with the deadline on 1 December. Visit to see the details. Anything else remains identical for the both programs.
Q: What should I do if the Online Application Form system refuses to accept my supporting documents?
A: The online system accepts files with a size less than 3MB. If any of your supporting documents exceeds the limit, you can submit the document to, indicating your application number.
Q: If I apply for both the HKPFS and the regular PhD program at CityU, should I fill two online application forms?
A: No, you only need to apply for the HKPFS at If it's not successful, you'll be automatically considered for our regular PhD program. However, you'll need to inform your referees to submit their Report Forms to CityU by mail, fax, or Email at the following addresses:

Mail: Chow Yei Ching School of Graduate Studies, City University of Hong Kong, Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Fax: (852) 3442-0332
Q: I would like to apply for HKPFS in Media and Communication, but I would first like to find out if the department can supervise my PhD research in xxx.
A: Here is the procedure of application: applicants should submit their application form, research proposal, and other required materials by the deadline (1 December each year). The department will review all cases on a competitive basis, to select the most qualified ones for further considerations by the university.
Q: Will there be an interview for shortlisted applicants?
A: We will contact some of the applicants when we need further information/clarification.
Back to Top

MPhil Program:

Q: Does your department accept MPhil students?
A: Given limited quota and supervision manpower, our department prefers supervising PhD students. If there is any extraordinarily strong person in the application pool for MPhil program, we will encourage the person to apply for the direct-entry route to PhD program. For those who are not interested in PhD, we suggest them to consider the two self-financing professional MA programs in our department: MA in Communication and New Media (MACNM) and MA in Integrated Marketing Communication (MAIMC) (for further information, see relevant programs).