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


Research experience, with its training in logic and critical thinking, is necessary for many senior posts in industry; it is particularly valuable to those who plan to make their careers in research institutes, industrial research, teaching, or university life.

Suitably qualified graduates from universities or related institutions in Hong Kong or abroad may be accepted for postgraduate programmes for PhD or MPhil by research. Applicants for research degree studies should show the ability to pursue research in the proposed field of advanced study.

Full-time and part-time options are available for the research degrees. The part-time option is intended for students who are working full-time in local industry or as a research support staff in the Department. The study duration of research degree programmes is as follows:

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

These higher degrees are awarded on the basis of independent but supervised research on a topic approved by the School of Graduate Studies, the submission of a thesis which describes the work the student has carried out, an oral examination, and a written qualifying examination (for PhD students only).

Each student takes up an individual research investigation, under the supervision of a faculty member and his or her progress will be overseen by a Qualifying Panel chaired by his or her supervisor.

The research degrees consist of a combination of coursework and research studies leading to the submission of a thesis. A candidate is normally required to take a certain amount of coursework  in the form of taught courses. Coursework requirements which are recommended by the Qualifying Panel may be determined on the basis of the specific needs of a research student. The objectives of this requirement are to help a candidate improve his or her research techniques and skills, to provide him or her with a better and deeper understanding of the subjects, concepts and methodology in relation to his or her area of research, to help him or her in the preparation of a Qualifying Report and the thesis, and to enable him or her to satisfy all the requirements for the research degree for which he or she is registered.

The submission of a Qualifying Report precedes the submission of a thesis. The Qualifying Report is a detailed survey of relevant literature in respect of a specific research topic, and contains information on the methodology and the results aimed. Full-time candidates will be required to submit the Qualifying Report within 12 months from the commencement of studies.

PhD students are required to take and pass a qualifying examination within 10-24 months (full-time) or 20-48 months (part-time) after commencement of PhD studies. The qualifying examination aims to test students’ knowledge of major subject areas of their research disciplines and assess their readiness to conduct research in their specific research discipline. The qualifying examination shall consist of a written examination. A maximum of two attempts will be allowed. Those who fail the qualifying examination after two attempts will be recommended for termination of study.

Owing to the rapid growth of scientific knowledge and application of technology, research students are also encouraged to attend research seminars and colloquia held in the Department. However, most of a research student's time is expected to be spent on his or her research project.

Financial assistance:

Generous studentships, scholarships, and grants are available to well-qualified research students. The conditions necessary to qualify a student for an award vary, but most of our current students are supported by studentship and research activities/conference grants. For detailed information about financial awards and assistance, please refer to the Admissions Handbook issued by the School of Graduate Studies.

If you are considering undertaking a research degree programme, you should contact a faculty member of the Department in your proposed area of work who may eventually become your supervisor before you submit a full online application through the School of Graduate Studies. Qualified applications supported by the proposed supervisor will then be forwarded to the School of Graduate Studies Committee on Research Degrees Candidature for decision, via the College Graduate Studies Committee, subject to the academic performance of applicants, as well as the availability of intake quota and funding support.

Below is an open letter from the current Research Degree Coordinator for all prospective applicants:


An open letter for prospective applicants

Dear Prospective Research Students,

Re: Research Degree Studies, Department of Mechanical Engineering

As the Research Degree Coordinator, I am in charge of postgraduate research studies and related matters in the Department. This letter briefly explains our research degree application procedures. Details about CityU's research degree programmes and regulations may be found on the CityU School of Graduate Studies' website or in its Admissions Handbook for Research Degree Programmes.

Although CityU is a relatively young university in Hong Kong, it is vibrant and of high academic standing, being ranked 54th in the QS World University Rankings 2023. We have committed staff and excellent facilities. Our postgraduate infrastructure is designed to provide a richly conducive research environment and a full research experience for the individual research student. CityU offers postgraduate studentship stipend to excellent PhD candidates. In addition, tuition scholarship and conference grant are also available. Government-funded PhD places with studentship are limited and therefore highly competitive. Suitably qualified candidates can also apply for admission as self-financed research students without studentship.

While applications are received throughout the year, applicants are advised to observe the application deadline for the main admission round in December every year. Applications received afterwards may be considered subject to the availability of student places and funding support. Interested applicants are required to submit their application on-line through the School of Graduate Studies. The first thing you will need to do is to identify one or more topic(s)/area(s) you would like to research into and the respective faculty member in this Department who may be your research supervisor. You are strongly advised to contact the potential supervisor(s) directly and discuss with him/her/them about the proposed research and funding support for your studies before you submit your application with the required supporting documents.

Please note that for applicants who have graduated from universities where English is not the language of instruction, a minimum TOEFL@ score of 550 (paper-based) or 213 (computer-based) or 79 (internet-based); or an overall band score of 6.5 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS@) are normally required for government-funded places.

@TOEFL and IELTS scores are considered valid for two years. Applicants are required to provide their English test results obtained within the two years preceding the commencement of the University's application period.

Applicants with outstanding qualities of academic performance, research ability/potential, communication and interpersonal skills, and leadership abilities are encouraged to apply for the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme.

For academic-related enquiries, please contact:

Prof. Yong YANG
BA, BEng (Peking University), MPhil (HKUST), MS, PhD (Princeton University)
Chair of Research Education Committee and Professor


(Please contact the School of Graduate Studies for general enquiries regarding admission to the university and the online application system.)

Tuition Fees

The following are the tuition fees (tentative rates for 2023-2024) for research degree programmes. Please note that fees are subject to revision from time to time without prior notification, and any adjustments to fees will apply to both new and current students.

Tuition/Continuation Fees (normally adjusted in September every year)

Type of Fee Mode of Study Remarks
Full-time Part-time
Government-funded students:
Tuition fee HK$3,508 per month HK$1,754 per month Non-refundable; applicable to students within their stipulated study period
Continuation fee HK$877 per month HK$439 per month Non-refundable; applicable to students who have been approved for an extension of their study period
Self-financing students:
Tuition fee HK$7,016 per month HK$3,508 per month Non-refundable; applicable to self-financing students throughout their entire study period
Continuation fee HK$1,754 per month HK$877 per month Non-refundable; applicable to students who have been approved for an extension of their study period

Latest Information on tuition fees is available in the Admissions Handbook issued by the School of Graduate Studies.

Last modified on 8 MAY, 2024