Research Strengths

In line with the motto “To learn and to apply, for the benefit of mankind” of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), our research not only contributes to the creation of knowledge, but also for the betterment of our community and the future of our world. We aim for excellence in research by building upon interdisciplinary synergy to address cross-cultural and multilingual issues.  

Research Strengths by Department

Our research foci are in the following areas:

Department of Chinese and Bilingual Studies

    • Applied linguistics, with special reference to Bilingualism and Communication, Corporate Communication, Language Assessment and Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language
  • Chinese and East Asian Linguistics
    • Computational and Corpus Linguistics
    • Neurocognitive Studies of Language and Clinical Linguistics
    • Translation and Interpreting Studies

Department of Chinese Culture

      • Chinese Government and Society in Imperial China
      • Chinese Literature and Cultural History
      • Modern Chinese Intellectual and Political History
      • Neo-Confucian Philosophy and Learning
      • Traditional Chinese Intellectual and Religious History

Department of English

  • Language and Professional Communication
  • Language Teaching and Learning
  • Linguistics, English Language, and Systemic Functional Linguistics
  • Media and Communication
  • Area Studies and Intercultural Communications


Research Postgraduate Study (Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme)

Eligibility For PhD Admission

To register for the degree of PhD, an applicant shall normally hold a postgraduate degree containing a significant research component, such as a dissertation, conferred by a recognised university.

In exceptional circumstances, students with a Bachelor’s degree with First Class Honours, or the equivalent, may be admitted directly to the PhD programme. Such students may be required to pass an examination.

English-Language Requirements
Applicants who have not obtained a degree of which the language of instruction was English from a recognised university are normally required to obtain:
- an overall score of at least 6.5 (with score for the writing component at 6.0 or above) in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS); or
- 550 or above in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for the paper-based test (with a score of at least 4 out of 6 in the Test of Written English), or 80 or above in the internet-based test (with a writing score of 23 or above).

All English language test scores are considered valid for five years after the date of the test. Consideration will be given to acceptable scores in other internationally recognised public examinations, such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), as deemed appropriate.

The thesis shall be presented in English. If another language, which is considered more appropriate to the subject, is to be used in the presentation of the thesis, permission will have to be sought at the point of admission.

Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme

Established by the Research Grants Council (RGC) of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (HKPFS) aims at attracting the best and brightest students in the world to pursue their PhD studies in Hong Kong's institutions. Applicants who wish to apply for admission to our PhD programmes are encouraged to apply to HKPFS.

Applicants for admission to PhD programmes at PolyU via the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (HKPFS) established by the Research Grants Council (RGC) of Hong Kong will concurrently be considered for regular places assigned to the University through the award of Postgraduate Studentships. Outstanding candidates will be nominated by the University to compete for the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme. Those who are nominated but are not finally offered the Fellowship, and those not selected for nomination for the Fellowship, may be given separate consideration for admission as PhD students at PolyU via the award of Postgraduate Studentships, subject to their eligibility of fulfilling the requirements of the Postgraduate Studentship:


The Followship

Amount of annual stipend

(approx. US$38,620)

Tuition Scholarship

A tuition scholarship covering the entire normal study period

Conference and research-related

travel allowance / Conference grant

(approx. US$1,620)
per year for the entire normal study period

Associated money to support research study (subject to Department’s approval)

(approx. US$2,600)
per normal study year

- the above amounts are subject to revision
- all RGC PhD Fellowship awardees will be guaranteed hall accommodation in the first normal study year.

Application Information

For details about PolyU’s PhD degree research programmes, please visit: application for 2019/20 entry will close on 1 December 2018.

If you are interested to study our PhD programmes via the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme, please visit for details of the application procedures. The call for application for the scheme starts from 1 September 2018 until 1 December 2018 at Hong Kong Time 12:00:00 (GMT +8 hours). 

Click here to download the leaflet of FH's PhD programmes

Research Centres and Units
  • Centre for Translation Studies (website)

    The Centre was established in 1989 with an endowment fund from the Wei Lun Foundation with the intention of promoting scholarly activities in the field of translation.

    The Centre for Translation Study was designated by the Central Government's Ministry of Personnel (MOP) as the only authorized trainer for the China Aptitude Test for Translators and Interpreters (CATTI) ( 全國翻譯專業資格 ( 水平 ) 考試 ) in HKSAR in February 2007. Jointly launched by MOP and the China International Publishing Group, the CATTI is the most authoritative proficiency qualification test for translators and interpreters in the country. This qualification is also considered a pre-requisite for achieving professional status as a translator or interpreter on the Chinese mainland.

  • Confucius Institute of Hong Kong (website)
  • The Hong Kong Chapter with Corporate Communication International (website)

    The Hong Kong Chapter with Corporate Communication International (CCI-HK) was launched in 2011 to provide a local centre for information and knowledge on corporate communication in Hong Kong.

  • International Research Centre for the Advancement of Health Communication (IRCAHC) (website)

    The launch of the International Research Centre for the Advancement of Health Communication (IRCAHC) sets out PolyU’s ongoing commitment to research in this area. The mission statement for the Centre reflects its values of community, shared knowledge and research that makes a difference to everyday health care:

    The Centre will develop research strengths in areas such as the social psychology of language in health communication, E-Health, health economics, business and management, innovative methodology and explore the role of the community, organisations, groups and individuals who negotiate and manage patient care and safety.

  • The PolyU – Peking U Research Centre on Chinese Linguistics (P2U2 ReCCL) (website)

    The PolyU – Peking U Research Centre on Chinese Linguistics aims to carry out research on Chinese Linguistics, with an emphasis on the study and application of modern Chinese Language. Research activities of the Centre include teaching Chinese as a foreign language, Chinese teaching materials for primary and secondary schools, syntax, semantics and pragmatics of modern Chinese, Chinese dialects, information processing in and corpus of modern Chinese, standardization and modernization of modern Chinese language.

  • The PolyU – Tsinghua U Centre for Language Sciences (PTCLS) (website)

    The mission of the The PolyU-Tsinghua U Centre for Language Sciences is to promote, facilitate, host and organize academic activities between the two universities on language sciences, to deepen our understanding of the nature, development, learning, teaching and use of English as a second or foreign language or as an international lingua franca, in classrooms, professional workplaces and other speech communities. The Centre operates by two Centre Offices in Hong Kong and Beijing, which will collaborate with each other but take separate responsibilities for their own local activities.

  • The PolyU – Xi’an Jiaotong University Research Centre in Creative Culture Industries for Western China (RCCCI)

    Jointly established by PolyU and Xi'an Jiaotong University, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Xi'an Jiaotong University Research Centre in Creative Culture Industries (RCCCI) was launched in 2012 in Xi'an, with an aim to provide an all-in-one platform for research, training, consultation and service for the creative culture industries in the western China region.

    RCCCI - Championed by the Faculty of Humanities at the PolyU side, other participating PolyU units include the Faculty of Business, Faculty of Construction and Environment, School of Design, School of Hotel and Tourism Management, and Department of Computing.

  • Research Centre for Professional Communication in English (RCPCE) (website)

    The RCPCE, established in 2006, is the first Research Centre of its kind in Hong Kong and marked an important milestone in promoting the further advancement of professional communication research and education in English in the territory. Members of the RCPCE are active researchers in corpus linguistics, discourse analysis, lexical and semantic studies, pragmatics, sociolinguistics, Systemic Functional Linguistics, and testing and assessment. The online RCPCE Profession-specific Corpora, with English texts in conversation, engineering, financial services, political discourse, and research articles, serves as a useful educational and research resource.

  • Speech Therapy Unit (website)

    The Speech Therapy Unit (STU) was set up in 2012 to create a platform for clinical practice, teaching, and research through the medium of actual clinical service. In addition to facilitating research collaboration between linguists and speech therapists, the STU also provides valuable clinical experiences for the training of language and allied health professionals and cognitive science students.

    Operated by a group of experienced and qualified speech therapists, STU offers assessment and treatment services to people in the community who suffer from communication and swallowing disorders. Being a strategic partner of Tung Wah Group Hospital (TWGHs), STU provides quality and effective services to local students with special educational needs.

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