Period of Study
All PhD students, admitted from 2018/19 cohort onwards, are expected to fulfil minimum university and faculty requirements, through both required and elective coursework, and the completion of original research and the presentation (defence) of an approved thesis. The process involves a supervisory team guiding and assisting students through their entire research process, assessment meetings and scheduled research gatherings facilitated by the School.
For students admitted into a 3-year full-time (6-year part-time) programme, they are required to attain 15 credits:
- Taught coursework includes two compulsory subjects and one elective subject, each carrying 3 credits;
- Design related training includes three Design Seminars subjects (1 credit each), two Design Training (Practicum) subjects (1 credit each) and one Design Ethics subject (1 credit).
For students admitted into the programme with less experience in design research or without holding a postgraduate degree with a significant research component, they are required to complete a 4-year full-time (8-year part-time) programme and to attain 22 credits:
- Taught coursework includes two compulsory subjects and three elective subjects, each carrying 3 credits;
- Design related training includes four Design Seminars subjects (1 credit each), two Design Training (Practicum) subjects (1 credit each) and one Design Ethics subject (1 credit).
Financing and Support
Multiple PhD financing options are outlined below. Each option has specific application criteria, funding support structure and submission deadline. Applicants are advised to study these options and determine which one suits them best. Information about fees and financial assistance of different options can be found here.
1. Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (HKPFS)
- More information available at:
- Please submit the application to PolyU via PolyU eAdmission system: https://www38.polyu.edu.hk/eAdmission/index.do
2. University Grants Committee (UGC) Funded Support
Preference will be given to applicants who apply for the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (HKPFS), for which the application period starts in early September each year. Applicants should first submit HKPFS applications via RGC’s system to obtain a HKPFS reference number.
3. Self-finaniced Applications
Applicants with adequate funds can apply under the self-financed track.
4: Other Funding Sources
Applicants eligible to apply for sponsorship (from Government or private scholarships, or other funding schemes), are considered as self-financed applications. They should indicate which scholarships or funding schemes can support their studies.
5. Tuition Wavier for Local Students
Starting from 2018/19 academic year, the Government would provide tuition waiver for all local students enrolled in UGC-funded RPg programmes. More information available at: https://www.ugc.edu.hk/eng/rgc/funding_opport/tws.html
English Language Requirements for PhD Admission
English language test result (for applicants who have not obtained a degree from a recognized university in which the language of instruction is English)
- An overall score of at least 6.5 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS); o
- A Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 80 or above for the Internet-based test or 550 or above for the paper-based test.
Please refer to the University’s Admission Requirements at http://www51.polyu.edu.hk/eprospectus/rpg/admission-requirements
PhD applicants are advised to identify and contact appropriate PhD supervisors in the School of Design, and discuss intended research proposals before submission of their documents via the online registration process. They may be given advice on the proposal. Research in the School of Design focuses on specific areas based on existing expertise. Although applicants can express preference of supervisors, the School Research Committee reserves the right to allocate other qualified academic staff members as supervisors, who have relevant professional background, experience and expertise.
View list of supervisors
A proposal should consist of no more than 5,000 words (excluding bibliography). Please use the PolyU template, Form GSB/1A (former:RDC/1A) , which can be found at: https://www.polyu.edu.hk/en/gs/current-students/student-forms/.
1. Name of Proposed Chief Supervisor
2. Project Title
3. Project Objectives
4. Scope and Background of Research
5. Research Methodology
- Main topic, goals, and hypotheses.
6. Project Significance and Value
- Societal or political relevance; relevance to scholarship; relevance to design.
- Link to at least one of the School’s research themes: Design Social, Design Economies, Design Making.
7. Details of Any External Collaboration
8. Declaration of the Applicant
9. Endorsement by the Proposed Chief Supervisor
10. Recommendation of Head of Affiliated Department in the University
Please DO NOT change the standard format and only attach the followings with Form GSB/1A :
11. 36-Month Work Plan
- demonstrating the feasibility of the proposed research
12. Bibliography (not included in word count)
A document about the guidelines on research proposal writing is available on request, please contact us at email@example.com.
Application and Enquiries
Applicants who wish to apply for the PhD programme in Design are strongly encouraged to make an application through the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (HKPFS) which is open between September and December every year.
A complete application consists of a research proposal and support documents. Please submit the below support documents together with their completed proposal:
- Certificate of the award of your Bachelor's and Master’s degree(s);
- Transcript of your degree(s) with the explanatory notes of overall GPA and maximum GPA of your studies;
- English language test result (for applicants who have not obtained a degree from a recognized university in which the language of instruction is English);
i. An overall score of at least 6.5 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS); or
ii. A Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 80 or above for the Internet-based test or 550 or above for the paper-based test.
- Updated Curriculum Vitae;
- Signed Research Degree Proposal (Form GSB/1A);
- Personal Statement;
- TWO academic referee’s reports at the university level;
- Additional documents, i.e. published papers, awards, letter of intent (your background, why do you want a PhD, your research interest area), etc.
Click here for the step-by-step guide of application procedures.
- All applicants are required to submit two referees reports through the e-Admission system. Your referees will receive the link only after you submit the application. Please be reminded that you should submit your application as soon as possible to ensure the referee's reports reach us before the application deadline. If the referee's reports are not received, your application may be disqualified.
- For applicants who have not obtained a degree from a recognized university in which the language of instruction is English, you should also submit a language test result, such as TOEFL and IELTS.
- For the proposal, please use the official form (Form GSB/1A). Please be reminded that DO NOT change the standard format of the form.
- Incomplete and insufficient information/ documents may result in non-acceptance of your application.
It is advised to reserve at least 3-4 months to prepare a good proposal. Also, to find and get in touch with an appropriate supervisor.
General enquiries about admin procedures:
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further enquiries on our research programme:
Please contact our PhD & TPS Coordinator, Dr.ir. G Bruyns at email@example.com.
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