Faculty of Health and Social Sciences

Sept 2024 Entry

Mixed Mode

3 years (Full-time)
4 years (Part-time)



  • Early applications are strongly encouraged as we have a quota for admissions. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interviews. Offers will be made on a rolling basis.

  • An incomplete application cannot be processed promptly and may reduce your likelihood of admission. Please complete all relevant fields on the application form and upload all necessary documents.

Application Deadline
Local - Mixed Mode
Sept 2024 Entry: Closed
Non-local - Mixed Mode
Sept 2024 Entry: Closed
About Programme
How to Apply
Aims & Characteristics

Programme Aims

We aim to prepare healthcare professionals to contribute to the science and practical development of healthcare services. Graduates are expected to be able to:

  • Synthesise knowledge from the health sciences and other academic disciplines for application in a substantive specialised area of practice in a healthcare profession;

  • Design, conduct and direct research studies;

  • Analyse and evaluate concepts, theories and models that are related to health practices;

  • Disseminate knowledge through scholarly publication, formal teaching and the provision of expert mentoring and vision on future healthcare development;

  • Integrate knowledge and use evidence to influence health policy and decision-making through collaborative interdisciplinary efforts at local and international levels; and

  • Exercise leadership skill at all levels and in various aspects of health services delivery.



PolyU is the first local university to initiate this professional doctoral programme, which is at the highest level of healthcare education. Unlike many traditional PhD programmes that focus on research, the Doctor of Health Science (DHSc) is a professional doctoral programme with a primary focus on the practice of the profession. The programme prepares experienced healthcare professionals to further develop their competence for leadership roles in advanced professional practice or for clinical-track faculty membership. The DHSc is recognised as a terminal professional degree for the healthcare discipline, and graduates will have earned the right to use the title of “Dr” before their names. The mixed-mode study pattern provides flexibility for students to engage in a full- or part-time study load.

Recognition & Prospects

The following specialism awards are listed with their quotable qualifications under their respective Supplementary Medical Professions Boards:

Awards Supplementary Medical Professions Boards (SMP Boards)
Doctor of Health Science (Medical Imaging and Radiation Science) Radiographers Board
Doctor of Health Science (Medical Laboratory Science) Medical Laboratory Technologists Board
Doctor of Health Science (Occupational Therapy) Occupational Therapists Board
Doctor of Health Science (Optometry) Optometrists Board
Doctor of Health Science (Physiotherapy) Physiotherapists Board

Programme Structure

The programme covers 8 Doctoral Subjects, including 4 Compulsory Subjects and 4 Elective Subjects, and a Doctoral Thesis. The Compulsory Subjects aim to provide students with a core foundation in healthcare concept analysis, research and knowledge translation within the reality of the ethical-sociological-economic context of healthcare provision.


The Electives and the Doctoral Thesis allow students to develop an individualised programme of study for acquiring, appraising, synthesising and applying knowledge in a substantive specialised area. The mentored research experience strengthens students’ skills in conducting disciplinary enquiry.


Candidates are required to complete the coursework requirement with a GPA of 2.70 or above and a Doctoral Thesis to be eligible for the award of Doctor of Health Science.


Students can choose to pursue the following generic or specialism awards:

  • Doctor of Health Science (generic award)

  • Doctor of Health Science (Medical Imaging and Radiation Science) 

  • Doctor of Health Science (Medical Laboratory Science)

  • Doctor of Health Science (Nursing)

  • Doctor of Health Science (Occupational Therapy)

  • Doctor of Health Science (Optometry) 

  • Doctor of Health Science (Physiotherapy)

  • Doctor of Health Science (Prosthetics and Orthotics)


To be eligible for a specialism, students should complete a thesis related to that specialism plus a 3-credit specialty subject. Furthermore, they should hold a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a relevant discipline or possess professional qualifications in a relevant discipline to fulfil the registration requirements of certain professions.


Core Areas of Study

Compulsory Subjects

Students are required to complete 4 of the following subjects to fulfil the requirement. If they complete more than 4 subjects, the additional subjects will be counted as Generic Electives.

  • Advanced Quantitative Methods

  • Evidence-Based Practice

  • Health Care Ethics

  • Health Economics

  • Health Systems: Management and Organisation

  • Issues in Health Sociology 


Elective Subjects

Students are required to complete 4 Elective Subjects to fulfil the requirement. The Electives can be Generic Electives or Specialty Subjects. 

A. Generic Electives

  • Advanced Statistics in Health Care Research

  • Advanced Methods in Qualitative Health Care Research

  • Concept Analysis in Health Care

  • Health and Social Policy Analysis

  • Independent Study in a Substantive Specialty*

  • Information Technology in Health Care

  • Innovations in Learning and Teaching for Healthcare Education^

  • Project Management


*Can be counted as a Specialty Subject

^Can be taken as a Generic Elective by students who do not intend to pursue the nursing specialism award.


B. Specialty Subjects

Students should complete at least 1 Specialty Subject to fulfil the specialism requirement. Please refer to this web page for the most updated subject information.


Other Elective Options (e.g., subjects offered by PolyU’s other professional doctoral and postgraduate programmes subject to the approval of the Programme Leader)


The above subject list will be updated from time to time. 

Credit Required for Graduation


Programme Leader(s)

Prof. Marco Pang
BSc, PhD

Subject Area
Health Science
Entrance Requirements
  • A Master’s degree in a health-related discipline or the equivalent;
  • At least 5 years of substantial professional health care experience.



If you are not a native speaker of English, and your Bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualification is awarded by institutions where the medium of instruction is not English, you are expected to fulfil the University’s minimum English language requirement for admission purpose. Please refer to the “Admission Requirements” section for details.


Remarks: Candidates possessing a recognised first degree in a health-related discipline with substantial professional experience may also be considered on a case-by-case basis.


For further information on academic matters, please contact: 
Prof. Marco Pang (tel: (852) 2766 7156; email: marco.pang@polyu.edu.hk).


For further information on admission matters, please contact:
Miss Cindy Yu (tel: (852) 2766 7774; email: cindy.sy.yu@polyu.edu.hk);
or Miss Sharon Law (tel: (852) 3400 2662; email: sharon.law@polyu.edu.hk).

Other Information

The Academic Year consists of Semesters One and Two and the Summer Semester. Normally, Semester One runs from September to December (13 weeks). Semester Two runs from January to May (13 weeks). Summer Semester runs from June to July (7 weeks). Students can enrol for most of the Coursework subjects in Semesters One and Two, and decide if they will have a break or take the only Generic Elective offered in Summer Term. The timetabling information will be released to students one to two months before the class begins.

Initial Registration Credits

3 for local students
6 for non-local students

Tuition Fee

HK$7,700 per credit for local and non-local students

Student Message

The DHSc programme at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University provided me with the opportunity to study and collaborate with fellow doctoral students from diverse health care backgrounds. Their ongoing friendship provided peer support and intellectual stimulation and broadened my views of my specialty area of private practice. My fellow students, colleagues and professors gave valuable feedback during the research period, especially as the literature on my chosen thesis topic was so scarce. Their encouragement was instrumental to the successful outcome of the thesis. It is both humbling and fulfilling to be able to add original evidence and data to expand the body of knowledge in occupational therapy private practice. There were challenges in this scientific inquiry process, including producing valid data from a limited pool and analysing these data, but the programme equipped me to face them. This very positive and rewarding DHSc research experience will always stay with me and, hopefully, inspire future students and motivate further investigative studies, both locally and internationally.

Dr Shelley M. Chow (Graduate); Background: Occupational Therapy

As a recent graduate of the Doctor of Health Science programme, I gained a comprehensive understanding of public service advancement and the necessary skills to conduct service planning and evaluation at the management level. The opportunity to collaborate with professors and healthcare industry leaders was invaluable, broadening my perspective and shaping my professional development. Additionally, the programme equipped me with the necessary tools and knowledge to excel in my professional endeavours and to make a positive impact in the healthcare industry.

Dr CHEUNG Ho Yin Anson (Graduate); Background: Radiography
Additional Documents Required
Transcript / Certificate

Copies of transcripts and graduation certificates, particularly those for the applicant’s relevant Master’s degrees, are required.

Curriculum Vitae

No more than to two to four A4 pages.


List of publications, if any, should be included. 

Personal Statement

A personal statement consisting of one to two pages, including the reason for applying to the programme, is required. 


Applicants are also advised to submit a study plan listing the subjects to be taken at each semester and the proposed research area/topic(s) for the thesis. If such information is not uploaded with the application, it should be provided before the interview.

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