Doctor of Philosophy in Laws (PhD)

The PhD in Laws is the most advanced degree awarded by the University. Students are required to conduct extensive research and write a thesis of publishable quality making an original contribution to knowledge, under the guidance of a member of the Faculty. Only a limited number of places are available each year and placement is highly competitive.

Medium of instruction:English
How and when to apply:

You may apply by using our on-line application process at the University's Graduate School webpage.

Applications for 2017-2018 admissions, with the following application deadlines, have closed:

  • For admission under the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (HKPFS): 1 December 2016 at 12 noon Hong Kong Time (GMT +8 hours). Details of the HKPFS can be found at the Graduate School website and the Research Grants Council website.
  • For regular admission: 31 January 2017.

Applications are considered on a rolling basis. Even if you do not plan to apply for HKPFS, you are encouraged to apply early.

Admission requirements:

In addition to the General Requirements of the Graduate School, applicants must:

  • possess a Juris Doctor (JD) degree or a Master of Laws (LLM) degree awarded by a recognized university with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above; or
  • possess an equivalent degree (including non-law related) awarded by a recognized tertiary educational institution.

Applicants must satisfy the English Language Proficiency Requirement by:

  • possessing a Bachelor’s degree awarded by a recognized university in Hong Kong or an English-speaking country, or taught primarily in the English Language; or
  • achieving a result of Band 7.0 or better in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) . IELTS test results must be obtained not more than two years prior to the date of applying for admission to the PhD Programme; or
  • achieving at least a score of 587 (Paper Based Test) or 95 (Internet Based Test) in the Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) . TOEFL test results must be obtained not more than two years prior to the date of applying for admission to the PhD Programme; or
  • providing alternative evidence of English Proficiency equivalent to one of the preceding measures.
Applicants to submit research plan:

All applicants are required to submit as part of their application a research plan not exceeding 5,000 words in length. The research plan will be reviewed by the Faculty in evaluating the applicant’s potential for conducting academic research at PhD level. Although it is understood that applicants are generally not yet ready to develop a full argument and/or solution for a problem at the application stage, they are expected to address the following in their research plan:

  • Title of the research;
  • Research objectives;
  • Major problem(s) to be explored;
  • Outline of subject-matter content of the proposal;
  • Review of the literature in the field;
  • Research methodologies to be used; and
  • Expected contribution of the resulting thesis to learning in the field of law.

The proposal should include relevant bibliographical references.

Applicants to submit personal statement and curriculum vitae:

Applicants should submit as part of their application a personal statement not exceeding 1,500 words and brief curriculum vitae. The personal statement may describe the academic and professional experiences, interests and goals of the applicant, as well as the personal credentials that he or she considers most relevant to the proposed research work.


Applicants with a research Master’s degree:

  • Full-time mode: normative of 36 months; maximum of 84 months.
  • Part-time mode: normative of 48 months; maximum of 96 months.

Applicants without a research Master’s degree:

  • Full-time mode: normative of 48 months; maximum of 84 months.
  • Part-time mode: normative of 64 months; maximum of 96 months.


University main campus in Shatin.

Programme requirements:

Students are required to complete the following courses for graduation:

  • LAWS7001 Orientation to Research Postgraduate Studies and LAWS7002 Research Methodologies in the first two academic terms of enrolment;
  • LAWS7003 Legal Academic Composition for Research Postgraduate Students in the first academic term of the second year of enrolment (Applicable to students admitted in 2015-16 and thereafter); and
  • LAWS8001 Thesis Research, Writing and Organisation (multi-taking), a thesis monitoring course, throughout their enrolment in the Programme.
They are also required to complete an Improving Postgraduate Learning module on "Observing Intellectual Property and Copyright Law during Research".
Assessment and graduation:

In their graduating year, students shall submit a thesis which shall be an original piece of work that makes a substantial contribution to learning in the field of law, upon endorsement of their supervisor as to their readiness to submit. Students are also required to pass an oral examination.

Delivery mode:

Full-time or part-time study modes.

Tuition fees:

Full-time mode: HK$42,100 per year.

Part-time mode (self-financed): HK$63,000 per year.

(Above quoted tuition fees are subject to annual review.)


Full-time research postgraduate students may receive postgraduate studentship, valued at HK$15,600 per month for the 2016-17 academic year, during the normative study period. Awardees of the postgraduate studentships do not receive a waiver of tuition fee. Further details can be found here.

Student housing:

Full-time research postgraduate students who are within their normative study period are eligible to apply for on campus accommodation at the Postgraduate Halls. Further details can be found here.