Doctor of Philosophy

City University of Hong Kong

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The degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in CityU School of Law consists of a substantial research project and a limited coursework component. A PhD thesis, in particular, must make a substantial original contribution to knowledge in the relevant subject area. Research postgraduate students are encouraged to be active members of the Law School's research community. Supervision is available under regional and international experts in a diverse array of subject areas, including public law, human rights, criminal law, private law, comparative law, international law and maritime law. The University also offers excellent financial assistance to eligible students.


The School of Law at City University of Hong Kong is a boutique institution with an outstanding reputation as a leading law school. We foster a culture of integrated research and teaching, drawing on the expertise of our faculty and an internationally diverse student body. Our research contributes to the betterment of society in Hong Kong, Greater China and beyond. We encourage both theoretical and applied research with local, regional or international significance.



Study Mode


48 months


Start Date(s)


September 1 2023


Course details

To be recommended for the award of the PhD degree, students must successfully fulfil the coursework requirements, and they must satisfy the examiners in respect of their submitted thesis, an oral examination on the thesis and area of study concerned, and any required written or practical examinations.

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 tests students’ knowledge of the major subject areas of their research disciplines and assesses their readiness to conduct research in their specific research discipline.

Entry requirements

Applicants seeking admission to a research degree programme must satisfy the following minimum entrance requirements:
•    be a current MPhil student in the University who seeks transfer to PhD candidature; or
•    hold a higher degree by research (or an equivalent qualification) from a recognised university; or
•    hold a Master’s degree (or an equivalent qualification) from a recognised university; or
•    hold a Bachelor’s degree with first class honours (or an equivalent qualification) from a recognised university.

Equivalent qualifications mentioned above include relevant professional qualifications or other scholarly achievements recognised by the University.

In addition to the above, applicants from non-English speaking universities, unless they provide proof that English is the language of instruction for all courses, they should satisfy the following minimum English proficiency requirements:
•    a total score of 595 (paper-based test); or 97 (internet-based test); or 70 (revised paper-delivered test; sum of Reading, Listening and Writing section scores) in TOEFL; or
•    an overall band score of 7 in IELTS; or
•    a score of 520 in the Chinese mainland’s College English Test Band 6 (CET-6).

(TOEFL and IELTS scores are considered valid for two years from the test date and must be valid at the time of submission of application. CET-6 scores should be obtained within three years immediately preceding an application to the Law School.)
Funding and Scholarship           

The Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (HKPFS), established by the Research Grants Council (RGC) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, aims to attract the best and brightest students in the world to pursue their research degree programs at a Hong Kong institution.

The Fellowship provides awardees with a monthly stipend of HK$27,100 (~US$3,474) and a conference and research related travel allowance of HK$13,600 (~US$1,744) per year for a maximum of three years. (The rates are for 2022/23. They are subject to revision from time to time without prior notification.)

For Fellowship awardees who are admitted to a 4-year PhD programme, CityU will provide a monthly studentship at the same level as the RGC Fellowship for their fourth year of study.

HKPFS recipients of CityU School of Law will be favourably considered for a 12-month post-doc position after they have successfully completed their PhD. Selection will be based on the consideration of relevant factors, including academic achievements, availability of a suitable faculty member as supervisor and availability of funding for the post-doc position."

Application Deadlines           

Step One:
Applicants must first register at the RGC’s Online Application System ( and obtain a reference number on or before 1 December 2022 at 12 noon (Hong Kong time or GMT +8 hours).

Step Two:
Applicants are required to submit full application, including supporting documents, to CityU through the Online Application System ( on or before 1 December 2022.


The PhD years at CityU were a journey to me. There were ups and downs but it formed me, both as a professional and as a person.

Dr LI Kege, PhD graduate 2021's avatar

Dr LI Kege, PhD graduate 2021

The abundance of resources in the library and an intellectually enriched environment make CityU amongst the best places for academic engagement.

Dr Sarfaraz Ahmed KHAN PhD graduate 2017's avatar

Dr Sarfaraz Ahmed KHAN PhD graduate 2017

Pursuing a PhD degree at CityU Law is an awesome experience. I benefited a lot from this programme.

Dr LI Xiaotong PhD graduate 2021's avatar

Dr LI Xiaotong PhD graduate 2021

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