Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Humanities
[For Student Cohort Admitted before 2012/13]

The PhD degree program in the Division of Humanities is interdisciplinary in nature. Its aim is to provide training for students who intend to pursue professional careers as teachers and researchers.

Admission Requirements
All applicants must meet the general requirements for admission set by the University as outlined in the Academic Calendar of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology:

To be eligible for admission to a PhD degree program, applicants should normally have obtained a master’s degree from this University or an approved institution, or presented evidence of satisfactory work at the postgraduate level on a full-time basis for at least one year, or on a part-time basis for at least two years; and satisfied the school and department concerned as to their chosen subject of research, as well as their fitness and English ability to undertake the research.

In addition, students are normally expected to be proficient in Chinese at the postgraduate level.

Also, a master’s degree thesis or a substantial essay in either English or Chinese must be submitted by the applicant.

Fields of Specialization
Students enrolled in the program may specialize in Linguistics, Literature, History and Anthropology, or Philosophy and Religion, but they are expected to go beyond conventional disciplinary boundaries and cultivate knowledge and expertise in interdisciplinary dialogue and interaction.

Academic Advising
Upon entering the program, students will receive initial guidance from a temporary advisor assigned by the Division’s Postgraduate Committee (PGC).

The PGC, after consulting with the student and the faculty member, will assign a regular academic advisor—who will also serve as the PhD thesis advisor—to each student no later than the end of the second semester.

Students will then work under the guidance of their PhD thesis advisors to formulate a study plan, combining coursework in their chosen field of specialization and in other disciplines, and to write a PhD thesis.

At the end of each semester, the student’s progress will be reported to the PGC by his or her advisor.

Program Requirements
The requirements for the PhD degree are as follows:

1. Complete a minimum of 24 credits of coursework;
2. Satisfy the language requirements;
3. Pass a qualifying examination;
4. Write a PhD thesis; and
5. Take an oral defense of the thesis.


1. Credits
 

Students enrolled in the program are required to fulfill a minimum of 24 credits of coursework at the postgraduate (i.e., 5000- or 6000-) level in the Division of Humanities.

   
 
Linguistics

Students whose concentration is in Linguistics will focus their research on Chinese linguistics, including phonology, dialectology, morphology, and historical grammar, or on Sino-Tibetan linguistics from a historical perspective.

Of the 24 credits of required coursework, 9 must be in:

  (a) HUMA 5160 Chinese Historical Phonology
  (b) HUMA 5240 Chinese Dialectology
  (c) HUMA 5270 Cantonese Linguistics

In addition, 3 credits must be taken in a discipline other than Linguistics.

The remaining 12 credits can be taken in the students’ chosen fields, to be decided in consultation with their academic advisors.
 

Literature

Students whose concentration is in Literature will focus primarily on Chinese literature from comparative, interdisciplinary, and theoretical perspectives.

Of the 24 credits of required coursework, 9 must be from:

  (a) HUMA 5300 Chinese Literary History
  (b) HUMA 5330 Traditional Chinese Literary Theory and Criticism
  (c) HUMA 5380 Modern Literary Theory I, or
    HUMA 5390 Modern Literary Theory II

In addition, 3 credits must be taken in a discipline other than Literature.

The remaining 12 credits can be taken in the students’ chosen fields, to be decided in consultation with their academic advisors.
 

History and Anthropology
Students whose concentration is in History and Anthropology will have the option of choosing one of the following two plans: Plan A, Chinese History; and Plan B, Cultural Anthropology and Social History.
Plan A. Chinese History
 

This plan focuses on the history of China with emphasis on the period from the Ming dynasty to the founding of the People’s Republic. Approaches to the subject can be economic, social, political, cultural, intellectual, or comparative.

Of the 24 credits of required coursework, 9 must be in:

 
  (a) HUMA 5550 Field Research: Theory and Practice
  (b) HUMA 5560 Methods in the Study of Source Materials
  (c) HUMA 5580 Theories and Methods in East Asian History
 

In addition, 3 credits must be taken in a discipline other than History and Anthropology.

The remaining 12 credits can be taken in the students’ chosen fields, to be decided in consultation with their academic advisors.

Plan B. Cultural Anthropology and Social History
 

This plan focuses primarily on South China. Research areas include not only Guangdong and Fujian, but also the regions extending from Taiwan through Hong Kong and Macau to Hainan. Other possible subjects of study are overseas Chinese (in Southeast Asia, Japan, North America, and Europe) and the ethnic groups of southern and southwestern China (She, Yao, Dan, etc.).

Of the 24 credits of required coursework, 9 must be in:

 
  (a) HUMA 5550 Field Research: Theory and Practice
  (b) HUMA 5560 Methods in the Study of Source Materials
  (c) HUMA 5580 Theories and Methods in East Asian History
 

In addition, 3 credits must be taken in a discipline other than History and Anthropology.

The remaining 12 credits can be taken in the students’ chosen fields, to be decided in consultation with their academic advisors.
 

Philosophy and Religion

Students whose concentration is in Philosophy and Religion will focus their research on at least one of the following areas: Chinese, Asian, Western, and comparative philosophy and/or religion.

Of the 24 credits of required coursework, 3 must be from one of the following core courses:

  (a) HUMA 5800 Fundamentals of Chinese Philosophy
  (b) HUMA 5900 Fundamentals of Comparative Philosophy

In addition, 3 credits must be taken in a discipline other than Philosophy and Religion.

The remaining 18 credits can be taken in the students’ chosen fields, to be decided in consultation with their academic advisors.
 

   
2. Language Requirements
 

The study of a foreign language is an essential part of a student’s preparation for research and teaching. In addition to English and Chinese, the PhD degree program requires students to acquire a level of competence in a third language (normally Japanese, French or German), as demonstrated either through satisfactory completion of a second-year language course taken within the last five years or through acceptable performance in a standardized examination. The third language requirement must be fulfilled no later than the semester in which the student completes the qualifying examination.

In the event a standardized language examination is necessary, the student should make this request to the PGC. The PGC will appoint a language examiner who, after consulting with the student’s advisor, will determine the date, content, and format of the examination. The PGC will inform the student in writing of the result of the examination no later than seven days after the examination.

   
3. The Qualifying Examination (Advancement to Candidacy)
 

To become a doctoral candidate, a student must pass a written qualifying examination in two distinct fields.

No later than the end of the third semester (fourth semester for part-time students), the PGC, after consulting with the student and upon the recommendation of the student’s thesis advisor, will invite two other faculty members in the Division of Humanities to join the PhD thesis advisor to form a PhD Thesis Committee. Of these two additional members, one will be assigned by the PGC as the chair of the committee, whose responsibilities include chairing both the qualifying examination and the review of the prospectus. The same committee will administer the qualifying examination in each field of study.

The PhD Thesis Committee will jointly advise the student on his or her qualifying examination. The thesis advisor will supervise and coordinate the process.

A comprehensive reading list that includes the major works and current scholarship in the field must be submitted to and approved by the PhD Thesis Committee at least one month before the examination is administered.

The qualifying examination should be completed no later than the student’s sixth semester of study (eighth semester for part-time students). The examination in the two fields must be taken within the same semester.

The qualifying examination, which is a nine-hour (from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.), closed-book examination in each field, is administered only in the fall and spring semesters while school is in session. Students will be provided with a computer, on request.

The committee chair will announce the result of the qualifying examination in writing to the student, with a copy to the PGC, no later than seven days after the examination.

Students who fail the qualifying examination may make a second attempt no later than their seventh semester of study (tenth semester for part-time students). Students who fail twice will be required to withdraw from the program unless the PhD Thesis Committee determines that exceptional circumstances warrant a third attempt.

   
 
Linguistics

Students whose concentration is in Linguistics may choose any two fields of the following areas:

  (a) Historical Phonology  
  (b) Historical Grammar  
  (c) Chinese Dialectology  
  (d) Sino-Tibetan Linguistics
 
 
Literature

Students whose concentration is in Literature will be examined in the following two fields of study:

  Field A: Either (a) A period in Chinese literature (e.g., pre-Qin, Han and the Six Dynasties, Tang and Song, from Yuan to Qing, twentieth century);
    Or (b) A genre in Chinese literature (e.g., fiction, drama, poetry, prose).
  Field B: Either (a) Traditional Chinese literary theories;
    Or (b) Modern literary and cultural theories (major theoretical schools since structuralism).
 
History and Anthropology
Students whose concentration is in History and Anthropology will be examined in one of the following two plans of study:
Plan A. Chinese History
 
Field A: A period in Chinese history.
Field B: Either (a) A period in Chinese history other than Field A;
  Or (b) A specific field (e.g., socioeconomic history, popular religion) or a major sociocultural topic (e.g., ethnicity, kinship).
Plan B. Cultural Anthropology and Social History
 
Field A: A specific field (e.g., socioeconomic history, popular religion) or a major sociocultural topic (e.g., ethnicity, kinship).
Field B: Either (a) A specific field (e.g., socioeconomic history, popular religion) or a major sociocultural topic (e.g., ethnicity, kinship) different from Field A;
  Or (b) A period in Chinese history.
 
Philosophy and Religion
Students whose concentration is in Philosophy and Religion will be examined in one of the following two plans of study:
Plan A. Chinese Philosophy or Religion
 
Field A: Chinese philosophy or religion.
Field B: Either (a) Topics in Chinese philosophy or religion;
  Or (b) Topics in Western philosophy or religion;
  Or (c) Topics in Asian philosophy or religion (e.g., Indian, Japanese, Korean);
  Or (d) Topics in comparative philosophy or religion.
Plan B. Comparative Philosophy or Religion
 
Field A: Comparative philosophy or religion.
Field B: Either (a) Topics in Chinese philosophy or religion;
  Or (b) Topics in Western philosophy or religion;
  Or (c) Topics in Asian philosophy or religion (e.g., Indian, Japanese, Korean);
  Or (d) Topics in comparative philosophy or religion.
 
   
4. The PhD Thesis
 

The PhD Thesis Committee will jointly advise the student on his or her thesis. The thesis advisor will supervise and coordinate the process.

A PhD thesis prospectus (about 20 pages) should be submitted to the PhD Thesis Committee within six months (nine months for part-time students) after successful completion of the qualifying examination. The committee must approve the prospectus before the student can begin work on the thesis. The prospectus must demonstrate a mastery of the literature on the proposed subject, identify an important intellectual question, outline a plan of research for completing the thesis, and include a
detailed bibliography. The committee will review the prospectus and the committee chair will announce the committee’s decision in writing to the student no later than seven days after the review, with a copy to the PGC.

The thesis is normally written in English. If a student wishes to use Chinese as the thesis language, prior approval must be obtained from the following levels: thesis advisor, Division’s PGC, Division Head, School’s Postgraduate Committee, and Dean of Humanities and Social Science. Petition to write the thesis in Chinese must be made by the student before the end of his or her second year of study.

A PhD thesis is a scholarly study on a subject based on original research. It must demonstrate an awareness of the conceptual and methodological problems relating to the chosen topic and a solid command of bibliographical materials in the field of study. The format of the thesis should conform to the general university guidelines outlined in the Academic Calendar of the University. The usual length of a PhD thesis is about 250 pages.

   
5. PhD Thesis Examination
 

When a student is ready to submit his or her PhD thesis, the PGC, after consulting with the student and his or her PhD thesis advisor, will set up a five-member Thesis Examination Committee. This committee will include the PhD thesis advisor, the other two members from the PhD Thesis Committee, one faculty member from outside the Division, and one member external to the University who has expertise in the field being examined.

According to University rules outlined in the Academic Calendar, the constitution of this five-member Thesis Examination Committee requires the formal approval of the Office of the Vice-President for Academic Affairs.

The PhD Thesis Examination Committee is chaired by an individual from outside the School, who is appointed by the Office of the Vice-President for Academic Affairs from a pool of senior faculty nominated by the dean of each school. This person presides over the examination, which is attended by the five members of the Thesis Examination Committee.

Each student who submits a thesis will need to defend it before the Thesis Examination Committee. According to University rules, both full-time and part-time students must complete the doctoral degree in no more than eight years.

A total of seven copies of the thesis and an abstract of not more than 350 words must be submitted to the PGC four weeks prior to the oral examination. One of these copies will be placed in the General Office of the Division of Humanities for perusal by faculty, students, and other members of the University community.

A thesis defense will take place in front of the entire Thesis Examination Committee and a public audience. The student will discuss the issues raised in his or her completed work.

The chair of the Thesis Examination Committee will announce the result of the oral examination in writing to the student, with a copy to the PGC, no later than two days after the examination.

If revisions, either minor or major, are required, they will be relayed to the student by the chair of the committee in writing no later than ten days after the examination. Revisions must be made to the satisfaction of the committee before the degree can be officially recommended by the Head of the Division to the Senate Committee on Postgraduate Studies.

According to University rules, both full-time and part-time students must complete the doctoral degree in no more than eight years.

   

Reconstitution of the PhD Thesis Committee
When a change in the PhD Thesis Committee is deemed necessary by the student, he or she must submit a written request to the PGC. The PGC will consider the request and make a decision on whether or not the committee should be reconstituted.

Change in Thesis Topic
If, subsequent to having passed the qualifying examination and gained approval for the thesis prospectus, the student wishes to change his or her thesis topic, another prospectus must be prepared and submitted to the PhD Thesis Committee. The new prospectus must be approved by the committee before the student can proceed with the thesis.

Independent Study
In the PhD program, the 24-credit requirement is to be met through taking postgraduate courses in the Division. If students wish to further broaden their interests and training in a special area, they may choose to take more coursework and/or enroll in an independent study course in addition to the regular 24-credit requirement. Under special circumstances, students may petition to substitute a regular course with an independent study course. The petition requires the endorsement of the student’s advisor and the approval of the PGC. However, no more than two independent study courses may be used for this purpose.

Transfer of Postgraduate Credits
Up to 6 postgraduate degree credits from another institution or another program may be applied toward the PhD degree in the Division of Humanities.

Petitions to transfer credits should be made no later than the end of the first semester of a student’s study. Such requests should be accompanied by an official transcript, the course syllabus, and written assignments of the course. Other information may be required if deemed necessary by the PGC. The PGC will determine the appropriateness of course credits petitioned by the student.

Enquiries
For application details, please contact the Admissions, Registration and Records Office:

Postgraduate Admissions Team
Admissions, Registration and Records Office
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Clear Water Bay, Kowloon
Hong Kong
Telephone No.: (852) 2623-1120
Facsimile No.: (852) 2358-2463
Email Address: gradmit@ust.hk
Web Site: www.ust.hk/admissions

Enquiries of an academic nature, however, can be directed to the Division's office:

Division of Humanities
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Clear Water Bay, Kowloon
Hong Kong
Telephone No.: (852) 2358-7786
Facsimile No.: (852) 2358-1469
Email Address: huma@ust.hk

 

<< BACK

 

Last update: 23 November 2010