Degree Requirements

Research-based graduate programmes (namely the PhD and Master's degrees in certain disciplines) generally have the following common elements: coursework; graduate seminar; and thesis component.

  • Coursework component

    Research degree programme includes an element of coursework in the same or related fields. This provides a graduate-level foundation and prepares the student for research. The recommended coursework component comprises two to six courses for the Master's and 6 to 15 courses for the PhD programmes. Exceptionally, the Senate may approve variations with adequate justifications. Graduate-level courses (i.e. level-5000 and above) are generally expected to be 4 units each. Nonetheless, to enable a student to build expertise in a new field, courses below level-5000 may be allowed, up to 25% of the total unit requirement for the coursework component, subject to the approval of the thesis advisor and Department.

  • Graduate seminar

    To cultivate a strong research culture among graduate students, the required coursework includes a ‘graduate/doctoral seminar' in which Faculty members, graduate students, and visitors present current research.

  • Thesis component
  • Research candidates have to submit their theses for examination (after being approved by the thesis advisor(s) and Head of Department) by the maximum period of candidature. The thesis is not measured by units.

    The Graduate Diploma and various Master's degree programmes are offered under the coursework structure.

  • Graduate Diploma programmes

    The Graduate Diploma programme requires a minimum of 24 units, of which at least 18 units must be at level-5000 or 6000 within the subject or related disciplines.

  • Master's programmes

    Coursework Master's programmes generally fall into one of the two structures as described below. Under both structures, at least 30 of the total units must be at level-5000 or 6000 within the subject or related disciplines. The remaining units may be from other levels in the same or other disciplines.

    Structure I Structure II

    Degree requires 40 units (i.e. equivalent to one year's full-time study)

    This structure is meant primarily for programmes that admit students with fairly homogeneous backgrounds.

    Degree requires 80 units (i.e. equivalent to two years' full-time study)

    This structure works well for programmes that admit students from a broad diversity of backgrounds. Candidates with sufficient background in the same or closely related discipline may be allowed waiver up to 40 units.

  • A coursework Master's programme may also allow the option of a project or dissertation at level-5000 or 6000 at a maximum of 16 units.