Joint PhD Programme

The “joint PhD programme” refers to PhD programme jointly offered by CityU and a partner university under Mainland Collaboration Scheme. Upon fulfillment of the programme requirements and passing the thesis oral defense prescribed by both universities, a student can then apply for the PhD degree certificates awarded by the two universities.

Admission Requirements


CityU has adopted a rigorous admission mechanism in selecting high quality research students. Candidates seeking admission to our joint PhD programmes should be current PhD students at home university or will become a PhD student at home university upon commencement of study under the joint PhD programme.
Please note that CityU adopts stringent admission criteria and we welcome students with truly outstanding qualification.

English Proficiency Requirement


Applicants from an institution where the language of teaching is not English should satisfy the minimum English proficiency requirements specified by both the University and individual Colleges and Schools. The University’s minimum English proficiency requirement for research degree programmes is a total score of 550 (paper-based test) or 79 (internet-based test) or 59 (revised paper-delivered test; sum of Reading, Listening and Writing section scores) in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) OR an overall band score of 6.5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Equivalent qualifications are also acceptable. 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.

In addition to the University’s requirement given above, our College has set a higher standard, suitable for our discipline as follows:

  • a minimum TOEFL* score of 79 (Internet-based test), with a minimum of 15 for Reading, 15 for Listening, 21 for Writing, and 18 for Speaking; or
  • a minimum IELTS overall band score of 6.5, with a minimum of 6 for each of the sub-categories including Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.

* TOEFL Paper-based test (before October 2017) and Paper-delivered test (after October 2017) will not be accepted as there is no Speaking component.

Programme Duration

The normal duration of the joint PhD programme is 4 years. The commencement date of research degree programmes is the first day of September to align with the beginning of an academic year.

During the candidature of the joint PhD programmme, students will study at home university, CityU’s main campus in Hong Kong and designated study locations in Mainland China, which currently includes USTC–CityU Joint Advanced Research Centre (Suzhou) ( 中國科學技術大學 ─ 香港城市大學聯合高等研究中心 ( 蘇州 )) and CityU Shenzhen Research Institute (CityUSRI, 香港城市大學深圳研究院).

Supervisory Arrangements


Students will follow a dual supervisor system ( 雙導師制). These two supervisors from CityU and the home university will jointly discuss and decide on course selection, research direction and thesis title and so on for their student.

Tuition Fees


The tuition fee for full-time non-government funded research degree programme is HK$7,016* (~US$900) per month during studies at Hong Kong main campus of CityU. CityU will provide a tuition grant to cover 50% of the tuition fee and the remaining 50% will be deducted from the monthly studentship.

During studies at CityU’s designated study location in Mainland China, students are also required to pay a tuition fee, while it is fully subsidized by CityU*.

* amount and policy subject to review and revision

Financial Assistance

Postgraduate Studentship/Stipend is available for eligible students under the joint PhD programme. The monthly rate is HK$17,510@ (~US$2,245) during studies at Hong Kong main campus of CityU, RMB2,900@ during studies at USTC–CityU Joint Advanced Research Centre (Suzhou) and RMB4,900@ during studies at CityUSRI. To foster academic exchange, an annual PhD Student Workshop is organized and students under the joint PhD programme can receive a subsidy which covers accommodation and travel expenses during the activity period.

In addition, to help widen students’ academic exposure, CityU offers the Peter Ho Conference Scholarships ( 何稼楠學術會議獎學金 ) at RMB15,000 to students under the joint PhD programme in support of attending overseas conferences.

@ rates for 2020/21; subject to approval/revision every year.

Application Procedures

Announcement will be made by the Graduate School or HK-Macau-Taiwan Office of the home university. Applications will be open in October of a year for commencement of the joint PhD programme in September of the following year, and the deadline is usually set in late December. All applications must be submitted to and endorsed by the Graduate School or HK-Macau-Taiwan Office of the home university. Students must NOT submit their applications to CityU directly.

Programme Leaflets