This research programme aims at training communication students who plan to become researchers, university teachers, consultants, executives, and professionals.


Requirements for Admission

In addition to the general qualifications required for admission to the Graduate School, applicants should possess a Master’s degree in journalism/communication or in a related field of humanities and social science from this University or other recognized universities.

All applicants MUST have a minimum TOEFL* score of 580 (or computer-based score of 237 or internet-based score of 92) or a minimum IELTS* score of 7,

1. unless they possess a pass grade in English in one of the following examinations:

    • H.K. Advanced Level Examination (including AS Level),
    • H.K. Higher Level Examination,
    • CUHK Matriculation Examination,
    • General Certificate of Education Examination Advanced Level (GCE A Level) / Advanced Subsidiary Level (AS Level) or

2. have a degree from a university in Hong Kong or taken a degree programme of which the medium of instruction was English, or

3. achieve level 4 or above in the English subject of the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) examination.

*  With effect of 2017-18 intake, TOEFL and IELTS are considered valid for two years from the test date.


Applicants are required to furnish proof of their research capability in the form of

    1. a strong Master’s thesis;
    2. a research proposal outlining areas of interest, goals and plans;
    3. three letters of reference from academic sources;
    4. academic records at the Master’s and undergraduate levels; and
    5. special consideration will be given to applicants’ scholarly achievement and professional experience in related fields.

In addition to University regulations, students in the M.Phil. Programme of the Communication Division, after completing a minimum of 18 units of coursework with a GPA of at least 3.7, may apply for transferal into the Ph.D. Programme subject to approval of the Division Head, the Board of School of Journalism and Communication, and the Graduate School.

If applicants apply for more than one programme in the School, please list the programmes in a priority order of their study interest clearly. Each applicant will be given only ONE admission offer from the School if he/she is eligible.

According to the School’s policy, applicants are not allowed to switch to another programme once they accepted the admission offer.




The research programme aims at training communication students who plan to become researchers, university teachers, consultants, executives, and professionals.

1) Coursework Requirement

2) Qualifying Examination

    1. Qualifying examination
      Advancement to Ph.D. candidature is conditional upon passing qualifying examinations. The examinations consist of three Parts. Part I is on Research Methodologies, Part II is on Communication Theories and Part III is a Proposal Defense.
    2. Every year we have a fixed timetable for PhD students to take qualifying examinations. The examinations time cannot be changed unless for specific reasons.
    3. A student will be discontinued from studies if s/he cannot pass the qualifying examination.
    4. Students are required to pass the qualifying examination within the maximum period as listed below:
 With research Master’s: Full-time  30 months
Part-time  42 months
Without research Master’s: Full-time  42 months
Part-time  58 months



3) Study plan

Students must submit a study plan, with the advice of the supervisor, for the approval of the Graduate Panel of the Board of School of Journalism and Communication within six months after registration. The Division Head will help the student search for a supervisor within the first semester of study.



4) Thesis

    1.  Thesis proposal
      A full-time Ph.D. student must submit a thesis proposal no later than the end of the 1st term of the 3rd year whereas a part-time Ph.D. student must submit a thesis proposal no later than the end of the 1st term of the 4th year. Students are NOT allowed to change their thesis topic after the proposal defense (unless under special circumstances).
    2. Thesis supervisors
      Students are NOT encouraged to change their supervisors after the 2nd academic year begins (unless under special circumstances).
    3. Students are required to submit a research thesis and pass an oral examination for graduation.
    4. Thesis Monitoring Courses are listed as follows: COMM 5250, COMM 6110, COMM 8200.



5) Other Requirement

    1.  A student who obtains a cumulative grade point average (GPA) below 2.0 in the preceding term or receives a failure grade in thesis monitoring courses (for Research Postgraduate Programmes) will be put on academic probation. For details, please refer to Clause 13.0 “Unsatisfactory Performance and Discontinuation of Studies” of the General Regulations Governing Postgraduate Studies which can be accessed from the Graduate School Homepage:
    2. Complete an Improving Postgraduate Learning (IPL) module on “Observing Intellectual Property and Copyright Law during Research”. This will be an online module and relevant information can be accessed from the website:
    3. With effect from the 2017-18 intake, all research postgraduate students are required to complete an online Research Ethics Training (RET) module on “Publication Ethics” and obtain a valid Publication Ethics Certificate for graduation.



6) Unsatisfactory Performance

A student whose thesis/portfolio is not passed but re-submission is allowed and re-examination is required must re-write and re-submit the thesis/portfolio to the satisfaction of the Thesis/Assessment Committee before being recommended for the award of degree. Such re-submission must be made within twelve months from the date of the official notification of the result of the first examination and within the student’s prescribed maximum period of study. Only one re-submission of thesis/portfolio is allowed.



7) Remarks

With the approval of the Division Head, in lieu of the courses on the elective course list, students can take other courses within and/or outside the Division of Communication.




Postgraduate Studentships

Full-time students may receive teaching assistantships or postgraduate studentships.




Regulations for Application of School-level Research/Conference Grants

For more details, please refer to Student Handbook.




Honesty in Academic Work

A Guide for Students and Teachers The Chinese University of Hong Kong places very high importance on honesty in academic work submitted by students, and adopts a policy of zero tolerance on academic dishonesty. While “academic dishonesty” is the overall name, there are several sub-categories as follows:
(i) Plagiarism
(ii) Undeclared multiple submissions
(iii) Buying or selling, possibly through third parties, papers/essays/dissertations
(iv) Violating rules 15 or 16 of the University’s Rules to be Observed by Candidates at Examination Centre (Examination Rules) (Annex)
(v) Cheating in tests and examinations (including violation of rules 17 or 18 of the University’s Examination Rules)
(vi) Impersonation fraud in tests and examinations (including violation of rule 19 of the University’s Examination Rules)
(vii) All other acts of academic dishonesty

Any related offence will lead to disciplinary action including termination of studies at the University.

Everyone should make himself/herself familiar with the content of this website and thereby help avoid any practice that would not be acceptable.