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MPhil  &  PhD


PhD studies at the Department of Geography, 2024-25

Established in 1931, the Department of Geography offers postgraduate research programme leading to Doctor of Philosophy (3-year and 4-year) degrees for students with a view to advancing their knowledge and applying expertise to understand and solve real world problems


The Department of Geography has years of long standing, distinguish reputation in Hong Kong and around the world; and is also ranked #13 in the world, #2 in Asia and #1 in Hong Kong in QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023.


To facilitate the research activities, the Department provides studies with a full range of support in form of strong supervisory staff, regular postgraduate seminars, and ready access to laboratory facilities and high-performance computing systems.


Interested candidates are invited to browse the Department’s “Full-Time Academic Staff” profiles at to find out the general research interests of individual staff members before submitting your applications for admission into the Phd programme in the academic year 2024-25.


Awards and Financial Aids

Students registering for PhD degrees are supported financially by Postgraduate Scholarship.  The University also has provision for conference grants to enable postgraduate students to attend scientific meetings which will provide students with the opportunity to present their research work to fellow students from different parts of the world.


Online Application & Deadlines

Hong Kong PhD Fellowship (HKPF) Scheme

December 1, 2023 at Hong Kong Time Noon


HKU Admission Rounds

December 1, 2024       (Main Round Application, HKT 23:59 GMT+8)

April 30, 2025        (1st Clearing Round Application, HKT 23:59 GMT+8)

August 31, 2025       (2nd Clearing Round Application, HKT 23:59 GMT+8)


Research Postgraduate Seminar

25 JAN 2024

10:05 - 10:25

Mr GUO Yasong

Multi-source remote sensing data fusion for species-habitat synchronized urban forest monitoring

25 JAN 2024

10:35 - 10:55

Ms YANG Qianqian

Greenhouse Gas Emission Dynamics in Aquaculture Ponds in Southern China

25 JAN 2024

11:05 - 11:25

Mr GAO Cong

Modelling ignition probability and wildfire emissions in the boreal forest under climate change

25 JAN 2024

11:35 - 11:55

Ms ZHENG Xuechao

Perceiving the New Manifestation and Influence of Urban Change in the Information Age: An Empirical Study Based on the Gentrifying Neighbourhoods in Shenzhen

25 JAN 2024

12:05 - 12:25

Mr LI Zhixuan

Capability, Connectivity and Diversity: Re-emphasising the Importance of Place in the E-society

25 JAN 2024

12:35 – 12:55


People-oriented Transport Policy towards Sustainability

14 NOV 2023

13:35 - 13:55

Miss YU Po Sheung

Lived religiosity in secular modernity: A case study of traditional Chinese religions in Hong Kong

19 MAY 2023

10:05 - 10:35

Ms SIT Ka Ying

Vegetation resilience of protected and non-protected areas in Hong Kong under recurring tropical cyclones

19 MAY 2023

10:35 - 11:05

Mr NG Ka Yiu Benjamin

How to promote physical activities among primary-school students in Hong Kong? A 3D spatial agent-based simulation on various interventions

19 MAY 2023

11:05 - 11:35

Ms LI Tonglu

Towards a sustainable food waste management in China: From international to city-level analysis

19 MAY 2023

11:35 -12:05

Ms ZHANG Zixuan

The Dragoness Awakens: Gender Disparities in Patenting Activities in Chinese Cities

PHD Seminar

Research Postgraduate Course

The Research Postgraduate coursework programme in the Department of Geography is comprised of the following two components:

(A) Four compulsory courses offered by the Graduate School

  1. Introduction to Thesis Writing

  2. Research Ethics for Graduate Students

  3. Transferable Skills

  4. Research Methods

For the modules available under each of these four courses, please refer to the Graduate School's website at:

 (B) Three departmental compulsory courses

  1. ‘GEOG6003 Research Colloquium’

  2. ‘GEOG6007 Research Methods in Geography’

  3. 'GEOG8001 Philosophical Issues in Geography'

All MPhil and 4-year PhD students will be required to register for and complete these courses in the following manner:

  • M.Phil. students need to complete all the Graduate School's and departmental courses in their first year of study. 

  • 4-year PhD students need to complete all the Graduate School's courses in their first year of study, and the departmental courses within the first 12-18 months of study.

To consult and seek guidance from their supervisors in selecting the appropriate modules offered by the Graduate School.

GEOG6003 Research Colloquium

This is a full-year course to be offered in both first and second semesters.

(A) Course aims and objectives

The primary objective of this course is to provide an opportunity for students to learn from and share their research findings with each other as well as the teaching staff and guest speakers.

(B) Course syllabus

This course is a formalized version of the existing Departmental Seminar Series (also known as ‘Postgraduate Seminars’).  The Department’s teaching staff and postgraduate students, as well as invited guest speakers outside of the Department, will make presentations of their research findings at these bi-weekly meetings, which are held throughout the academic year.  Students are required to attend a minimum of 24 hours of seminars in their first year of study.

(C) Mode of assessment

The performance of the student’s own presentation, along with the student’s participation in the discussion at the research colloquium will be used as the basis for determining the grade of the students.  There will be no other course requirement and no final written examination.  The students are expected to obtain a passing grade, under a pass/fail grading system, in this course before they are allowed to proceed further in their studies.

GEOG6007 Research Methods in Geography

This is a one-semester course to be offered in either first semester or second semester.

(A) Course aims and objectives

This course aims to provide students with an understanding of the fundamental research concepts and methods in conducting research on geographical problems. 

(B) Course syllabus

The course, which meets once every week for two hours, will include lectures, classroom discussion, and student presentations.  The course is structured to help students go through the steps associated with the process of developing a research topic in a manner that facilitates the development of a defendable research proposal. Lectures of the course will cover the nature of geographical research, design and development of research questions, practical/conceptual differences between qualitative and quantitative research approaches, and writing-up and dissemination of research findings.  It is hoped that by the end of the course, students would have grasped the basic understanding of the process involved in developing a research framework to the production of a workable research proposal on geographical studies.

(C) Mode of assessment

Assessment will be in the form of written assignments and presentation (100% coursework)

GEOG8001 Philosophical Issues in Geography

This is a one-semester course to be offered in second semester.

(A) Course aims and objectives

The primary objectives of the course are to introduce all postgraduate students to the fundamental concepts and approaches in the field of geography. The contents of this course will focus on the basic philosophical traditions and major approaches of study and methodologies in the field.

(B) Course syllabus

This course, which meets once every week for two hours, will include lectures, student-led classroom discussion, and student presentations. The course will be comprised of two main parts. Part 1 will review classical traditions and ideas in early geographical thought as well as the rise of geography in Europe, North America and China before WWII. Part 2 will examine post WWII geography and the several competing paradigms and schools of thought and post-modern geography in contemporary times. For methodological considerations, the emphasis will be placed on the experiences of Western Europe and North America with some attention to China.

(C) Mode of assessment

Assessment will be in the form of written assignments and presentation (100% coursework)


Entry Requirement

Applicants seeking admission to the MPhil/PhD research degree programmes should satisfy the University’s minimum entrance requirement. Please refer to the Graduate School’s weblink: for information on the entrance requirement.

Applicants from institutions outside Hong Kong where the language of instruction and examination is not entirely in English should take an English language proficiency test and obtain the required score. Details of the recognized English language proficiency tests are also available at the above-mentioned Graduate School’s weblink.

Applicants should attach a research proposal together with their applications. 
They are strongly advised to contact the relevant staff member(s) of the Department about their research proposal before submitting their applications.

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