MPhil and PhD

Thank you very much for your interest in our Research Postgraduate (RPG) Programmes.

The Department of Comparative Literature at HKU offers two research postgraduate programmes:

    • Master of Philosophy (MPhil): 2-year full-time
    • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD): 3-year full-time, 4-year full-time, 4-year part-time (note that the department’s MA programme, MALCS, is a separate programme)

The Department supports postgraduate projects that are organised around a clearly defined research project culminating in a dissertation. Faculty in the department supervise students and provide them with opportunities to develop their professional profile. Courses designed to support research in comparative literature, film, and cultural studies are compulsory. All RPG programmes are conducted in English.

Our department is small, and our research postgraduate programmes are highly selective. This allows faculty to work closely with students to produce high quality dissertations and theses, and to prepare students for careers both within academia and outside of it. We have the following aims for our students:

      1. To enable students to develop the skills necessary to do independent research in comparative literature, film and cultural studies.
      2. To cultivate critical thinking by introducing different theoretical and philosophical approaches.
      3. To encourage critical engagement with the key debates in literary, film, and cultural studies.
      4. To develop the analytical skills needed to look closely and critically at literary, cinematic, and other cultural texts.
      5. To engender an appreciation of cultural differences and global interconnections involving nation, race, class, ethnicity, gender and generation.
      6. To emphasize the study of Hong Kong, modern Chinese, and Asian culture within a global frame.

We are looking for exceptional candidates with a strong research plan in any of the following areas:

      • Visual Culture and Film Studies
      • Feminism and Gender Studies
      • Postcolonial and Global Studies
      • Literature and Theory
      • Critical Asian Studies
      • Cultural Studies

Please carefully review our Faculty Profiles to confirm that our programme can support your proposed research project. Your application should identify the faculty members you hope to work with, and explain how your research aligns with theirs.

There are three deadlines for postgraduate applications at HKU:
1 December Main Round for HKU postgraduate admissions and for the Hong Kong Postgraduate Fellowship (HKPF) and for the HKU Presidential Postgraduate Fellowship
30 April First Clearing Round for HKU postgraduate admissions
31 August Second Clearing Round for HKU postgraduate admissions

If you aspire to obtain a graduate fellowship or scholarship to fully fund your PhD work, it is necessary for you to meet the 01 December deadline. In some cases, fellowships may be available during the First and Second Clearing Rounds. The department does not usually have the resources to support postgraduate students beyond the fellowships provided at the university-wide/city-wide level.

All applications must be submitted to the Graduate School at HKU. For detailed instructions on how to apply, as well as information about funding and fellowships, please visit Graduate School’s website.

Please note that MPhil students should enrol on either 01 September or 01 January. Technically, PhD students can enrol on the first day of any calendar month but it is advisable to schedule your first day to coincide with the start of a new academic semester.

Research Postgraduate courses

CLIT6011: Special Topics in Literary and Cultural Studies I
CLIT6012: Special Topics in Literary and Cultural Studies II
CLIT6015: Guided Reading I
CLIT6016: Guided Reading II

Joint PhD Programme with King’s College London:

If you are applying for the Joint PhD Programme with King’s College London (KCL), you must decide which university will serve as your home institution: HKU or KCL. Please keep in mind that you need to have a clear research rational as to why the Joint-PhD is necessary. Once you make this decision, you will send one application form to your preferred home institution. If your home institution deems your application sound, then the department’s RPG co-ordinator will contact the partner university to see if your dossier meets the standards for the Joint PhD Programme for both institutions. Please do not apply to both HKU and KCL. For more information, please read the page of Joint PhD Programme with King’s College London.

If you have questions about the comparative literature postgraduate programmes, please email Dr. J. Daniel Elam:

Specific questions regarding the application form or protocols should be directed to the Graduate School, as that office will collect and process your application dossier. For more information, please read the Graduate School’s FAQ.

We wish you success in your postgraduate education endeavours with us at HKU or elsewhere.