Admissions

The responsibility for postgraduate admissions at HKU is shared between the Graduate School, and the admitting department. In planning and preparing your application, it is worth your while to bear this division of responsibilities in mind. The department’s graduate coordinator, and prospective supervisor(s), can provide advice on framing an effective proposal; and it will be members of the department who decide whether an applicant is admitted. But the administration of the admissions process is handled entirely by the Graduate School. All applications materials, including references, must be submitted via the Graduate School. You can find information on its deadlines, regulations, procedures and financial support here. Please note that in most years, all of the Fine Arts Department’s available places are allocated during the main admissions round.

Because both our M.Phil. and Ph.D. programmes are research degrees, in which the only taught components related to research and vocational skills rather than art history per se, they are best suited to students who have already selected a field, or fields, of study, and who have previous experience of study in fields with historical content. Intending applicants for the M.Phil. or Ph.D. should usually have a background in Art History, or in a related field such as History or Literature. If you have not established your field of study, or do not have the requisite background, you may be better served by applying to an M.A. programme at another university.

Research postgraduate places are limited, and are distributed by the Arts Faculty on a competitive basis according to academic excellence. Successful applicants for full-time study are normally offered a studentship which is intended to cover their tuition and living expenses during the period of their studies. For details of this, and other forms of support, see the ‘Funding and Resources’ section below.

When making an application for admission both M.Phil. and Ph.D. candidates are required to submit a formal research proposal. The research proposal will be a key element in determining the success of your application. It should usually be 4 to 5 pages in length, and include the following elements:

  • An abstract: a concise summary of your full proposal.
  • An introduction: a statement of the thesis or research questions you propose to pursue.
  • A background section: a summary of the current state of research, and existing publications.
  • A research plan: this should include both a realistic timetable for the completion of the research, and an assessment of the availability of resources to carry it out.

Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to approach the Department’s Postgraduate Coordinator, Dr. Opher Mansour, or the member of staff whose area of interest corresponds most closely to their proposed field, to discuss the research project and proposal.

Applicants should have a high standard of English, as well as proficiency in whatever language or languages they need for their proposed study. Applicants from institutions where English is not the medium of instruction or examination are required to take and submit results from one of the following English language proficiency tests. The minimum entry requirements are:

  • TOEFL (Paper-based): 550 or above, 4 or above in TWE.*
  • TOEFL (internet-based): 80 or above, 25 or above in the Writing section.*
  • IELTS: Band 7, with no subtest lower than 5.5.*
  • Overseas GCE, IGCSE, or CPE: Grade C or above.

* Test must have been taken within a two-year period of application.