Although both the MPhil and PhD are research-based degrees, both require a small amount of coursework, which must be completed during the first year of study (or first two years for part-time students). Students can also apply to take additional courses in the department’s MA program or courses offered by other departments. Those wishing to study foreign languages can apply to HKU’s School of Modern Languages and Cultures, but admission for graduate students is not guaranteed.

The Fine Arts Department requires all students to take FINE6002: Research Methods in Art History, a one-on-one course conducted with the student’s primary supervisor (details here). Additional course requirements are set by the Graduate School, as follows (full details available here). Graduate School courses generally require twelve contact hours over a period of four to six weeks; substitute courses from the Arts Faculty are full-semester courses generally requiring 24 contact hours.

For the three-year PhD:

One course on research ethics: GRSC6030: Research Ethics for Graduate Students

For the MPhil and four-year PhD:

One course on research ethics: GRSC6030: Research Ethics for Graduate Students

One course on research methods, chosen from:

     GRSC6034: Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods 

     GRSC6036: Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods

     FINE6002: Research Methods in Art History

One course on transferable skills, chosen from:

     GRSC6008: Transferable Skills

     GRSC6038: HKU Transferable Research Skills Course / Transferable                               Skills Retreat

One course on thesis writing, chosen from:

     GRSC6020: Introduction to Thesis Writing

     GRSC6040: Advanced Thesis Writing

     HUMA7001: Introduction to Thesis Writing (Critical Humanities)

     HIST6011: Introduction to History Thesis Writing

Any student serving as a Teaching Assistant must also complete the Certificate in Teaching and Learning, a 24-hour course offered by HKU’s Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning ( This should be done in their first semester of study.