Hong Kong PhD Fellowships

The Hong Kong PhD Fellowship (HKPF) Scheme was established by the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (RGC) in 2009. The HKPF aims at attracting the best and brightest students across the world to pursue their research degree programmes in Hong Kong. About 135 PhD Fellowships will be awarded among all institutions in each academic year. For the 2017-18 exercise, application will start in September 2016.

To discourage plagiarism, the RGC requests institutions to conduct plagiarism checking on all nominated applications before submitting their nominations to the RGC. Applicants should make sure that their application materials do not contain any plagiarised materials, in particular the research plan, research proposal and vision statements which are expected to be an original piece of work written by the applicant.


New applicants to full-time PhD programmes in government-funded institutions in Hong Kong, irrespective of their country of origin and ethnic background, are eligible to apply. Applicants should demonstrate outstanding academic performance, research ability/potential, communication and interpersonal skills, and leadership abilities.

The Fellowship

The HKPF provides each awardee with a monthly scholarship of HK$20,000 and a conference and research related travel allowance of HK$10,000 per year for a period up to three years. For HKPF awardees who are admitted to a 4-year PhD programme in 2017-18, the University will provide a monthly scholarship and travel allowance at the same level as the HKPF for their fourth year of study. For further details, please visit http://www.rgc.edu.hk/hkphd.


Applicants will need to submit one initial application to the RGC (only with basic information such as their names, the two chosen programmes / institutions, place of birth, etc.) through RGC’s on-line system, and each of the applications will be allocated a reference number. The deadline for submitting an initial application to RGC is December 1, 2016 noon. For RGC’s on-line initial application, please visit http://www.rgc.edu.hk/hkphd.

Applicants who have chosen HKU in their initial applications have to submit an on-line application form and upload soft copies of supporting documents via the on-line application system of HKU to apply for admission. They are required to indicate that they are applying for the HKPF in the on-line application form and quote the reference number assigned to them by the RGC. The deadline for submitting an application to HKU is also December 1, 2016.

Applicants who have applied for the HKPF will be automatically considered for the award of University Postgraduate Fellowship (UPF) mentioned in the following section. Nevertheless, applicants who have successfully been selected for the award of HKPF will not concurrently be awarded the UPF and Postgraduate Scholarship offered by the University. The HKPF Scheme does not cover the Joint PhD programmes.

University Postgraduate Fellowships

The University Postgraduate Fellowship (UPF) Scheme aims to attract top students worldwide and is available for selected new full-time PhD candidates with excellent academic performances. The fellowship is at a value of HK$70,000 in addition to the Postgraduate Scholarships, to be paid in 3 (for 3-year PhD students) or 4 (for 4-year PhD students) instalments of equal amount at the beginning of each year of study. Applicants in their final year of undergraduate study may also apply for the UPF. The deadline for application is December 1, 2016.

There is no separate on-line application form for UPF. Applicants who have applied for the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship will be automatically considered for the award of UPF. They are required to submit a short essay on-line on why they should be awarded the UPF.

Postgraduate Scholarships

The purpose of Postgraduate Scholarships (PGS) is to provide selected students with financial assistance in the form of a scholarship to study full-time for the degrees of MPhil or PhD during the prescribed periods of study.

Full-time MPhil and PhD students who hold a first degree at second class honours first division (or equivalent) or above are normally considered eligible for receiving Postgraduate Scholarships during the normative study period. The University’s Board of Graduate Studies, which has sole and absolute discretion in granting the award of the Postgraduate Scholarships, may also take into consideration the candidates’ results in Master’s degrees. Scholarships are tenable on an annual basis and are renewable upon satisfactory academic progress having been made and the availability of funding. A Postgraduate Scholarship holder may be required to provide, under supervision, services that carry educational benefits for the holder, as prescribed by the Head of the Department, Unit, Centre, School or Institute in which the holder is registered. The amount of such services shall not exceed 100 hours in any full twelve-month period (or pro rata if the period is less than twelve months). The provision of services forms part of the research student’s training covered by the value of the Scholarship, and no other payment for these hours of services may be made to a Scholarship holder.

The amount of PGS is HK$15,700 per month for the 2016-17 academic year (subject to the University's approval). The annual value of the Scholarships will be determined by the University from time to time.

The services provided in this capacity will be relevant to the holder’s research training, beneficial to his/her studies and subject to the concurrence of the supervisor(s). The holder will not otherwise undertake any employment either within or outside the University during tenure of the Scholarship. The nature of the services will normally be

(a) assistance with research;
(b) assistance with scheduled laboratory, studio and fieldwork classes and with tutorials;
(c) assistance with the preparation of materials for scheduled classes;
(d) assistance with marking practical notebooks and answers from exercise classes; and
(e) assistance with invigilation of University degree examinations.

Please click here for the Postgraduate Scholarship regulations.

Academic Awards

The University administers a number of scholarships that are awarded to postgraduate students for outstanding academic achievements. Applications for postgraduate scholarships will be invited from eligible students at various times throughout the year, and invitations for applications will be posted around the campus to notify students when such opportunities arise. The scholarships and awards include Doris Zimmern HKU-Cambridge Hughes Hall Scholarships, HKSAR Government Scholarships, Li Ka Shing Prizes, Awards for Outstanding Research Postgraduate Students and The Croucher Foundation Awards, to name just a few.

Financial Support for Conference Attendance and Travel

MPhil and PhD students may apply for financial support for conference attendance and/or travel for presenting papers/posters in overseas academic conferences or participating in other overseas educational activities.

Government Grants and Loans

Students admitted to a UGC-funded full-time curriculum who need financial assistance for their studies at the University may apply to the means-tested loans and grants scheme administered by the Student Financial Assistance Agency. To qualify for assistance, a student must have the right of abode in Hong Kong or have resided in Hong Kong continuously for three years prior to admission to the University. (Note that students staying in Hong Kong holding student visas do not count as being ‘continuously resident'.) The value of their Postgraduate Scholarships will be counted as their income under this scheme. To apply for assistance, students should:

(a) obtain an application form from the Centre of Development and Resources for Students (CEDARS), or the Student Financial Assistance Agency, 11/F & 12/F, Cheung Sha Wan Government Offices, 303 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Kowloon (http://www.sfaa.gov.hk/eng/schemes/tsfs.htm); and

(b) submit the completed form to CEDARS within one month following the commencement of the course.

A non-means tested loan scheme is also available for application by both full-time and part-time students who meet the residency requirements. Application forms are also obtainable at CEDARS.

University Financial Assistance

University funds are in general used to supplement government grants and loans. A limited number of means-tested bursaries and loans are available to local full-time students who are in financial need. However, these are of very limited value, and should not be seen as an alternative to Government support. The value of students’ Postgraduate Scholarships will also be counted in the assessment of their needs. Applications are invited in early September each year. Students facing urgent financial hardship may however apply for emergency assistance any time during the year. For enquiries, please contact the Centre of Development and Resources for Students (CEDARS: http://www.cedars.hku.hk/financial-resources).