MPhil and PhD2020-09-01T06:17:31+00:00


Art History at the University of Hong Kong is one of Asia’s leading centres of art historical research. We offer research postgraduate (RPg) programmes leading to the award of research postgraduate degrees in art history, including Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). For information on our taught postgraduate programme, go to the MA section. Please note that we do not offer any applied degrees in studio art or design.

Our MPhil is a two-year full-time (or three-year part-time) programme while PhD takes three or four years full-time (four-and-a-half or six years part-time). Both programmes are based primarily on the writing of an English dissertation under the close supervision of a primary supervisor, a full-time teaching faculty from our department. It is possible to have a co-supervisor within or outside our department.

It is the Graduate School‘s responsibility to handle the overall management of the degrees. It helps to set guidelines and policies on admissions, academic progress, examinations and quality assurance. It also provides compulsory courses and optional workshops to students. For administrative issues and concerns, research postgraduate students shall consult staff in the School of Humanities office, rather than our department general office.

Note that we do not currently participate in the King’s College London and Hong Kong University Joint PhD programme.

Research Postgraduate Coordinator
RPG Handbook
Current RPG Students

University Support

Graduate School

The Graduate School sets guidelines and regulations for research postgraduate education, and implements policies on admissions, academic progress, examinations and quality assurance in respect of training for research students.

HKU Research Services

The Research Services aims to support and promote research at HKU. It provides information on research funding opportunities and guidelines on drafting research proposal.

HKU Library Service

The Library offers a wide range of electronic resources, as well as provide research data services and research consultation service to postgraduate students.

Grad School
HKU Scholarships


Length of leave

For full-time students only: up to 14 days (excluding Saturday afternoons, Sundays and public holidays) in each 12-month period during the normative study period

Types of leave

  • Study Leave
  • Non-study Leave
  • Sick Leave
  • Maternity Leave
  • Paternity Leave

Leave application

Applications for leave of absence from Hong Kong and/or from the approved course of study and research, or for vacation purposes, shall be made by completing the application form as early as possible and in advance of the proposed leave period. The application shall be addressed to the Departmental Research Postgraduate Committee(DRPC) via the supervisor(s).

Permission for absence of up to one month may be granted by the DRPC on the recommendation of the candidate’s supervisor(s). An application for absence for a period exceeding one month shall be considered by the Faculty Higher Degrees Committee (FHDC), on the recommendation of the DRPC.


What is the difference between an MPhil programme and an MA programme?2021-06-16T02:25:29+00:00

The MA is a taught master’s degree. This involves weekly classes focused on specific art historical topics that require students to complete reading and writing assignments for each session, as well as research essays for some courses. A capstone is also required, which is a thesis or “dissertation” of 10,000 words. The programme is designed for students not yet ready to complete self-guided research. The MPhil, in contrast, is a research-focused degree that involves the submission of a much longer thesis and of a much higher standard than that which is required of the MA. The award of this degree mainly depends on the thesis, with minimal coursework.

If my first degree is not a BA degree, will I still be eligible to apply for a research programme in this department?2020-05-21T05:36:01+00:00

Postgraduate programmes of this department are best suited to applicants who have previous study of art history, or in a related field such as History or Literature. Intending applicants are expected to have already selected a field, or fields, of study. If you have not established your field of study, or do not have the requisite background, you may be better served by applying to our MA programme.

If the prospective MPhil student is able to demonstrate one’s capability in undertaking art history research, his/ her application will still be welcome. However, prospective PhD students are expected to have not only a thorough grounding in art history, or a related discipline, but also the experience of independent research in an MA or MPhil programme.

How many Art History research postgraduate students are accepted each year?2020-05-21T05:45:34+00:00

See our research postgraduate intake table here.

How often should I submit the Progress Report?2020-05-21T05:55:01+00:00

Once every six months. For instance, an MPhil student will have to do 4 reports in total. For more information, please click here.

When should I complete all compulsory courses?2020-05-21T05:57:21+00:00

Students should have passed all compulsory courses by the end of the probationary period (end of the 12th month). Students who fail to do so will have to apply for extension of probation with their home Faculties.

Do I have to take any elective courses?2020-05-21T05:58:16+00:00

No, Art History MPhil and PhD students do not have to take any electives; but if you think a course may contribute to your research, you may do so. However, you should make sure you are managing your time well enough and be responsible for your writing progress.

Is there a rule concerning the length of a thesis?2020-05-21T06:08:30+00:00

No, the length of a thesis varies from one to another. Based on our past MPhil dissertations, the length tends to fall in the range of 130-180 pages, contents typed in double spaced, with a font size 12 (excluding images and bibliography).

See past theses here.


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