Compulsory Courses

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).

All art history RPg students are required to take a one-on-one course FINE6002, conducted with the student’s primary supervisor. Students can 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.

Additional course requirements are set by the Graduate School.

For all MPhil, 3-year PhD and 4-year PhD students

Course on Research Ethics
  • GRSC6030: Research Ethics for Graduate Students

For Mphil and 4-year PhD students

One of the Following Courses on Research Methods
  • GRSC6034: Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods
  • GRSC6036: Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods
  • FINE6002: Research Methods in Art History
One of the Following Courses on Transferable Skills
  • GRSC6008: Transferable Skills
  • GRSC6038: HKU Transferable Research Skills Course / Transferable Skills Retreat
One of the Following Courses on Thesis Writing
  • GRSC6020: Introduction to Thesis Writing
  • GRSC6040: Advanced Thesis Writing
  • HUMA7001: Introduction to Thesis Writing (Critical Humanities)
  • HIST6011: Introduction to History Thesis Writing


All courses taken by research postgraduate students are assessed on a pass/fail basis. Students who fail a course at the first attempt may be re-examined in the same course or an alternative course as determined by the Faculty Higher Degrees Committees. A student who has not satisfied the examiners in any course (which, for this purpose, includes the alternative course) in a second attempt may be required to discontinue his or her studies.


Students who have successfully completed the required course(s) or equivalent(s), either from HKU or a comparable institution, may apply for course exemption. Possessing full-time work experience for at least 6 months may fulfill the course exemption criteria for Graduate School Courses on Transferable Skills.

Please note that exemption from courses is subject to the approval of the Graduate School on a case-by-case basis, taking into account individual circumstances.

More info is available in the Graduate School website and the application form can also be downloaded there.

Course on Teaching Enhancement

Any student serving as a Teaching Assistant must complete the 24-hour course Certificate in Teaching and Learning, offered by HKU’s Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL). Depending on previous teaching experience, exemptions may be granted (for details on criteria for exemption and procedure, please see Guidelines for exemptions (CTLHE).

This course should be done in the first semester of study.