The Joint PhD program aims to train students in original research in marine environmental science, and independent and innovative thinking that is essential for a successful research career. In particular, the collaborative effort provides students with opportunities to benefit from the research excellence shared between HKUST and Shenzhen University (SZU), as well as to cultivate outstanding science and technology talents to build a sustainable economy in China.
Upon successful completion of the program, students will receive a certificate from SZU and a degree certificate from HKUST, with a special note to indicate that the degree was conferred through a joint program.
Interested students who apply for the program should send their applications for admission to SZUIAS. The applications will first be assessed and selected by SZU, then recommended to HKUST for review, and officially admitted by HKUST. Current postgraduate students of both universities are eligible for the program provided that the students meet all the admission requirements of both universities including the English Language proficiency requirements of HKUST.
To qualify for admission, applicants must meet all of the following requirements. Admission is selective and meeting these minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.
1. General Admission Requirements of the University
· Applicants seeking admission to a master's degree program should have obtained a bachelor’s degree from a recognized institution, or an approved equivalent qualification;
· Applicants seeking admission to a doctoral degree program should have obtained a bachelor’s degree with a proven record of outstanding performance from a recognized institution; or presented evidence of satisfactory work at the postgraduate level on a full-time basis for at least one year, or on a part- time basis for at least two years.
2. English Language Admission Requirements
Applicants have to fulfill English Language requirements with one of the following proficiency attainments:
· TOEFL-iBT: 80
· TOEFL-pBT: 550
TOEFL-Revised paper-delivered test
(effective from 2018/19 admission): 60
(total scores for Reading, Listening and Writing sections)
· IELTS (Academic Module): Overall score: 6.0 and All sub-score: 5.5
Applicants don't need to present TOEFL or IELTS score if
· their first language is English, or
· they obtained the bachelor's degree (or equivalent) from an institution where the medium of instruction was English.
For all applicants, please send in the following application materials (scanned or electronic file) to firstname.lastname@example.org with the title “SZU-HKUST Joint PhD Program in Marine Environmental Science—xxx your name”.
1. Application Materials
(a) Identity Document
· Applicants in Hong Kong: Hong Kong ID Card
· Applicants from Mainland China: Mainland ID Card/ EEP/ Passport
· Other Applicants: Social Security Card/ Passport
(b) Official Transcripts and Degree Certificates of Academic Qualification
· To cover the full tertiary education history
· Latest transcript if the degree program is not yet completed
· Final transcript and degree certificate for a completed program
(c) Institution Grading System
· To show the transcript legends/ keys/ grading scales; normally found at the back of the transcript or student handbook
(d) Proof of English Proficiency
· TOEFL/IELTS (Academic Module) score report, if available
· An official letter confirming that you obtained your bachelor's degree from an institution where the medium of instruction is English
· Not required if your first language is English
(e) Public Exam Score Reports
· Required only if there is a Program-Specific Requirement on public examination achievements, e.g. GMAT, GRE
(f) Proposed Research Plan and Past Research Experience (for application to Research Postgraduate Programs)
· Experience or participation in research projects
· Proposed research topic and plan for research
What if some of the above documents are not yet available?
Documents which are expected to be available after application submission:
• Provide the expected date which you will receive the result and fill in the result if it is available in the Online Admissions System
Documents which are available after getting the offer:
• Send the official documents to substantiate your qualifications, click here for details.
2. Academic References
Nominate 2 - 5 referees to support your application. The referees will be invited by email to complete a reference report online.
The intended duration of the program is normally 4 years. Each student is required to spend a minimum of 2 years at each university.
The curriculum is divided into two parts, one part at SZU and another at HKUST. Students are required to complete both parts for graduation.
Students must fulfill the designed program requirements, which include at least 12 credits of courses at HKUST and all the degree requirements of PhD degree program at HKUST. Please refer to http://oces.ust.hk/programs-pg-szu-hkust-joint-phd-mes for more information.
Two supervisors―one from SZU and one from HKUST―will be assigned to each student.
• Developed by a three-person group: The two co-supervisors and the student;
• Stipulates the graduation requirements of both universities, including the curriculum and the research topic;
• Includes the period of attendance at each university, arrangement of the qualifying examination, a brief description of the thesis research, courses to be taken at each university, credit transfer arrangement; and
• Must be endorsed by the co-supervisors of SZU and HKUST before commencement of the study. Subsequent changes made to the study plan must be endorsed in writing by the relevant departments of both universities.
Medium of Instruction
All coursework, qualifying examination, thesis work, and thesis examination will be conducted in English.
Progress Assessment and Quality Assurance
The academic progress of students will be monitored by a Thesis Supervision Committee consisting of a minimum of 3 faculty members from both universities, including the 2 co-supervisors of the student and 1 faculty member from HKUST. Each student is required to submit an annual progress report at the end of each academic year for assessment by the Thesis Supervision Committee. A thesis in English together with an abstract in Chinese should be submitted after the completion of thesis research. An oral defense in English in front of a Thesis Examination Committee will be required.
Studentship and Scholarship
Students will be awarded the studentship from SZU, the amount of which is equivalent to the postgraduate studentship for other HKUST research postgraduates during their residency in HKUST.
Students may be awarded this Scholarship from SZU during their residency in SZU.
Studentship and scholarship may be suspended if a student fails in his/her interim or annual examination or has not made good progress in thesis work. Students who withdraw from the program of study without justifiable reasons will be required to fully refund the scholarship received during their residency in SZU.
Due to limited student accommodation at HKUST, students are required to arrange their own accommodation outside HKUST campus.
Published papers based on a student’s research work during the Joint PhD Program study should carry the names of both institutions. The first affiliation of the papers should be determined by the co-supervisors of the student. Ownership of Intellectual property created by students in the Joint PhD Program will be governed by the policy on ownership of intellectual property of the institution at which the student is in residence at the time the intellectual property is created.
In other situations where the demarcation of intellectual property rights cannot be clearly defined, an agreement should be reached between the co-supervisors and the student concerned before the student graduates.
(Please also refer to: http://oces.ust.hk/programs-pg-szu-hkust-joint-phd-mes for more information)