FAQs for Prospective Postgraduate Students
- Where can I get an application form?
- What is the application deadline?
- How good do I need to be to be accepted as a MPhil student?
- Whom should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?
- Will I receive a studentship from the department to support my studies?
- Can I apply for part-time studies?
- I am not from Hong Kong. Can I still apply for a PG program in your department? Can I apply for a studentship from your department?
- Do I need to take the TOEFL exam?
- Where can I get further information about PG studies?
Q1. Where can I get an application form?
Application forms are available from the ARR Admission office. This web site also provides more detailed information about how to fill out and submit the application.
Q2. What is the application deadline?
Applications for admission to postgraduate programs in September of the year are invited from January onwards. The official application deadline for all CS programs will be in June.
MPhil application will be processed in a batch immediately after the deadline passes. So, as long as they are submitted after the deadline, all MPhil application will be treated equally. PhD applications will be processed on a continuous basis as they arrive at ARR; qualified applicants will be accepted only until all places are filled. So, if you are applying for the PhD program, apply as soon as possible.
Q3. How good do I need to be to be accepted as a MPhil student?
There are no hard-and-fast rules for admission to the MPhil program. We rank applicants based on our judgment of their background and general ability to do a research thesis. In practice this usually means that the two most important criteria are your CGA and your letters of recommendation.
Good letters of recommendation are essential. A letter from a faculty member that states he/she is willing to be your research supervisor is even better (but uncommon); one that states that she/he is willing to supervise you AND fund your studentship directly out of his/her research grants is even better (but even rarer). We want to emphasize that the CGA is not everything. An applicant with a very strong letter of recommendation might be admitted over one with a slightly higher CGA but weaker letters.
In the past most students with B+/A- CGA or above (the exact CGA varied from year to year)and good letters were accepted. The exact number of students accepted depends upon many factors including number of studentships available to the department and a forecast of the number of students expected to graduate that year.
Q4. Whom should I ask to write my two letters of recommendation?
The letters of recommendation are used to judge your ability and fitness to be a MPhil student so you should ask someone who knows you well enough to write something substantial about you, including your creativity, intelligence and ability to do research.
Your FYP advisor is a good choice. Another possibility is the instructor of any course that you did very well in (a useful `trick' is to find a course that you really enjoy and are doing well in and make sure that the instructor knows who you are as a person, not just as a name and number on assignments. One way of doing this is by asking good questions in class. Another is to go to the instructor after class and ask for extra reading material and then discuss it with him/her. Who knows; you might even find an advisor this way.
Finally, if you've worked outside UST, especially in an IT related job, you can ask your supervisor for a letter.
Q5. Will I receive a studentship from the department to support my studies?
The current department guideline is that all MPhil students are provided with a guaranteed ten month postgraduate studentship (PGS) and all PhD students with a twelve-month one. Studentship support after this first ten or twelve month period is dependent upon satisfactory work and the student finding a research supervisor; support for second year PG students is arranged between the student's supervisor and the department (sometimes as a Research Assistant paid out of the supervisor's research grants and sometimes as a Teacing Assistant paid by the department) and not directly between student and department.
Q6. Can I apply for part-time studies?
We normally prefer to accept applicants who are applying for full time studies. Only in special cases as described below, will we accept part-time applicants.
For applicants to the MPhil and PhD program the applicant must already have found a faculty member who has agreed to be the applicant's thesis supervisor.
Q7. I am not from Hong Kong. Can I still apply for a PG program in your department? Can I apply for a studentship from your department?
Anyone, no matter where they are from, can apply to our department. We will normally not grant studentship's to non-local MPhil students, though. That is, under normal circumstances non-local students will not be eligible to receive studentships from the department when studying for the MPhil. They are eligible for such studentships, though, when studying for the PhD program.
Q8. Do I need to take the TOEFL exam?
As a general rule we require that all non-local students must take the TOEFL exam. The only exceptions to this rule are students who received their undergraduate degree in an English speaking institute.
Q9. Where can I get further information about PG studies?
For further information, please contact the Computer Science and Engineering department Postgraduate Program Co-ordinator:
Dr. Ke YI
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong