FAQs for Prospective Postgraduate Students

  1. How to apply?
  2. What is the application timeline?
  3. How good do I need to be to be accepted as a MPhil student?
  4. Whom should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?
  5. Will I receive a studentship from the department to support my studies?
  6. Can I apply for part-time studies?
  7. 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?
  8. Do I need to take the TOEFL exam?
  9. Where can I get further information about PG studies?

Q1. How to apply?

Please refer to the Application Procedure in the Office of Postgraduate Studies (PGSO) Website.

Q2. What is the application timeline?

Please refer to the Admissions Timeline in the PGSO Website.

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 PGSO; 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 university guideline is that all full-time research PG students should be funded 12 months a year. The studentship support can come from the supervisor, the department, the school, and/or the university, and can be in the form of Fellowship, Teaching Assistantship or Research Assistantship. The support may be dependent on satisfactory progress in the PG study or satisfactory work.

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. HKUST will consider the suitability of candidates to receive the PGS while reviewing their application for research postgraduate programs.

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:

Professor Huamin QU
PG Coordinator
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Email: