Postgraduate Research Program

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences offers the following postgraduate degrees by research:

  • Master of Arts (Research)
  • Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Direct admission is possible at any level, provided that the applicable entry requirements are met.

If you are interested in undertaking a research degree in the area of Chinese Studies and would like to discuss the opportunities that might be available to you, please contact the Chair of Department prior to application.

For information on matters that are not covered here, such as fees and English-language requirements, please see the website of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and/or the International Student Office. The following links should be helpful:

For information about research strengths in the department, view our academic profiles and the department's research profile.

Applying: research proposal guidelines

If you intend to apply for a research degree, you will be required to submit a 1,000-word research proposal (in English) with your application. Here are some guidelines for writing it which you may find helpful.

First, check the list of Chinese Studies academic staff and their research interests to find out whether there is someone here who may be qualified to supervise your project. It may be a good idea to check the list of Asian Studies staff as well. Please keep in mind that most staff can supervise outside the immediate area of their research interests, although few can supervise in radically different areas.

If it looks as though we may be able to provide appropriate supervision for your project, please go ahead and write your proposal. The prescribed length (1,000 words) is the minimum for all research degrees. If you are applying for admission to PhD candidature, we welcome your submission of a somewhat longer proposal (up to about 2,000 words).

Please try to do all of the following in your proposal. You are not obliged to use the suggested headings or to follow the suggested order, but you may find it helpful to do so.

Preliminary Title

Aims and Background

  • State your proposed topic; identify the aims of the research; specify the questions that you plan to address.
  • If you have any hypotheses that you plan to test, tell us what they are.
  • Show us that you are familiar with the most important scholarly writings in the field of your proposed research.

Approach and Methodology

  • Tell us about the approach that you plan to adopt, and about the kinds of methodology that you think you might use. If you have any hypotheses, how will you test them?
  • Identify the major source materials on which the project will be based, and state their location if they are not easily available. If your research will involve interviews or surveys, please outline your plans for them.
  • Give us a rough preliminary timetable for the various activities that your project will involve, e.g. so many months of preliminary library research, so many months of fieldwork or archival research overseas, so many months of close textual analysis, etc.


  • Explain the significance of your topic. What makes it interesting?
  • Explain how you think your research will add to the existing published scholarship on the same (or related) topics.


Please attach a preliminary bibliography (two or three pages long) of primary and secondary sources. The list of secondary sources should include the most important relevant works in both English and Chinese. The bibliography should be additional to the 1,000 words.

Why is a research proposal required?
At this stage, we are only trying to ensure that, if we offer you a place, you will be embarking on a candidature that has a good chance of success. We are looking for evidence that you have genuine research potential, and we must assess whether we have the appropriate resources to host your project. If you are offered a place, the content of your preliminary proposal will not be binding either on you or on us.

What help is available?
While preparing your proposal, you should feel free to contact the academic staff member who you think would be best qualified to supervise you. Of course, the proposal must be your own work, but you may ask for comments on your ideas and/or for feedback on a draft of your proposal.

You are also welcome to send your proposal to the Chair of Department before submitting your application. This will give the postgraduate coordinator an opportunity of discussing your proposal with relevant colleagues and then advising you as to whether the project is likely to be viable.