Hong Kong Fellowship Scheme
Hong Kong PhD FellowshipApplication ProcedureLiving and Studying in Hong KongParticipating UniversitiesWhat's NewEnquiry and FAQs



For enquiries about the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme, please email to HKPF@ugc.edu.hk. You may, however, also get instant answers to the most frequently asked questions below.

As regards admission and application requirements for PhD studies, please refer to individual universities for information.






Frequently Asked Questions


General Information

Q1. What is Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme?
Established in 2009 by the Research Grants Council (RGC), the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (HKPFS) aims at attracting the best and brightest students in the world to pursue their PhD programmes in Hong Kong's universities.
Q2. What is the amount of award under the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship?
The Fellowship provides each awardee with an annual stipend of HK$331,200 (approximately US$42,460) and a conference and research-related travel allowance of HK$13,800 (approximately US$1,760) per year for a period of up to three years. 350 PhD Fellowships will be awarded in the 2024/25 academic year.
Q3. Which universities are supported by the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme?
The HKPFS supports the awardees to pursue their PhD studies at the following eight University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded universities in Hong Kong:
- City University of Hong Kong
- Hong Kong Baptist University
- Lingnan University
- The Chinese University of Hong Kong
- The Education University of Hong Kong
- The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
- The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
- The University of Hong Kong
Q4. Am I eligible for Hong Kong PhD Fellowship?
Those who are seeking admission as new full-time PhD students in UGC-funded universities of Hong Kong, irrespective of their country of origin, prior work experience and ethnic background, should be eligible to apply. Applicants should demonstrate outstanding qualities of academic performance, research ability / potential, communication and interpersonal skills, and leadership abilities.
Q5. I am not sure whether I am eligible to apply for the PhD programmes in Hong Kong. How can I obtain such information?
UGC-funded universities determine the eligibility requirements of their respective PhD programmes. Interested parties should consult individual universities on eligibility.
Q6. I am currently a PhD student. Am I eligible to apply for the Fellowship?
You are eligible to apply for the Fellowship if you apply for another PhD programmes as a new full-time PhD student. However, it is up to the Selection Panel to decide whether the previous PhD study experience should be discounted so as to ensure a level playing field for those who do not have any PhD background.
Q7. I have difficulties in obtaining transcripts/ certificates/ test results by the application deadline of the university I selected. Am I still eligible?
We encourage students with excellent academic performance and good potential in research work to apply for the HKPFS. Universities may give conditional offer to candidates who demonstrate outstanding ability and potential in their areas of studies. Since the candidates of the HKPFS are to be nominated by universities, applicants should consult the universities at which they intend to pursue their PhD studies directly in respect of their eligibility for admission to the PhD programmes concerned.
Q8. Do I need to attain a required score from IELTS/TOEFL/GMAT/GRE before applying for the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship?
For applicants from non-English speaking universities, unless they provide proof that English is the language of instruction for all courses, they are required to attach score results of TOEFL or IELTS in their PhD applications to the universities concerned. This requirement is exempted if their proposed PhD studies/programmes are specifically in non-English medium, e.g. in Chinese language. Please note that since the UGC-funded universities determine the admission requirements of their PhD programmes, whether applicants need to submit results of any other specific tests is subject to the requirements of individual universities. In general, good results obtained from an open examination widely recognised by international academic institutions will be very useful for universities and Selection Panels of the Scheme to assess one's intellectual and language competency.
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Q9.  What is an initial application for Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme?
An initial application is the first step in making an application under the HKPFS.  The initial application must be submitted through the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme Electronic System.  The system will assign an HKPFS Reference Number which an applicant needs to quote in their application for admission to their selected universities.
Q10.  Am I required to submit applications to my selected universities directly after successful submission of my Initial Application Form?
Yes.  Please ensure that you have attained an HKPFS Reference Number assigned for your initial application, and quote the Reference Number when applying to your proposed universities.
Q11.  If I have forgotten to present the reference number assigned by the HKPFS, will my application still be considered as an application for HKPFS?
If no HKPFS Reference Number is presented to a university in an application for PhD programme admission, the university will process the relevant application as a regular one without giving any consideration under the HKPFS.
Q12.  I forgot to read the “Guidance Note for Applicants” before filling out the Initial Application. Will it affect my application?
The Research Grants Council (RGC) of Hong Kong may stop processing your application if the application does not comply with any of the requirements as set out in the Guidance Note.
Q13.  Can I submit more than one initial application for the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship?
In order to ensure consistency and fairness to all applicants, each applicant can only submit ONE initial application through the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme Electronic System.
Q14.  May I print out the template of the initial application and fill it out manually for submission to the RGC?
No.  All initial applications should be made online through the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme Electronic System.
Q15.  Why I cannot use the assigned HKPFS Reference and password to apply full application with respective university?
The assigned HKPFS Reference and the password can only be used to login the HKPFSES. It is not applicable to the other application system of respective university. Applicants should contact respective university direct for enquiries related to their full application with university.
Q16.  What should I do if I forget the password of HKPFS Electronic System?
There is a "Forgot Password" button at the HKPFS Electronic System login page for you to contact us in retrieving the password. You need to provide the necessary information for verifying your identity.
Q17.  Do I need to provide information on academic referees in HKPFS Electronic System for initial application?
It is not necessary for applicants to provide information on academic referees in HKPFS electronic system at the initial application stage. However, such information is required by respective university during full application. Each university may have different requirements for full application of PhD programmes. You are advised to contact respective university direct for related enquiries.
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Q18.  After the submission of the initial application, I would like to make changes to university/programme choices. What should I do?

If an applicant wishes to change his/her choice of universities(ies)/programme(s) for PhD studies in the initial application, he/she will need to have it completed before the initial application deadline, i.e. 1 December 2023 (12:00 noon, Hong Kong Time) by logging-in using the HKPFS Reference Number and password. The RGC will not accept any changes/request of change of application from applicants after the initial application deadline.

Q19.  How many universities and PhD programmes I can choose for an application under Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme?
You may choose up to two programmes in total in one or two universities with priority indicated in your application. In the event that an applicant is nominated by two universities, the RGC will only process the nomination tendered by the university for which the relevant applicant has indicated priority and award of fellowship by RGC will also be according to the indicated priority of the applicant. If an applicant selects two different programmes within the same university and is nominated subsequently, the university concerned shall have the discretion to decide on which programme the nomination is for.
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Q20.  Do I need to pay any fees for making an application under HKPFS?
The RGC does not charge any application fee for the HKPFS. However, universities may charge application or other processing fees.
Q21.  If I have problem in paying application fee to my chosen university, what should I do?
The Research Grants Council (RGC) does NOT have any involvement in the payment of application fee for PhD admission which is solely the business between applicants and respective universities. Furthermore, the RGC is not liable for any information or services which may appear on any websites linked to the web-page of the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme. Should applicants encounter problems arising from application fee payment, or have any enquiry regarding particular universities, they should contact relevant universities directly.
Q22.  Where can I get the information about PhD programmes and admission requirements of the universities?
For details on PhD programmes and admission requirements of individual universities, please refer to https://cerg1.ugc.edu.hk/hkpfs/institutions.html. For enquiries, please contact respective universities.
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Q23.  Is there a definite time frame for submission of my Initial Application?
Applicants must submit their initial applications through the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme Electronic System before the deadline on 1 December 2023 at 12:00 noon Hong Kong Time.
Q24.  What are the deadlines of application for the eight universities?
Deadlines for submitting full application of the eight universities are listed as follows:

City University of Hong Kong : 1 December 2023 (11:59pm Hong Kong Time)
Hong Kong Baptist University : 1 December 2023 (11:59pm Hong Kong Time)
Lingnan University : 1 December 2023 (11:59pm Hong Kong Time)
The Chinese University of Hong Kong : 1 December 2023 (11:59pm Hong Kong Time)
The Education University of Hong Kong : 1 December 2023 (11:59pm Hong Kong Time)
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University : 1 December 2023 (11:59pm Hong Kong Time)
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology : 1 December 2023 (11:59pm Hong Kong Time)
The University of Hong Kong: 1 December, 2023 (11:59pm Hong Kong Time)

Applicants are advised to complete both the initial application with the RGC and full application with universities as early as possible.

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Q25.  How are the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship awardees selected?
Individual universities may conduct interviews with applicants where necessary. Shortlisted applications, subject to their areas of studies, will be reviewed by one of the two Selection Panels with experts in the relevant broad areas - one for Sciences, Medicine, Engineering and Technology and another one for Humanities, Social Sciences and Business Studies.
Q26.  What are the selection criteria?
While candidates' academic excellence is the primary consideration, the Selection Panels will take into account factors such as research ability and potential, communication and interpersonal skills as well as leadership abilities.
Q27.  When will the result of the HKPFS be announced?
The result of the HKPFS 2024/25 will be announced by May 2024.
Q28.  If I am not awarded the fellowship, does it mean that my application for PhD admission with the universities will also be turned down?
No. Universities may admit candidates not selected for the HKPFS and offer them regular postgraduate studentship if they are considered to be qualified by universities.
Q29.  When should I register with the universities?
A successful candidate of the HKPFS is normally required to register with respective university in July to September 2024.  This may be deferred to 31 January 2025 the latest if there are well justified reasons and subject to the approval of the Research Grants Council.
Q30.  How can I apply for a student visa/ an entry permit?
Please refer to the Guidebook for Entry for Study in Hong Kong issued by the Immigration Department, The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, at https://www.immd.gov.hk/eng/services/visas/study.html for detailed requirements for application for student visa/entry permit.
Q31.  Can I change university during the fellowship period?
The assessment of applicant by the Selection Panels and the award of fellowship are based on the nomination of university. Fellowship awardee must be the registered full-time PhD student of the university specified by the RGC in the offer letter during the fellowship. The fellowship shall be discontinued/ terminated in case fellowship awardee leaves the university.
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Q32.  Am I eligible for any tuition wavier?
Starting from the 2018/19 academic year, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has provided a tuition waiver for all local students enrolled in the UGC-funded Research Postgraduate(RPg) programmes.

For details of the scheme and eligibility, please visit the scheme website (https://www.ugc.edu.hk/eng/rgc/funding_opport/tws/). The university will waive the tuition fees of eligible local students enrolled in the UGC-funded programmes. They need not apply. For enquiries, please contact respective universities.
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Q33.  What can I do if I have more questions?
For enquiries about the HKPFS, please email your questions to HKPF@ugc.edu.hk. For enquiries about the PhD programmes and admission requirements, please contact respective universities for information. Information of the eight participating universities is available at https://cerg1.ugc.edu.hk/hkpfs/institutions.html.


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