Types of postgraduate studies programmes
There are two main types of postgraduate study programmes:
Taught postgraduate programmes (TPg)
- usually take a similar format to an undergraduate degree
- operate on semester/module system
- normally assessed by written examinations/course works/project assignments/thesis
- E.g. Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MSc), Master of Education (MEd)
Research postgraduate programmes (RPg)
- focus on research
- work under an assigned supervisor
- present research outcome in the form of thesis
- research findings must display some originality and demonstrate a sound understanding of the field of study and the appropriate research methods
- E.g. Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
Can you meet the requirements?
For RPg, since it involves the creation/discovery of new knowledge, one basic requirement is that students should have solid foundation (normally by completion of relevant undergraduate programme/major) of their intended research area.
For TPg, while many programmes require applicants to possess relevant undergraduate degree, some allow students without relevant undergraduate degree to apply. Some programmes (often offered by Business Faculty) require students to have certain years of work experience. You should check the specific entrance requirements of the programme you want to apply. For more information, please see TPg Application.
Study in local or overseas universities?
There are a few considerations on whether to pursue postgraduate studies in local or overseas universities:
- the reputation/academic standing of the university
- financial consideration (the higher tuition fee/cost of living in overseas countries)
- professional recognition (whether the qualification obtained from overseas university would be recognized by the local professional bodies)
- adaptation problem (whether you are confident to overcome the adaptation problems associated with living/learning in a new environment)
There are a lot of resource websites for you if you are considering whether to pursue postgraduate studies overseas, such as:
- United States (https://educationusa.state.gov/)
- United Kingdom (https://study-uk.britishcouncil.org/)
- European Union (https://ec.europa.eu/education/study-in-europe_en)
- Canada (https://www.educanada.ca/study-plan-etudes/index.aspx?lang=eng#)
How to fund your studies?
For postgraduate programmes in Hong Kong
TPg: Most TPg in Hong Kong are self-financed, i.e. not subsidized by the Hong Kong Government. Different programmes have different tuition fee, but in general the tuition fee is much higher than the tuition fee for undergraduate studies.
RPg: Most RPg in Hong Kong are UGC-funded, i.e. subsidized by the Hong Kong Government. The tuition fee for 2020-21 is $42,100 per year. For local students, there is a tuition waiver scheme which waives composition fees for all local students enrolled in full-time UGC-funded RPg since 2018.
For HKU, full-time MPhil and PhD students who hold a first degree with second-class honours first division (or equivalent) or above are normally considered eligible to receive a Postgraduate Scholarship, which amount to HK$17,330 per month in 2019-20.
HKU undergraduate students of the 2020 graduating class can also apply for the “HKU TPG Scholarship for UG Class of 2020” to study in one of the 49 specific taught postgraduate programmes for the academic year 2020-21, with a scholarship of a value equivalent to 50% of the tuition fees of the programme.
For postgraduate programmes overseas
The fees of postgraduate programmes greatly vary between countries, institutions and programmes. It may be affordable as no tuition fee in some master programmes (the so-called “consecutive programme”) in some states of Germany, or as expensive as tens of thousands of pounds in some master programmes in the UK. You should check the website of the University you are interested in for details.
If you have financial concerns, you may explore whether there is suitable postgraduate scholarship from HKU (https://aas.hku.hk/scholarship-opportunities/) or from other sources. You may also consider finding a full-time job and applying for part-time postgraduate programmes.