Pursuing a research degree is a significant undertaking. This summary provides RPg students with policy and procedural guidelines on thesis research.
Enquiries can be directed to the Department / Program Office.
Each RPg student will be assigned a thesis supervisor who oversees the student’s research. Both the thesis supervisor and the student are expected to actively involve in the thesis research process. The establishment and maintenance of a good relationship between the thesis supervisor and the student are founded on mutual respect and open communication.
In addition, to ensure the quality of thesis research and to enhance the learning experience of RPg students, a Thesis Supervision Committee (TSC) will be established for each student. A TSC consists of at least two members, one of whom is the designated thesis supervisor and committee chairperson.
RPg students should ensure that they enroll in the appropriate thesis research course when they begin their thesis research work. They should continue to enroll in the thesis research course until they have submitted their thesis.
Students enrolled on PhD programs are required to pass a qualifying examination within a stipulated period in order to obtain the PhD candidacy. The qualifying examination may be conducted through the oral or written mode, or both. Those who fail the qualifying examination after two attempts are not allowed to continue with their doctoral studies. Individual programs may have stipulations concerning the timeframe that students should take the qualifying examination and when the qualifying examination should be retaken in the case of failure in the first attempt.
The thesis shall conform in layout, binding and presentation which is suitable for library cataloging and shelving. Thesis takes its place in the library as a product of original thinking and research, and it is therefore, designed to appear in a form comparable to published works.
Dissertations and theses are submitted for publishing in PDF format. Providing a properly generated PDF file ensures the manuscript can be read using different platforms (Windows, Mac, etc.), and that it displays as intended. Proper file generation also facilitates the indexing of the paper.
The thesis examination is mandatory for students enrolled in research postgraduate programs and is conducted by a Thesis Examination Committee (TEC). The membership of the TEC should be formed according to the guidelines of the University.
For MPhil thesis examinations, upon the recommendations of the Thesis Supervision Committee of the candidate being examined, the department head/program director shall appoint an MPhil TEC to examine the candidate who has expressed the intention of defending the thesis.
An MPhil TEC shall consist of at least three faculty members, including:
For PhD thesis examinations, upon the recommendations of the department and the school, the HKUST Fok Ying Tung Graduate School shall appoint a PhD TEC to examine the candidate who has expressed the intention of defending the thesis.
A PhD TEC shall consist of:
For thesis examinations held before 15 November 2021: RPg students who wish to appear before a Thesis Examination Committee must indicate to their department their intention to take the thesis examination at least six weeks before the proposed date of the thesis examination, and deliver to their department sufficient hard or electronic thesis copies at least four weeks before the thesis examination. A thesis copy will be put on display prior to the thesis examination for perusal by departmental faculty, students, other University members, and members of the public.
For thesis examinations on or after 15 November 2021: RPg students who wish to appear before a Thesis Examination Committee must indicate to their department their intention to take the thesis examination at least six weeks before the proposed date of the thesis examination, and submit the thesis copies to the iThenticate platform for originality check. The iThenticate report should be submitted together with sufficient hard or electronic thesis copies to their department at least four weeks before the thesis examination. A thesis copy will be put on display prior to the thesis examination for perusal by departmental faculty, students, other University members, and members of the public.
Guidelines on Procedures for Scheduling MPhil Thesis Examinations
Guidelines on Procedures for Scheduling PhD Thesis Examinations
A thesis examination takes place in a single session and comprises four parts, the first two of which are open to all members of the University and departmental guests. The third part is closed to all but the candidate and the Thesis Examination Committee (TEC), and the fourth is a closed session of the TEC in the absence of the candidate.
The first part is an oral presentation by the candidate, emphasizing the major elements of the research and the results obtained.
The second part is an open questioning session, involving members of the TEC and others in attendance.
The third is a closed session involving a less formal discussion between the candidate and TEC on the candidate’s research. At the end of this part of the examination, the candidate must leave the examination venue.
The fourth and final part is a closed session involving only TEC to assess the quality of the thesis, and the performance of the candidate during the examination. In arriving at a decision, the votes of members of the TEC carry equal weight. The Chairperson is responsible for advising the Committee the vote of the external examiner in absentia, if applicable.
A thesis examination can have one of the following results:
A “Failed” grade results in the automatic withdrawal of the candidate from the program of study and termination of registration at the University.
In all other cases, the candidate must submit a final version of the thesis by the deadline as required by the University or a date specified by the Thesis Examination Committee, whichever is earlier. In the event that a candidate misses the specified deadline, the candidate will be viewed to have failed to meet the thesis examination requirements of the University and will be deemed to have failed the requirements of the degree program being pursued.
If the delay in submitting the final thesis copies is no fault of the candidate, he/she may appeal for an exception to be made and for the above rules to be lifted.