Postgraduate Programs 2017/18
Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy Programs in Environmental Science, Policy and Management
Award Title

Master of Philosophy in Environmental Science, Policy and Management
Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Science, Policy and Management

Program Short Name


Mode of Study

Both full- and part-time

Normative Program Duration


Full-time: 2 years
Part-time: 4 years


Full-time: 3 years (with a relevant research master’s degree), 4 years (with a bachelor’s degree only)
Part-time: 6 years

Program Advisor

PG Programs Coordinator (RPg program):
Prof Jianzhen YU, Professor of Environment and Sustainability and Professor of Chemistry


The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Programs are broad-based research postgraduate programs that embrace a wide spectrum of environmental interests. The programs serve as an innovative platform for interdisciplinary research involving scientific, technological, environmental socio-economic and policy challenges. The programs also provide students with the background to solve complex environmental problems and to engage in interdisciplinary environmental research that can have a high impact on Hong Kong and the world. Co-supervision on student thesis work is a core feature in the programs, an approach that enhances the interdisciplinary education experience for students. Currently, the research concentrations include:


• Atmospheric modeling/chemistry

• Climate change and adaptations

• Environmental data analysis

• Environmental economics

• Environmental microbiology

• Environmental policy and management

• Environmental pollution and health

• Physical/Biophysical oceanography and ecosystem modeling

• Sustainability, energy and environment

• Water resources management


The MPhil Program aims to train students to conduct independent interdisciplinary research in Environmental Science, Policy and Management. A candidate for an MPhil degree is expected to demonstrate knowledge in the discipline and to synthesize and create new knowledge, making a contribution to the field.


The PhD Program seeks to train students in original research and to cultivate the independent, interdisciplinary and innovative thinking that is essential for a successful career in research, management or policy formulation in this area. A candidate for a PhD degree is expected to demonstrate mastery of knowledge in the chosen discipline and to synthesize and create new knowledge, making an original and substantial contribution to the discipline.

Offered by the Division of Environment and Suitability, the programs are supported with the following research foci and state-of-the-art facilities. It aims to provide students with a deeper understanding of environmental science and related policies so as to help increase their abilities in tackling the environment and generating meaningful solutions.

Research Foci

The Division’s main areas of focus are:

• Atmospheric science and air pollution

• Oceanic science and water pollution

• Climate change policy and adaptations

• Sustainability

• Healthy living environment

We also work at the points where these areas intersect, such as the scientific understanding of management strategies and policy formulations.


HKUST has excellent central facilities and equipment to support the Program's teaching and learning. These include: the Environmental Central Facility, Coastal Marine Laboratory, environmental monitoring facilities, real-time air quality and meteorological forecasting systems, satellite receiving systems and Geographical Information System.

To qualify for admission, applicants must meet all of the following requirements. Admission is selective and meeting these minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.


1. General Admission Requirements of the University
  • Applicants seeking admission to a master's degree program should have obtained a bachelor’s degree from a recognized institution, or an approved equivalent qualification;

  • Applicants seeking admission to a doctoral degree program should have obtained a bachelor’s degree with a proven record of outstanding performance from a recognized institution; or presented evidence of satisfactory work at the postgraduate level on a full-time basis for at least one year, or on a part-time basis for at least two years.

2. English Language Admission Requirements

Applicants have to fulfill English Language requirements with one of the following proficiency attainments:

  • TOEFL-iBT: 80

  • TOEFL-pBT: 550

  • IELTS (Academic Module): Overall score: 6.0 and All sub-score: 5.5

Applicants don't need to present TOEFL or IELTS score if

  • their first language is English, or

  • they obtained the bachelor's degree (or equivalent) from an institution where the medium of instruction was English.

  1. Minimum Credit Requirement

MPhil: 9 credits 
PhD: 12 credits 

  1. Credit Transfer

Subject to approval of the PG Coordinator, PhD students who have taken the HKUST MPhil Program in Environmental Science, Policy and Management will be granted credit transfer of up to a maximum of 9 credits. Students admitted to the PhD program with a relevant master’s degree may be granted credit transfer on a case-by-case basis. In such case, the maximum number of credits transferrable is 6.

  1. Core Courses

MPhil/PhD: 6 Credits

ENVR 5290
orSOSC 5770
ENVR 6060
orSOSC 5620


  1. Elective Courses

MPhil: 3 Credits

PhD: 6 Credits


ENVR 5210
ENVR 5250
ENVR 5260
ENVR 5310
ENVR 5330
ENVR 5410
ENVR 6040
ENVR 6050
EVSM 5270
EVSM 5280
EVSM 6070
MATH 5360
RMBI 4000B

Students may take other postgraduate course(s) approved by the supervisor and the PG Coordinator.


  1. Professional Development Course Requirement
PDEV 6770

Students are required to complete PDEV 6770. The 1 credit earned from PDEV 6770 cannot be counted toward the credit requirements.

PhD students who are HKUST MPhil graduates and have completed PDEV 6770 or other professional development courses offered by the University before may be exempted from this requirement, subject to prior approval of the Interdisciplinary Programs Office.

  1. English Language Requirement
LANG 5000

Full-time RPg students are required to take an English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA) Speaking Test administered by the Center for Language Education before the start of their first term of study. Students whose ELPA Speaking Test score is below Level 4, or who failed to take the test in their first term of study, are required to take LANG 5000 Foundation in Listening & Speaking for Postgraduate Students until they pass the course by attaining at least Level 4 in the ELPA Speaking Test before graduation.

LANG 5080
LANG 5081


MPhil students are required to complete LANG 5081. PhD students are required to complete LANG 5080 and LANG 5081.

The credits earned from LANG 5080 and LANG 5081 cannot be counted toward the credit requirements. Students can be exempted from taking LANG 5080 and/or LANG 5081 with the approval of the supervisor and the PG Coordinator.


  1. Postgraduate Seminar
ENVR 6010

Students must take ENVR 6010 whenever it is offered.

  1. PhD Qualifying Examination

PhD students are required to submit a thesis proposal to the Qualifying Examination Committee who will examine the students’ general background knowledge and knowledge related to the topic of the research. Students must pass the qualifying examination no later than the forth regular term of study for full-time students, or the sixth regular term of study for part-time students.

  1. Thesis Research
ENVR 6990
ENVR 7990



  1. Registration in ENVR 6990; and
  2. Presentation and oral defense of the MPhil thesis.


  1. Registration in ENVR 7990; and
  2. Presentation and oral defense of the PhD thesis.


Last Update: 8 February 2018