Postgraduate Programs 2022/23
Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy Programs in Physics
Award Title

Master of Philosophy in Physics
Doctor of Philosophy in Physics

Program Short Name

MPhil(PHYS)
PhD(PHYS)

Mode of Study

Both full- and part-time

Normative Program Duration

MPhil

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

PhD

Full-time: 3 years (with a relevant research master’s degree), 4 years (without a relevant research master’s degree)
Part-time: 6 years

Offering Unit
Program Advisor

PG Programs Coordinator:
Prof Nian LIN, Professor of Physics

The MPhil program aims at providing students with a broad range of research training that emphasizes the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills. It is designed to train students to conduct independent research in physics and to prepare them for a successful career in teaching, further postgraduate studies, or advanced work in industries.

The PhD program is designed to train students to conduct novel and independent research. It provides a platform for research-oriented students to pursue their long-term careers in experimental and theoretical physics. The program will prepare students to attain a broad horizon of careers in academic institutions, high-tech industry and R&D centers.

On successful completion of the MPhil program, graduates will be able to:

  1. Explain the principles of several of the core areas of physics (including classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, electricity and magnetism, and statistical mechanics) and solve related problems at the postgraduate level;
  2. Demonstrate competence in the concepts and literature of a specific sub-discipline of physics;
  3. Conduct a successful program of supervised research; and
  4. Communicate scientific results effectively, both orally and in writing.

 

On successful completion of the PhD program, graduates will be able to:

  1. Explain the principles of the core areas of physics (including classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, electricity and magnetism, and statistical mechanics) and solve related problems at the postgraduate level;
  2. Demonstrate a mastery of the concepts and literature of a specific sub-discipline of physics;
  3. Conduct a successful program of independent research; and
  4. Communicate scientific results effectively, both orally and in writing.

The programs are offered by the Department of Physics with the following research foci and state-of-the-art facilities providing students with necessary interdisciplinary knowledge to contribute to the long-term nanoscale research and development.
 

Research Foci

Research in the Department covers a broad range of topics, from the smallest to the largest scale. Faculty members work both independently and collaboratively and they are also linked to HKUST’s front-running William Mong Institute of Nano Science and Technology and the HKUST Institute for Advanced Study.

  • Cold atoms, Optics and Quantum Information: Matter-matter and light-matter interactions at atomic and molecular levels, precise control of quantum systems at the level of single photons, atoms, and molecules. Studies of physics in this scale lead to the next revolution of quantum technologies.

  • Condensed matter experiments and advanced materials: To study the properties of matters and the emerging quantum materials, such as graphene, transition metal dichalcogenides, topological matters, nanostructures, superconductors, and organic artificial structures with advanced experimental techniques.

  • Condensed matter theory, statistical and computational physics: Understanding collections of particles using quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics and electromagnetism lead to the prediction and manipulation of many novel materials including topological insulators, Dirac semimetals, Weyl semimetals, unconventional superconductors and two-dimensional materials.

  • Particle physics and cosmology: Studies of elementary particles help explaining the observed cosmological structures and vice versa. To answer the most fundamental scientific questions, such as: What everything around us is made of and interact? What is the origin of our Universe and how does it evolve? These questions are deeply interconnected.

  • Soft Matter and Biological physics: Colloids, polymers, complex fluids, granular materials and biological systems from the scale of biological molecules to whole organism. These mechanically soft systems have significant thermal effects. Understanding their behaviors in the mesoscopic scale is both challenging and technologically important.

  • Metamaterials, Photonic and Phononic Crystals: Metamaterials and artificial crystals derive their properties from structures rather than the constitute materials, allowing us to explore optical and acoustic wave phenomena in ways not possible before, such as invisibility cloaking, negative refractive indices, non-Hermitian physics and nontrivial topological phases.

  1. Minimum Credit Requirement

MPhil/PhD: 12 credits
 

  1. Required Courses

Students are required to complete at least 12 credits of approved Physics postgraduate courses.

Full-time students are expected to complete the coursework requirements during the first two regular terms.

Students with a first degree in an area other than Physics may be required to take additional courses.
 

  1. Graduate Teaching Assistant Training

PDEV 6800

 

All full-time RPg students are required to complete PDEV 6800. The course is composed of a 10-hour training offered by the Center for Education Innovation (CEI), and session(s) of instructional delivery to be assigned by the respective departments. Upon satisfactory completion of the training conducted by CEI, MPhil students are required to give at least one 30-minute session of instructional delivery in front of a group of students for one term. PhD students are required to give at least one such session each in two different terms. The instructional delivery will be formally assessed.
 

  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 taking PDEV 6770, subject to prior approval of the School.

 

PHYS 6771


Students are required to complete PHYS 6771. The 1 credit earned from PHYS 6771 cannot be counted toward the credit requirements.

 

PhD students who are HKUST MPhil graduates in Physics and have completed PHYS 6000 Physics Seminar or PHYS 6700 Professional Development in Science (Physics) before may be exempted from taking PHYS 6771, subject to prior approval of the Department Head or PG Coordinator.
 

  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 until they pass the course by attaining at least Level 4 in the ELPA Speaking Test before graduation. The 1 credit earned from LANG 5000 cannot be counted toward the credit requirements.
 

LANG 5010


Students are required to complete LANG 5010 in the first year of study. The 1 credit earned from LANG 5010 cannot be counted toward the credit requirements.

PhD students who are HKUST MPhil graduates may be considered for exemption from this requirement, subject to approval from the Department Head and PG Coordinator.

 

  1. PhD Qualifying Examination

PhD students are required to sit for a qualifying examination set by the Department and pass it within the first two years of study. After passing the qualifying examination, students with satisfactory academic records are admitted to PhD candidacy.
 

  1. Thesis Research

PHYS 6990
PHYS 7990


MPhil:

  1. Registration in PHYS 6990; and

  2. Presentation and oral defense of the MPhil thesis.

PhD:

  1. Registration in PHYS 7990 after passing the qualifying examination; and

  2. Presentation and oral defense of the PhD thesis.

 

Last update: 31 July 2019

Scientific Computation Concentration

In addition to the existing program requirements, students who opt for the Scientific Computation concentration are required to:
 

  1. MPhil:
    Complete a minimum of 7 credits from the following course lists.
    PhD:
    Complete a minimum of 10 credits from the following course lists.

    Only credits earned from physics postgraduate courses under this concentration will be counted toward the total credit requirements of the program.

    Core Courses
    MPhil: at least 3 credits
    PhD: at least 6 credits

    All students must take MATH 6915 and MATH 6916. Credits earned from MATH 6915 can be repeated for up to 2 credits.
     

COMP 5112
CIVL 5390
orMECH 5930
CSIC 5031
CSIC 5011
MATH 5311
MATH 6915
MATH 6916


Elective Courses

CHEM 5210
CHEM 5220
COMP 5212
COMP 5213
COMP 5331
COMP 5421
CSIC 5190
ELEC 5810
ELEC 5140
MATH 5350
MATH 5411
MATH 5431
MECH 5230
MECH 5280
MSDM 5004
PHYS 5120

 

  1. Conduct research in the area of scientific computation.

 

Last update: 17 May 2021

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

  • TOEFL-Revised paper-delivered test: 60 (total scores for Reading, Listening and Writing sections)

  • IELTS (Academic Module): Overall score: 6.5 and All sub-score: 5.5

* refers to the total score in one single attempt


Applicants are not required 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.

Apply online before the application deadlines.

 

Application Fee

HK$180

Application Deadlines

For Hong Kong PhD Fellowship (HKPFS) Application (for PhD studies only):

Step 1 deadline at RGC (to obtain an HKPFS reference no. from RGC):
1 Dec 2021 (12noon, GMT+8)
Step 2 deadline at HKUST:
1 Dec 2021 (11:59pm, GMT+8)

Details please refer to http://pg.ust.hk/hkpfs
 

For 2022/23 Fall Term Intake (commencing in Sep 2022):

Non-local Applicants*
Full-time: 1 Jun 2022
 

Local Applicants
Full-time: 15 Jul 2022
Part-time: 15 Jul 2022
 

For 2021/22 Spring Term Intake (commencing in Feb 2022):

Non-local Applicants*
Full-time: 1 Nov 2021
 

Local Applicants
Full-time: 15 Dec 2021
Part-time: 15 Dec 2021


 * Applicants are considered as non-local students if they hold (i) student visa/ entry permit; or (ii) visa under the Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates (IANG); or (iii) dependent visa/entry permit who were 18 years old or above when they were issued with such visa/ entry permit by the Director of Immigration. For details on student visa/ entry permit requirements, please click here.