MPhil and PhD in Linguistics

MPhil / PhD positions to start in September

The Department of Linguistics at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) seeks to recruit PhD (4 years without MPhil degree; 3 years with MPhil degree) and MPhil (2 years) candidates with a starting of September each year.

HKU Linguistics offers an integrated program in the study of linguistics, including theoretical linguistics, language documentation, computational linguistics, psycholinguistics, and neurolinguistics. Explore our website for further information.

This year, we are especially interested in candidates with research interests in areas including but not limited to:

Dr. Christophe Coupé: Computational and statistical models for linguistics, language diversity, language evolution, language change.

Dr. Youngah Do: Phonological acquisition, experimental phonology, and computational phonology.

Dr. Jonathan Havenhill: Articulatory phonetics, sound change and variation, and laboratory phonology.

Dr. Joe Perry: Language documentation especially of Sino-Tibetan languages, theoretical syntax, and theoretical morpho-phonology particularly in a Distributed Morphology framework.

Dr. Yoonsang Song: Second language acquisition and processing of syntax and morphology, neurolinguistics (EEG)

Our department offers an innovative research setting, excellent working conditions, and intensive supervision. We have several labs: Brain Language Mapping Lab, Field Linguistics Lab, Phonetics & Phonology Lab, Psycholinguistics Lab, and Language Development Lab. The candidates will have access to our lab facilities including an ultrasound machine, an eye-tracker, a sound booth, and equipment for fieldwork and for various behavioral experimentations.

The successful candidate will have excellent grades, and hold an MA/MPhil or equivalent degree in the field of linguistics. Familiarity with the collection, elicitation and the analysis of linguistic data is highly desirable. Applicants must have a good command of English. Strong candidates are encouraged to apply for one of the HK PhD Fellowships (USD 3,200 per month) and will automatically be considered for the HKU Postgraduate Fellowship (USD 2,200 per month).

Please apply online through the link provided below.

For the details of the applications, please read admission page carefully, where all the application guidelines can be found:

The Department of Linguistics offers supervision for the degrees of MPhil and PhD by research, and welcomes inquiries from prospective postgraduate students with a good first degree and sufficient background in linguistics. Applicants should discuss their field of study and prepare a proposal in collaboration with the Chairperson of Department and/or a prospective supervisor before applying through the University to register for a postgraduate degree.

Studentships to support research students are available on a competitive basis, for up to 2 years (for MPhil candidature) and 3 years (for 3-year PhD candidature) or 4 years (for 4-year PhD candidature). Applicants for the 3-year PhD programme will usually already have successfully completed a postgraduate programme with a research component. Studentship holders are expected to contribute to teaching, typically by tutoring introductory linguistics for first year students, or by contributing to departmental research projects. Postgraduate students may also be supported as research assistants by research grants.


The website of the Graduate School contains detailed information on all coursework requirements. MPhil students and 4-year PhD students are required to take altogether six courses, three with the Department of Linguistics and three with the HKU Graduate School. 3-year PhD students normally take three courses, two with the Department and one with the Graduate School.

Coursework requirements with the Department of Linguistics for 4-year PhDs consist of two core and two elective courses from among UG advanced courses. The students will choose the courses with the consultation with their supervisors. 3-year PhD students have no coursework requirement with the department. However we strongly encourage 3-year PhDs to take LING6001 Research methods in Linguistics to strengthen their research skills:

  • LING6001 Research methods in Linguistics (Elective)
  • LING6010 Readings in Linguistics (Elective)
  • LING6012 Special Topics in Linguistics (Elective)
  • LING7501 Research Seminars in Linguistics I (Core)
  • LING7502 Research Seminars in Linguistics II (Core)
  • LING2071 Introductory statistics for the humanities (Elective)
  • LING2072 Advanced statistics for the humanities (Elective)


(i) LING6001 can be taken in lieu of the compulsory Graduate School Course GRSC6034 Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods (The Humanities & Related Disciplines) or GRSC6036 Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods (The Humanities & Related Disciplines). LING2071/LING2072 can be taken in lieu of the compulsory Graduate School Course GRSC6034 Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods (The Humanities & Related Disciplines). Linguistics RPg students are strongly advised to take LING6001, LING2071 or LING2072.

(ii) If LING6001, LING2071 and LING2072 are to be taken in lieu of the Graduate School courses, they have to be completed by the end of the probationary period.

Aside from the coursework, each RPG student will be required to give a department seminar and will participate in some additional oral presentations of their work in conjunction with the MA students.

Cousework requirements with the Graduate School for 4-year PhDs consists of the three core courses listed below. 3-year PhDs are required to take one course only with the Graduate School, namely Research Ethics (GRSC6030). However, 3-year PhDs can be exempted from this course if they have already followed an equivalent course in a previous degree programme:

Application and Admission

The Graduate School of the University of Hong Kong manages all applications to MPhil and PhD programmes, including those to the Department of Linguistics. The website of the Graduate School contains detailed information on the application process and information on awards and financial assistance for postgraduate students. All applications must be submitted via the Online Application System.

There are three rounds of application to postgraduate programmes of the University of Hong Kong, beginning with so-called Main Round from September to December each year. We strongly advise applicants to apply for admission in the Main Round rather than in the other rounds (the so-called 1st and 2nd Clearing Rounds). Admission to our postgraduate programmes is competitive and most available places for the academic year tend to be filled in the Main Round.

Once admitted, MPhil candidates may begin with their studies either on September 1 or January 1 of the year following their application. PhD candidates may commence their studies on the first day of any calendar month during the academic year. Applications should be made at least three months before the intended date of registration, allowing extra time for visa and other formalities.