Research Degrees: MPhil & PhD


Information for Current Postgraduate Students

 

Introduction
Welcome to the School of English and what we are sure will be an exciting and challenging phase of your education and personal development. This page provides a summary of necessary and useful information to help your transition to graduate studies.

 

Office space and facilities
Every postgraduate student will be provided with a large locker in the School of English or Faculty of Arts postgraduate common room where desks are available daily on a first-come-first-served basis. In the School of English postgraduate common room, students will also have access to a computer and a printer. Photocopying facilities are provided in the general office, in room 735, 7/F, Run Run Shaw Tower (Building B, Arts), Centennial Campus. Should you have tutorial duties for the term, you will be permitted to make 20 copies per student per semester on the school photocopying machine. You will receive a code for these copies. For your other photocopying needs, the library has many photocopying machines, and copy cards can be purchased in the library.

 

Duties of graduate students
Every funded graduate student is expected to contribute to the life of the School of English in a variety of ways.  You may be required to assist lecturers as teaching assistants, and give tutorials or seminars to undergraduate students.  You will also be asked to help in invigilating examinations, and helping with departmental functions, such as the seminars or the School of English Open Day.

 

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Supervision
You will be assigned a supervisor, or sometimes two supervisors, who will advise you on research work, as well as other relevant matters.  In addition Dr Olga Zayts also serves as the Graduate Studies Advisor for the school, and you are welcome to consult her on any matters relating to your work in the school. She is available for consultation during office hours and her email is zayts@hku.hk

 

Conferences and conference grants
Every graduate student in the school is encouraged to apply for a conference grant to attend an overseas conference dealing with their particular field of interest.  A graduate student normally attends such a conference towards the latter part of their studies and is expected to give a paper at this conference. Information on conferences, applications, and research support grants is posted on the Postgraduate Studies (PGS) bulletin board. The grants are usually to support your research, i.e. the order of interlibrary loans, photocopying needs, and books. Some students, however, use these grants to purchase equipment, but all big-item purchases must be approved by the Head of School, and receipts must be included before reimbursement is possible.

 

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Research seminars
Research seminars are held regularly throughout the two university semesters, usually every Thursday evening during the academic term.  Graduate students are expected to give at least one paper at the Thursday night seminar, usually some time in their second year of enrollment.  You are also expected to attend all such seminars to hear papers from your peers, or from other academics, from HKU or other institutions, throughout the two semesters.

 

Library matters
Graduate students are entitled to a small grant to enable them to order books, and papers from overseas universities through a system of 'interlibrary loan'. The interlibrary loan system is now fully online under the HKALL and ILLiad systems of the library's computer network. The interlibrary loan desk is located in front of the main lending counters on the ground floor of the library. They are extremely helpful and efficient, although you should take the initiative to track the progress of books and papers you have ordered online. In addition, you are encouraged to take your requests for book orders to your supervisor, who may well be able to order such books for the university library.  Students are urged to do this as soon as possible after joining the school, as it often takes six months for the books to arrive.

 

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Overseas students
Overseas students, for example from Malaysia and Singapore, may have special requirements for student visas, residence requirements, etc., and this is also the case if you are a student from mainland China. See the web pages of the Centre of Development and Resources for Students for more information. If you have any particular questions relating to such matters, you may call Ms Sylvia Wong, at the CEDARS, (Tel. 2857 8301; sylchan@hku.hk).

 

Coursework requirements for M.Phil. and Ph.D. students
As stipulated by the Regulations for the Degree of Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), newly registered MPhil and PhD students are required to complete a coursework programme to prepare themselves for research work and the writing of the thesis. The coursework programme includes courses offered by the Graduate School and additional courses required by the Arts Faculty and your registered School. Students should discuss their course selections with their supervisors before registration.

All newly registered MPhil and 4-year PhD students are required to take four compulsory courses offered by the Graduate School or their approved equivalents in the School of English (ENGL6070 Introduction to thesis writing in English studies and ENGL7011 Research methods). In addition, students will also be required to take one compulsory School of English course (ENGL6001 Research Seminar) and one School of English elective. Elective courses vary from year to year and current offerings can be found on the online course selection system.

3-year PhD students are only required to take GRSC6009 Research Ethics for Graduate Students: Arts and Architecture in addition to the School of English course requirements.

 

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Graduate School courses

MPhil and 4-year PhD programme

The core courses (or their equivalents) must be passed by the end of the probationary period.

All students, unless they have prior teaching experience, will also be required to take a mandatory course on teaching skills if they are to be deployed as teaching assistants. This course is taught by staff from the Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL).

For more details of Graduate School coursework requirements and courses, please refer to http://www.gradsch.hku.hk/gradsch/current-students/coursework-information/coursework-enrolment/general-coursework-requirement

 

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School of English courses
All MPhil, 3-year and 4-year PhD students are required to take one compulsory course (ENGL6001 Research Seminar) and one elective course from the School of English. The list of available courses is shown below.
Note that not all elective courses will be offered every year. A current list of courses on offer can be viewed under the online course selection system.

Click on the Course Code for details. 

C = compulsory
E = elective
** = ENGL6070 can be taken in lieu of the Graduate School Core Course I "Introduction to Thesis Writing" but not as a School elective course.

*** = ENGL7011 can be taken in lieu of the Graduate School Core Course II "Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods (The Humanities and Related Disciplines)" but not as a School elective course.

 

Course Code
Course Title
C / E
Credits
Pre-requisites
ENGL6001 Research seminar
C
6
Nil
ENGL6003 Guided reading course
E
6
Nil
ENGL6053 Special Topics in English Studies
E
6
Nil
ENGL6056 Cultural semiotics
E
3
Nil
ENGL6068 Foundations of Euro-American critical theory
E
3
Nil
ENGL6070 Introduction to thesis writing in English Studies
**
6
Nil
ENGL6071 Foundations in Language and Human Communication
E
6
Nil
ENGL6073 Introduction to Cross-Cultural Theory
E
   
ENGL6075 The Politics of English
E
   
ENGL6079 World Modernism
E
ENGL6080 Travel Writing and Culture
E
ENGL6081 Global fictions
E
ENGL6083 Post-colonial Representations
E
ENGL7011 Research methods
***

 

 

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ENGL6001.   Research seminar
This course will take place in the first semester of the candidate's programme.  The students and supervisors will draw up a programme of reading aimed to meet particular needs in terms of the acquisition of background knowledge, understanding of different theoretical approaches, etc. Mode of assessment: production of a substantial annotated bibliography (pass/fail). 

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ENGL6003.  Guided reading course
A course of individual study with a syllabus drawn up and agreed by the student and the supervisor.  Student and supervisor will meet regularly for discussion of the readings. (pass/fail)

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ENGL6053.   Special topics in English Studies
The aim of the course is to introduce students to the topics which are of relevance to their research study but have not been taken previously.  Students will be instructed to attend one undergraduate course or a combination of undergraduate courses from the school as prescribed by the supervisor(s) and/or the Chairman of the Departmental Research Postgraduate Committee.  Students will also be required to do further guided readings and/or attend extra tutorials.  Assessment will be in the form of written assignments at postgraduate level. (pass/fail)

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ENGL6056.  Cultural semiotics (3 credits)

This course will examine culture as a complex web of signifying systems and practices. It will look at different concepts of culture and consider their accessibility to semiotic theory and analysis. After an introduction to semiotic terminology, most of the time will be given to the investigation of different spheres of cultural activity, analysing the meanings of images, bodies, objects, spaces, sounds, etc., and the configurations and practices that underpin them. The interdisciplinary nature of cultural semiotics, its relevance to society and its limitations will also be addressed. The course will focus mostly on aspects of contemporary urban culture as it exists in places like Hong Kong, but attention will also be given to cross-cultural comparisons and intercultural relations.

Assessment: 100% coursework (pass/fail)

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ENGL6068.  Foundations of Euro-American critical theory (3 credits)

This seminar will review exemplary Euro-American texts that articulate the founding problems and techniques of critical theory. Each week we will meet for three hours to discuss one set of topics such as historicism, structuralism, or discourse.

Assessment: 100% coursework (pass/fail)

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ENGL6070.  Introduction to Thesis Writing in English Studies (6 credits)

This course offers students a framework within which they discuss the genre of thesis writing, in particular the various stages of a research thesis, with reference to the thesis format required by the University.

** This course can be taken in lieu of the Graduate School Core Course I "Introduction to Thesis Writing and Research" but not as a School elective course.

Assessment: 100% coursework (pass/fail)

Please click here for the course details

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ENGL6071.  Foundations in Language and Human Communication (6 credits)

This seminar will provide a 'hands-on' introduction to some of the key concepts, theories and methods that underpin current approaches to the study of lagnauge and human communication. Viewed as a form of social action, language and communication will be examined in terms of discoursees (contents of talk and text, or the way in which we organise our knowledge of the world); ideologies (our attitudes, assumptions and beliefs underlying our knowledge of the world, i.e. our discourses); genres (text types and their functions - or what we do with talk and text to and for each other), and; style (how we express ourselves, or how we construe our identities through talk and text).

Assessment: 100% coursework (pass/fail)

Please click here for the course details

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ENGL6073 Introduction to Cross-Cultural Theory
The theme of cross-cultural study is implicit in all the courses in the MA in English Studies. This foundation course prepares students by introducing them to the work of critics who have tried to formalize cross-cultural relations through particular historical, ethnographic, literary and linguistic studies of cultural interaction. This might include work by Benedict Anderson, Homi Bhabha, Frantz Fanon, Mary Louise Pratt, Edward Said, and others.

Assessment: 100% coursework

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ENGL6075 The Politics of English
This course examines the contemporary politics of English, looking at debates over local and regional cultural identities, English as the language of modernity and social mobility, English as a "killer language" within linguistic imperialism, cross-cultural discourse and globalization. The historical roots of the rise of English will be traced, and its current world-wide profile analyzed, with special reference to the sharply divergent attitudes found in socio-political debate. Special reference will be made to English in Hong Kong.

Assessment: 100% coursework

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ENGL6079 World Modernism
This course will pursue the idea of a ‘world modernism’, by looking at selected works of short fiction and poetry from around the world, between (roughly) 1900 and 1940, written in English or translated into English. How differently do these works respond to modernity, and how do they relate to each other – by influence, and shared or contrasted preoccupations or procedures – in the network of ‘world modernism’?

Assessment: 100% coursework.

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ENGL6080 Travel Writing and Culture
Cross-cultural or intercultural issues are necessarily central to most travel writing. This course explores such issues in a wide range of travel narratives by writers from the medieval period to the present day. The approach is more thematic than historical and themes covered will include travel and imperialism, East-West meetings, mapping self and nation, mobilization of knowledge, postcolonial journeys and travels in globality.

Assessment: 100% coursework.

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ENGL6081 Global fictions
This course will consider global fiction as contemporary stories from around the world, as in 'world literatures', and stories about the world, or 'worlds', as self-conscious and ironic constructions of reality, often multiple and conflicting. As well as examining novels, plays, poetry and cinema from contemporary 'ex-centric' writers, the course will also study Western fictions (sometimes called metafictions) that seek to disturb and shock by leading the reader from one kind of reality or 'world' to another.

Assessment: 100% coursework (pass/fail)

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ENGL6083 Post-colonial Representations
This is an online course that will examine a fundamental issue in post-colonial studies: Representation. This issue will be examined through its various forms, including Gender, Race, Culture, from the perspective of critical, fictional and visual texts.

Assessment: 100% coursework

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ENGL7011. Research methods
This course offers an introduction to research methods in English literary and language studies. It will be conducted on a one-on-one basis with the student's supervisor. Topics to be followed include: development of theoretical framework, identification of research questions, use of primary and secondary materials, and thesis writing. Each student, with their supervisor's guidance, will first organise an individual programme of reading appropriate to the student's research project. This reading schedule may focus on acquiring background knowledge or exploring a variety of theoretical approaches to a topic. The student should then produce a substantial essay drawing on the reading done, demonstrating writing skills and the ability to think critically. The course structure should allow for the correction of a draft before the final submission of the term paper.

***This course can be taken in lieu of the Graduate School Core Course II "Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods (The Humanities and Related Disciplines)" but not as a School elective course.

Assessment: term paper of 5-6000 words (pass/fail)

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Notes:
1. Undergraduate courses taken as part of the M.Phil curriculum will carry extra tutorial and written work.

2. Students will normally complete all but one of their coursework units in the first year of study.

 

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Current Postgraduate Students and Recent completed theses

Please click here for current Postgraduate Students and Recent completed theses.

 



Further advice:

If you have any queries concerning the above or related matters, please contact Dr O. Zayts, our Graduate Studies Advisor. 
Email: zayts@hku.hk;

Office: Room 738, 7/F, Run Run Shaw Tower (Building B, Arts), Centennial Campus, HKU

 

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Last updated: 17 November 2017