Research Postgraduate Programme (MPhil)


Master of Philosophy
(Two Year Full-time, Theory-based or Practice-led) 


The Master of Philosophy (Theory-based or Practice-led) is based on identifying, understanding and developing creative practice as a specialized field of knowledge production. It is particularly focused on practice-led research strategies and methodologies in the visual arts with the intention of supporting the development of the individual artist’s creative works and research. The studio-based programme enables the production of new bodies of work within a programme of tutorials, seminars, and lectures that requires research candidates to evaluate and reflect on a range of conceptual, philosophical, material and theoretical frameworks, and demonstrate their understanding of contemporary critical thinking and visual art practice.



The MPhil is a degree obtained by research. An MPhil thesis must display a good general knowledge of the field of study; a comprehensive knowledge of some part or aspect of the field of study; and a recognisable original contribution to knowledge or understanding.

The degree is awarded to students who have demonstrated:

a) a systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of their academic discipline, field of study, or area of professional practice;

b) a comprehensive understanding of techniques available to their own research or advanced scholarship;

c) originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline;

Typically, possessing a conceptual understanding that enables the student:

a) to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline; and

b) to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses;

c) the general ability to conceptualise, design and implement a project for the generation of knowledge, applications or understanding of the discipline.

Typically, holders of the qualification will be able to:

a) deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences;

b) demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level;

c) continue to advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level; and will have:

d) the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility, decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations, and the independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.

The thesis should be no more than 40,000 words in length, including the text of the thesis, footnotes and appendices. Illustration captions and bibliography are excluded.

It is recommended that you have completed not less than 15,000, complete draft structure and literature survey prior to entering your final year of study.


Practice-based and Practice-led

Practice-based Research is an original investigation undertaken to gain new knowledge partly by means of practice and the outcomes of that practice. Claims of originality and contribution to knowledge may be demonstrated through creative outcomes which may include artefacts such as images, music, designs, models, digital media or other outcomes such as performances and exhibitions Whilst the significance and context of the claims are described in words, a full understanding can only be obtained with direct reference to those outcomes. A practice-based research is distinguishable from conventional research because creative outcomes from the research process may be included in the submission for examination and the claim for an original contribution to the field are held to be demonstrated through the original creative work.

Practice-based research submissions must include a substantial contextualisation of the creative work. This critical appraisal or analysis not only clarifies the basis of the claim for the originality and location of the original work, it also provides the basis for a judgement as to whether general scholarly requirements are met. This could be defined as judgement of the submission as a contribution to knowledge in the field, showing doctoral level powers of analysis and mastery of existing contextual knowledge, in a form that is accessible to and auditable by knowledgeable peers.

Practice-led Research is concerned with the nature of practice and leads to new knowledge that has operational significance for that practice. The main focus of the research is to advance knowledge about practice, or to advance knowledge within practice. In the thesis, the results of practice-led research may be fully described in text form without the inclusion of a creative outcome. The primary focus of the research is to advance knowledge about practice, or to advance knowledge within practice. Such research includes practice as an integral part of its method and often falls within the general area of action research. The theses that emerge from this type of practice related research are not the same as those that include artefacts and works as part of the submission.


Full-time residency requirement: 24 months

Degree requirements: a combination of coursework and independent practice-led creative research. Students should successfully complete a minimum of 12 units of coursework (including three units of mandatory common core courses) as laid down by the programme and achieve a minimum GPA score of 2.67. Students are required to complete an approved program of supervised practice-led research, present the findings of their research in a thesis and practical work, and pass the oral defense of the written thesis and practical work.

Programme Tuition Fee

Theory-based programme: HK$42,100 per year

Practice-led programme: HK$84,200 per year


1. Theory-based programme

Students will be provided with studentship of HK$16,330 per month. No scholarship is provided for the tuition fee.

2. Practice-led programme

Full scholarships covering the full tuition will be given to successful applicants admitted for the 24-month study period. In addition, students will be provided with studentship of about HK$12,000 per month during the same period.

Other finance support

Students receiving the scholarship will be provided HK$10,000 to cover research related general expenses.


Research Expertise

Image: Body Aesthetics and Performance Art, Chinese Art, Modern and Contemporary Art, Design, Folk Art and Culture, Hong Kong Art, Interactive Media, Time-based Media, Theories of Material Culture, Museum and Curatorial Studies, Public Art and Community, and Visual Culture Studies.

Graduate Prospects

This programme offers the route to further research and the potential for moving towards a professional doctorate in visual arts related areas or a practice-based PhD. Graduates can also move on as professional visual artists/creative practitioners within the wide spectrum of the creative industry.