Appendices: Guidelines on the Appointment and Roles of Chairpersons and Examiners of MPhil Thesis Examination Committees

(Version July 2019)

​​A.   Composition and Appointment of an MPhil Thesis Examination Committee

  1. Upon the recommendation of the Thesis Supervision Committee of the candidate being examined, the department head/program director shall appoint an MPhil Thesis Examination Committee (TEC) to examine the candidate who has expressed the intention of defending the thesis.
  2. An MPhil TEC shall consist of at least three faculty members, including:
    1. A Chairperson;

    2. The thesis supervisor(s); and

    3. One other faculty member.

  3. All members of the MPhil TEC are voting examiners and must be present throughout the examination.
  4. Approval of the HKUST Fok Ying Tung Graduate School (FYTGS) must be sought, via the School, in advance if the composition of the proposed membership of an MPhil TEC varies from the above requirements.


B.   Roles of the Chairperson and Examiners

  1. Chairperson
    1.1The role of the Chairperson is to ensure that:
    1.1.1The examination is conducted in accordance with the regulations and requirements of the University, and in a fair and unprejudiced manner.
    1.1.2The questions addressed to the candidate are fair and clearly expressed.
    1.1.3The examiners are all given sufficient opportunity to ask questions and the candidate is given sufficient opportunity to respond to the questions.
    1.1.4There is sufficient opportunity of questions from the floor addressed to the candidate.
    1.1.5The recommendations of individual examiners are carefully considered, such that an overall recommendation may be arrived at in a fair and unprejudiced manner.
    1.1.6The recommendation of the TEC reflects the majority view of the examiners.
    1.1.7The recommendation of the TEC conforms to the regulations of the University that govern thesis examinations.
    1.2The Chairperson may cancel a scheduled thesis examination if on the day of the thesis examination,
    1.2.1There is no sign of the candidate 15 minutes after the scheduled time of commencement of the thesis examination; or
    1.2.2There is no show of an examiner 15 minutes after the scheduled time of commencement of the thesis examination.
    1.3Toward the end of the thesis examination, the Chairperson is required to (i) collect Part 2 of the “Report on Thesis Examination Result for Research Postgraduate Degrees” from all the examiners and (ii) complete Part 3 and Part 4.1 of the report, with the assistance of the examiners.
    The complete set of documents should be forwarded to the department head/program director or the thesis supervisor(s) as appropriate. For details, please refer to Section D of Guidelines on the Conduct of MPhil and PhD Thesis Examinations.
    1.4The Chairperson is also required to submit a Chairperson ’s Report on Thesis Examination to FYTGS within one week from the date of the thesis examination, reporting any irregularities observed during the conduct of the thesis examination.
  2. Examiners
    2.1The role of the examiners includes the following
    2.1.1Examiners must thoroughly read the thesis prior to the examination, and must critically assess the quality of the research, the originality of the thesis and its impact on the field of study.
    2.1.2Examiners should prepare questions and discussion materials, to be asked of the candidate during the thesis examinations.
    2.1.3As a result of the reading of the thesis and the performance of the candidate in the examination, the examiners must be satisfied that:
    1. The candidate has clearly demonstrated the ability and skills to conduct an intellectual study, and arrive independently at a successful conclusion.
    2. The thesis represents either the candidate’s own original contribution to the discipline or well-organized and critical exposition of existing knowledge.
    3. The candidate, both verbally and in writing, is able to present his/her thesis clearly, systematically, and coherently.
    4. The candidate has convincingly and lucidly defended his/her thesis.
    2.1.4Examiners must each submit Part 2 of the “Report on Thesis Examination Result for Research Postgraduate Degrees” to the Chairperson at the end of the thesis examination.
    2.1.5To arrive at a final assessment of the quality of the thesis and the performance of the candidate, the examiners, in open consultation with the Chairperson, must jointly arrive at a recommendation which reflects the majority view.  The examiners then adopt the majority decision.
    2.1.6The examiners should assist the Chairperson to prepare the “Report on Thesis Examination Result for Research Postgraduate Degrees” recommending the outcome of their assessment of the thesis examination.