Each research postgraduate (RPg) student will be assigned a thesis supervisor who oversees the student’s research. Both the thesis supervisor and the student are expected to actively involve in the thesis research process. The establishment and maintenance of good relationship between the thesis supervisor and the student are founded on mutual respect and open communication. In addition, to ensure the quality of thesis research and to enhance the learning experience of RPg students, a Thesis Supervision Committee will be established for each student.
Please refer to the “Guide on Thesis Supervision” for details.
The thesis shall conform in layout, binding and presentation which is suitable for library cataloging and shelving. Thesis takes its place in the library as a product of original thinking and research, and it is therefore, designed to appear in a form comparable to published works.
Please refer to the “Guidelines on Thesis Preparation” for details of the requirements on thesis.
Students who wish to appear before a Thesis Examination Committee must indicate to their department their intention to take the thesis examination at least six weeks before the proposed date of the thesis examination, and deliver to their department sufficient hard or electronic thesis copies at least four weeks before the thesis examination. A thesis copy will be put on display prior to the thesis examination for perusal by departmental faculty, students, other members of the University community, and members of the public.
MPhil students should refer to the “Guidelines on Procedures for Scheduling MPhil Thesis Examinations” for details.
PhD students should refer to the “Guidelines on Procedures for Scheduling PhD Thesis Examinations” for details.
The thesis examination is mandatory for students enrolled in research postgraduate programs and is conducted by a Thesis Examination Committee (TEC). The membership of the TEC should be formed according to the guidelines of the University.
For MPhil thesis examinations, upon the recommendations of the Thesis Supervision Committee of the candidate being examined, the department head/program director shall appoint an MPhil TEC to examine the candidate who has expressed the intention of defending the thesis.
An MPhil TEC shall consist of at least three faculty members, including:
- A Chairperson;
- The thesis supervisor(s); and
- One other faculty member.
Please refer to the “Guidelines on the Appointment and Roles of Chairpersons and Examiners of MPhil Thesis Examination Committees” for details.
For PhD thesis examinations, upon the recommendations of the department and the school, the HKUST Fok Ying Tung Graduate School shall appoint a PhD TEC to examine the candidate who has expressed the intention of defending the thesis.
A PhD TEC shall consist of:
- A Chairperson from outside the student’s major department;
- The thesis supervisor(s);
- Two academic staff members, in addition to the thesis supervisor(s), from the student’s major department;
- One academic staff member, other than the thesis supervisor(s), from outside the student’s department; and
- One examiner external to the University who has expertise in the field being examined.
Please refer to the “Guidelines on the Appointment and Roles of Chairpersons and Examiners of PhD Thesis Examination Committees” for details.
The thesis examination takes place in a single session and comprises four parts, the first two of which are open to all members of the University and departmental guests. The third part is closed to all but the candidate and the TEC, and the fourth is a closed session of the TEC in the absence of the candidate.
The first part is an oral presentation by the candidate, emphasizing the major elements of the research and the results obtained.
The second part is an open questioning session, involving members of the TEC and others in attendance.
The third is a closed session involving a less formal discussion between the candidate and the TEC on the candidate’s research. At the end of this part of the examination, the candidate must leave the examination venue.
The fourth and final part is a closed session involving only the TEC to assess the quality of the thesis, and the performance of the candidate during the examination. In arriving at a decision, the votes of members of the TEC carry equal weight. The Chairperson is responsible for advising the Committee the vote of the external examiner in absentia, if applicable. A report on the thesis examination is then prepared by the Chairperson, together with members of the TEC.
Please refer to the “Guidelines on the Conduct of MPhil and PhD Thesis Examinations” for details.
A thesis examination can have one of the following results:
- Passed subject to minor corrections;
- Passed subject to major corrections;
- Failed but may be resubmitted; or
A “Failed” grade results in the automatic withdrawal of the candidate from the program of study and termination of registration at the University.
In all other cases, the candidate must submit a final version of the thesis by the deadline as required by the University or a date specified by the TEC, whichever is earlier. In the event that a candidate misses the specified deadline, the candidate will be viewed to have failed to meet the thesis examination requirements of the University and will be deemed to have failed the requirements of the degree program being pursued.
If the delay in submitting the final thesis copies is no fault of the candidate, he/she may appeal for an exception to be made for the above rules to be lifted. Appeal supported by the thesis supervisor should be submitted to the HKUST Fok Ying Tung Graduate School via the PG Coordinator with the endorsement from the relevant school.
Please refer to the “Guidelines on the Conduct of MPhil and PhD Thesis Examinations” for details on the submission of final thesis.