In recent times, the global attention has been shifting from Europe and America to Asia. In Asia, Hong Kong plays a vital role in this development being a leading financial hub in Asia. With the population of about 8 million people, Hong Kong boasts of 8 University Grant Council (UGC) funded universities, as well as a number of self-funded higher institutions. Four of these UGC-funded universities are among the top 100 universities in the world according to the latest QS university ranking. This shows the remarkable progress that Hong Kong universities have recorded in recent years. These 8 UGC-funded universities are the universities that offer generous scholarships in Hong Kong and their emphasis has been on granting scholarships to postgraduate students. Scholarships in these universities are of two kinds, namely Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (HKFPS) and the Studentship Scholarship. The former is granted by the government through the Research Grants Council (RGC), while the latter is usually granted by the prospective university authorities.
For a PhD applicant, the HKPFS is usually granted for a 3 year study (irrespective of whether the candidate’s study period is 3 or 4 years). RGC grant a monthly stipend for the upkeep of the candidate in addition to conference attendance allowance. Respective universities usually support HKPFS successful candidates in other areas such as free tuition fee, free accommodation and so on (applicants need to check with their prospective university). The candidates offered Studentship Scholarships also receive a monthly stipend and conference attendance allowance. In principle, all prospective PhD applicants would apply for HKPFS through RGC and the university, and candidates whose applications are unsuccessful for HKPFS could be considered for a Studentship Scholarship. Although the scholarship monetary value of HKPFS is more than that of Studentship Scholarship, both are enough to sustain the student during the study period.
MPhil programmes (which are not highly supported by scholarship bodies) are usually supported by prospective universities. Therefore, prospective applicants should check with each university if funding is available for their study.
Master’s degree scholarship is not common and widely circulated as PhD scholarship. However, this does not rule out the fact that some universities and some departments do offer some scholarship opportunities to bright applicants. Master’s degree applicants could check with the respective departments to see which scholarships are available. In fact, some universities do grant free tuition in addition to the monthly stipend for the 1 year master’s degree programme.
All these scholarship opportunities are open to all prospective students in the world. In general, the requirement for obtaining these postgraduate scholarships can be summarized as follows: 1) academic excellence, 2) research ability and potential 3) leadership skills and 4) communication interpersonal skills (Research Grant Council, 2017).
The application period for the MPhil and PhD programmes is usually opened by the first week in September through the first week in December every year. More information can be found at https://cerg1.ugc.edu.hk/hkpfs/index.html. While that of master’s degree varies with a university. However, prospective applicants that need guidance and more information as regards admission application could reach out to ANSHK secretariat.
- Research Grant Council (2017). Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme. https://cerg1.ugc.edu.hk/hkpfs/index.html