Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Sociology and Social Policy


What will I learn?

With a prestigious history dating back to its original establishment in 1888 in Guangzhou, China, Lingnan University (LU) is the only liberal arts university in Hong Kong emphasizing both the merits and close interrelationship of teaching and research. Like many American liberal arts colleges and the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge in the UK, LU believes that the ethos of liberal arts education requires limited student numbers and an intimate campus setting.

For postgraduates, student-centered learning, one of the key values of liberal arts education, ensures close and supportive thesis supervision, while at the same time encouraging candidates to exercise intellectual creativity in their research endeavors.

LU has earned a strong reputation through encouraging and requiring staff research, on the premise that far from depleting energies to be spent on teaching, research actually nourishes and inspires outstanding teaching.

For research postgraduate programmes, Lingnan graduates are expected to possess the following attributes in terms of knowledge, skills and attitude:


  • systematic understanding of a field or fields of scholarship
  • original contributions to the field


  • competence in research and analysis
  • ability to critically assess intellectual claims, theories and arguments
  • capacity to produce a thesis that contributes to the knowledge and understanding of the field of learning within which the subject of the thesis falls


  • commitment to applying the knowledge acquired in the chosen field and conducting further research in an ethical and socially responsible manner.

Sociology and Social Policy Disciplines:

  • Ageing and social gerontology
  • Children and young people
  • Collective memory
  • Comparative policy studies and social development
  • Comparative social policy
  • Consumption
  • Culture and knowledge
  • Disadvantaged populations
  • Education policy and governance
  • Education skills and labour supply
  • Family
  • Gender
  • Income inequality and stratification
  • International and comparative education
  • Marriage
  • Mental health
  • Migration and transnationalism
  • Multidimensional well-being
  • Political sociology
  • Poverty, welfare, and social security
  • Reproductive politics
  • Research methods
  • Sexuality
  • Social inclusion
  • Social stratification and inequality
  • Social theory
  • Survey experiments
  • Transitional justice
  • Work and employment

Which department am I in?

Faculty of Social Sciences

Study options

Full Time (3 years)

Tuition fees
HK$42,100.00 (4,46,665) per year
Tuition fees for 2021-22 academic year are under review, the tuition fee for 2020-21 academic year is payable by two equal installments of HK $21,050 each
Application deadline

Expected January 2024

More details

Start date

Expected January 2024


Lingnan University

8 Castle Peak Road,

Tuen Mun, Hong Kong, New Territories

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Applicants should normally hold a Master’s degree in the relevant policy studies field. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed. Applicants whose entrance qualification is obtained from an institution where the medium of instruction is not English should fulfill the following minimum English proficiency requirement: a band score of 6.5 or above in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS); or a minimum score of 550 (paper based test) or 79 (Internet-based test) in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL); or an equivalent score in a recognised test.

For international students

An applicant for admission to candidature for the degree of PhD should normally:

  • hold a master's degree awarded by a tertiary education institution recognised for this purpose by the University; or
  • hold a relevant bachelor's degree with first or second class honours or at an equivalent standard, and have registered in a programme of study for a master's degree at a recognised tertiary education institution for at least one year and have evidence of research achievement; or
  • have obtained an equivalent qualification of a) or b) above; or
  • have provided satisfactory evidence of academic and professional attainment.

Note: First degree graduates with proven research qualification or experience might be admitted direct to PhD studies only under exceptional circumstances. Normally a candidate without a master's degree will not be admitted to PhD studies and he/she should register as an MPhil student in the first instance.

In addition to the above, an applicant whose degree is not from a tertiary institution in Hong Kong or an English-speaking country should obtain a minimum score of 550 (paper-based test) or 213 (computer-based test) or 79 (internet-based test) in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or a band score of 6.5 or above in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or an equivalent score in a recognised test, or an equivalent qualification to prove his/her language proficiency which will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


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