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What will I learn?

Complementary and Integrative Health (CIH) in the East-West Context

We are an interdisciplinary group with a diverse background in rehabilitation and biomedical sciences. Drawing on our experiences in eastern and western approaches in rehabilitative care, we aim to integrate the best of both approaches to promote mental and physical well-being from perinatal and child development to end-of-life care. The patient is at the centre of our research that addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences affecting a person’s health. The unique mix of cultural diversity in Hong Kong has fostered the ‘east-meets-west’ research initiative in our department. Over the past three decades, this crosscutting research has led to the promotion and incorporation of Tai Chi, Qigong and acupuncture in the health care system for diverse diseases, conditions and populations. Sensitivity to cultural differences between east and west in clinical practice and health promotion underlies our efforts to identify and characterize the social and environmental factors involved. This is important in all aspects of rehabilitative practice from psychotherapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy, to lifestyle modification. The aim tailored to the affected individuals is to instill resilience through behavioral and cognitive changes/skills to eliminate or minimize exposure to health risk. Our groups also strive for a biological understanding of the underlying process, recognized as a major roadblock to more effective and widespread application of complementary and integrative health care. Animal and cell models are developed to study the cause and progression of mental and physical disabilities in both disease and recovery through the incorporation of genetic, environmental and social perspectives. Such translational research dissects the interaction between the nervous, immune and metabolic systems, identifying synergism between therapeutic interventions (including drug therapy), and the discovery of novel biomarkers and risk factors for early diagnosis and monitoring.

Our Missions

  • To be the local hub of scientific research in complementary and integrative practice in rehabilitation.
  • To encourage regional and international collaboration through databases, colloquium and workshops.
  • To enhance individuals’ ability to get well and stay well through public awareness and improved access to evidence-based complementary practice.
  • To influence whole-person health care of body, mind, spirit and community.

Which department am I in?

Faculty of Health and Social Sciences

Study options

Full Time (3 years)

Tuition fees
HK$84,200.00 (8,51,796) per year
Annual tuition fee: HK $42,100 (UGC-funded students); HK $84,200 (Non-UGC-funded students)
Application deadline

Expected December 2022

More details

Start date

1 September 2022


The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

ST305, 3/F, Ng Wing Hong Building,

Hung Hom,

Kowloon City, Hong Kong, Kowloon

Entry requirements

For students from United States

For admission to a Doctoral degree programme, you must possess a Master's degree. A Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 80 for the Internet based test or 550 for the paper-based test; OR An overall Band Score of at least 6 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

For international students

3-year full-time PhD programme

Normally hold an MPhil or equivalent (a research postgraduate degree with a dissertation as an award requirement) conferred by a recognised university.

4-year full-time PhD programme

Normally hold:

A Master’s degree; OR
A Bachelor’s degree with First Class Honours (or equivalent qualification), conferred by a recognised university.

PolyU may accept other equivalent qualifications. The decision is made on an individual basis.

English Language Requirements

The requirements for those who do not have a degree for which English was the language of instruction at a recognized university are:

An overall score of at least 6.5 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS); OR

A Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 80 or above for the Internet-based test or 550 or above for the paper-based test.

All English language test scores are considered valid for two years after the date of the test.

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


About The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

PolyU ranks 66th in the QS World University Rankings and 91st in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings internationally.

  • Recognised worldwide for its academic reputation
  • Enjoys impactful research practices in different fields
  • Boasts world-class facilities
  • Welcomes international students from over 30 countries

Get in touch