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Chinese Studies Research MPhil / PhD, option of joint PhD with HKU or NUS



  • Current number of academic staff: 5 (plus affiliates in a number of other departments across the College).

  • Current number of research students: 25.

  • Partner organisations: The Institute is closely involved in the College’s key partnerships with Hong Kong University and the National University of Singapore, with both of which a joint degree may be taken, and also with Renmin University of China, which will allow possible research exchanges for postgraduate students. 

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Key information

Duration Expected to be MPhil two years FT, three years PT. PhD three years FT, four-six years PT. Normal start date September but students may commence at other times by arrangement.

Study mode Full-time,Part-time

Awarding institution King's College London/King's and HKU or NUS for joint programme

Faculty Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy

Department Lau China Institute


Entry requirements

Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.

General entry advice

Master's degree (or overseas equivalent) or, in exceptional circumstances only, a Bachelor's degree with 1st class or high 2:1 honours (or overseas equivalent).

Application procedure

Before applying, please visit the pages Further Information for Research Applicants and read carefully the information about our research interests, making sure that your research topic falls within one of these areas. You are welcome to contact a potential supervisor directly to discuss your research topic, and we also encourage you to contact the China Institute PhD admissions tutor with a draft research proposal before submitting a complete application through the online system. The Admissions Tutor will advise whether your research can, in principle, be carried out with us.

Our Further Information for Research Applicants pages also include details of our requirements for your final complete research proposal.

Admission for intending PhD students will initially be for the MPhil but students are expected to transfer to the PhD proper by the end of the first year, and no later than the end of the second year, on the recommendation of the departmental graduate upgrading panel.

September, January, April and July start dates are available. Applicants are however strongly encouraged to start their degree at beginning of the academic year in September, when the College offers a full induction programme.

Personal statement and supporting information

For information on the Research Proposal and CV that need to be submitted, see

Course intake

No set number.

Joint PhDs - Application advice

Applicants for the Joint PhD programme must contact the relevant departments at both universities before submitting an application in order to discuss the suitability of their topic for the joint programme and to locate potential supervisors. Applications should initially be submitted to the proposed home institution only, ie where the student will start and finish their programme. Students should note that acceptance onto the programme may take slightly longer than for single-institution PhDs because of the additional steps involved. Further details, including FAQs, can be found on the King’s Worldwide web pages.

Applicants who choose King’s as their home institution should apply through the online system, selecting the appropriate Joint PhD option from the drop-down list. In addition to the standard supporting documentation, applicants should submit a Travel Plan form indicating how they intend to divide their time between the two partner institutions. Students must spend a specified amount of time in each institution, details of which can be found in the ‘Notes’ section of the Travel Plan form.

It is recommended that students submit applications for the Joint PhD programme by the end of March to begin the following September.

Application closing date

There is no specific deadline for applications. Applications will be considered subject to the availability of places, thus we encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible. Please note funding applications may be subject to specific deadlines.


Course detail


We offer a 2 year full-time or 3 year part-time MPhil, and a 3 year full-time or 4-6 year part-time PhD, with some students registering first for the MPhil and transferring to the PhD programme after their first year. This is a prolonged research programme culminating in the presentation of a thesis, followed by an oral examination (viva voce). The thesis must form a distinct contribution to the knowledge of the subject and afford evidence of originality, shown either by the discovery of new facts or by the exercise of independent critical power.

Staff Research Interests
Our staff research interests, and areas of PhD supervision, include Chinese politics and development, China's international relations and foreign policy, Chinese entrepreneurship and business in the global market, the social anthropology of China, and contemporary Chinese popular culture. [Further details]

Joint PhD programme
Exciting opportunities are available to undertake a joint PhD programme either with Hong Kong University (through the Faculty of Arts) or with the National University of Singapore (through the Department of Political Science).

Course study environment

The King's China Institute offers a unique and exciting environment for the in-depth study of China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. The Institute is able to draw on academic expertise in a range of disciplinary departments across the College, and supervision may be provided from within the Institute or jointly with other staff of the College.

The College libraries, the British Library and a divesity of China-focussed institutions and organisations in London make the city a resource centre for Chinese Studies which is unparalleled in Europe. Students taking the joint degree in Hong Kong or Singapore benefit from study in a Chinese-speaking environment and from excellent academic and archival resources.

Our PhD students have formed a China Study Group ( which meets regularly at King's and includes research students from other universities in London.

Postgraduate training

We offer a series of dedicated seminars on PhD study at the start of each academic year focussing on issues such as planning your research and conducting fieldwork. Students can also participate in the induction and training programmes offered by the College. The China Institute hosts frequent research seminars with speakers from around the world. Where relevant, research students can also audit MSc-level lectures in the China Institute and in other departments.

Joint PhDs - Benefits of collaboration

Research in both London and either Singapore or Hong Kong allows contact with a wider range of perspectives, scholarly methods and research resources.

Joint PhDs - Subjects/specialisms available for joint study

  • Chinese History and Literature (HKU)

  • Political Science (NUS)

Head of group/division

Dr Jennifer Altehenger

Contact for information

Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office
tel: +44 (0)20 7848 7429
fax: +44 (0)20 7848 7200

Contact email

Course website

Career prospects

Career destinations

While many graduates may go on to a university-based academic career, others may pursue careers in both the public and private sectors.


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Fees and funding

Full time tuition fees - Home/EU
£4,600 (2016)

Full time tuition fees - Overseas 
£17,000 (2016)

Part time tuition fees - Home/EU
£2,300 (2016)

Part time tuition fees - Overseas
£8,500 (2016)

Please visit our web pages on fees and funding for more information.


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