Research Postgraduate

Excellent Research Grants Record

As one of the core departments of Faculty of Social Sciences in HKU, we play a very active role in supporting research initiatives launched by the University and the Faculty. We are not just working on research projects but also on consultancy projects designed to promote knowledge exchange and community development. In the last few decades, the SWSA Department has brought large amounts of funding from numerous successful grant applications through major funding sources such as government bodies, agencies and foundations. For example, the Department’s poverty research is supported by the Chief Executive Community Project; the Enable Project is supported by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust; the Optimus Study on Child Protection in China is supported by the UBS Optimus Foundation. We have also conducted numerous consultancy projects for the Elderly Commission, the Housing Society, the Central Policy Unit, Social Welfare Department, Labour and Welfare Bureau and other Hong Kong governmental agencies. Professor Cecilia Chan and Professor Paul Yip also received Outstanding Research Student Supervisor Awards in 2011 and 2009.

We have initiated a new way of financing the research post-graduate programme that combines University funding with department funding and contributions from the supervisor’s funding which has made it possible for us to increase our intake and encourage all our colleagues to recruit good students who can help develop new research areas, thereby strengthening our research clusters. The positive outcome has encouraged us to become one of the most productive units of the university who have adopted this funding mode in line with the direction of the Graduate School.

Highlights of our RPg programme

  • We have become the biggest research post-graduate programme in the Faculty with 90 students in 2018 as well as one of the best in the university in terms of student completion rate.
  • Our students have excellent research output. In 2018, for example, we have published 20 journal papers in various journals including Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders and Ageing and Society. These journals are known as some of the best journals in the field.
  • We are strong in China studies and have a big group of research students working on China studies focusing on aging and gerontology; child abuse and child welfare; family and youth; social and health policy; gender and sexuality; migration and integration.
  • On top of the scholarships provided by the University, we have additional scholarships and awards for our research students including: Mrs. Li Ka Shing Postgraduate Scholarships; HKU COA JMK Dementia care scholarship; Tang Kwong Leung Social Work Thesis Prize; Lee Heiman Memorial Book Prize.
  • Our RPgs have also gotten many awards and fellowships during their studies including for example, Outstanding Second Career Award organized by Lion Rock Junior Chamber and Tung Wah Groups of Hospital; Outstanding Investigator Award organised by International Alzheimer’s Disease Conference and the Junior Fulbright Awards.
  • Our RPgs are now teaching at various universities in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and the US such as Fudan University, Carlton University, Renmin University, East China Normal University and University of South California.
  • We have introduced advanced quantitative and qualitative research courses into the department including SOWK7006 Research Seminars for RPG Students and SOWK7007 Social Work Research and Applied Social Science Research Methods: Theory and Applications.
  • We have research post-graduate seminars for the substantiating candidature to encourage theoretical and critical thinking. Students have to present their studies to a panel of teachers and receive feedback from discussants. The best presenters would be awarded by Lee Hei Man Memorial Book Prize.
  • We have also put in place an international posting programme for Research postgraduates held yearly at the Faculty and our research students are given the opportunity to present their work to fellow students and experts in the Faculty every year at the Research Postgraduate Conference. The best presenters for each panel will also be given an award.
  • We have on-going exchange programmes with different universities in the world including Kings London College; Smith College and University of Pennsylvania.
  • We have also trained up our RPgs to be teachers well equipped with teaching methodologies. Students are given the opportunity to give lectures and conduct tutorials for different level of courses to prepare them in planning for future career development.
  • We have edited the first case book to introduce Problem-based Learning to China “A casebook for social work education in China” Published by the China: Trust and Wisdom Press & Shanghai People's Publishing House. Ten RPgs were trained to design the curriculum and learn new teaching methods with the aim to introduce new pedagogical approaches to China.