1) What is a statement of purpose?
The statement of purpose should state why you want to pursue a postgraduate degree in anthropology and what courses or thesis you want to complete. MPhil applicants should describe what research they hope to conduct. You are not committed to this plan, but it is important to see whether your interests match the department’s interests and staff specialties. The statement should list your strengths and why you are suitable for the project. It should not beg or request help; we do not admit students as a favor or because we like them, but because they are the strongest candidates.
2) What kind of writing samples should I send?
Many types of samples are appropriate. The goal is to show us you can write and do research. Research papers for a class, a thesis outline plus a chapter, or even published articles are fine.
3) Does the writing sample have to be in English?
The writing sample can be in English or Chinese. The Chinese University is a multilingual university (兩文三語), where courses are taught in Cantonese, English and/or Mandarin. It is not necessary to translate your paper into another language. If you are a native Chinese speaker and have a paper in English, or are a native English speaker and have a paper in Chinese, that could be a good paper to submit. The writing sample is primarily requested to show your ability to write well (clearly, logically, and analytically), so it is best to submit your best piece, whatever the language. It is also acceptable to send two items.
4) What is the difference between the MA and MPhil degrees?
The MA in Anthropology is designed for persons who have not studied anthropology before. It is all coursework; no thesis is required. It can be completed in one year of full-time study.
The MPhil degree programme is primarily for anthropology majors and for graduates with strong social science background. There is only one year of coursework, and it is mostly geared towards preparing for the thesis. It is a two year programme. Students conduct fieldwork during the summer and write during the second year.
5) How much does it cost to study for the MA?
Tuition costs HK$145,500 for one year of full-time study (for 2023-24); and the part-time tuition is HK$72,750 over two years (tentative). Currently, US$1 equals about HK$7.8. Housing is extra, and due to a shortage of dorm rooms, MA students cannot live on campus. Housing is available near campus or a short train ride away starting at about HK$5,000 per month for a room. Students can eat in one of the many canteens on campus at a reasonable cost (from HK$30 to $40 per meal).
6) Are scholarships available?
All students in the MPhil and PhD programmes receive stipends currently set at HK$18,025-$18,525 per month. They are required to work as Research Assistants or Teaching Assistants for not more than 12 hours per week.
The Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme provides a monthly stipend of HK$27,100 (approx. US$3,500) and a conference and research-related travel allowance of HK$13,600 (approx. US$1,740) per year for a maximum period of three years. For awardees with a normative study period of 4 years, CUHK will offer the award at the same level for the fourth year. For details, please refer to http://www.gs.cuhk.edu.hk/page/HongKongPhDFellowshipScheme.
7) What languages are courses taught in? Do I have to know Cantonese?
All required courses are in English, and most courses use English reading materials. Some electives in the MA programme are in Cantonese, but there are enough English language courses for students who do not know Cantonese to fulfill the requirements of the programme, though their course selection will be more limited.
8) Do I have to take TOFEL?
The Chinese University requires all students who do not have degrees from English-speaking universities to pass an English proficiency exam . The TOEFL and IELS exams are accepted. The University considers 550 to be a minimum TOEFL score (213 on the computer based test, and 79 on the internet based test ), and 6.5 on the IELS. The department considers achieving a minimum score to be important, but realizes the score is only one indicator of language ability. On the other hand, students should realize that the programme teaches anthropology and not English, and students do not have time to work on building up their language skills while studying for the MA; they must have strong English-language skills before they start the programme, so should work on this before coming to CUHK.
9) When can I get an application?
MA, MPhil and PhD Programmes online application at Graduate School homepage is available each year in September.
Applications for the MPhil and PhD Programmes are due January 31. Applications for the MA Programme are due in January 31, but the Programme will begin reviewing complete applications on a rolling basis, so students who wish to get an earlier decision are encouraged to apply early. The application, payment, and all supporting documents are due on the deadline.
10) Can I apply for January admission?
CUHK does not normally conduct a Fall Admission Exercise for January admission. There is no quota available for applicants in the MPhil and PhD programmes.
While the university regulations permit PhD applications to be submitted at any time during the year, the Department usually only accepts applications submitted by the January 31 deadline due to student quota and assessment considerations.
11) I am a final year student majoring Anthropology at CUHK and would like to apply for the MPhil programme. Do I need to submit a writing sample?
Yes. We require all candidates to submit a writing sample. Final year students who intend to apply to the M.Phil. programme in Anthropology should have completed at least a draft of their Final Year Project report by January and include it as the writing sample, so that it can be considered in the admissions process.
12) I am interested in the PhD program. Do I need to contact a potential supervisor beforehand?
We welcome communication from interested students. But please understand that our admission process is not decided by individual supervisors but instead an admissions committee. Therefore, when contacting a professor you are interested in working with, you do not need to ask whether you can join their research team, or whether they will be taking students. These questions are not relevant to our admissions process.
13) Recommended Background Readings
Please view Recommended Background Readings
14) Where can I get more information on Hong Kong and on studying at CUHK?
Here are the useful links:
Office of Student Affairs, CUHK & Brand Hong Kong.
(Last updated: 16 January 2023)