MPhil in Urban Governance and Design


Program Description

By 2050, two out of every three people are likely to be living in cities or other urban centers, and most of the increase is expected to be highly-concentrated in a handful of countries, including China. Rapid urbanization and growth of cities call for high-quality public services and effective governance to make urban places more livable. The study of cities becomes an increasingly cross-disciplinary enterprise. The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) Program in Urban Governance and Design employs cross-disciplinary perspectives to analyze the data on cities from different sources (including population census, surveys, administrative, and big data) to address critical issues in contemporary urban governance and design.

The MPhil program aims to train students to conduct independent research in urban governance. An MPhil graduate is expected to acquire cross-disciplinary knowledge of cities and employ quantitative skills to integrate and analyze the data from different sources, to write research reports addressing the various audience in academia, think tanks, government, or industry, and to contribute to urban governance and design in practice.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the MPhil program, graduates will be able to:

  1. Identify and synthesize current research on cities, especially those in the Chinese context;
  2. Compare and contrast state-of-the-art knowledge in urban science and relevant referenced disciplines (e.g., data science, demography, economics, geography, public administration, and sociology), and apply such knowledge to drive research, practice, and innovation in the field;
  3. Analyze, design, and execute the research by utilizing proper research methodologies; and
  4. Communicate the developed knowledge and research on cities with the academic and practitioners’ community.

Admission requirements

To qualify for admission, applicants must meet all of the following requirements. Admission is selective and meeting these minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.

i. General Admission Requirements of the University

  • Applicants seeking admission to a master's degree program should have obtained a bachelor’s degree from a recognized institution, or an approved equivalent qualification;
  • Applicants seeking admission to a doctoral degree program should have obtained a bachelor’s degree with a proven record of outstanding performance from a recognized institution; or presented evidence of satisfactory work at the postgraduate level on a full-time basis for at least one year, or on a part-time basis for at least two years.

ii. English Language Admission Requirements

Applicants have to fulfill English Language requirements with one of the following proficiency attainments:

  • TOEFL-iBT: 80*
  • TOEFL-pBT: 550
  • TOEFL-Revised paper-delivered test: 60 (total scores for Reading, Listening and Writing sections)
  • IELTS (Academic Module): Overall score: 6.5 and All sub-score: 5.5

* refers to the total score in one single attempt

Applicants are not required to present TOEFL or IELTS score if:

  • their first language is English, or
  • they obtained the bachelor's degree (or equivalent) from an institution where the medium of instruction was English.

This program is for HKUST(Guangzhou) Pilot Scheme Admission.

For more program information, please refer to

Last updated Oct 2020

About the School

Situated at the heart of Asia, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) is a young and distinguished research university in Hong Kong. Ranked No. 27 in the World in the QS World Univ ... Read More

Situated at the heart of Asia, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) is a young and distinguished research university in Hong Kong. Ranked No. 27 in the World in the QS World University Rankings (2020), HKUST offers a wide selection of research postgraduate studies in Science, Engineering, Business and Management, Humanities and Social Science, Environmental Studies, and Public Policy leading to the Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees. All programs are taught in English. Read less