Doctor of Philosophy in
Marine Environmental Science (PhD in MES)


This research-based program seeks to train students in original research in marine environmental science, and to cultivate independent and innovative thinking that is essential for a research career. A candidate for a PhD degree is expected to demonstrate mastery of knowledge in the chosen discipline, as well as to synthesize and contribute original knowledge to the discipline. Students have opportunities to work on projects that are at the cutting edge of new research initiatives.


Details about postgraduate admissions can be found at Fok Ying Tung Graduate School.

Program Requirements (For intake 2021/20 or after)

  • Minimum Credit Requirement
    • PhD: 16 credits 
      (12 credits from core and/or elective courses + 4 credits from
      OCES 6011 - PG Seminar)
  • Core Courses
    • All students must complete a minimum of 6 credits from the following core courses: 
      OCES 5001Introduction to Oceanography3 Credit(s)
      OCES 5100Biological Oceanography3 Credit(s)        
      OCES 5200Physical Oceanography3 Credit(s)
      OCES 5300Chemical Oceanography3 Credit(s)

      Students can fulfill the program minimum credit requirement by taking more than two core courses or taking the elective courses.
  • Elective Courses
    • Elective courses can be taken from:
      i. The following pre-endorsed elective courses, and/or 
      ii. Approved postgraduate courses subject to endorsement by the PG Coordinator. Only a maximum of 3 credits from this category can be counted towards the credit requirement. 
    • Pre-endorsed Elective Courses:​​​​​​​
      ENVS 5116
      Environmental Impact and Risk Assessment
      3 Credit(s)
      OCES 6012
      Special Topics in Environmental Science
      1-6 Credit(s)
      MATH 5311
      Advanced Numerical Methods I
      3 Credit(s)
      MATH 5350
      Computational Fluid Dynamics of Inviscid Flows
      3 Credit(s)
      PHYS 5110
      Mathematical Methods in Physics
      4 Credit(s)
  • Completion of PDEV 6800 Introduction to Teaching and Learning in Higher Education;
    • All full-time RPg students are required to complete PDEV 6800. The course is composed of a 10-hour training offered by the Center for Education Innovation (CEI), and session(s) of instructional delivery to be assigned by the respective departments. Upon satisfactory completion of the training conducted by CEI, MPhil students are required to give at least one 30-minute session of instructional delivery in front of a group of students for one term. PhD students are required to give at least one such session each in two different terms. The instructional delivery will be formally assessed.
  • Completion of and passing PDEV 6770 Professional Development for Research Postgraduate Students:
    • The 1 credit earned from this course cannot be counted toward the credit requirements;
    • Students who are HKUST MPhil (MES) graduates and have completed this course or other professional development courses offered by the University before may be exempted from this requirement, subject to prior approval from the School.
  • Completion of and passing OCES 6770 Professional Development in Marine Science;
    • The 1 credit earned from this course cannot be counted toward the credit requirements.
  • Completion of and passing LANG 5010 Postgraduate English for Science Studies, which should be taken in the first year of study:
    • The 1 credit earned from this course cannot be counted toward the credit requirements;
    • HKUST MPhil graduates may be considered for exemption from this requirement, subject to prior approval from the Program Director and PG Coordinator.
  • Taking and passing OCES 6011 Postgraduate Seminar whenever it is offered:
    • A maximum of 4 credits to be earned from this course;
    • Students who have taken the HKUST MPhil (MES) Program will be granted credit transfer from OCES 6011 to the PhD program, with up to 1 credit.
  • Submission of a thesis proposal to the Qualifying Examination Committee who will examine the student’s general background knowledge and knowledge related to the topic of the research proposal:
    • Students must pass the qualifying examination.
  • Registration in OCES 7990 Doctoral Thesis Research; and
  • Presentation and oral defense of the PhD thesis.

Course schedule

Program Requirements (For intake 2020/21 or before)