General Regulations for Professional Doctorate Degree/Taught Postgraduate Degree/Diploma/Certificate Programmes
1. Admission, Enrolment and Registration
1.1 Admission to taught postgraduate degree programmes is subject to satisfying the admission requirements of the respective programmes (refer to the section on “Admission of Students”).
1.2 All students enrolled in the University are required to register for courses in accordance with the study schedule of their programmes in every term. Students should complete the appropriate procedures according to the official dates announced. Late registration is subject to approval of the Dean of Graduate School or his/her designate.
1.3 Students should complete an on-line tutorial on avoiding plagiarism in the first two months after commencement of studies; otherwise, they would be barred from registering for courses.
Registration of Courses
1.4 New students enrolled in their first term with the University will be registered on courses which are required by their programme of study.
1.5 Starting from the second term, students will participate in an early registration exercise for the selection of core/elective courses. Students who fail to gain admission to some courses due to limited places are required to complete the course registration during the first two weeks of classes.
1.6 Enrolment records confirming the courses registered are available to students after registration. Any inconsistencies should be reported to the Graduate School within one week.
Adding and Dropping of Courses after Registration
1.7 The adding and dropping of courses are allowed during the first two weeks of classes.
Withdrawal from Courses
1.8 Permission to withdraw from courses after the deadline for dropping courses will only be given under exceptional circumstances, such as a student is suffering from physical, personal or academic problems, or other unforeseen circumstances deemed acceptable to the Department/Programme.
1.9 Applications should be endorsed by the course instructor and submitted to the Graduate School at least four weeks before the commencement of the term examination.
Double Registration (applicable to Postgraduate Diploma in Education programme only)
1.10 Unless otherwise approved by the University, students admitted are normally not permitted to register part-time or full- time for any other qualification either at the University or at any other local institutions of higher learning. Students breaching this regulation are subject to discontinuation of their studies at the University.
2. Period of Study
2.1 Normally, part-time programmes are designed to be completed in 24 months while full-time programmes are to be completed in 12 months unless otherwise specified. With special permission, individual students may extend the programme of study for a period of not more than 12 months.
3. Unit and Study Load
3.1 All students enrolled in the University are required to register for courses to be taken on their programmes in every term.
3.2 The number of units assigned to a course is indicative of the contact time with a teacher and/or the study time associated with that course on a weekly basis over a period of one term.
3.3 In general, a single unit represents attendance once a week throughout the term at a lecture lasting 50 minutes. For slight deviation from this definition, a student should refer to the appropriate programme document.
3.4 Normally, students are required to register for all courses prescribed by programmes on a yearly basis, including elective courses. The year-by-year listings of courses to be taken on different programmes are available in the University Cyber Port System and the relevant programme document.
The unit requirements for different levels of taught postgraduate programmes are as below:
- a minimum of 48 units for taught doctorate degree level programmes;
- a minimum of 27 units for taught master's degree level programmes;
- a minimum of 18 units for taught postgraduate diploma level programmes; and
- no minimum unit requirement for taught postgraduate certificate level programmes.
Each programme may deviate slightly from this norm. Study load on part-time basis normally ranges from 6 to 9 units per term while the number of units is about double for full-time studies.
Unless otherwise specified in the approved study plan, a student should not register for more than 9 units (part-time basis) or 18 units (full-time basis) in a term. Students who wish to register for more than the specified units in a term must obtain recommendation from the respective Department Heads/Programme Directors and approval from the Dean of the Graduate School or his/her designate during the course add/drop period.
4.1 Students are expected to attend all scheduled classes for which they have registered and observe any other attendance requirement(s) as specified by their study programme. If absence is due to conditions beyond their control and they wish to establish that fact in order to justify make-up work (e.g. papers, assignments), a written explanation together with supporting documents must be presented to the course instructor for approval within five days after the absence.
4.2 Classes will be suspended in the event of typhoon or bad weather. Normally, classes will be cancelled upon hoisting of Typhoon Signal No. 8 or above or Black Rainstorm Warning Signal. Students should take note of the “Arrangement of Classes During Typhoon Signal No. 8 or Black Rainstorm Warning Signal” which can be found on the Graduate School web page.
5.1 Students on the postgraduate degree/diploma/certificate programmes are assessed by examinations and coursework
5.2 A student who is found to have committed an act of academic dishonesty such as plagiarism, submission of material(s) for assessment which is not the student’s own work, the use of fabricated or copied data for assessment, shall receive an “F” grade for the course. In addition, the case may be referred to the Student Affairs Committee for further action.
5.3 Any student found to have committed academic dishonesty may be excluded from participating in the teaching evaluation for the course concerned.
5.4 Students should sit for all tests and examinations scheduled. A student failing to do so without official permission will be graded F for the occasion.
5.5 A term or year examination will normally be required for a course. In general, this is to be scheduled by the Academic Registry/Graduate School as a two- or three-hour closed-book written examination. For alternative arrangements, the course instructor must submit the details with the approval of the Programme Director to the Academic Registry/Graduate School for record.
5.6 Course instructors should follow the assessment method specified in the programme document.
5.7 A student who misses an examination because of extenuating circumstances such as illness, injury or other personal emergencies may apply in writing to the Graduate School for a make-up examination. Applications should be supported by relevant proofs and made within five working days after the missed examination.
5.8 If the absence is due to illness or injury, the application should include the "Form of a Medical Certificate" completed by a qualified medical practitioner certifying that the student is unfit for the examination and a medical certificate recommending the student to take sick leave on the date of the missed examination.
5.9 When students apply to the Graduate School for make- up examinations, the following situations would normally not be considered:
- elective surgery scheduled to be held on the examination day;
- attending public examinations such as TOEFL, SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc. held on the examination day; or
- having forgotten or misread the examination schedule.
5.10 If the application is approved, a make-up examination will be arranged by the Academic Registry/Graduate School within six weeks after the examination period.
5.11 The course instructor should set a new examination question paper for the make-up examination. The relevant Department/Programme will decide if the grades for the make-up examinations should be downgraded.
5.12 A student who is absent from an examination and does not apply for a make-up examination or whose application is disapproved, will receive zero mark for that examination.
6. Examination Regulations
Same as Section 5 of “General Regulations for Undergraduate Degree Programmes”.
7. Assessment Grading System
7.1 Letter grades are used to indicate the results of assessment. The number of grade points gained by a student in a particular course corresponds to the letter grade.
|Letter Grade||Academic Performance||Grade Point Per Unit|
|C- )||Marginal Pass||1.67|
|I||Incomplete||Not included in GPA
|S||Satisfactory||Not included in GPA
|U||Unsatisfactory||Not included in GPA
|W||Withdrawn||Not included in GPA
|YR||Year Grade||Not included in GPA
|NR||Not Yet Reported||Not included in GPA
Grade A (i.e. A and A-) indicates an excellent performance on all Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) and a thorough mastery of the subject matler.
Grade B (i.e. B+, B and B-) indicates a satisfactory to good performance on all ILOs and the student is competent in knowledge of the subject matter.
A student with grade F in the first term of a year course is not allowed to continue his/her studies in that course in the following term(s). Courses with grade F must be repeated.
Grade I is a temporary grade to be given only when the required work for the course has not been completed due to unavoidable reasons acceptable to the course instructor. If the work is not completed within six weeks after the official announcement of the course term grades by the Graduate School, or if the course instructor does not submit an appropriate grade by this date, the grade I will be converted to grade F. Grade I is not included in the grade point average calculation.
Grade S is used to indicate satisfactory completion of a course. It is not included in the grade point average calculation.
Grade U is used to indicate unsatisfactory performance in a course. It is not included in the grade point average calculation and is applicable only to courses approved by the Senate.
Grade W is applicable to students who have received the permission of the Graduate School to withdraw from the course after the deadline for dropping courses as stipulated in the Academic Calendar. The deadline for withdrawing from a course would normally be one month prior to the examination period for that term. Grade W is not included in the grade point average calculation.
Grade YR is a temporary grade applicable both to the first term component of a year course and to courses that span over more than one academic year or one term. The YR grade indicates that the student will be assessed at the last term of the course. The grade will be changed to the same grade that the student receives for the last term of the course, or a grade different from that of the last term. If the student drops or withdraws from the course in the last term, the YR grade will be converted to grade W, or any letter grade, depending on the student’s performance up to the end of each term preceding the last term of the course. Grade YR is not included in the grade point average calculation.
Grade NR is a temporary grade. The NR grade indicates that the grade for the course is not yet reported by the course instructor at the time the term grade report is prepared. Grade NR is not included in the grade point average calculation. The conversion of NR grade to a normal letter grade should be made within six weeks after the announcement of course grades.
Grade Point Average (GPA)
7.2 The Grade Point Average (GPA) is an important indicator of the academic standing of a student. It is obtained by adding all the grade points gained and then dividing the sum by the total number of units attempted.
7.3 The term GPA is calculated from all the grade points gained and the number of units attempted in a given term. The cumulative GPA (cGPA) is calculated from the cumulative grade points gained and the cumulative number of units attempted.
7.4 The Courses with grade F must be repeated. Students can at most repeat two such courses and each course can only be repeated once. If the course to be repeated is an elective course, it may be replaced by another course approved by the Department/ Programme.
7.5 The Notwithstanding 7.4 above, students may only repeat a maximum of three passed courses with Grade C+ or below for improvement of GPA. All courses repeated are recorded in the transcript.
7.6 The The original grades or the repeated grades, whichever are higher, will be included in the cGPA calculation.
8. Academic Results
8.1 Student’s academic results are officially recorded in the Graduate School at the conclusion of each term. Normally, a grade report will be released approximately five to six weeks after the examinations. Any inaccuracy or inconsistency should be reported within three weeks after the reports have been issued.
Unsatisfactory Academic Performance
|8.2||Academic Warning:||Applicable to students with term GPA between 2.20 and 2.49|
|Academic Probation:||Applicable to students with term GPA below 2.20|
|Academic Dismissal:||As required by the Senate when the student's term GPA is below 2.20 for two consecutive terms; or on other academic grounds.|
9. Transfer/Exemption of Units
9.1 Students may apply for exemption from certain courses in the curriculum if they have taken equivalent courses in this University or other institutions previously, but they are required to replace the exempted courses with other courses to make up for the units being exempted. However, under special circumstances, the Department Head/Programme Director may approve transfer of up to one-sixth of the total unit-requirement without the need to make up for the units exempted. Students should submit their applications for course exemption/transfer of units within two weeks of commencing their first year of studies.
9.2 The University reserves the right to refuse to grant units for courses which are not deemed to be equivalent to the University courses and for courses with grades below the equivalence of grade “B-” in the University grading system.
9.3 Students may be required to sit for proficiency test(s) or qualifying examination(s) prior to the granting of transfer units.
9.4 Units transferred from other institutions are recorded without inclusion in grade point average calculation.
9.5 On recommendation of the Department Head/Programme Director and by special approval of the Dean of Graduate School or his designate, a student may receive transfer units of up to one-half of the total unit-requirement provided that the units were obtained in a Postgraduate Diploma or Master’s Degree Programme of this University which the student had successfully completed.
10. Suspension, Withdrawal and Dismissal
10.1. Under special circumstances, a student may be permitted to suspend his/her studies on a term basis, for a period of up to 12 months. This is granted in cases of health problems, financial difficulty, urgent family affairs or job-related problems.
10.2. In all cases, supporting documents together with an explanatory letter and the recommendation from the respective Department Head/Programme Director must be submitted to the Graduate School no later than four weeks before the commencement of the term examination.
10.3. The Graduate School will inform students of the application result in three working days upon receipt of the complete application and the relevant supporting documentation. For successful applications, students will be notified of the approved period of suspension, including the start date and end date.
10.4. Upon expiration of the suspension period, the student must return to his/her studies. If the student fails to report to the Graduate School according to schedule, he/she will be classified as having unofficially withdrawn from the University.
10.5 Students intending to leave the University prior to graduation must apply for official withdrawal. A student who leaves the University without following the proper procedures will be considered as having unofficially withdrawn from the University. No official documents will be issued to such a student, and he/she will not be re-admitted under this status.
10.6 For official withdrawal, students must complete the clearance procedures at the department/programme office, Library, Office of Student Affairs, Finance Office and Graduate School. Students must settle the outstanding tuition fee and other necesssary fees before an official withdrawal status is given by the Graduate School.
10.7 Upon completion of all necessary procedures, the Graduate School will inform students in three working days of the effective date of the official withdrawal.
10.8 The University may at any time, by action of the Senate, require any student to terminate his/her studies at the University either on academic or disciplinary grounds, or on other grounds deemed as appropriate. The Senate may also dismiss a student whose conduct or general influence is considered harmful to the institution. Such a student will normally not be considered for re-admission.
11. Graduation, Awarding of Postgraduate Degree/Diploma/Certificate and Scholastic Awards
11.1 The awarding of a postgraduate degree/diploma/certificate (by coursework) is on the basis of fulfilment of the following graduation requirements and the approval of the Senate. A candidate should have:
- completed the required number of units for an approved programme of study; and
- submitted all coursework required; and
- presented a written dissertation/project approved by the Department/Programme; and/or
- satisfied the examiners in the written examination; and
- obtained a cGPA of at least 2.50.
11.2 For postgraduate programmes, a distinction may be awarded to a student who has attained an overall cGPA of 3.67 or above, with no course grade below B- and no repeated courses while a merit may be awarded to a student who has attained an overall cGPA of 3.40–3.66.
11.3 The granting of Scholastic Award shall be governed by the following criteria:
- The top graduates of the graduating class in a programme who have attained an award classification of Distinction and completed courses amounting to at least 50% of the total unit-requirements, shall be eligible for the award. The number of awards will be limited to one per every one hundred graduates in the same class.
- If the number of graduates eligible for the Scholastic Award exceeds the limit due to identical cGPA, all these graduates shall be awarded the Scholastic Award of that programme.
- The Senate reserves the right to refuse granting Scholastic Award to students who have breached the University’s standards of conduct.
11.4 Specific programme requirements for individual programmes, the study schedules and individual course descriptions are listed in the University Student Handbook.
11.5 Students who fail course(s) due to failure in the final examination of courses taken in the last term of their final year, or in courses taken in the first term (or first and/or second term) of their final year which are not offered in the last term of their final year, may be given a supplementary examination. The grade received in the supplementary examination will replace the failed grade for the course and the maximum grade given is C-.
11.6 In the event the failed courses as indicated in 11.5 do not have a final examination component, students may be given another form of assessment deemed appropriate by the Programme Director as an equivalent supplementary assessment.
11.7 An oral examination may be required for marginal/ borderline cases.
11.8 Students who do not satisfy the graduation requirements may be allowed to take course(s) during summer for making up the unit/GPA deficiency for graduation. The availability of summer study is subject to the recommendation and arrangement of the Departments/ Programmes concerned.
12. Student Enquiries and Appeals Regarding Academic Matters
12.1 Students may address queries on academic matters to the Dean of Graduate School or his/her designate, the Dean of the Faculty/School, the Programme Director, or any member of the teaching staff as relevant. The usual channel is for students to consult the course instructor when the query is about work in a particular course on a programme, the Programme Director when the matter is related to the programme as a whole, and the Dean of Graduate School or his/her designate when the query concerns academic policies and procedures. If the query has the potential to become a matter for appeal, students should submit their official enquiries in writing to the Graduate School.
Student Appeals against Course-Based Assessment
12.2 Students who wish to appeal against the result of course- based assessment should follow the following procedures:
- A student who wishes to appeal against the result of course- based assessment including examination grades should first appeal in writing to the course instructor and Programme Director concerned within three weeks after students are notified of the course grades.
- The course instructor shall review the case and report to the Programme Director, giving explanations. The student should be informed of the decision within reasonable time. Any changes in grades should be reported to the Graduate School at the same time.
- If the student is not satisfied with the decision of the re-assessment, he/she may appeal in writing to the Dean of Graduate School or his/her designate, giving full reasons in support of the appeal. The student is required to pay a fee for appeal against the academic decision.
- The Dean of Graduate School or his designate shall review the case and determine if there are grounds for re-consideration:
(i) If the Dean of Graduate School or his designate considers that there are insufficient grounds for the appeal, the appeal will not be accepted and the decision is final.
(ii) If the appeal is accepted, the Dean of Graduate School or his/her designate shall reconsider the case in consultation with the course instructor and the Programme Director to make a final decision. If deemed appropriate, the Dean of Graduate School or his/her designate may convene an Appeal Panel to review the case to make a final decision.
Student Appeals against Academic Decisions (Repeat Study and Dismissal)
12.3 Upon the recommendation of the Programme Director, the Senate may require students with poor academic results to repeat study or be dismissed from the University. A student who wishes to appeal against such academic decisions should do so in writing to the Dean of Graduate School or his/her designate and pay a fee for appeal against the academic decision before the deadline set for the completion of clearance procedures, giving full reasons in support of the appeal.
12.4 The Dean of Graduate School or his/her designate will determine if there are grounds for re-consideration:
- If it is considered that there are no grounds for the appeal, the original Senate decision requiring repeating study or dismissal will be upheld and the decision is final.
- If the appeal is accepted, an Appeal Panel will be convened to consider the case. A decision of the Appeal Panel to uphold the original Senate decision of requiring the student to repeat study or dismissal is final.
Any recommendation of the Appeal Panel to revoke Senate decision shall be subject to ratification by the Senate.
12.5 The composition of the Appeal Panel shall be as follows:
- Chairperson—Chairperson of the Taught Postgraduate Regulations Committee or in his/her absence, a senior academic to be nominated by the Dean of Graduate School or his/her designate;
- One senior academic nominated by the Chairperson of the Appeal Panel;
- Academic Registrar.
13. Definition of Professional Doctorates
13.1 The professional doctorate programmes comprise both taught component and research component, each of considerable weighting, culminating in the submission of a thesis or portfolio of works to a requisite standard. The Professional Doctorate (PD) is considered a terminal degree, equivalent to the HKBU Doctor of Philosophy, in a professional context.
13.2 The Professional Doctorate award has the following features:
- There is a considerable weighting given to a taught component: the taught component comprises an integral and key part of the programme, and the assessment of the taught component contributes directly towards the final award.
- The research component, also carrying a considerable weighting, is normally in the form of a thesis or portfolio of works which will make an original contribution to knowledge within the relevant area(s) of professional practice.
14. Mode of Study
Professional Doctorate programmes are offered in part-time, full- time or part-time/full-time mixed modes.
15. Duration of Programme of Study
15.1 The length of professional doctorate programme is normally 3-8 years for part-time, 2-5 years full time and 3-6 years for mixed mode.
15.2 Individual programme documents should specify the minimum and maximum study periods for different modes of study.
The general prerequisites for admission are:
16.1 A Master’s degree in a related discipline from a recognised university plus substantial relevant professional work experience, normally not less than 7 years;
16.2 Fulfilment of English proficiency requirement as specified in the specific programme documents;
16.3 Any additional entrance qualifications or requirements as stipulated by individual programmes.
17. Recognition of Prior Learning
17.1 Students may be given units for their prior learning through completed formal studies at doctoral level of study. Such unit transfer is limited to one-sixth of the total unit requirement from recognized higher education institutions. On recommendation by Programme Director and by special approval of the Dean of Graduate School or his/her designate, a student may transfer units of up to 50% of the taught course requirement provided that the units were obtained from doctoral programmes completed within the University. No units could be transferred to the research component of the programme. Given unit transfer is allowed, the charging system should be stipulated at accreditation and stated in programme document.
17.2 For recognition of prior learning through the returning mechanism of students with an interim award, please refer to section 22.
18. Programme Structure and Progression
18.1 The minimum unit requirement for professional doctorate programmes is 48 units. The research component should comprise at least 40% of the total units.
18.2 Candidature of students is confirmed when students have satisfactorily completed all essential taught components, submitted and successfully defended a Research Prospectus. Components such as practicum, workshops and other relevant components can be trailed to the research stage. The programme document shall spell out the details.
18.3 The student shall be required to pass all elements of the taught components at cGPA 2.67 before the thesis/portfolio of works can be submitted for examination.
Unsatisfactory Academic Performance
|18.4||Academic Warning:||Applicable to students with term GPA between 2.40 and 2.66|
|Academic Probation:||Applicable to students with term GPA below 2.40|
|Academic Dismissal:||As required by the Senate when the student's term GPA is below 2.40 for two consecutive terms; or on other academic grounds.|
19.1 All the taught courses shall be taken at the postgraduate level, with the majority at doctoral level. A maximum of 30% of the taught component can be at master’s level and no undergraduate courses shall be allowed.
19.2 The taught component should include courses on research methodologies relevant to the profession to enable smooth progression to the research stage.
19.3 The taught component may include structured courses, seminars, practicum, workshops or other forms appropriate to the nature of the profession.
19.4 The University Assessment Policy should be adopted.
20. Research Component
20.1 Format of research outputs
While the output for the research stage is normally a research thesis, depending on the nature of the profession, this could be a portfolio of research outputs or creative works with a coherent theme. Regardless of the format, the output must make an original contribution to knowledge within the discipline.
20.2 Length of Thesis
The length of thesis/portfolio of works can vary from programme to programme, having regard to the nature of the programme. Normally it should fall between 40,000 and 60,000 words.
- Each student should be assigned a Principal Supervisor, who is an academic staff from the academic unit of the University offering the programme, and a Co-supervisor, who can be an academic staff or a practitioner with relevant qualifications and professional experience.
- The appointment procedures and the role of supervisors shall follow the guidelines stated in section 7 of the Handbook for Research Postgraduate Student.
- Students will need to have successfully presented and defended their thesis or portfolio of works in order to graduate.
- The same composition of PhD examination panel applies. In case the PD programme is not offered by a department, and the Department Head is not relevant in this context, the Internal Examiners can be any academic staff in the relevant fields.
- Unless otherwise specified in this regulatory framework, the University’s normal regulations for the examination of research degree students shall apply. Where specific programme regulations demand variation from, or amendment to, these regulations, this shall be clearly stated in the definitive programme document and approved through accreditation.
21. Scheme of Award
21.1 Students will be awarded a professional doctorate degree if they have satisfied all the graduation requirements, including Senate-endorsed requirements prevailing at the time of their studies.
21.2 Where a Master’s degree as an interim award is built into the programme structure as specified in the programme document, students who, for whatever reasons, are leaving the programme and have satisfied the requisite requirements are eligible to be awarded the interim award
21.3 Students who have obtained the interim award are required to surrender the award should they wish to continue their studies afterwards within a timeframe that shall be specified in the programme document. In this circumstance, all the units earned could be recognised subject to the approval of the Programme Director who would decide whether the courses taken are still relevant.
22. Other Regulations and Requirements
22.1 The professional doctorate programmes are subject to the requirements stipulated in the General Regulations for Professional Doctorate Degree/Taught Postgraduate Degree/Diploma/Certificate Programmes and the thesis administration, the General Regulations for Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Degree unless otherwise stipulated in the regulations for Professional Doctorate Programmes. Owing to the self-financed nature of the programmes, regulations with cost implications for RPg students would not be applicable to professional doctorate programmes.
22.2 All other policies and requirements prevailing at the time of offering of the programmes should be adhered to.
22.3 Due to the different nature of and objectives of the programmes, programme-specific regulations could be developed.
23. Programme Monitoring
Since professional doctorate programmes comprise substantial taught components, they shall be kept under the purview of the Taught Postgraduate Regulations Committee