Research Postgraduate Studies

Postgraduate Research

The Centre for Applied English Studies encourages applications for full-time and part-time Ph.D or M. Phil from outstanding candidates whose research interests match those of the Centre. The Centre has special expertise in a number of areas. It is particularly strong in linguistics as applied to English language education at university level.

Possible supervisors are: Professor Ken Hyland, Dr. Peter CrosthwaiteDr. David Gardner, Dr. Ken LauDr. Cynthia Lee and Dr. Michael Yeldham.

Research interests

Our supervisors’ research interests can broadly be classified into five areas:

- autonomous learning, self-access learning

Discourse Studies
- academic and professional literacies, discourse analysis (including written and spoken; corpus approach), second language writing, writing across the curriculum

English Language Teaching
- assessment and evaluation, classroom interaction, curriculum development, task-based learning, L2 listening, pronunciation and phonology

Language Learning
- computer-assisted language learning, individual differences in language learning, learner histories, learning styles and strategies, psycholinguistics, second/third language acquisition

- code-mixing, conversation analysis, cross-cultural communication, identity construction, language contact, politeness; workplace communication; computer-mediated communication; interlanguage and intercultural pragmatics; speech acts; teaching and learning pragmatics

Postgraduate Admissions Advisor

Dr. Michael Yeldham, Fax 25473409, E-mail

Application can be made at any time of the year, although we generally advise applicants to aim for the main round deadline in early December by submitting your application before the end of November (for admission in September of the following year).

Potential applicants should contact the Postgraduate Admissions Advisor, Dr. Michael Yeldham, in the first instance, giving brief information about research interests, along with a CV which should include qualifications, university grades and any recent English test scores (IELTS, TOEFL, etc). Under no circumstances should an applicant send identical enquiries to several supervisors. This will create confusion about who should be replying to you and thus cause a delay in our response.

For further details on formal application procedures, please see the Faculty of Arts page.

For general information regarding research postgraduate admission, please see the Graduate School page.

Proposal Requirements

To apply, you will need to identify a research topic first and write a substantial research proposal with your research questions, a review of the literature, research methodology, expected findings and significance. Proposals are usually between 15 and 20 pages.

It is a policy of the University of Hong Kong to check for plagiarism in all research proposals. Please contact the Admission Advisor for further instructions on this procedure when you are ready to submit, preferably in early November, before the official submission deadline.


Four useful bibliographies are:

  1. Qualitative research (PDF)
  2. Language education in China:
    Agnes S. L. Lam
  3. English
    language education in China: Wenfeng Wang, Xuesong Gao and Jing Huang
  4. Foreign language education in China: A bibliography based on major national journals 2001-2005: David C. S. Li, Hong Kong Institute of Education; Agnes S. L. Lam, The University of Hong Kong and Peter Y. Gu, Victoria University of Wellington (PDF)

Past graduates

Gao Xuesong, Andy, From the Chinese Mainland to Hong Kong: Understanding shifts in Mainland Chinese Students’ English learning strategy use

Huang Jing, Peter, Autonomy in EFL learning and teaching in the Chinese university context: Pathways, perspectives, and possibilities

Alice Chik, How experience shapes individual differences among second language learners: A biographical study of Hong Kong learners in three age groups

Nora Hussin, Interaction from an activity theoretical perspective: Comparing learning discourse of language face-to-face, in chat and in audio conferencing in second language learning

Wang Wenfeng, Clarence,Teachers’ beliefs and practices in the implementation of a new English curriculum in China: case studies of four secondary school teachers

Lillian Wong, Innovation and change: Information technology and in-service teacher professional development

Citing Li, Chinese EFL learners’ pragmatic and discourse transfer in the discourse of L2 requests

Xiao Lei, Understanding writing strategy use from a sociocultural perspective: A multiple-case study of Chinese EFL learners of different writing abilities

Huang Kaisheng, Dick, A corpus study of Chinese EFL majors’ phraseological performance.