PhD Program

Application for graduate study at the Chinese University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (HKPFS)

The Fellowship provides an annual stipend of HK$322,800 (approximately US$41,400) and a conference and research-related travel allowance of HK$13,500 (approximately US$1,730) per year for each awardee for a period up to three years. More than 250 PhD Fellowships will be awarded in the 2019/20 academic year. While candidates' academic excellence is of primary consideration, the Selection Panels will take into account factors as follows: 1) Academic excellence; 2) Research ability and potential; 3) Communication and interpersonal skills; and 4) Leadership abilities. Candidates who are seeking admission as new full time PhD students of eight universities, including the Chinese University of Hong Kong, irrespective of their country of origin, prior work experience and ethnic background, should be eligible to apply. Deadline is December 1, 2021. Applicants can visit for more information. Besides the HKPFS, students can also apply for graduate studentship of about HK$216,300 a year for 3 to 4 years. Deadline is January 31, 2022.

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) as an excellent academic institution

CUHK is a forward-looking comprehensive research university with a global vision and a mission to combine tradition with modernity, and to bring together China and the West. CUHK teachers and students hail from all around the world. CUHK graduates are connected worldwide through an extensive alumni network. As a top university in Hong Kong and Asia, CUHK aims to nurture students with both specialized knowledge and wisdom for life. The education experience here is distinguished by a flexible credit 

unit system, a college system, bilingualism and multiculturalism. Our eight Faculties offer a wide array of excellent undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. The University's insistence on the highest standards of research has won it an enviable research reputation. Hong Kong's University Grants Committee (UGC) provides preferential grant funding to the local tertiary institutions to conduct research into 18 selected Areas of Excellence (AoEs). Seven of these AoEs are being led by researchers from CUHK. The University houses five state key laboratories which are entrusted by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China to

produce research of international quality and carry out important national research tasks. The University also has an excellent record of published research, both in discipline-specific journals and in more high-profile publications such as Science, Nature, and The Lancet. CUHK has excellent international standing. Its QS World University Rankings 2021/2022 is 39, and Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021/2022 is 49. CUHK website:

JC School of Public Health and Primary Care (JCSPHPC)

The School has the mission of improving health of populations locally, nationally and internationally. It is the first institution in Hong Kong to provide comprehensive and interdisciplinary education, training, consultation, and research in public health and primary care. Our divisions of Behavioral Health and Health Promotion, Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Family Medicine and Primary Health Care, Infectious Diseases, Occupational and Environmental Health, Health System, Policy and Management are comprehensive and have gained international reputations. We focus on developing research and teaching not only in Hong Kong but also in the mainland and the region. We collaborate with many top international and mainland universities, and work very closely with various communities and international organizations. Our publications excel in quantity and quality. Link:

Division of Behavioral Health and Health Promotion of JCSPHPC, CUHK

The division’s vision is to strengthen population health through development of interdisciplinary behavioral health in the region. Our colleagues are truly interdisciplinary, and our adjunct staff includes experts of top international universities. Its strategic research areas include HIV and sexual health, addiction (Internet addiction, substance use, smoking and alcohol use), behavioral prevention of non-communicable diseases (health-related behaviors physical activity, caregiver research, adherence, diet, and cancer prevention), obesity, ageing-related behaviors, social media and health, mental health in diseased groups and promotion, vaccination, and bio-ethics research. It spans from evidence building to implementation science. We provide state-of-the-art training on behavioral health, psychological behavioral theories, health promotion, and social marketing. We provide local and internal consultancies to the government, World Health Organization and Chinese Academy of Sciences, and collaborate with vulnerable communities, local and international non-governmental organizations, and top universities overseas and in the mainland China. We are well supported by the Centre for Health Education and Health Promotion and the Centre for Health Behaviours Research.

About Professor Joseph Lau and his team

Professor Lau ( is currently Professor and Head of the Division of Behavioral Health and Health Promotion, and the Director of the Centre for Health Behaviors Research of the JCSPHPC, CUHK. He was a recipient of the Yale in China Scholarship, the CUHK-University of California Reciprocity Scholarship, the Hewlett Packlett Fellowship, and the Population Council Fellowship of the United States. He is an internationally known expert in behavioral health, and the Founding President of the Hong Kong Society of Behavioral Health. He is also adjunct professor of top universities in mainland China such as Peking Union Medical College, Sun Yat Sen University and Central South University, and overseas expert of the China National Academy of Sciences. He is serving as an assistant editor of the Addiction journal (ranked first in its field) and an editorial board member of seven international scientific journals. He has authored over 400 papers published in international peer-reviewed journals, including those of Lancet and BMJ,  and has been awarded over 60 grants as Principal Investigator and over 40 grants as Co-investigator. He has offered consultancy to WHO and countries such as Cambodia. Link:


Other members of the Division include Prof Phoenix MO (, Prof Nelson YEUNG (, Prof Johnson WANG (, and Prof Xue YANG (, Dr. Yanqiu Yu ( and Dr Sherui ( . They have interdisciplinary background.  


Students interested in pursuing their PhD student with members of the Division of Behavioral Health and Health Promotion may contact Professor Joseph Lau or other members for enquiries, and may specify their interest to study in the area of behavioral health and health promotion in their application.

Sharing from Professor Joseph Lau’s recent PhD graduates

Dr. Jing GU (Graduate Year:2008)

Associate Professor, School of Public Health, Sun Yat-sen University

(Visiting Scholar, Washington University, year 2013-2014)


“My time at CUHK was a life-changing experience. During the three years, I not only learnt how to conduct research, I also expanded my way of thinking about the world.”


(4 SCI papers published out of her thesis)

Dr. Xiaoyou SU (Graduate Year: 2010)

Associate Professor, School of Public Health, Peking Union Medical College

(Visiting Scholar, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Faculty of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, 2016)


“To study in the School of Public Health, CUHK is my lifetime wealth, I gained professional knowledge and benefited from a culturally diverse environment.”

(4 SCI papers published out of her thesis)

Dr. Lancelot MUI (Graduate Year: 2010)

Lecturer, JC School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong


“Distinguished faculty, excellent international exposure, with a dedication to make the world a better place. I believe I’ve made the right choice to pursue my PhD at the JCSPHPC.”

Dr. Chun HAO (Graduate Year: 2011)

Associate Professor, School of Public Health, Sun Yat-sen University; Sun Yat-sen Global Health Institute, Institute of State Governance, Sun Yat-sen University

(Global Scholarship Programme for Research Excellence – CNOOC Grants  to visit Oxford University in 2010; post-doctorate fellow at Harvard University in 2012-2013)


“I very much cherish my study experience with this team at CUHK. What I learned here is very helpful to my current career as a teacher and a researcher. I wish I could have learned more from this team if time could be turned back.”


(4 SCI papers published out of her thesis)

Dr. Haochu LI (Graduate Year: 2012)
Early Career Researcher, UNC Project-China

(Global Scholarship Programme for Research Excellence – CNOOC Grants to visit Brown University in 2011; post-doctorate fellow at Wayne State University in 2014)

“I am so pleased to catch a global trend of interdisciplinary study in public health when I was doing my PhD in CUHK, where I got chances to learn from anthropologists, epidemiologists, psychologists, social workers, and medical doctors.”

(3 SCI papers published out of his thesis)

Dr. Xiaobing WU (Graduate Year: 2012)

Associate Chief Physician, Shenzhen Center for Chronic Disease Control and Prevention


“Studying in Hong Kong was interesting and academically stimulating. I got great advices and support from my supervisor and colleagues. I learn about how to think and solve problems which has great effects on my current work in mainland China, when I am designing and implementing public health programs.”


(2 SCI papers published out of her thesis)

Dr. Zixin WANG (Graduate Year: 2013)
Research Assistant Professor, JC School of Public Health, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

(Global Scholarship Programme for Research Excellence – CNOOC Grants to visit Yale University in 2012; Best Thesis Award, JCSPHPC, 2013; Early Career Award by the International Society of Behavioral Medicine, 2016)

“My PhD study in the CUHK allowed me to enter the area of interdisciplinary study in HIV/AIDS, where I can work with researchers from multi-disciplines and the LGBT community to improve their well-beings.”


(3 SCI papers published out of his thesis)

Dr. Chunrong LI (Graduate Year: 2014)

Associate Chief Physician,  Chengdu Women’s and Children’s Central Hospital


“That is the hardest and the most wonderful experience in my life during study in CUHK.


(1 SCI papers published out of her thesis)

Dr. Jinghua LI (Graduate Year: 2015)

Associate Professor, School of Public Health, Sun Yat-sen University

(Global Scholarship Programme for Research Excellence – CNOOC Grants to visit Brown University in 2014)


“Study in CUHK is a grateful, valuable and fruitful journey for me. Professors and colleagues are always kind and close to me. I also got the opportunity to exchange at Brown University for three months. PhD training broadened my knowledge and academic networking, which helped me to prepare for my future research career.”


(2 SCI papers published out of her thesis)

Dr. Jibin LI (Graduate Year: 2016)

Assistant Researcher, Department of Clinical Research, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center


“My time in CUHK​ was a very impressive and valuable experience in my life. It ​was like a marathon that was full of challenges, frustrations, expectations, and excitement. During the study period, I learnt how to overcome frustration​s​ ​with a peaceful mind, how to think ​about ​questions critically and thoroughly, and how to conduct high-quality research. All of these ​​will be valuable ​for my career development and whole life.”


(3 SCI papers published out of his thesis)

Dr. Wangnan CAO (Graduate Year: 2017)

Post-doctoral Fellow, Faculty of Dentistry, The University of Hong Kong

(2015 Scholarship under the Ph.D. Student Exchange Program to visit Karolinska Institutet; 2016 Best Poster Award at the Conference of INFECTION 2016 (13th Annual Scientific Meeting of CEID))

“My PhD study in CUHK has been a wonderful journey full of challenges and expectations. I am motivated by my supervisors’ wisdom and passion for scientific research. They help me considerably with critical thinking and academic writing, which benefit my future research career.”

Dr. Xueying YANG (Graduate Year: 2018)

(2015 The College Prize for Poster Presentation at the 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting, Hong Kong College of Community Medicine)

"I am very grateful to have lots of brilliant, excellent and great people around me during my 3-year PhD study in CUHK. My supervisors inspired me a lot and motivated me to become a critical thinker and better writer, which benefits me a lot for both my life and study."

Dr. She RUI (Graduate Year: 2019)

Post-doctoral Fellow, Centre for Health Behaviours Research , The Chinese University of Hong Kong

(2018 Conference grants. 15th International Congress of Behavioral Medicine; 2018 4th International Meeting of Public Health (IMOPH) for and the 2nd Young Scholar Symposium on Public Health (YSSOPH) in Universitas Indonesia)

“The study time at CUHK is a grateful, valuable, and impressive experience for me. I was highly motivated by the supervisors’ wisdom and passion for research, and many other brilliant scholars. All of these ​​will be beneficial  ​for my career and  life”

Dr. Meiqi Xin (Graduate Year: 2019)

Post-doctoral Fellow, Centre for Health Behaviours Research , The Chinese University of Hong Kong

(2019 Outstanding Abstract Award- First Prize, The Third Belt and Road Initiative Global Health International Congress & 2019 Global Health Forum of the University Alliance of the Silk Road; 2019 Delegates’ Choice Poster Prize Winner, Division of Health Psychology Annual Conference 2019, The British Psychological Society)

Dr. Yanqiu YU  (Graduate Year: 2020)

Post-doctoral Fellow, Center for Health Behaviours Research, The Chinese University of Hong Kong


“My gratitude goes to all the lovely people I met during the three years of my PhD life. I'm also highly grateful for my supervisors who guided me through this challenging journey with their passion for academic research and the wisdom of life.”

(2 SCI papers published out of her thesis)