Master of Social Sciences in the field of Psychology

The Department of Psychology has offered a highly sought-after Postgraduate Certificate in Psychology programme since 1978.  To build on this success, we are pleased to offer the Master of Social Sciences in the field of Psychology programme starting in the academic year 2015/16 (to replace the Postgraduate Certificate in Psychology).  The programme is designed to:

a)  provide university graduates in fields other than psychology with an opportunity to acquire solid foundation in psychology with a strong understanding of psychology theories and research methods, and an ability to apply them in real life;

b) bring students to a level where they are eligible to apply for graduate membership of the Hong Kong Psychological Society and the British Psychological Society, and become eligible to apply for programmes leading to the degrees of MSocSc in Clinical Psychology and in Educational Psychology, as well as the research postgraduate degrees in psychology; and

c)  help students develop research competence in psychology, preparing them well for advanced professional training and a career in psychology and related fields.

The Department of Psychology offers a postgraduate programme leading to the degree of Master of Social Sciences in the field of Psychology.  The curriculum is primarily designed for candidates with a bachelor degree in a discipline other than psychology. The medium of instruction of this programme is English.

Curriculum

1. The curriculum shall normatively be one academic year for full-time study and two academic years for part-time study. The minimum and maximum periods of registration are respectively one and two academic years for full-time study, and two and three academic years for part-time study.

2. Candidates are required to complete eight courses and a dissertation as listed below:

Research methods and core psychology courses
PSYC7301 Introduction to research methods in psychology (6 credits)
PSYC7302 Research and quantitative methods in psychology (6 credits)
PSYC7303 Biological psychology (6 credits)
PSYC7304 Cognitive psychology (6 credits)
PSYC7305 Developmental psychology (6 credits)
PSYC7306 Personality psychology (6 credits)
PSYC7307 Social psychology (6 credits)
PSYC7309 Abnormal Psychology (6 credits)

Research dissertation
PSYC7308    Dissertation in psychology (12 credits)

3. Full-time candidates are required to take four courses in each of the 1st semester and 2nd semester, in addition to a full-year dissertation course.  Part-time candidates are required to take five courses in the 1st year and, in addition to the dissertation course, three courses in the 2nd year of study.  Any variations from this pattern are subject to the approval of the Programme Director.

4. For the research methods and core psychology courses, candidates are required to participate in the problem-based inquiry for each course.  In preparation, they should complete the required assigned readings and are encouraged to engage in self-directed learning by reading additional self-selected relevant materials.

5. In addition to the eight courses, each candidate is required to write a dissertation on an approved topic under the supervision of a faculty member in his/her final year of study.  The dissertation shall be presented not later than June 30 of the final academic year of study.

6. Students who had taken similar courses at the postgraduate level within the last three years may apply for course exemption (except for the dissertation). If approved, they are required to take one of the postgraduate seminar courses (PSYC7021, PSYC7022, PSYC7023, PSYC6025) in lieu of each exempted course.

Course Descriptions

PSYC7301.    Introduction to research methods in psychology (6 credits)
This course adopts a practical approach to teaching the analytical aspects of research techniques in psychology.  It is designed to provide students with the basic background in research design and data analysis.  The logic of statistical inference and scientific explanation, the merits and limitations of quantitative approaches to the study of psychological phenomena, and research ethics will be discussed.

Assessment:  100% coursework.
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PSYC7302.    Research and quantitative methods in psychology (6 credits)
This course is designed to extend students’ quantitative and research skills so that they are prepared to conduct their own independent empirical research.  It will build on what students already learned in PSYC7301 to cover more advanced quantitative methods commonly used in Psychology.

Assessment:  100% coursework.

Prerequisites:  PSYC7301.
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PSYC7303.    Biological psychology (6 credits)
This course provides an introduction to biological aspects of behaviour.  The topics include: biological bases of behaviour, development, learning, memory, and abnormal psychology; the nervous system; processes of brain maturation; psychophysiology.

Assessment:  100% coursework.
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PSYC7304.    Cognitive psychology (6 credits)
This course covers how humans learn to deal with information from the environment in everyday life.  Topics include various aspects of perception, attention, memory, and language, and thinking.  Students will be involved in conducting experiments on cognitive functioning as part of the coursework.

Assessment:  100% coursework.
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PSYC7305.    Developmental psychology (6 credits)
This course covers current issues in developmental psychology and their applied implications.  Students will actively solve problems and conduct mini projects related to selected topics in human development.  There will be an emphasis on understanding basic concepts and theories of human development, research methodology and issues in developmental change, as well as biological, environmental and cognitive influences on development.

Assessment:  100% coursework.
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PSYC7306.    Personality psychology (6 credits)
This course will critically examine a number of theories.  The relationship of specific theories to practical applications, personality assessment and psychotherapeutic techniques may be included.  The major aims of the course are to provide a survey of the breath and complexity of this field and to provide a perspective from which to examine assumptions about human nature and the evaluation of behaviour.

Assessment:  100% coursework.
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PSYC7307.    Social psychology (6 credits)
This course gives an overview of the field which studies the behaviour of individuals in social contexts.  It covers topics in social thinking (e.g., social perception, social judgement, relationship between attitude and behaviour), social influence (e.g., cultural influence, conformity and obedience, persuasion, and group dynamics), and social relations (e.g., prejudice, aggression, interpersonal attraction, and altruistic behaviour).  Current research issues in social psychology will form part of the discussion, and students will be guided to apply the knowledge in real-life situations.

Assessment:  100% coursework.
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PSYC7309.      Abnormal psychology (6 credits)
This course provides an introduction to the modern concepts of psychopathology.  It covers topics on the core features, conceptualization, and treatment of major groups of mental disorders.  Relevance in everyday life, cultural issues and ethical dilemmas will form part of the discussion.

Assessment:  100% coursework.
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PSYC7308.       Dissertation in psychology (12 credits)
A candidate should conduct an independent empirical investigation of a psychological problem under the supervision of a faculty member.  A successful dissertation should represent the result of the candidate’s research which displays some originality and demonstrates a sound understanding of the field of study and the appropriate research methods.  The dissertation should be about 8,000 to 10,000 in length (excluding tables, figures, bibliographies, and appendices).  The title of the dissertation shall be submitted for approval not later than March 31 of the final academic year of study, and the dissertation shall be presented not later than June 30 of the final academic year of study. Candidates shall submit a statement that the dissertation represents their own work undertaken after registration as candidates for the degree.

Assessment:  100% coursework.
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1)     To be eligible for admission to the programme, a candidate shall

(a)   hold a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution (in a discipline other than psychology and without completion of any other programme in psychology which is designed to bring the degree holder up to the standard of a graduate majoring in psychology);

(b)   preferably have more than one year work experience;

(c)   satisfy the examiners in the qualifying examination and interview if shortlisted; and

(d)   comply with the regulations for the degree of Master of Social Sciences.

2)    The University’s English language requirements are as follows:

Applicants with qualifications from a university or comparable institution OUTSIDE Hong Kong where the language of teaching or examination is NOT English are required to obtain:

(a)   a score of 550 or above (paper-based test) or 80 or above (internet-based test) in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL); or

(b)   a minimum overall band of 6 with no subtest lower than 5.5 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS); or

(c)   grade C or above in either the Overseas General Certificate of Education, the International General Certificate of Secondary Education, or the Cambridge Test of Proficiency in English Language

TOEFL applicants should request the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to send an official score report to the University (TOEFL code 9671) direct.

The scores are valid for 2 years.

  • One year full-time   OR   Two years part-time
  • For each core course, students have to attend a 2-3 hours’ weekly class. Classes are offered primarily in the weekday afternoons. No classes are offered in evenings or weekends. Please visit here for the timetable of current academic year.

Full-time (one year):  HK$135,000

Part-time (two years): HK$70,000 per academic year

(the above tuition fee is for 2020/21; the fee for 2021/22 is subject to change)

Financial assistance is available for full-time postgraduate students.  Enquiries should be made to the Working Family and Student Financial Assistance Agency ( http://www.wfsfaa.gov.hk/sfo/en/index.htm ) or HKU scholarships opportunities (http://www.scholarships.hku.hk/Pages/info ).

Application

The next class will commence the study in September 2021.  Applications can be made online at http://www.aal.hku.hk/tpg from end of 2020 to early 2021 (application details will be announced in due course).

Programme information, regulations and syllabuses can also be obtained from this website.  For application procedure and technical difficulties in completing the on-line application form, please contact the Academic Services Office at tpgadmissions@hku.hk

Applicants are required to upload the supporting documents in the following sequence during the online application:

  • Complete official transcript of undergraduate studies (including studies undertaken in HKU)
  • Graduate certificate of undergraduate studies [Mainland China applicants should also provide “學士學位證書”]
  • Complete official transcript of postgraduate studies, if any
  • Graduate certificate of postgraduate studies, if any
  • TOEFL / IELTS / Overseas GCE / IGCSE / Cambridge Test of Proficiency in English Language official score report.  [only required from those applicants with qualifications from institutions outside Hong Kong where the language of teaching or examination is not English]

NOTES:

 [Transcripts, diplomas, certificates and other submitted documents which are not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation in English.  Certified translation may be provided by your home institution.]

Each applicant is required to request two referees to write a confidential report. The referees should send the report directly to Department of Psychology by either of the following methods:

  1. email (preferable) to mpsyc@hku.hk (please sign and scan the report in PDF file), or
  2. mail (in a sealed envelope) to the Programme Director, Master of Social Sciences (Psychology), Department of Psychology, 6/F, The Jockey Club Tower, Centennial Campus, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the referees’ reports reach the University by the closing date of applications. (Please find the Word file of the referee’s report here )

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to take a qualifying examination to be held in March 2021. On the day of qualifying examination, shortlisted applicants are required to submit originals or certified true copies of the supporting documents, i.e. copies of the documents that have been duly declared as true copies before a notary public (e.g. a Commissioner for Oaths at a District Office in Hong Kong https://www.had.gov.hk/en/public_services/public_enquiry_services/faq.htm).  Please note that all original copies will NOT be returned.  Photocopies and scanned copies are NOT accepted.

If you are an overseas applicant, the copies of documents can be certified by the appropriate officials of your home institution.

For further information about programme admissions, please read through the materials in the below hyperlinks which are also available for viewing at the homepage of Taught Postgraduate Admissions of The University of Hong Kong.

(the above materials are information for 2019/20 application and will be updated soon)

Qualifying Examination

Shortlisted applicants will be asked to take a qualifying examination.  The qualifying examination will be held in March 2021.

There will be multiple choice questions testing the basic concepts of psychology in the qualifying examination.  You may find the reference here: https://saylordotorg.github.io/text_introduction-to-psychology/

1)  Do I need to take IETLS or TOFEL?

According to the University’s English language requirements, applicants with qualifications from a university or comparable institution OUTSIDE Hong Kong where the language of teaching or examination is not English are required to obtain:

(a) a score of 550 or above (paper-based test) or 80 or above (internet-based test) in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL); or

(b) a minimum overall band of 6 with no subtest lower than 5.5 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS); or

(c) grade C or above in either the Overseas General Certificate of Education, the International General Certificate of Secondary Education, or the Cambridge Test of Proficiency in English Language

The scores are valid for 2 years.


2) Do you require psychology related work experience?

It is preferable to have more than one year work experience, but not necessarily psychology related.


3) When and how can I apply for this programme?

Online applications for September intake can be submitted at http://www.als.hku.hk/admission/tpg during the application period from December to January of the following year.  Classes commence in early September.


4)  Can I take the MSocSc (Psychology) and another part-time Master programme at HKU at the same time?

Concurrent registration by a student of the University for any other postsecondary qualification either at this University or at any educational institution is not permitted, unless the approval of the Senate has been obtained in advance.


5)  What is the class schedule of full-time and part-time study?

All our classes are held in weekday afternoons, in which full-time takes 4 days a week while part-time takes 2-3 days a week (mostly from 3:30pm to 6:30pm).  No classes are offered in evenings or weekends.

Information Seminar for September 2020 entry was held in December 2019.

Date: 7 December 2019 (Saturday)
Time: 10am – 11:30am
Venue:  Professor and Mrs Enoch Young Lecture Theatre (Rm 204), Admiralty Learning Centre, HKU SPACE, 18 Harcourt Road, Admiralty, Hong Kong

Please click here for more information in the Information Seminar.

Please click here for more information.

Application procedure and admission-related enquiries:

Ms. Rosita TAM (Tel: (852) 3917 2375; Email: mpsyc@hku.hk)
Ms. Janice WANG (Tel: (852) 3917 7122; Email: mpsyc@hku.hk)

Programme and professional-related enquires:

Prof. Tatia Mei-chun LEE, Director of the Master of Social Sciences in the field of Psychology programme (Email: tmclee@hku.hk)

HKU Psychology