Appendices: Guidelines on MPhil Thesis Examination Committees

(Version August 2021)

​​AnchorA.   Appointment

Upon the recommendation of the Thesis Supervision Committee of the candidate being examined, the department head/program director shall appoint an MPhil Thesis Examination Committee (TEC) to examine the candidate who has expressed the intention of defending the thesis.


AnchorB.   Composition

  1. An MPhil TEC shall consist of at least three faculty members, including:
    1. A Chairperson;
    2. The thesis supervisor(s); and
    3. One other faculty member.
  2. All members of the MPhil TEC are voting examiners and must be present throughout the examination.
    For thesis examinations held on or after 1 December 2021: All internal members of the MPhil TEC and students should attend the thesis examinations in person. The external examiner can attend the examination either in person or remotely via online platforms such as Zoom.
  3. If the composition of the proposed membership of an MPhil TEC varies from the above requirements, approval of the HKUST Fok Ying Tung Graduate School (FYTGS) must be sought, via the School, in advance.

AnchorC.   Duties

  1. Chairperson
    1.1During the examination.  The Chairperson must ensure that:

    1.1.1The examination is conducted in accordance with the regulations and requirements of the University, and in a fair and unprejudiced manner.

    1.1.2The questions addressed to the candidate are fair and clearly expressed.

    1.1.3The examiners are all given sufficient opportunity to ask questions, and the candidate is given sufficient opportunity to respond to the questions.

    1.1.4There is sufficient opportunity for questions from the floor to be addressed to the candidate.

    1.1.5The recommendations of individual examiners are carefully considered, such that an overall recommendation may be arrived at in a fair and unprejudiced manner.

    1.1.6The final recommendation of the TEC reflects the majority view of the examiners.

    1.1.7The final recommendation of the TEC conforms to the regulations of the University that govern thesis examinations.
    1.2Authority to cancel.  The Chairperson may cancel a scheduled thesis examination if on the day of the thesis examination,

    1.2.1There is no sign of the candidate 15 minutes after the scheduled time of commencement of the thesis examination; or

    1.2.2There is no show of an examiner 15 minutes after the scheduled time of commencement of the thesis examination.
     1.3 Reports

    1.3.1Report on Thesis Examination Result.  Toward the end of the thesis examination, the Chairperson is required to (i) collect Part 2 of the “Report on Thesis Examination Result for Research Postgraduate Degrees” from all the examiners; (ii) complete Part 3 and Part 4.1 of the report, with the assistance of the examiners; and forward the complete set of documents to the department head/program director or to the thesis supervisor(s), as appropriate. For details, please refer to Section C of “Guidelines on Conducting MPhil and PhD Thesis Examinations”.

    1.3.2Chairperson’s Report on Thesis Examination.  The Chairperson is also required to submit an online “Chairperson’s Report on Thesis Examination” to FYTGS within one week from the date of the thesis examination, reporting any irregularities observed during the conduct of the thesis examination.
  2. Examiners
    2.1Before and during the examination.

    2.1.1Examiners must thoroughly read the thesis prior to the examination, and must critically assess the quality of the research, the originality of the thesis and its impact on the field of study. Examiners shall review the iThenticate report, and consider whether the submitted thesis achieves an acceptable Similarity Index (SI) and recommend for amendments to the thesis as needed.

    2.1.2Examiners should prepare questions and discussion materials, to be asked of the candidate during the thesis examinations.

    2.1.3As a result of reading the thesis and assessing the performance of the candidate in the examination, the examiners must be satisfied that:
    1. The candidate has clearly demonstrated the ability and skills to conduct an intellectual study, and to arrive independently at a successful conclusion.
    2. The thesis represents either the candidate’s own original contribution to the discipline or a well-organized and critical exposition of existing knowledge.
    3. The candidate, both verbally and in writing, is able to present his/her thesis clearly, systematically, and coherently.
    4. The candidate has convincingly and lucidly defended his/her thesis.

    2.1.4To arrive at a final assessment of the quality of the thesis and the performance of the candidate, the examiners, in open consultation with the Chairperson, must jointly arrive at a recommendation which reflects the majority view. The examiners then adopt the majority decision.
     2.2 Reports

    2.2.1Each examiner must submit Part 2 of the “Report on Thesis Examination Result for Research Postgraduate Degrees” to the Chairperson at the end of the thesis examination.

    2.2.2The examiners should assist the Chairperson to prepare the “Report on Thesis Examination Result for Research Postgraduate Degrees” recommending the outcome of their assessment of the thesis examination.