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Doctor of Policy Studies, Cultivating Quality Political Talents


Programme team and students of Doctor of Policy Studies Programme take group photo at the Launch Ceremony


The official launch of the “Doctor of Policy Studies Programme” of Lingnan University was held on 9th January. During the official launch, Vice-President, Professor Joshua Mok Ka-ho mentioned that with the establishment of the Greater Bay Area of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao and the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the flow of human resources in the region has been promoted, bringing new challenges to policy makers. In addition, Hong Kong faces the further opening of the national economy, the international protectionist revival, and the issues of housing, people's welfare, education, medical care, and population aging. It is under this big environment that Lingnan University, being one of Asia’s top ten liberal arts colleges, launched the first doctoral programme in policy studies in the Greater China region. Professor Joshua Mok Ka-ho said, “As an international hub for higher education, the programme will further strengthen Hong Kong’s policy training for talents and promote international talent exchanges.”


Focus on policy comparison and cultivate international perspective

The Doctor of Policy Studies Programme is available in both full-time and part-time modes. The minimum duration of study is 3 years and 4 years. The programme is designed for professionals engaged in policy and public administration, non-profit organizations, think tanks, policy researchers and young people who aspire to be politicians. The course is informative and in-depth, covering a wide range of policy research areas including education, health care, housing, labour and social welfare, children or adolescent research, sociology and social policy. Professor Mok said, “The University hopes to deepen students’ understanding of policies through the Doctor of Policy Studies Programme. The content of the programme also focuses on comparative perspectives in policy studies, assisting students to develop a broad policy vision, drawing on foreign policies and successful examples to help Hong Kong improve social problems and formulate better policies.”


Experiential learning, communicating with political and economic circles

The programme’s teaching team consists of different professionals and well-known scholars from around the world. It can teach and inspire students to understand and analyse social, economic and political policy issues with an international perspective and comparative methods. The programme also invited authorities from different political and economic circles to attend policy forums, such as talks with Mr Rex Auyeung, former chairman of Principal Asia at Principal International of the United States, Mr Bernard Charnwut Chan, Convener of the Executive Council, and Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung was formerly Secretary for Transport and Housing. By attending the talks, students can understand the practical difficulties encountered in implementing a policy, and combine classroom theory with reality. Furthermore, in addition to providing students with a flexible learning mode, the Doctor of Policy Studies Programme also offers different learning environments and learning styles. Although the programme is mainly taught, the experiential learning subjects also account for a large part, such as field trips, academic workshops and international symposia, which assist students to understand different topics and related knowledge. Students also will have the opportunity to participate in international conferences, many of which have opportunities to speak, and therefore strengthen students’ ability to communicate externally.


Enrich overseas exchange opportunities, combine theory with practice

Professor Joshua Mok Ka-ho

With the international integration, policy implementation is no longer just a regional matter. Excellent policy planning needs to have an international perspective that can analyse policies from multiple angles, and understand the world’s general trend and future social development trends. Professor Mok mentioned, “Another major feature of the programme is that students can have the opportunity to exchange overseas and this allows them to experience and understand the latest knowledge and development of foreign social research and policy making. This is beneficial for them to develop their careers in the future with the international perspective and insight combined with practical experience, students can then analyse social policy issues in depth, rather than looking for answers from textbooks or academic literature.”Doctoral students in policy studies have the opportunity to exchange ideas at the University of Bath in the UK. They also have the chance to go to the University of Oxford in the UK for a two-week summer programme to broaden their horizons and make like-minded friends from different backgrounds. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the research of Guangzhou-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Social Policy and Governance Research Centre which was co-launched by Lingnan University and the South China University of Technology. They can also participate in press conferences and gain practical experience in reaching out to the media and facing the public.


As Professor Mok said, “Hong Kong has a good policy thinking model. Apart from local talent training, it can also be applied to the Mainland. We hope that this programme will strengthen students’ understanding of policies and enhance their social governance capabilities.” This programme offers a very good opportunity for Master Degree graduate students—especially the Master of Social Sciences in Comparative Social Policy (International) at Lingnan University, the Master of Arts in International Higher Education and Management and other graduates of relevant Master’s programmes—to further their academic studies.


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