PhD with a Specialization in Educational Psychology

Educational Psychology is a scientific discipline within psychology. It applies psychological theories and research findings about human behaviour, affect, cognition, development and personality to educational settings. Educational psychologists are practitioners who generate scientific knowledge and theory relevant to education and psychology. They are also practitioners whose services range from remediation to prevention, case work to systems work, and direct services to indirect services. They help teachers design curriculum, improve teaching methods, and motivate students to learn. They also help students and their parents cope with various changes and difficulties in the course of learning and development. Most importantly, they work for the betterment of the micro and macro systems in which students grow up. The Department of Psychology of HKU offers three postgraduate programmes in educational psychology, including the Master of Social Sciences in the field of Educational Psychology, the Doctor of Psychology in the field of Educational Psychology, and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) with a specialization in Educational Psychology. All these programmes adopt scientist-practitioner model with the aim to prepare educational psychologists who are strong in both research and practice.

​The PhD with a specialization in Educational Psychology programme, started in 2007, is designed to train educational psychologists who are interested in academic career. The graduates from this programme are expected to be scientist-practitioners who are not only strong in research and practice but also well-prepared for university-level teaching.

The curriculum extends over a minimum of 4 years full-time, including two years of coursework & educational practicum. The courses cover the theoretical and applied aspects of educational psychology. Candidates also complete a doctoral level research dissertation presenting original scientific work in a chosen area of educational psychology.

For 4-year PhD students admitted in or after 2016/17, they are required to complete 17 compulsory courses and 1 elective course. (3-year PhD students are not required to take PSYC6010 and PSYC6011) in addition to satisfying the Graduate School coursework requirements. Please click here for details.

Compulsory Courses
PSYC6004 – Curriculum and Instruction
PSYC6008 – Practicum I-III
PSYC6019 – Professional ethics and issues in educational psychology
PSYC7010 – Psychoeducational assessment I
PS YC7011 – Psychoeducational assessment II
PSYC7026 – Children with special needs I
PSYC7027 – Children with special needs II
PSYC7014 – Psychoeducational intervention I
PSYC7015 – Psychoeducational intervention II
PSYC7016 – Skills training seminar I
PSYC7017 – Skills training seminar II
PSYC8010 – Skills training seminar III
PSYC8007 – Applied developmental psychology
PSYC8008 – Motivation and learning
PSYC6010 – Conceptual and Methodological Issues in Psychological Research I
PSYC6011 – Conceptual and Methodological Issues in Psychological Research II
PSYC6025 – Postgraduate Seminar in Scientific Writing for Psychology

Elective Courses
PSYC7021 – Postgraduate Seminar in Cognitive Psychology
PSYC7022 – Postgraduate Seminar in Social Psychology
PSYC7023 – Postgraduate Seminar in Developmental Psychology

Candidates may be granted exemption of modules in recognition of studies completed in related areas. Exemption will only be considered in special circumstances and each application for exemption will be considered on its own merit.

For the course description of MPhil & PhD programmes, please click here.
For the course description of Master of Social Sciences ( Educational Psychology ) programme, please click here.

To be eligible for admission to the PhD with a specialization in the field of Educational Psychology programme, a candidate shall

  1. comply with the general regulations for the admission to the PhD programme at the University of Hong Kong; and
  2. have a first degree in Psychology, or its equivalent.

Please refer to the website Graduate School and click “Prospective Students” and “Fees, Scholarships & Financial Support” for more details.

The programme admits students every year.

Find a supervisor in the field of Educational and Developmental Psychology in the Department of Psychology, HKU

Dr. Lucy Shih Ju HSU
Dr. Kathy Kar-man SHUM
Dr. Terry Tin-yau WONG

Details of application procedure at the Graduate School:

Information for RPg admission
Please refer to the website Graduate School and click “Prospective Students” and “Application” for more details.

The graduates are qualified to be professional educational psychologists. They can provide psychological services to the public and are well prepared for research and university-level teaching.

For further information about the careers in the profession of educational psychology, please visit

Enquiries regarding the application process should be directed to General Office (Tel: 3917 2376, E-mail: )

Enquiries regarding the programme information should be directed to Dr. Lucy Shih Ju HSU, Admission Coordinator (e-mail: )

Useful information from Graduate School for current RPg students.
Please refer to the website Graduate School and click “Current Students” for more details.

HKU Psychology