Research Postgraduate Programme & Students

For the Research Postgraduate (RPg) Programmes, newly admitted students will choose or be matched with advisors based on similar research interests. Currently, the school hosts over fifty RPg students, with 80% of them pursuing a PhD and the remaining pursuing an MPhil. In addition to mainland and Hong Kong origins, our RPg students are from India, Bangladesh, Uganda, Greece, Poland, the Philippines, Nigeria, Vietnam, Ghana, and Peru.

In our department, more than 10 professors act as the chief advisors and supervise 20+ RPg students. Several of our faculty members teach RPg courses. RPg students, under the supervision of our faculty members, have won the top-student paper at ICA’s Public Relations and Organization Communication Divisions.

Some of our graduates are professors at various universities such as University of Colorado, Rutgers University, University of Florida, University of Toronto, Chinese University of Hong Kong, City University of Hong Kong, and top universities in mainland China.

For specific information on admissions, program management, and course requirements, go to the School’s website.

The Department of Communication Studies offers two types of research awards to RPg students whose primary advisor is a faculty member from COMS.

I. Departmental Research Grant for COMS RPg Students

RPg students whose primary advisor is a faculty member from COMS are eligible to apply for the Departmental Research Grant. The grant covers a period of four calendar years, including the year when the student officially becomes a COMS RPg student, and it is offered on top of existing School-level grants. An extended duration of five calendar years is granted to RPg students in their second to fifth year of study in the COMS department.

The maximum grant award is set at $10,000 throughout the supported years. The grant could be used for data collection purposes in their research projects as principal investigators. Additionally, it can be used to cover conference travel costs up to $6,000, provided they are the first or sole author of the accepted conference papers.

II. COMS Excellent Student Research Paper Award

The award is offered for

  • COMS RPg student, whose primary supervisor is a faculty member from COMs, and who is credited as the first or sole author of a student research paper can receive this award. The award will be given once every year, up to the maximum applicable cash value.
  • Student-led publications. A COMS RPg student who is the first author of a journal article with a faculty or other non-student co-author(s) may receive half of the applicable amount of the cash.

The eligibility period for the Research Paper Award spans five calendar years, inclusive of the years when the student officially became a COMS RPg student.

Applicants should obtain approval from the primary supervisor first and then submit the application to Dr. Leanne Chang, Leader of the Research and Development Team of the Department of Communication Studies.


Leanne Chang, CVA920, (for application submission) Mimi Yip, CVA930, (for reimbursement and award distribution)

Currently, our faculty members are supervising the following students in five major research areas.

Advertising and Branding Communication

Several faculty members are leading experts on celebrity endorsement and KOL influences, customer-brand relationship on social media, gamification and brand management, advertising and branding creativity, young consumers and media.

Available Advisors: Kara ChanKineta HungJos BartelsRegina ChenAngela Mak

Current students: Li Qiqi; Wang Yan; Zhang Shunhao

Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility and Reputation

Our faculty members regularly publish works on corporate social responsibility (CSR) in emerging markets, CSR via social media, employee engagement and volunteering, influencer marketing in CSR, creating shared value, competitive advantage, and social impact, IT attributes and CSR communication, CO media presence and corporate reputation, and crisis communication and corporate reputation.

Available Advisors: Regina ChenAngela MakKeon Young ParkElina TachkovaJos BartelsKineta Hung

Current Students: Xu Yan; Li Hua

Health and Risk Communication

Several faculty members are devoted researchers in this area. They publish scholarly works on health message design and campaign, health information seeking, use and effects of mobile health technology, social support, social norms and smoking, workplace health and safety, health campaigns using social media, health communication theory construction, and active ageing.

Available advisors: Leanne ChangStephanie TsangDominic YeoKara ChanVivian SheerElina TachkovaVivien Zhou

Current Students: Huang Yue; Md Ruhul Kabir; Li Dongni; Luo Yiwen; Lyu She; Qiu Yu; Chen Xiangmo


Leadership and Organizational Communication

Our colleagues’ work includes personal leadership on social media, organization-stakeholder dialogue and outcomes, leader-member exchange at the workplace, leadership framing, organizational change and leadership, communication constitution of the organization, and organizational leadership theory construction and application, leadership communication in crises.

Available advisors: Vivian SheerJos BartelsDominic YeoRegina Chen

Current students: Xie Jamin; Nie Songli; Aurelia Ayi-bonte

Technology-Mediated Communication

Faculty members who conduct research in this area enquire about the relationships between technology and communication, including mediated workplace relationship communication, social capital via social media, dynamics and consequences of online vacation networks, social media communication, inter-organizational relationships and communication network, media affordances, and on the impact of technology on work routines. The implications of this line of research pertain to media use.

Faculty advisors: Jos BartelsDominic YeoLeanne ChangRegina Chen

Current students: Huang Jiangling; Liu Dandan; Xiao Fan; Zhou Lin; Shi Xuekang; Su Kaiming