Funded postgraduate opportunities in coastal ecology and oceanography

Ongoing opportunities are available for outstanding postgraduate students wishing to study the ecology and oceanography of coastal ecosystems, focusing on efforts to enhance understanding and stewardship of threatened ecosystems and enigmatic species in South East Asia (e.g. Hong Kong, Philippines, South China Sea) and across the Indo-Pacific (e.g. French Polynesia, Japan). Successful candidates will pursue a Master’s (M.Phil.) or Doctorate (Ph.D.) in the new Department of Ocean Science at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) in collaboration with Dr Alex S.J. Wyatt and the Oceanographic Ecology Laboratory.

Potential research themes include:

  • Field and laboratory studies of the impact of internal waves on the biogeochemistry and ecology of coastal ecosystems (e.g. coral reefs).
  • The ecology and oceanographic drivers of coral reefs, including deep water (mesophotic) coral ecosystems and Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER).
  • The trophic ecology of enigmatic marine species (e.g. whale sharks, manta rays), and the application of isotope tracers to understand distributions and behaviour.
  • Ecosystem restoration and ecological engineering, including applications of artificial upwelling to enhance and restore marine ecosystem services.


The University


HKUST is a world-class international research university dedicated to: (1) the advancement of science, engineering, business and management, and humanities and social science; (2) education of the next generation of front runners, both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels; and, (3) making societal impact. The university promotes interdisciplinary studies, dedicated to educating well-rounded students who acquire a strong entrepreneurial spirit and innovative thinking with a global outlook. It is one of the most international universities in Asia, with English as the language of teaching, research and administration. It was ranked 1st in the 2018 Times Higher Education Young University Ranking, 12th worldwide (1st in greater China) in the 2017 Global Employability University Ranking, and 32nd in the latest QS World University Rankings. Located in the Clear Water Bay area, HKUST’s campus has a magnificent ocean view and is widely known as one of the most beautiful campuses in the world.

***Guaranteed university accommodation will be provided for full-time research postgraduate studies at HKUST***

***Current pre-qualification scholarships are HK$17,330 (~US$2,210) per month***

***Opportunities exist to fund research placements with collaborators outside Hong Kong (2-6 months) via Overseas Research Awards***


Candidate Requirements


We are seeking ambitious and creative graduate students passionate about ocean science with strong scientific/engineering backgrounds and high-level writing and communication skills.  Preference will be given to candidates with a demonstrated background in marine science or oceanography, field research experience or scientific diving qualifications, and well-developed analytical laboratory skills. Candidates with experience performing seawater nutrient or stable isotope analyses are particularly encouraged to apply.

 Candidates MUST have:

  1. A bachelor’s degree (for M.Phil.), or, a master’s or bachelor’s with honours (for Ph.D.)
  2. High-level English abilities (e.g. undergraduate degree in English or TOEFL).
  3. The ability to participate in marine field work that may sometimes be physically demanding and in remote locations for extended periods.


Application Procedure


Potential candidates should send, as three (3) separate attachments, a copy of:

  • their CV (2 pages maximum)
  • a cover letter (2 pages maximum), outlining:
    • research interests in the context of the above research themes,
    • suitability for the role (refer explicitly to the requirements above), and
    • contact details for two (2) professional referees.
  • unofficial transcripts



Additional information is available on the web about the University, the Department of Ocean Science and the Ocean Ecol (Wyatt) Lab.

(Information provided by applicants will only be used for recruitment and other employment-related purposes)