Doctor of Philosophy

Doctor of Philosophy


The Doctor of Philosophy Programme (PhD) is offered by The Graduate School of Business at Universiti Sains Malaysia. It is a research based programme. The standard and maximum duration of the programme are 3.5 years and 5 years.

Information at a Glance

Deadline for New Application:

Tuition fee:


Medium of Instruction:

Brochure Application Form

Universiti Sains Malaysia

Established in 1969, Universiti Sains Malaysia (English: University Science Malaysia) (USM) is the first science university and the second oldest university in Malaysia. USM is a public university and located in Penang with the main campus of 416.6 hectare where it is surrounded by the beautiful natural environment. The university currently has approximately 30,000 students at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

With 17 dedicated research centres, USM is one of the most dynamic and progressive universities in Malaysia as well as in the Asia-Pacific region and is a leading research institution for research in South East Asia region.

The university is also internationally well recognized. The university has been ranked 142 by the QS World University Rankings 2020. The university takes pride in its ability to deliver high quality programmes that equip students with the ability to overcome real-world challenges as well as the ability in forging extensive connection with industry and professional bodies.Besides, this PhD programme is offered by the Graduate School of Business, in which their global partners and foreign students come from over 10 countries and regions.


Programme Objectives
  • Nurture business scholars who can apply business theory and practice towards promoting the wellbeing of the community and the environment
  • Develop business scholars who demonstrate a high-level of creativity, analytical thinking and problem-solving skills in offering robust solutions
  • Produce business scholars with advanced skills in research, writing and knowledge sharing on matters relating to business sustainability
  • Produce business scholars who are capable of examining any business enterprise and discern its strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats; and use these findings to make appropriate business recommendations

Programme Structure

A. Major Thesis

The principal component of the PhD is a major thesis of at least 50,000 words, embodying the results of an original research project. In order to fulfil the graduation requirements stipulated by the University, students are required to publish one article related to their thesis chapters in Scopus Indexed Journal during their period of candidature. The assigned supervisors, also being the co-authors of supervisees’ academic work, will work closely together with students throughout their studies.
PhD research areas at GSB are categorised into six areas:

  • Financial Research for Emerging Markets
  • Marketing
  • Innovation in Operation Management
  • Global Strategy and Organizational Behavior
  • Social Innovation and Sustainability
  • Sustainability Accounting and Governance

B. Workshops

The workshops are designed to widen your knowledge, to place the specialized research project within a broader disciplinary context and to enhance your research skills.

Completing Research Methodology Workshops 1 and 2 with a minimum passing grade of “B” is a requirement for the completion of the PhD programme.

  • Research Methodology Workshops 1 and 2
  • Statistical Analysis Workshop

These structured workshops are designed to ensure you have the knowledge, skills and capability to be able to read graduate level content and harvest the knowledge you need from it.

C. Checkpoint

There are 4 checkpoints, candidates must submit and/or present their work for review, including:

  • Conceptual paper submission and presentation
  • Research proposal submission and defence
  • Data collection and analysis submission, and findings defence
  • Final thesis submission and Viva Voce

D. Compulsory Bahasa Malaysia Language Workshop

The Graduate School of Business offers a complimentary language workshop “LKM111 Malaysian Culture & Malay Language” to all participants. The course will be an interesting way for you to learn the traditional language of Malaysia. Students are allowed to take the examination with multiple attempts. Completing this course with a minimum passing grade of “C” is a requirement for the completion of the PhD programme.

E. Nurturing Business Sustainability Course

Classes will be delivered online through WebEx. Each class is 3 hours, and there will be 5 classes in total. There is no grade requirement for this course. There is also flexibility in deciding which semester to enrol in this course based on your personal preference.

F. Pedagogy Course

Classes will be delivered online through WebEx. Classes will be scheduled on weekends. There is no grade requirement for this course. There is also flexibility in deciding which semester to enrol in this course based on your personal preference.

Semester Activities

Endorsement from Malaysian Business Leaders and Alumni

“One of the siginificant features of this programme is close supervisory support. Each student will be assigned two supervisors and they will be able to meet their respective supervisors face to face via multiple supervisor visits plus video conferences throughout the programme. What’s more, Malaysians are mostly very friendly and easy going, they would be more than happy to answer students’ queries. This PhD programme offers candidates an opportunity to better understand Malaysian culture and society, which might be very beneficial in furthering their career.”
Mr S C Lim 林順忠先生
Former Managing Director at Lam Soon (Hong Kong) Limited

“As an industry professional who also teaches part-time at various universities, this part-time Universiti Sains Malaysia(USM) PhD programme allows me to receive good supervision and help from top researchers who also understand the business culture in the orient. Best of all, USM’s ranking and reputation is actually better than other similar doctorate programmes offered in Hong Kong.”
Daniel Chun (Student from Sep 2019 intake)
Chairman of Research and Blueprint Committee, Smart City Consortium
General Manager, Remotec Technology Limited

“USM is a leading university located in Penang wher ethere is a strong education culture. Penang also plays an important role in the Belt and Road Initiative. The timing of this programme has just come into place. A study on the BRI would be tremendouly insightful and interesting.”
Dato’ Khai Choon Gan 拿督顏溪俊
Chairman, The Malaysian Chamber of Commerce

“I really appreciate and support people who pursue a PhD as they can contribute to meet phenomena or problems faced by both the academic and business worlds. Though it may not be easy to attain a PhD, it is always challenging to achieve something significant.”
Mr S K Cheong 鄭善強
Executive Director

“It’s a very user-friendly programme in the sense that superviors are actually coming to Hong Kong. Students also have an option to visit the huge and remarkable campus on the island of Penang. It’s quite a high quality programme at a reasonable cost.”
Dato’ Seri Cheah Cheng Hye 拿督斯里謝清海
Chairman and Co-Chief Investment Officer, Value Partners Group

Endorsement from Malaysian Business Leaders in HK

  • Dato’ Seri CHEAH Cheng Hye 拿督斯里謝清海
    Chairman and Co-Chief Investment Officer, Value Partners Group
  • Mr S K CHEONG 鄭善強先生
    Executive Director, PuraPharm
  • Dato’ Khai Choon GAN 拿督顏溪俊
    Chairman, The Malaysian Chamber of Commerce



Tuition fee: HK$240,500

The below course fee is applicable to students admitted in September 2018 and thereafter:

  • Course fee: HK$240,500, to be collected in 10 installments
    Installment 1 HK$52,700
    Installment 2-4 HK$26,000 each
    Installment 5-8 HK$22,500 each
    Installment 9-10 HK$9,900 each
  • Application fee for new applicants: HK$250 (non-refundable)

This programme is an eligible programme under The Extended Non-means-tested Loan Scheme (ENLS) provided by the Government of HKSAR. For details, please refer to

Entry Requirements

  • A Master’s degree or an equivalent qualification from universities with a minimum CGPA of 3.00.
  • English Language Requirements: An IELTS overall band score of 6.0 or TOEFL score of 550. Applicants with their mother tongue in English or who have completed their Bachelor’s or Master’s degree fully in English are exempted from the English Language proficiency requirement.


Course Details

Ms Jenny Pong
Ms Polly Chan
Phone: 2774 8537

General Enquiry

Phone: 2774 8500 or 2774 8501
Email: /
Fax: 2365 1000

It is a matter of discretion for individual employers to recognise any qualification to which this course may lead.

Doctoral Network & Advisory