Doctor of Applied Language Sciences

Sept 2017 Entry
Programme code: 03002

Duration & Credit Requirement

Stream Code

DFT (Full-time)
DPT (Part-time)

Mode of Study
Mixed Mode
Normal Duration

3 years (Full-time)
5 years (Part-time)

Credits Required for Graduation

48 (24 credits for coursework and 24 credits for thesis)

Fund Type
Initial Registration Credits


Tuition Fee

HK$6,300 per credit

Programme Leader(s)

Dr Gail Forey 

  • Doctor of Applied Language Sciences (DALS) is not a research PhD programme, it is a taught doctoral programme that students are required to take 24 credits of coursework and 24 credits of thesis writing. 
  • Eligible applicants will be invited for admission interviews between March and April 2017.
  • Please prepare all required documents listed under the tab of Additional Documents Required. Missing documents will delay the selection process.

Aims & Characteristics

Programme Aims

Doctor of Applied Language Sciences (DALS) programme aims to help nurture and develop a critical mass of future leaders in language­-related professions. Students will investigate developments in language sciences and develop an advanced understanding of the inextricable link between theory and practice. They will be able to integrate linguistic knowledge and research skills with reflective practice in coping with the demands and development of their careers as language professionals in an age of globalisation and digitalisation.



DALS curriculum provides four strands or areas of enquiry for the students to choose from and within which to develop their specialism(s):

  1. Second Language Education;
  2. Intercultural and Professional Communication;
  3. Translating and Interpreting; and 
  4. Language and Information Technology.


Significant features of the programme are: 

  • Interdisciplinary, cross-linguistic and/or cross-cultural perspectives of epistemology; 
  • Integration of international perspective and local context; and 
  • Interaction and dialogues between academics and practitioners.


Programme Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of their studies, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of current approaches and theories that underpin the study of language;
  2. Develop a sophisticated understanding of issues in intercultural communication and relate this understanding to their professional practice and/or chosen area of study; 
  3. Develop teamwork and leadership skills for future career development;
  4. Critically evaluate the literature and current trends in their chosen area of study, primarily second language education, intercultural and professional communication, translating and interpreting, or language and information technology; 
  5. Adopt appropriate research design and method(s) to obtain and analyse primary data from language and profession­-related areas; 
  6. Use appropriate information technology tools for the evidence-­based investigation of aspects of language and professional communication; and
  7. Express complex ideas clearly, accurately and in compliance with the conventions governing idea presentation in the academic and professional contexts.

Recognition & Prospects

Research Centres and Global Partners

Faculty of Humanities collaborates with a number of internationally prestigious institutions as well as professional and academic partners to ensure that students benefit from input contributed by overseas and local scholars, researchers and practitioners through formal and informal exchange initiatives. Our research centres and academic partners include:

  • Centre for Translation Studies
  • China Europa Centre (with China-Europa Forum Foundation)
  • International Research Centre for Communication in Healthcare
  • Research Centre for Professional Communication in English
  • Speech Therapy Unit
  • The Hong Kong Chapter of Corporate Communication International (with Corporate Communication International at Baruch College, CUNY)
  • The PolyU - Peking U Research Centre on Chinese Linguistics (with Peking University)
  • The Inter-University Centre for Applied Language Sciences (with Tsinghua University and Zhejiang University)
  • The PolyU - Xi'an Jiaotong University Research Centre in Creative Culture Industries for Western China (with Xi'an Jiaotong University)


Programme Structure

Students are required to complete 48 credits for graduation, of which 24 credits are assigned to coursework and 24 credits to thesis preparation and writing.


Coursework (6 credits Compulsory + 18 credits Elective + 24 credits Thesis) 

Compulsory Subjects (3 credits each)

  • Trends in Applied Language Sciences 
  • Research Methods for Applied Language Sciences I 


Regular Elective Subjects (3 credits each)

  • Advances in Sociolinguistics  
  • Computational Linguistics 
  • Discourse Analysis and Corpus Linguistics
  • Intercultural Communication 
  • Linguistic Theories 
  • New Media 
  • Research Methods for Second Language Education 


Strand Elective Subjects (3 credits each)

Strand 1: Second Language Education

  • Curriculum and Assessment 
  • Perspectives in Second Language Education 
  • Psycholinguistics and Language Acquisition 

Strand 2: Intercultural and Professional Communication

  • Glocalisation and Media Communication 
  • Professional and Organisational Communication 

Strand 3: Translating and Interpreting

  • Interpreting Studies 
  • Theories of Translation 

Strand 4: Language and Information Technology

  • Natural Language Processing Techniques 
  • Speech Processing 



  • DALS Thesis I (Seminar & Proposal Development) (9 credits); and
  • DALS Thesis II (Thesis Writing) (15 credits)


Academic Supporting Programme (non-credit bearing)

  • Advanced Academic English Literacy: Presenting Effectively
  • Advanced Academic English Literacy: Reading and Writing


Core Areas of Study

With collaboration across three units in the Faculty of Humanities (the Department of Chinese and Bilingual Studies, the Department of English and the English Language Centre) and the Department of Computing in the Faculty of Engineering, the interdisciplinary DALS curriculum comprises four areas of enquiry.

1. Second Language Education

This area focuses on the frameworks of knowledge and skills that underpin second language education ­theories of linguistics and language learning, discourse and corpus analysis, and the role of language in society and on second language education itself, particularly trends in teaching, learning, curriculum development and assessment. Another important focus is on the processes involved in first and second language acquisition.


2. Intercultural and Professional Communication

The emphasis here is on the key concepts, issues and practices in intercultural, organisational and professional communication, and on analysing spoken, written and multimodal discourses in a range of intercultural and professional contexts. The area addresses the need for individual professionals to acquire expertise in relevant fields of knowledge, theoretical and conceptual frameworks, methodologies, applications and frameworks of evaluation to comprehend the complexities of professional communication in intercultural and media­-based settings. The subjects associated with this area also aim to enhance both professional and personal communicative competence.


3. Translating and Interpreting

This area focuses on providing professional training to university teachers and those who are currently working in the fields of translation and interpreting but do not hold formal academic credentials. The area encompasses the understanding of general linguistic theories, rhetorical studies in cross-­cultural contexts, contemporary theories of translation and interpreting, and recent discoveries in typological divergencies amongst languages.


4. Language and Information Technology

The central focus here is on the investigation of how the migration to a knowledge­-based economy has led to the integration of language and IT in professional contexts. As IT permeates many aspects of life and has a vital role to play in the delivery of language policies and plans, a critical mastery of language and IT is now an essential part of a professional’s competence. Furthermore, this area explores central concepts in computational linguistics and the techniques used in natural language processing, including speech processing techniques.

Entrance Requirements

In addition to meeting the academic entrance requirements, applicants are required to have substantial and relevant work experience, i.e.,

  • A Master’s degree or equivalent in a related field PLUS 5 years of post-undergraduate work experience
  • A Master’s degree or equivalent in a related field PLUS 2 years of post-Master's work experience


The English language requirements for those who do not have a degree from a recognised university at which the language of instruction is English are:

  • an overall International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of at least 6.5 (all sub-scores should be at 6.0 or above); or
  • at least 90 in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for the Internet-based test (with a writing score of 23 or above), or at least 575 or above in the paper-based test (with a score of 4 out of 6 in the Test of Written English).


Alternatively, consideration will be given to acceptable scores in other internationally-recognised public examinations.


All English language test scores are considered valid for five years after the date of the test.


Individual cases will be considered on their own merits. Applicants may be required to attend interviews and/or tests to demonstrate that they possess the required level of language proficiency for carrying out research in their area of enquiry.

Other Information

We offer scholarships exclusively to outstanding students with excellent academic merit, teaching assistantships to qualified candidates and partial tuition waivers to eligible students.


For further programme information, please contact:
Office of the Faculty of Humanities
Tel: (852) 3400 8212


For information on academic matters, please contact:
Dr Gail Forey
Tel: (852) 2766 7577

Student Message

No information is available at present.

Additional Documents Required

Employer's Recommendation

Two recommendation letters (in English) should be printed on A4 size paper with company or institution letterhead and the signature of the referrers, at least one recommendation should be from the past or present employer.

Personal Statement

It should be confined to two-page A4 size (in English)

Transcript / Certificate

  • Applicants should input both their academic qualifications of undergraduate and postgraduate studies in the online admission system, and upload the relevant transcripts and certificates.
  • Official English-translated copies must be attached if the original transcripts are not in English. The interpretation of grades (in English) is also required.


  • List of research or consultancy projects involved and list of publications, if any (preferably in English).
  • Please use English to fill in the entire application form (except for the Chinese name).

Info Seminar

No information is available at present.