PhD Urban Planning and Design

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The Department of Urban Planning and Design has an active research community. Our staff have a broad range of research interests and are happy to discuss possible research ideas.

The PhD programme is a strategic research collaboration between XJTLU and the University of Liverpool, and is based at XJTLU. Upon successful completion of your programme you will receive a degree from the University of Liverpool, which is recognised by the UK’s Department of Education as well as China’s Ministry of Education.

Students on this programme are formally registered with the University of Liverpool as off-site postgraduate research students. You will carry out research on XJTLU premises under the supervision of the supervisory team.

As a PhD student you will be appointed a designated primary (local) supervisor at XJTLU, who is a full-time member of academic staff. In addition, you will also have a designated secondary supervisor based at the University of Liverpool.

The normal length of full-time PhD programme is three years. At the end of three years’ full-time study, you can apply for an extension of one year to complete the writing of your dissertation. Part-time PhD degrees usually take four to seven years.

As a registered full-time PhD student, you have the opportunity to apply for a research visit to the University of Liverpool for up to three months. Your accommodation and travel fees will be covered by XJTLU and the University of Liverpool. Full-time PhD students are funded to attend local and international conferences during their studies.

Key benefits of PhD study at XJTLU:

  • Our PhD programme equips you with a range of professional skills to help you maximise your future employability
  • Our supervisors will guide you through one of the most intellectually satisfying experiences of your life
  • Supervision from respected academics at both XJTLU and the University of Liverpool
  • PhD students have dedicated travel budgets for participating in international conferences
  • The chance to apply for a research visit to the University of Liverpool for up to three months
  • Opportunities to work as a teaching assistant and develop crucial academic skills.

Please check the FAQ for further information about studying for a PhD at XJTLU.



1) Apply for a scholarship for a funded PhD project

You can apply for an existing PhD project which has received funds from the university or external funding bodies. These projects have an established research topic and supervisory team.

These projects do not have a specific application deadline and are open until the position is filled. The start date of a PhD programme is normally the first day of March, June, September, or December. The Department has the following funded PhD projects available (this list is regularly updated):

Title of PhD project Reference number Status Supervisor
For A Better Quality of Life in China: Planning Incentivisation in Housing Development 促进中国城市的品质生活:住房开发中的规划激励研究
PGRS1906046 Open Dr Yunqing Xu

2) Scholarships available in Business, Humanity and Social Sciences, and Design clusters

Additional scholarships are also available to candidates who wish to pursue a research degree at the Department of Urban Planning and Design in the following areas:

  • Urban dance and public health of elderly in China; Dietary patterns (take-out consumption), food environment, and public health; Accessibility, land use, housing price and market, spatial analysis, machine learning, and complex theory; Chinese smart cities in practice; Urban resilience and climate adaptation; GIS for urban sustainable planning; History and theories of urban interventions; Urbanisation of China’s economy, society and culture; Urban Regeneration and vulnerable groups; Age-friendly cities for well-being, mobility and community care; Housing and its connections with livability and sustainable urbanisation; The role of urban parks in high-density contemporary urban China; Best practice institutional and financial arrangements for PPPs in China; Age-friendly urban health niche modelling; Urbanisation, aging and public health

There will be two application rounds for each academic year:

First round – applications submitted by 17:00 CST(UTC+8), 15 October will be reviewed in the first round and the decision will be announced in December.

Second round – applications submitted by 17:00 CST(UTC+8), 15 April will be reviewed in the second round and the decision will be announced in June.

Go to and scroll down to the bottom to find more information about how to apply for the scholarships.

Entry requirements

We accept a wide variety of academic qualifications for entry onto our PhD programme. Please see our entry requirements for additional information.

How to apply

All applications for a PhD programme should start with you emailing potential supervisors about either a specific funded project or about your idea for a self-funded project.

They can help you with the next stages of the application process and you can also find out more information on our how to apply section.