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Undergraduate Research Fellowship Programme (URFP)

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The URFP is a prestigious programme aimed to enhance students’ learning experience and to nurture the next generation of researchers/scholars. It offers opportunities for academically outstanding students to undertake research under the guidance and supervision of academic staff who have a strong research track record and experience in training research postgraduate students. Students enrolled in the URFP are required to undertake a research study. Research internship may form an essential part of such a research study, if determined by the supervisors concerned.

Eligibility Criteria

(a) Students who are in the 95th percentile of top students in a study programme; or

(b) Students admitted under the 4-year curriculum who have a cumulative GPA of 3.6 and above.

(b) First major in BEcon, BEcon&Fin or QFin

Year of Study

Students generally enroll in the URFP in their final year of study. Flexibility is provided for cases with strong research interest and potential are identified earlier than the final year.

URFP Components and Postgraduate Courses for attendance

All students enrolled in the URFP 2017-18 will be required to take two PhD level courses and produce a dissertation paper for assessment.

Students can apply for research internship; such availability of internship is subject to the arrangement by the supervisors concerned. Students who are granted the University Research Internship Award under URFP 2017-18 are required to submit an internship report  in addition to their dissertation paper.

Courses Credits
ECON4294 / FINA4392 Dissertation  12
Two courses from the following PhD level courses 
ECON6002: Selected Topics in Microeconomics
ECON6005: Econometric Theory I
ECON6010: Monetary Policy: Theory and Practice
ECON6011: Microeconomic Theory
ECON6012: Macroeconomic Theory
ECON6017: Financial Economics
ECON6036: Game Theory and Applications
ECON6052: Selected Topics in Macroeconomics
ECON6053: Selected Topics in Financial Economics
12
Notes:
  • The departmental PhD level courses enrolled for URFP 2017-18 will be counted as advanced level economics electives.
  • All the credits gained in the required components of URFP 2017-18 will be counted towards the graduation requirement.


Non credit-bearing components:
Students under the URFP are also encouraged to attend postgraduate seminars organized by the School of Economics and Finance but attendance is not compulsory.  (Note: The School will send notification emails to URFP students regarding the details of seminars, and will take attendance in the seminars for record purpose.)

Course Descriptions of the URFP Required Components

ECON4294 Dissertation (12 credits)
Candidates may write a dissertation under the supervision of faculty members of the School of Economics and Finance. Topics offered may vary from year to year, depending on the research interests of the lecturer. A satisfactory dissertation may be offered in lieu of two written papers in the Examination. 

Candidates must submit the title and an outline of their dissertation for approval by the School Undergraduate Programme Director of the School of Economics and Finance not later than the last day of the revision period in the first semester. The dissertation shall be completed and presented not later than the first day of the assessment period for the second semester. (Note: The course extends over two semesters. Candidates must enroll in the first semester.) 

Prerequisites:    ECON2210 Intermediate microeconomics; and 
ECON2220 Intermediate macroeconomics; and 
ECON2280 Introductory econometrics; and 
Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above at the time of enrolment 

Remarks: Open only Year 4 students majoring in Economics. Candidates intending to take this course shall complete an application form which is available at the School Office (Room 908, K.K. Leung Building).

FINA4392 Dissertation (12 credits)
Candidates may write a dissertation under the supervision of faculty members of the School of Economics and Finance. A satisfactory dissertation may be offered in lieu of two written papers in the Examination. 

Candidates must submit the title and an outline of their dissertation for approval by the School Undergraduate Programme Director of the School of Economics and Finance not later than the last day of the revision period in the first semester. The dissertation shall be completed and presented not later than the first day of the assessment period for the second semester (Note: The course extends over two semesters. Candidates must enroll in the first semester). 

Prerequisites:     ECON2280 Introductory econometrics; and 
FINA2320 Investments and portfolio analysis; and 
FINA2322 Derivatives; and 
Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above at the time of enrolment 

Remarks: Open only to Year 4 students majoring in Finance. Candidates intending to take this course shall complete an application form which is available at the School Office (Room 908, K.K. Leung Building).

ECON6002 Selected Topics in Microeconomics I
Different people bring different points of view to bear on a question. A person who makes all decisions based on his information alone would be making very bad decisions indeed. This is why delegation, expert consultation, committee deliberations, and voting are often used in making decisions at all levels of society. The sharing of information among a group of individuals, however, is plagued by divergent self-interests. It is in the self-interest of an individual to manipulate his evidence-to exaggerate favorable data that supports his preferred outcome, or conceal unfavorable data that works against it. This course explores to what extent communication is possible given the divergence of interests, and analyzes how the learning environment is shaped by the social environment. Examples will be drawn from stock recommendations, messages sent by central bankers, and media influence on politics. A variety of models, including cheap talk games, signaling models, rational herding, strategic voting, collective experimentation and Bayesian learning, are introduced along the way.

ECON6005 Econometrics Theory I
This course is an introduction to econometric theory and applications at an advanced level. Students are expected to be proficient in calculus, matrix algebra, and econometrics at the undergraduate level. Potential topics to be discussed include the classical linear model, generalized method of moments, and multiple equation models. Note: Students may be required to pass a mathematics test in order to take the course.

ECON6010 Monetary Policy: Theory & Practice
This course is an introduction to macroeconomic policies at the Ph.D. level. Students are expected to be proficient in calculus, linear algebra, and macroeconomics at the undergraduate level. Potential topics to be discussed include: 1. basic classical and New Keynesian models; 2. linear-quadratic approximation methods; 3. optimal and robust controls; 4. model uncertainty; 5. time series econometrics.

ECON6011 Microeconomic Theory
This course covers how consumers and producers make choices and how these choices are equilibrated by the market. In the part on choice theory, utility maximisation and profit maximisation problems, together with corresponding dual problems, are considered. Optimal value functions are studied and used to perform comparative static analysis. Restrictions imposed by optimisation on consumer and producer behaviour are discussed. Choices under uncertainty are also investigated. The second part mainly covers the equilibrium in perfectly competitive markets and the two fundamental welfare theorems. It will also discuss the consequences of market failures, including public goods, externalities, and market power. Game theory will also be introduced.

ECON6012 Macroeconomic Theory
This course covers neo-classical macroeconomics, the Keynesian model and its problems, the consumption function and investment and economic fluctuations, supply and demand of money, the counterrevolution in monetary theory, inflation and unemployment and alternative policies for dealing with them, and open economy macroeconomics.

ECON6017 Financial Economics
This course covers selected PhD-level research-related lectures in asset pricing theories and empirics, and corporate theories. The instructors will lecture selected topics and associated papers. In addition, the instructor will coach students for programming (mainly SAS and STATA) particular for empirical analysis.

ECON6036 Game Theory and Applications
This course will explore the multi-person decision-making situations when players' payoffs depend on other players' choices. Game theory has notable applications in many fields, such as economics, law, business, finance and political science. We will first review the theoretical frameworks and then focus on applications such as reputation, communication, collective decision-making, modeling knowledge, and global games. Students are expected to know basic probability theory and calculus, and to be comfortable thinking mathematically and doing proofs.

ECON6052 Selected Topics in Macroeconomics I
This is a special-topics course on macroeconomics (i.e., the study of aggregate or economy-wide behavior). Presumably, the topics may vary from year to year, depending on the interest of the instructor. In any case, they will be related in one way or another to the central issues of (long-run) growth and (short-run) fluctuations, as well as the analysis of growth and stabilization policies. This year the course will focus on macro-finance, firm dynamics, and heterogeneous agent models. This course is aimed to introduce PhD students the research frontier of dynamic and quantitative models in macroeconomics and finance. Students are expected to use these tools to study economic growth, business cycles, consumption, savings, investment, asset pricing, and government policies.

ECON6053 Selected Topics in Financial Economics
This course covers selected PhD-level research-related lectures in corporate finance theories and corporate finance empirics. The instructors will lecture selected topics and associated papers. The course will also use some cases to link the financial theory with practice and help students get familiar with the institutional details.


Supervisory Arrangements

Students are expected to find a supervisor based on their research interests prior to the submission of URFP application (same arrangement applies to students who would like to take the Dissertation course). The supervisor should be an academic staff of the School of Economics and Finance. Identifying an academic staff who agrees to supervise the dissertation and subsequently to develop the dissertation topic together are necessary conditions for URFP application. 


Responsibilities of Supervisors 

A supervisor’s responsibilities include helping the student to develop the topic of his/her research study and supervising the dissertation through regular meetings with the student.  If research internship is deemed necessary beneficial to the student’s research study, the supervisor should help make necessary arrangements of internship.


Recognition

The fellowship will be recorded in the transcripts of students who have successfully completed the URFP.  Awards will be established to recognize outstanding performance.


University Research Internship Awards

Once selected for enrolment in URFP 2017-18, students who are interested in research internship and whose research internship has been arranged by their supervisors, may seek their Supervisors’ nomination for the University Research Internship Award (Attachment II).

Research internships awarded under the URFP are generally expected to take place during inter-semester breaks.  For overseas research internships, the value of an award is up to HK$40,000 for a period of not less than 8 weeks on a full-time basis to cover economy return airfare and part of overseas accommodation and living costs.  For research internships in Hong Kong or the Mainland, the value of an award is HK$15,000 for the same period as stated above.  The awards will be granted on a competitive basis and by the Working Group of URFP.  

Students who are granted the University Research Internship Award under URFP shall submit an internship report.


Application Procedures and Timetable

URFP 2017-18 is now open for application.  Interested students should first find a supervisor based on their research interests and develop a research topic together with the supervisor. Given an initial development of a research proposal for the dissertation, students then submit a Statement of Intent (Attachment I).  Applications for URFP 2017-18 shall be sent in hard copy, together with the updated CV, to the School of Economics and Finance (Room 908, K.K. Leung Building).  The deadline for application is February 15, 2017 (Wednesday).  

Selected students will be informed of the application result.  If the selected students are interested in research internship, they will be asked to contact with their supervisors directly for the availability of research internship in summer 201.  Availability of opportunity and funding of research internship is subject to arrangement by the supervisors concerned.  Selected students whose supervisors will arrange research internship for the students concerned may also apply for the University Research Internship Awards.  


Selection of Participants

Selection will be based on students’ academic performance, and their Statement of Intent.  When necessary, an interview may be arranged.


Notification of Selection Results

Students will be notified of the selection results in April 2017.

Application Forms 

URFP 2017-18 Statement of Intent
URFP 2017-18 University Research Internship Awards Application and Nomination

Contact Person

Name:    Ms. Annie Lam (School of Economics and Finance)
Tel. no.:    3917 5750
Email:    annielhc@hku.hk 

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