Meet Edinburgh prodigy student Wang Pok Lo who is studying for a PhD at the age of just 18

A teenager from Edinburgh now studying for his doctorate started his University journey at just nine years old

An Edinburgh prodigy student who was awarded his first degree at the age of 13 has spoken about his experience of studying for a PhD while others his age are just leaving school. Wang Pok Lo, known as Pok, is an 18-year-old student from South Queensferry and is currently working towards his doctorate in population health science.

Having started his university studies at the Open University when he was just nine, Pok embarked on a degree in mathematics. While studying at Towerbank Primary School, he passed his National 5 exam in maths and also completed his first module at university. By the age of just 13, he had secured a First Class Honours degree in maths from the Open University.

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At 15 years old Pok was offered a place at the University of Edinburgh to research population health science. This came after he was awarded a Masters degree in statistics with medical applications from the University of Sheffield in 2019.

Wang Pok Lo graduating from the Open University at 13 years old.Wang Pok Lo graduating from the Open University at 13 years old.
Wang Pok Lo graduating from the Open University at 13 years old.

Pok moved to Scotland from Hong Kong with his family in 2006 and his parents encouraged his maths studies at home. Pok described his father as the “main driver” throughout his childhood as he found the numerous opportunities for his son to embark on. The young boy continued his other studies at Queensferry High School, while working towards his Masters on the side.

When asked how he felt about being accepted to university at such a young age, Pok said: “It was unexpected, put it this way, I wouldn’t have put money on it. I think it’s important to take on my achievements modestly and use my strengths and weaknesses to improve. I’m not going to rush the final part of my degree just to break a record, as mental health is so important too. There definitely needs to be a balance.”

Pok is now aiming to finish his PhD by 2024 and hopes to then go to medical school to work on further research to ‘help health and society in general’. “Stepping away from online learning is different, but I am also excited for new opportunities and meeting new people,” he said.

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