Open Archaeology


PhD, studying Digital Archaeology or a related topic

Hong Kong Skyline at Night
If you are interested in studying the past and the digital methods that help us study and share the past, please consider applying to a four-year PhD program at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). There are three application deadlines each year: in early December, late April, and (sometimes) late August.  The best time to apply is early December, as more spaces are available and you can apply to special funding sources at that time.

As a PhD student in digital archaeology at HKU, each summer you will join our archaeological fieldwork project in Armenia.  You will develop a research topic related to the fieldwork and including a digital component.  Here are some potential topic areas:
  • near eastern archaeology, archaeological field methods, 3d modeling in archaeology, archaeology of Armenia, landscape archaeology
  • digital humanities, data science/information sciences/information management in studying the past, archaeology databases, geographic information systems (GIS), fieldwork collections management
  • cultural heritage, public outreach, including 3d modeling, virtual reality, and augmented reality
  • humanities education, teaching archaeology with digital technologies, teaching through experiential learning and travel
These are just a sampling, and other related topics are also possible.

Program and Funding
This is a 4-year PhD program, with some classwork during the first year, based on the UK graduate-study model.  The student produces a dissertation in English and works on research and publications during the program. 

As part of the application process, you will apply for full funding for the 4 years.  Funding is not available for every student and admission is easier if you do not require funding.  For those who do secure funding, the take-home annual stipend after tuition begins at approximately $21,000 USD.  Fellowships with higher remuneration are also available to students with excellent academic records, and should be applied for in December.  The full fellowship details are available at this HKU website.
Hong Kong and the University
Hong Kong is a vibrant global city at the doorstep of China, with one of the world's top dining experiences.  The University uses only English in communications and work, and life in the city is straightforward without a knowledge of Chinese.  Hong Kong has significant green space for hiking, and incredible sea views.  It is well connected to much of Asia through airplane and train networks.  The University of Hong Kong is the oldest and highest-ranked university in the city, and one of the top universities in Asia.

Foreign students are given priority for affordable on-campus housing for at least the first year of study.  Off-campus housing is not inexpensive, but there exists a wide range of options.  You will spend about three months each summer in Armenia with the archaeology field project, which is significantly less expensive.

Qualifications and Application
The applicant should have an enthusiasm for studying or teaching the past and an interest in digital methods.  Applicants from all over the world are encouraged to apply. Qualifications that will help an application include excellent grades and/or academic honors.  A masters degree or a few years of real-world experience outside academia is helpful but not required.  Students from all academic backgrounds are welcome to apply, especially digital humanities, archaeology or history, information or library sciences, education, and engineering.  Prior archaeological experience is not required, especially if applicants have digital skills or experience instead.  Applicants should have the maturity, self-direction, professionalism, and persistence to commit to a 4-year program.  Students should be physically prepared to work outdoors during the summers.  All students should have a good command of English for writing.  Any student who does not come from a university where the primary language of instruction is in English must also pass an English exam, full information here.

We particularly invite applicants from South/Central America, Africa, South/Southeast Asia, and other areas of the world that are currently under-represented in the Near Eastern archaeological research community.

Applications must be prepared in coordination with the potential HKU supervisor.  Due dates are in early December, late April, and (sometimes) late August.  The application requires the development of a research proposal, two references who fill out an online form, and transcripts (with English translations if required).  Full application requirements can be found here.  Please contact Dr. Peter J. Cobb by email well in advance of the due date to express interest and begin preparations.