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 funded four-year PhD program at the University of Hong Kong (HKU).  The application deadline is the beginning of December. To express interest and prepare your application, please contact Dr. Peter J. Cobb by email.

Here are some potential research topics:
  • archaeology, near eastern archaeology, archaeological field methods, digital archaeology, 3d modeling in archaeology, archaeology of Armenia
  • digital humanities, digital history, data science/information sciences/information management in studying the past, databases about history, online historical information, geographic information systems (GIS)
  • cultural heritage, museums, archaeology/history museums, public outreach, digital tools in public outreach, including 3d modeling, virtual reality, and augmented reality
  • humanities education, teaching with digital technologies in the archaeology/history classroom, 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.  The student will also participate in archaeological fieldwork during the summers in Armenia.

Full funding is available for the 4 years, and 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.  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.

The city is currently going through a historic political period, well-covered in the international press.  It remains, however, one of the safest places to live in the world, with a low crime rate.  Daily life has generally not been affected by the events.

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.

Qualifications and Application
The applicant should have an enthusiasm for studying or teaching the past and an interest in digital methods. Qualifications that will help an application include excellent grades and a masters degree or a few years of real-world experience outside academia.  Students from all academic backgrounds are welcome to apply, especially digital humanities, archaeology or history, information or library sciences, education, and engineering.  Applicants should have the maturity, self-direction, professionalism, and persistence to commit to a 4-year program.  All students should have a good command of English for writing.  Any students who does not come from a university where the primary language of instruction is in English must also pass the TOEFL, scoring at least 550 on the paper test (though higher scores are preferred for writing a dissertation) or 80 on the internet test, full information here.

Applications must be prepared in coordination with the potential HKU supervisor and are due in early December.  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 as soon as possible to express interest and begin preparations.