PhD Student

The Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Hong Kong is seeking a highly motivated and enthusiastic PhD student to join the research group of Dr. Nicole Khan ( The research group uses sedimentary, microfossil and geochemical indicators to produce and synthesize records of present and past sea levels, storms, and floods, and their extent of geological and ecological impacts. These records provide means to assess future risk, reveal the spatial and temporal variability of coastal inundation and decipher the relationship of these events to global climatic changes.

Potential research topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Producing new, high-resolution records of relative sea-level change from tropical, sub-tropical, and temperature locations using microfossil (e.g., foraminifera, diatoms, pollen), geochemical (e.g., stable carbon isotopes), or novel (e.g., DNA signatures) proxies;
  • Developing sea-level databases spanning the Last Glacial Maximum to present to reveal spatio-temporal patterns and mechanisms of past relative sea-level change, particularly on Chinese, Australian, African, and Scandinavian coastlines; and
  • Deciphering mechanisms of paleoenvironmental change and carbon storage in coastal settings.

The student will receive a competitive salary and full tuition support. Successful applicants will be supported in their application to the Hong Kong Ph.D. Fellowship Scheme (HKPF; and will have the chance to join the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Hong Kong, ranked 41st in the field of Earth and Marine Sciences by the 2019 QS World University Subject Ranking. HKU is recognized internationally as a dynamic and comprehensive university of world-class standing. With its distinguished excellence in research and outstanding performance in teaching, it attracts first-class teaching and research staff and brilliant students from around the world. More information about graduate study at HKU can be found here:

Interested applicants should the following materials to Dr. Nicole Khan at before the 10th of November 2019:

  • a cover letter outlining their research interests and relevant experience/background,
  • their CV (including the name of at least 3 references)
  • transcripts

Applicants for whom English is not the first language, or who have not undertaken their degree studies with English as the language of instruction, must attain a satisfactory English language test score (TOEFL), as described here:

In addition, postdoctoral positions are available through the HKU Presidential postdoctoral fellowship ( and/or the RGC postdoctoral fellowship scheme ( Applicants with research interests in the themes described above should also be in contact to discuss preparation of the proposal to either of these fellowship schemes.