PhD positions in Building Archaeology and Construction History

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100%, Zurich, fixed-term

Institute of Construction History and Preservation, Department of Architecture (D-ARCH)

The Chair of Building Archaeology and Construction History, within the Institute of Construction History and Preservation (IDB), is a leading institution in the study of historical structures and construction techniques using state-of-the-art methods and technical resources. The chair is headed by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Stefan M. Holzer. For more information about the research group, please visit our website:

We are offering two paid, full-time (100%), 4-year PhD positions (doctoral candidates) to start on February 1, 2022, or by appointment.

Project Background

The positions offered refer to a third-party-funded research project on medieval stone arch bridges. Unlike medieval cathedrals or ancient Roman bridges, medieval bridges have received very little attention from Building Archaeology and Construction History so far, although bridges posed a comparable technical, organizational and financial challenge to medieval communities. The project will mainly focus on on-site building archaeology of the preserved fabric in order to identify the original parts and successive restauration phases, and to reconstruct the original design and building processes. State-of-the-art digital methods and processes will be applied to generate high-precision surveys, providing a basis for the analysis of traces and findings that may permit in-depth insight into the bridges’ construction history. The on-site studies will be complemented by archival research. Research activities will zoom in on some regions with a particularly dense bridge heritage, notably, Occitania and Central Italy.

Job Description

We are looking for outstanding applicants who are willing to develop new methods and ideas for researching, surveying and analysing historical structures, and who want to dedicate themselves to historical construction principles and techniques. We welcome architects, civil engineers, and scientists from related disciplines with a strong technical, historical or scientific background or interests in historical architecture and building practices. The research group aims to increase the number of women in scientific positions. Female candidates are therefore encouraged to apply.

The project provides funding for four years. It offers excellent working conditions in an international team and state-of-the-art research infrastructure. Doctoral candidates are involved in current research and teaching at the chair and thus gain first-hand experience of academic operations. Successful applicants will be employed 100% and will receive monthly salaries, based on the ETH standard rate.

Your profile

Suitable candidates must hold a Master’s degree acquired at the university level in architecture, engineering, archaeology or related fields (MSc or MA). Upon successful admission, depending on the student’s academic background, the ETH administration office will evaluate if a candidate needs to take any additional qualifying exams at ETH during their first year of studies.

German and English are the official languages of our research group. However, for the planned project, very good knowledge of French or Italian is an advantage. Language certificates are therefore a welcome addition to the application documents, but are not officially required.


We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents (in English):

  • a cover letter, stating the candidate’s motivation
  • a detailed academic Curriculum Vitae (CV) with degrees and publication list (if applicable)
  • a one-page (maximum) summary of the master thesis
  • a two-page (maximum) research statement (outline of main research interests)

Further information about the Chair of Building Archaeology and Construction History can be found on our website Questions regarding the position should be directed to Dr. Manuel Maissen by e-mail to (no applications).

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications received via e-mail or postal services will not be considered.

The job advertisement and the application portal can also be accessed via the following link: