PhD Positions at Auckland Game Lab

Three fully funded PhD positions are available in the new Auckland Game Lab at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Applicants can choose one of three projects:

  1. Skyrim exergaming mode: Develop a mod of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in which players have to train in real life to level up in the game.
  2. Player biometrics: Develop new techniques for inferring emotions during play sessions from biometric data (e.g. heart rate, electrodermal response, EEG).
  3. Augmented reality running: Develop an augmented reality running game to keep players motivated on long runs. (Requires background in computer graphics)
  4. Touch-sensitive game controller: Develop a controller that can sense the way in which it is held, and make useful inferences based on this data. (Requires background in electrical or computer systems engineering.)

Applicants can also propose their own project consistent with the lab’s themes of exergaming, augmented reality, and empirical player studies.

Why Auckland?

Auckland is one of the world’s most liveable cities. It has mild weather, comprehensive public transit, excellent restaurants and numerous parks, walking trails and beaches. Further afield in New Zealand you’ll find fjords, volcanos, amazing lakes, epic treks and some of the world’s best campgrounds.

Meanwhile, the Auckland Game Lab is a close group of highly-motivated honours, masters and PhD students. You’ll find strong emotional and financial support for your studies. PhD students typically benefit from honours and masters students who want to collaborate on their exciting projects. You will also benefit from comprehensive research methods courses and opportunities to work as a teaching assistant, lab tutor or instructor.

The University of Auckland offers competitive doctoral scholarships to defray tuition costs and support you during your studies.


  • Applicants should have an honours or masters degree in computer science or a related discipline (software engineering, computer systems engineering, information systems, etc.).
  • Applicants should have very strong grades in their most recent degree (e.g. first class honours in the UK; a GPA of 3.5/4 or better in North America)
  • Excellent communication skills and some programming experience is a must for all projects.
  • Previous experience in research is desirable but not necessary.
  • Knowledge of C++ and client-server architecture is desirable but not necessary.
  • Knowledge of computer graphics is necessary for the augmented reality project.
  • Knowledge of computer systems engineering is necessary for the game controller project.
  • Applications from women and minorities (of all sorts) will be given priority.

Interested New Zealand citizens and permanent residents are funded through a different mechanism, and should contact Dr. Ralph directly at

To apply, please visit:

and list Dr. Paul Ralph as your potential supervisor. If you have any questions, you can contact Dr. Ralph directly at

Applications are due 15 January 2019. Late applications will continue to be accepted until the positions are filled.

The Auckland Game Lab operates out of the school of computer science. Graduates will receive a PhD in computer science. Funding for these studentships comes in the form of University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarships. There is no separate funding mechanism for game lab PhD students.

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