Stephen Chia graduated with a BSc (Hons) degree in Chemistry in 1989, MA in Archaeology in 1993, and PhD in Archaeology in 1997 from Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang. He is currently the Professor at the Centre for Global Archaeological Research (CGAR), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Penang where he carries out his teaching, research and consultancy works.
He has received numerous international, national and university research grants to undertake archaeological research and training in Malaysia, Southeast Asia, India, China, Japan, USA and Bosnia. He is also actively involved in archaeological and cultural heritage preservation and conservation in Malaysia such as the Archaeological Impact Assessment at the Petronas gas pipeline project in Peninsular Malaysia (1990-1995), Bakun Dam project (1995), Murum Dam project (2009), Baram Dam (2010) in Sarawak, and a host of other conservation and archaeological development projects with the Department of National Heritage as well as the Department of Museums in Malaysia, in particular the Sabah and Sarawak Museums.
His current research areas include the archaeology of Malaysian Borneo and Southeast Asia, ancient pottery and coffins of Malaysia, Southeast Asia, China and Iran, archaeological maritime heritage of Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia, archaeological and cultural heritage protection, conservation and preservation in Malaysia, archaeometry and sourcing studies of archaeological artifacts. His research works and findings have been published in several books and monographs, more than 120 articles and chapters in books, journals, magazines, documentaries, conference papers and invited talks at both international and national levels.