The PhD programme in Sustainability Science aims to produce scholars who will become key researchers in the field of sustainability science. The programme takes an innovative approach to sustainability, seeking to promote a better understanding of the issues by incorporating global change perspectives, specifically those related to climate change and biodiversity.
The programme will equip graduates with comprehensive, multidisciplinary knowledge of sustainability problems, and deepen their understanding of the role of environmental sustainability in addressing current issues related to global change. Students undertake problem-oriented research, acquiring the quantitative and qualitative analytical research skills necessary to understand the underlying principles of various systems involved in sustainability issues and debates. Through coursework and research, PhD students gain critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as the technical literacy required to address sustainability problems.
The PhD in Sustainability Science programme duration is three years; the programme starts in September. Students are required to obtain 14 credits and are expected to complete all degree requirements by July of their third year. Students must complete a PhD dissertation in one of several UNU-IAS research themes, focusing on global change and sustainability. Students are also encouraged to take a joint PhD diploma offered by the UNU-IAS and The University of Tokyo Graduate School of Frontier Sciences (UT-GSFS) on Leadership for Sustainability. For the joint diploma programme, students are required to take 18 credits, four of which should be from the courses offered by UT-GSFS.
Application deadline: 30 April 2014
For information on the specific courses offered as part of this degree programme, please visit the the curriculum information page on the UNU-IAS online learning website.
The programme is taught by an expert teaching faculty comprising both UNU-IAS academic staff and invited distinguished scholars and practitioners.
Sharing a building with many UN agencies, UNU-IAS offers a unique learning environment for its diverse international student body.
The UNU Library offers access to a range of academic books, over 10,000 electronic journals, World Bank and OECD publications, and official UN documents issued since 1946. All students are provided with a comprehensive library orientation session at the beginning of the course.
A dedicated computer lab is provided for students, with software to cater to the needs of each course, including GIS, environmental modelling applications, and statistical analysis tools. In addition, students have access to a number of international conferences, workshops, and symposiums at the university.
UNU-IAS assists students from the time of their registration to graduation, acknowledging that students may experience difficulties adjusting to a new country and culture.
An induction programme is conducted at the beginning of the academic session, introducing students to the staff responsible for specific student services, and familiarizing students with the campus through a tour of the facilities.
Students are provided with a handbook about living in Tokyo prior to their arrival, including information on how to find and secure accommodation.
The Academic Calendar shows important dates and university holidays for the academic year.
Applicants for the PhD in Sustainability Science are required to have met ALL of the following requirements by the application deadline in order to be considered:
1. Strong interest in sustainability studies;
2. Demonstrated commitment to study and understand global issues;
3. A completed Master’s degree in disciplines related to sustainability studies and a minimum of 2 years of practical field experience related to UNU-IAS research themes
Two completed Master’s degrees, at least one of which must be in disciplines related to sustainability studies;
*Those who expect to receive a second Master’s degree before the entrance period – September 2014 – may also apply.
4. A GPA of 3.5 or above on a 4.0 scale on at least one of the Master’s degrees earned; and
5. English language proficiency
The minimum score requirements for English language qualifications required by UNU-IAS are:
Applicants, except for the cases below, must submit original TOEFL or IELTS score reports (from a test taken within the last two years) to the Admissions Office at the time of application:
UNU-IAS requires original TOEFL/IELTS score reports (no photocopies accepted).
Estimated total expenses for the PhD degree programme for 3 years including tuition are approximately 8,560,000 JPY or 83,500 USD. Applicants must show financial resources adequate to meet the full costs of educational and living expenses.
A limited number of scholarships (covering tuition fees and living costs) are available for outstanding applicants from developing countries who can demonstrate a need for financial assistance.
The scholarship covers the full tuition fees, and provides a monthly allowance of 150,000 JPY* for living expenses for a maximum of 36 months. Travel costs to and from Japan, visa handling fees, and health/accident insurance costs must be covered by the student.
*150,000 JPY is the average monthly living cost for an international student without dependents in Tokyo, although this amount may vary depending on the lifestyle of the student.
Application deadline: 30 April 2014
Please note that for September 2014 entry, there are a very limited number of places available.
Your official application must be submitted through the online application page. You will need to create a user account to submit your applications. The online form can be saved and returned to at any time before submitting.
UNU-IAS may at any time require applicants to provide verification of the information and documents submitted as part of their application and/or additional information including, but not limited to, an interview.
Those who wish to withdraw from the application process should contact the Admissions Office using the online inquiry form. When submitting the form, please ensure that “PhD Degree” is selected as the topic of your inquiry, and please use the same email address you used when submitting your application.
Students who earn a total requirement of 14 credits, from taking 2 core courses, Interdisciplinary Research Seminar, plus 3 optional elective courses, successfully complete a doctoral dissertation and pass the final examination will receive a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Sustainability Science. The students are also encouraged to take joint PhD diploma offered by UNU-IAS and University of Tokyo Graduate School of Frontier Sciences (UT-GSFS) on Leadership for Sustainability. In order to receive the joint diploma, students are required to obtain 18 credits, 4 of which should be from the courses offered by UT-GSFS. The standard period is three years; the programme starts in September, with students expected to complete all the following degree requirements by July in the third academic year after enrolment.
For more details, please refer to the course information on the UNU-IAS online learning website.
Before contacting us, please read through the FAQ page as your question may already be answered there.
If your question is not covered in the FAQ, please contact us using the online inquiry form. Please ensure that “PhD Degree” is selected as the topic of your inquiry. If you have already submitted an application to us, please use the same email address on the inquiry form.
United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS)
53-70, Jingumae 5-chome
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8925, Japan
T: +81 (0)3 5467-1212