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PhD Programme in Sustainability


UNU-IAS programmes aim to produce the policymakers and researchers of tomorrow, who will be at the forefront of global efforts towards a more sustainable future.

The PhD programme in Sustainability Science is a three-year programme that 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.

UNU-IAS students benefit from the unique opportunity to study in central Tokyo at a global university within the framework of the United Nations. Students gain both academic knowledge and practical research skills by actively contributing to the institute’s policy-oriented research projects. Enrolled students also will have the opportunity to obtain credits not only from UNU-IAS but other leading universities in Japan.

Subject areas

Courses offered for the programme correspond to the three UNU-IAS research areas, under the overarching theme of sustainability:

  • Sustainable Societies
  • Natural Capital and Biodiversity
  • Global Change and Resilience

Target audience

The programme aims to produce scholars who will become key researchers in the field of sustainability science.

Admission Requirement

Applicants are required to have met the following requirements by the application deadline in order to be considered:

  • A strong interest in sustainability studies;

  • A demonstrated commitment to study and understand global issues;

  • A completed Master’s degree in disciplines related to sustainability studies;

  • A minimum of 2 years of practical field experience related to UNU-IAS research themes which was acquired after obtaining a university degree OR Two completed Master’s degrees, at least one of which must be in a discipline related to sustainability studies; Those who expect to receive a second Master’s degree before the entrance period - September 2019 - may also apply.

  • A GPA of 3.5 or above on a 4.0 scale for at least one of the Master’s degrees earned; and

  • English language proficiency



Geographical coverage



3 years

Application procedure

Please visit the Degree Programmes section of the UNU-IAS website to find out more about application requirements and procedures. Those who expect to receive the required qualifications before September 2019 are eligible to apply.


The award of the scholarships listed below is based on application selection results. Only applicants that are accepted for enrolment in the programme can be considered as candidates for scholarships.

There is no separate application form for the scholarships as it is a part of the online application for admission. Interested applicants must provide necessary information and documents for the scholarship together with the required documents for admission to the doctoral degree programme.

Scholarships are provided through Japan Foundation for UNU. Details and conditions of the scholarship are available online.

Tuition & cost

Tuition USD 10,000 per year

Deadline for application

19 Apr 2019


Admissions Office
T: +81 (0)3 5467-1212

Last updated

04 Feb 2019

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  • Type University programme
  • Level Doctorate
  • Location(s) Japan (Tokyo)
  • Language English

Please note:Content is displayed as last posted by a PreventionWeb community member or editor. The maintenance of the DRR academic programmes catalogue is a service to the DRR community and UNISDR is not responsible for the programmes delivered by academic institutions. See our terms of use

CONTRIBUTED BY: A PreventionWeb user