Doctor in Sustainability

Program Description

The Doctor in Sustainability (DSus) is a professional doctorate program that aims to produce graduates who can develop research-based solutions to persistent sustainability challenges. It will address the need for professionals with advanced academic training who are expected to develop transformative research approaches to address wicked problems based on practical issues in their profession.  The threats and complex challenges that human society is facing now calls for a pluridisciplinary approach that transcends  traditional solutions, promotes intersectoral cooperation and collaboration and takes on intergenerational equity perspectives.   

The DSus will marry the theoretical frameworks from academic community and the practical knowledge and experiences drawn from the field and work-base setting and with enough flexibility to strengthen the students’ proficiency in the pillars of sustainability — economic, social, and environmental. By providing a shared learning environment for the practitioners and academics working on sustainability, this program shall allow for co-design and co-creation of knowledge that promotes partnerships and collaborative action not only in academic courses but also in actual application in the field through their dissertation.   

The program aims to produce graduates who:

  1. have a clear grasp of sustainability worldviews;
  2. can make sense and anticipate complex problems;
  3. develop innovative, participatory and research-based solutions to problems which do not seem to have obvious optimal solutions using pluridisciplinary approaches;
  4. link and apply use-inspired knowledge in adaptive settings; 
  5. have the strategic competence to manage transitions by designing, facilitating and implementing interventions and transformative strategies; and
  6. cognizant of the relationships across systems scales and their implications to intergenerational equity 

The program aims to produce professional doctorates who are: analyst, facilitator, communicator, integrator, negotiator, and translator of pluridisciplinary perspectives and is designed to accommodate different disciplines, philosophies of science and methodologies, as long as these lead to innovative solutions that can contribute to a transition of societal, institutional and regulatory structures towards sustainability.

Program Goals

The Doctor in Sustainability program aims to develop graduates who are able to:

  1. Demonstrate highly advanced systematic  knowledge and skills in highly specialized and/or complex interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary field of learning;
  2. Utilize of complex research/creative work and/or professional practice and/or the advancement of learning with full independence in individual work and/or in teams of interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary setting;
  3. Apply a more complex setting that demands leadership in research and creative work with strategic value added; and
  4. Apply a significant level of expertise-based autonomy and accountability to professional leadership for innovation, research, and/or development management in highly specialized or interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary fields.
  5. Evaluate the complexity of sustainability issues and challenges in institutional, local, national, regional and global settings from the lenses of sustainability concepts and frameworks;
  6. Design pluridisciplinary, intersectoral, and intergenerational equity-informed sustainability frameworks, models and systems that can be used in analyzing and evaluating actual scenarios, managing transitioning to sustainability and developing sustainability transition pathways
  7. Generate transformative, innovative and context-based solutions and  institutional support systems  in addressing a wide range of wicked and complex global societal and environmental challenges; 
  8. Demonstrate advanced leadership in professional sustainability research settings through management of pluridisciplinary teams, informed, reflective, and participatory decision making, and collaborative partnerships.
March 2024
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Applicants for admission must:

  1. have a Master’s degree in any discipline;
  2. have a general weighted average  of “1.75” or better for non-UP graduate or “2.0” or better for UP graduate, or its equivalent;
  3. demonstrate qualities of, and potentials for leadership as shown in their statement of purpose, references, and other pertinent documents;
  4. have at least 5 years of relevant work experience and/or equivalent research experience as evidenced by CV, certificate of employment, or a portfolio  of scholarly publication (e.g., publications and studies undertaken wherein the applicant is an author,  policy papers, technical paper)  and/or creative work;
  5. submit a 500-word personal mission and vision as a student of the program;
  6. complete the Distance Education Readiness Module;
  7. submit a dissertation concept proposal outlining the research problem and research framework (2000 words)*
  8. English language proficiency report indicating that the applicant, who is not a native speaker of English and who did not take previous academic coursework in English, has passed a valid English proficiency examination. Applicants must have at least the following:
English proficiency test Scores
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
  • Paper-based Exam
550
  • Internet-based Exam
80
IELTS (International English Language Testing System) 6.5
TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) 800

(No other English test score is accepted)

  1. have proficiency in the use of computers and the Internet, which may be an actual demonstration of proficiency in the use of computer technologies, the Internet, and other information and communication tools essential for undertaking independent research;
  2. submit a Valid Official Transcript of Records (ToR) from the applicant’s Alma Mater recognized by the CHED or the University of the Philippines;
  3. submit two letters of recommendation from former professors, or from current/previous employers, or colleagues in the field of development;
  4. submit an official receipt to testify that the applicant has paid the required application fee to the UPOU;
  5. submit a Special Needs Statement that would include but not limited to physical and mental conditions that might require special attention or support service; and
  6. attend the Midyear Intensive Program**

Note:

* An adviser will be assigned to the student at the start of the application process to guide him/her in developing the dissertation concept proposal.

** Students need to undergo an Intensive Program before being officially accepted in the doctoral program. Graduates of similar programs from other universities may apply for exemption subject for approval by the admissions committee.

Online Registration is done through the Student Portal. Follow these instructions on how to register online. If you have further questions, take a look at the Enrollment FAQs.

Courses

The proposed Doctor in Sustainability consists of 46 units distributed as follows:

  • SUS 301. Worldviews of  Sustainability 
  • SUS 302. Complex Sustainable Systems
  • SUS 303. Education for Sustainable Development
  • SUS 304.  Managing Sustainability Transitions (Prerequisite: SUS 302)
  • SUS 305. Communicating Sustainability
  • Elective 1
  • Elective 2 
  • Elective 3 
  • Elective 4
  • SUS 380. Sustainability Research Methodologies I
  • SUS 381. Sustainability Research Methodologies II
  • SUS 399. Collaborative Research Problem Setting for Sustainability (Colloquium)
  • SUS 400. Doctoral Dissertation

Note: One (1) publication in a peer-reviewed journal is also a requirement for graduation.

* The electives to be taken shall be drawn from  a list of eligible courses (if 200 level, must be handled by a PhD faculty member) available from UPOU or the other CUs and upon advice by the research panel/advisory committee. Sustainability is drawn from three pillars, environmental, socio-political and economic. It is assumed that the student shall choose electives that shall strengthen and enhance the student’s capacity to pursue sustainability research.

** Students may also take non-credit UPOU massive open online courses (MOOCs) on sustainable development to gain additional knowledge on specific relevant topics.

Program of Study

Students are expected to take the courses in the following sequence:

Year Semester 1 Number of Units Semester 2 Number of Units
1 Core Course 1:

SUS 301. Worldviews of  Sustainability

3 units Core Course 3:

SUS 303. Education for Sustainable Development

3 units
Core Course 2:

SUS 302. Complex Sustainable Systems

3 units Core Course 4:

SUS 304. Managing Sustainability Transitions

(Prerequisite: SUS 302)

3 units
2 Core Course 5:

SUS 305. Communicating Sustainability

3 units Elective Course 2 3 units
Elective Course 1 3 units Research Course 1:

SUS 380. Sustainability Research Methodologies I

3 units
3 Research Course 2:

SUS 380. Sustainability Research Methodologies II

3 units Elective Course 4 3 units
Elective Course 3 3 units Dissertation

SUS 400. Doctoral Dissertation

12 units
Research Course 3:

SUS 399. Collaborative Research Problem Setting for Sustainability (Colloquium)

1 unit
4 Dissertation

SUS 400. Doctoral Dissertation

Residency Dissertation

SUS 400. Doctoral Dissertation

Residency
Total: 46 units
Year Semester 1 Number of Units Semester 2 Number of Units
1 Core Course 1:

SUS 301. Worldviews of  Sustainability

3 units Core Course 4:

SUS 304. Managing Sustainability Transitions

(Prerequisite: SUS 302)

3 units
Core Course 2:

SUS 302. Complex Sustainable Systems

3 units Core Course 5:

SUS 305. Communicating Sustainability

3 units
Core Course 3:

SUS 303. Education for Sustainable Development

3 units Elective Course 1 3 units
2 Research Course 1:

SUS 380. Sustainability Research Methodologies I

3 units Research Course 2:

SUS 380. Sustainability Research Methodologies II

3 units
Elective Course 2 3 units Research Course 3:

SUS 399. Collaborative Research Problem Setting for Sustainability (Colloquium)

1 unit
Elective Course 3 3 units Elective Course 4 3 units
3 Dissertation

SUS 400. Doctoral Dissertation

12 units Dissertation

SUS 400. Doctoral Dissertation

Residency
Total: 46 units

* This track applies to students on scholarship requiring a minimum number of enrolled courses per semester that is usually more than the UPOU regular load of 6 units per semester. This track is subject to approval of the Program Chair.

Program Policies

To be retained in the program, a student should have a general weighted average of 2.0 or better in his/her course work at the end of each academic year until the completion of the Program of Study. Any other existing policies on retention should be applied.

Students transferring from other colleges/universities may be admitted into the program and may apply for crediting of courses previously completed, subject to relevant University rules.

The Doctor in Sustainability Program Chair will evaluate courses applied for crediting. Additional requirements may be imposed as preconditions for crediting.

Students who will transfer will be required to undergo the Midyear Intensive Program and will undergo an interview by the committee.

Students are required to finish the program within 10 years. Otherwise, they must request for the waiver of MRR. The request is subject to the approval of the Faculty Dean as per recommendation by the Program Chair (PC). The actions may be of the following:

  • Disapproved;
  • Re-application to the program. Re-application requires the submission of a new set of application requirements. Refer to the Admissions page for the admission procedure.
  • To continue with the program especially if the student is already working on his/her terminal course such as dissertation.

The time limit for completion of a degree is inclusive of leaves.

Any applicant for graduation must have:

  • completed the Program of Study with a general weighted average of 2.0 or better;
  • successfully defended his/her dissertation;
  • submitted at least one (1) bound copy and an electronic copy of his/her dissertation manuscript;
  • presented a paper at an academic conference (virtual or face-to-face);
  • satisfied all other University policies on graduation; and
  • successfully published one (1) publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

For admission related details, please visit UPOU website.