The Department of Community Sustainability offers two PhD degree options - in Community Sustainability (CSUS) and Sustainable Tourism & Protected Area Management (STPAM). Both programs are designed to enable students to generate new knowledge and learn to apply their scholarship to practice in responding to rapidly changing social, economic, natural, and agricultural conditions.

The two PhD degree options offered by the Department of Community Sustainability are:

  • Applicants must have completed a master's degree or other advanced degree from a recognized educational institution to apply to a PhD program with the Department of Community Sustainability. 
  • Strong academic credentials in the natural, physical, or social sciences, combined with relevant experience (including independent research experience), are necessary.
  • Applicants must explain why they are interested in a multidisciplinary degree rather than a discipline-based degree.
  • Applicants are encouraged to contact faculty to explore possible common interests and to identify potential advisors.

The student’s program of study must be developed in cooperation with and approved by the student’s guidance committee and must include the requirements specified below.

  • Take CSUS 800 - Foundations of Department of Community Sustainability (3 credits).
  • Take advanced research methods courses (9 credits) - including at least 3 credits each of quantitative and qualitative methods (CSUS 802 does not meet this requirement).
  • Take a minimum of 24 credits of course work across two self-defined focus areas - each of the two focus areas must include at least 9 credits (at least one course in each focus area must be selected from CSUS courses - the other 3 CSUS credits may be associated with either of the focus areas). STPAM students are required to take CSUS 814, so they have only 21 credits to apply to two focus areas.  See the STPAM PhD Program Plan Form or CSUS PhD Program Plan Form for details about course requirements.  
  • Take at least 24 credits of CSUS 999 - dissertation research.
  • Complete and submit a comprehensive examination program package.
  • Complete and pass a comprehensive examination (written and oral).
  • Publicly defend a dissertation research proposal.
  • Complete, publicly defend, and submit a dissertation. 
  • Follow the policies outlined in the Graduate Handbook.
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