PhD in Sustainable Development

PhD in Sustainable Development (by Research)


“The essence of sustainable development in practice is scientifically and morally based problem solving. We need a globally coordinated effort to move from business as usual to sustainable development. Every part of the world needs to be involved in problem solving, in brainstorming, and in determining new and creative ways to ensure inclusive and sustainable growth.” – Jeffrey D. Sachs


Application is open. Ask about Bursary.


About the PhD Program


The PhD in Sustainable Development is a full research programme focusing on key areas of sustainable development and themes outlined in the 17 sustainable development goals. The research topics will cover a wide range of complex issues and theories related to sustainable development, from the science of climate change and ecosystems to sustainable economics, social progress, management, public policies, environmental practices and governance. Students can select any of the key dimensions of sustainable development and undertake in-depth research to develop insights, theories and practical solutions to help advance the sustainability agenda.


Career Prospects


Positions in academia, industry, government and international and voluntary organisations that are pursuing the SDGs and sustainable practices.




Full-Time: minimum 3 years, maximum 6 years

Part-Time: minimum 4 years, maximum 8 years 




January and July each year


Areas of Research

  • Economics and sustainable development
  • Finance and sustainable development
  • International economics, finance and investments
  • Social progress and social inclusion
  • Sustainable infrastructure, transportation and mobility
  • Urban sustainability
  • Land-use system
  • Corporate strategies and operations
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Public policy and sustainable development
  • Trade and sustainable development
  • Solid and hazardous waste management
  • Political institutions, group conflicts, and democracy
  • Climate change adaptations
  • Plants and food system
  • Wildlife and forestry
  • Environmental and ecological systems
  • Mathematical modelling and simulations
  • Renewable energy
  • Education reform
  • Smart technologies
  • Sustainable tourism, hospitality and cultural heritage
  • Psychology and behaviour change
  • Sustainable design, industrial design and creative
  • industries
  • Bio-economy development

Program Structure


For this PhD programme by Research, students are required to complete

  1. SRM6013 Research Methods, and
  2. THS6090 Thesis Research


Entry Requirement

  • A Master’s Degree in a related field as accepted by the HEP Senate; OR
  • Other qualifications equivalent to a Master’s degree as accepted by the HEP Senate.
  • English IELTS level: Minimum score of 6.0 for IELTS or equivalent.


Application Process


Applicants will be required to submit:

  • Postgraduate application form
  • Research statement - The statement should briefly describe the research question that the applicant intends to pursue and the purpose of the research.
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Academic qualifications/results (Certificates and complete transcripts (Degree/master’s degree/ others)
  • Two (2) reference letters
  • One (1) passport-sized photograph
  • English Language Qualification (IELTS/TOEFL/MUET/others) - for international students
  • Scholarship application form (if any) Documents will be processed once the application is complete.

For more information or to apply, please email: 






Sunway University, Malaysia

  • No. 5, Jalan Universiti,
    Bandar Sunway,
    47500 Selangor Darul Ehsan,
  • Phone: +6 (03) 7491 8622
  •  Fax: +6 (03) 5635 8630
  • Email: