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PhD Program in Sustainable Ecosystem Management (SEM Ph.D.)


Ecosystem management is the application of ecological and social sciences to resource management to promote long-term sustainability of ecosystems and the delivery of essential ecosystem goods and services to society. The today’s challenge is to manage ecosystem in such a way that they can sustainably deliver an optimal combination of ecosystem services both today and into the future with resilience to environmental and social changes. Thus, the PhD in Sustainable Ecosystem Management (PhD SEM) is developed to address the current challenges of the scientific community as well as to address the urgent need for biodiversity conservation and management in the Mekong River Basin facing rapid global environmental.  The SEM Ph.D. brings together social sciences, natural sciences and sophisticated modeling techniques to figure out the social and environmental issues as well as to develop the decision support tools that could be used remotely, regionally or internationally by providing an appropriate developing scenarios to stakeholders (government, private sector and civil society) in response to the present and future need of people.

PhD SEM is developed under the support of European Project – Erasmus+ Programme (CONSEA) within the consortium of 4 European university partners: University of Toulouse (France), University of Girona (Spain), University of Ghent (Belgium) and University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (Austria), and 4 South East Asia university partners: University of Battambang (Cambodia), Royal University of Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Can Tho University (Vietnam) and An Giang University (Vietnam). The programme has been divided into two main parts: Course work and Research work, for a total of 54 credits, which is required by the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. All students are required to complete minimum 21 credits of course work and 33 credits of research work to fulfil the requirements of the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Sustainable Ecosystem management.


Sustainable ecosystem management is the study of scientific solutions and societal interventions for an environmentally accountable society and the sustainable use of natural resources. The PhD program aims at building up the research capacity and upgrades the existing skills of Cambodian students, researcher, lecturers and experts by integrative approaches that can be applied to enhance the sustainability of ecosystem in the face of climate change, particularly alteration driven by anthropogenic activities (e.g. dams). Indeed, PhD candidates will be coached with experienced scientist to conduct independently the research and be able to design the research protocol in response to addressed problems. The program is designed to answer as well as to provide the key solution to current trade-off for biodiversity conservation and socio-economic development in the SEA region. Therefore, candidates will be equipped with solid background of sciences both natural and social, and then trained with sophisticated statistical modelling technics to develop the decision supports tools that could be answered and mitigated the current impact driven by human activities such as dam, deforestation and pollution. Besides, this PhD program intends to build the live long learning attitude in Cambodia and contribute all Cambodian research finding to the world wide scientific community. Finally, the program aims at developing the research network and structure in the SEA region to address regionally the environmental issues.

Learning outcomes

The PhD program in SEM educates the scientists of the future and the practical problem solvers in the context of global change. Graduate will be able to:

  • Have broad knowledge and perspectives on sustainable development facing global environmental change
  • Conduct or lead independently their research program
  • Supervise undergraduate and graduate students effectively with high scientific levels
  • Develop decision support tools for ecosystem management and sustainable development
  • Convey the knowledge and research to different stakeholders (government, private sector and civil society)
  • Publish articles in international peer reviewed journals

Prospectus careers

Graduates from the PhD SEM program will become:

  • Researcher, lecturer, trainer in academic and research institutions
  • Model and decision support developer
  • Environmental manager, policy maker and planner
  • National and international freelance consultant
  • Sustainable ecosystem management expert
  • Postdoctoral research fellow
  • Principle investigator of various development projects
  • Entrepreneur and manager in consultation agency


The PhD program is a combination of course and research work for three-year programme of study.

Code Course Title Credits Hours
A. Course Work = 21 Credits
1). Oriented courses** (3 modules = 9 credits)
SEMD01 Community ecology and ecosystem dynamics 3 (2,1) 45h
SEMD02 Field method in ecology 3 (1,2) 45h
SEMD03 Ecological status and reference condition 3 (1,2) 45h
2). Supplementary courses (2 modules = 6 credits)
SEMD04 Biodiversity conservation and management 3 (2,1) 45h
SEMD05 Sustainable and economic development 3 (3, 0) 45h
3). Advanced training courses (2 modules = 6 credits)
SEMD06 Machine learning 3 (2,1) 45h
SEMD07 Research methodology 3 (1,2) 45h
B. Research Work​​ = 33 Credits
SEMD-PD Research proposal 3
SEMD-P Publication 6
SEMD-SC Conference 3
SEMD-SW Workshop 3
SEMD-T Thesis writing 18
Total (I + II) 54

Research topics 

The research projects for the PhD SEM program cover a wide range of research area ranged from natural to social sciences, below is the list of potential research fields:

  • Biodiversity
  • Disturbance ecology
  • Conservation sciences
  • Climate change adaptation and mitigation’
  • Socio economy, livelihood and governance
  • Sustainable development
  • Environmental economy and policy development
  • Ecological modeling and decision support
  • GIS and remote sensing applied for ecosystem conservation and management

The offered PhD topics are announced through CONSEA project website and Facebook page. Student could reach this information through UBB website as well.



All candidates who are currently holding the PhD or Master of Sciences or equivalent degree in biology, mathematics, geography, agriculture, ecosystem management, community development, environmental economy or relevant master programs.

Student selection

First of all, all interested candidates are invited to register his/her name in the list of SEM Ph.D. candidate. Therefore, interested candidates are requested to send his/her CV to the scientific coordinators or drop his or her CV at Post-Graduate School to confirm their candidature.

The selection of candidate will be done through research proposal defense in front of UBB scientific committee. Interested candidates are suggested to find from now on and contact directly their supervisors or come to Post-Graduate School for information both on the program and supervisors.

Tuition fee: 1500 USD per year

Scholarship opportunity and research grant

Under the framework of Erasmus+ CONSEA project, M-SEM is connected to several Associate Partners in Cambodia, Thailand, China and France, such as:

  • Ubon Rachathani University (UBU)-Thailand
  • Maejo University (MJO)-Thailand
  • SouthWest University (SWU)-China
  • Institute of Hydrobiology (IHB-CAS)-China
  • Région Occitanie-France
  • Pearl River Fishery Research Institute (PRFRI)-China
  • Institut Français du Cambodge (IFC)-Cambodia
  • Institute of Hydroecology- China
  • Ministry of Water Resources and Chinese Academy of Sciences-China

Within this framework, students could have possibility to stay and conduct their internship in these associate partners through the support or scholarship of different funding agencies:

  • Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA)
  • Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC)
  • Chinese Academic of Sciences (CAS)
  • French Embassy in Cambodia
  • Région Occitanie, France
  • Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF)

Besides, it will take advantages of all the opportunities from the existing programs and/or projects related to their field of study, such as:

  • Internship fellowships for students with UBB research grants
  • Internship fellowships of the Cambodian universities and government (e.g. MoE, TSA, CNMC)
  • Internship fellowships from other projects (e.g. NutriSEA, UNICAM, WAgN-Cambodia)
  • Internship fellowships from research and NGO institutions (WorldFish, CI, FFI, CBC, IFREDI, MRC)
  • Internship fellowships from existing on-going projects funded by JICA, World Bank and ADB


Institution: University of Battambang (UBB)

Duration: 36 months – Full time

Credits number to be achieved: 54

Language: English

Supervision: 1 Asian supervisor & 1 or 2 European co-supervisors

Mobility to Europe

Enrolled PhD candidates will have possibility to stay one month or longer in European university partners to work closely with their European supervisors. The one-month mobility will be selected later based on the performance and progress of the candidates. Candidate could have chance to get double degree from both Asian and European universities; however, it is mainly case by case and depend on the academic performance of each PhD candidate.

Important dates

  • Deadline of CV submission: 30th September 2018
  • Proposal defense to select PhD candidate: 30th October 2018
  • Registration: 1st to 15th November 2018
  • Program start: 1st November 2018

Contact for further information

Scientific Coordinators


Post-Graduate School is at your disposal for any query or information.

 Full Program (PDF): PhD Program in Sustainable Ecosystem Management (SEM Ph.D.)

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