Royal University of Phnom Penh
Faculty of Science, Department of Biology

Graduate Program
Master of Science in Biology skill in Applied Ecology and Management (Bio-EAM)

Programme Overview
The Masters of Science in Biology, Skill in Applied Ecology and Management (Bio-AEM) was established in 2017 to address the urgent need for qualified applied ecologists to guide Cambodia towards ecology sustainable development, address existing knowledge gaps, and uphold the nation’s commitments to conserving its ecology and management.
The Master programme is jointly delivered by Developing curricula for Environmental safety and Conservation of the Biodiversity in SEA (CONSEA) Project and the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP), with assistance from a diverse range of academics and professionals worldwide. This master degree is partly joined with other degree, Master of Science in Biology, skill in Biodiversity Conservation, which was existed since 2005, supported by FFI Cambodia and RUPP. These two programs will share some coursework which students from both programs can jointly take course together in specific courses.

The programme is designed to equip students with essential knowledge and transferable skills and experience  required  for  successful  careers  in  the  rapidly-growing  sustainable  development  and applied ecology and management sectors in Cambodia and SE-Asia. This includes:

  • A  firm  grounding  in  contemporary  ecological  and  management  theories,  and  knowledge  of project management and strategic planning
  • Real  life  and  transferable  experience  in  designing  and  undertaking  field  research,  data analysis and interpretation, reporting and presentation
  • Opportunities  to  build  intrapersonal,  interpersonal  and  professional  skills  in  applied  ecology and management fields
  • Outstanding opportunities  to conduct  original  research  and applied  ecology  projects  with government    agencies,    non-government    organizations    and   overseas    universities    and institutions

The  skills  and  knowledge  taught  on the  Masters  program  are  especially  relevant  to the  work  of government environmental and development departments, consultancy firms and contractors, non- governmental organizations, international agencies, and donors.

On graduation, the majority of students quickly find employment within the environment sector or experience promotion and greater recognition in their existing jobs. An increasing number of graduates are also taking advantage of the program extensive international links to continue their careers overseas.

Program Background

Cambodia supports a rich biodiversity yet is one of the least known countries worldwide. In addition to forming an important part of the Indo-Burma Hotspot, containing four Global Ecoregions and 40

Important  Bird  Areas,  it possesses  many  of the best  remaining  forests  and wetlands  in mainland Southeast Asia, with countless endemic and globally threatened species. Though knowledge of Cambodian applied ecology and management remains limited, recent years have seen an astonishing rise in the number  of species documented  and other ecosystem  within the country.  Much of this research   has  been  led  by  international   ecologists/biologists,   due  to  the  chronic   shortage   of Cambodian research scientists. As a consequence,  Cambodia’s current ability to manage its natural heritage is severely hampered both by a lack of skilled people and biological information.


Natural resources are the mainstay of Cambodia’s economy: more than 80% of Cambodians depend directly on natural resources for subsistence and income, and all utilize wild resources such as fish and timber. With pressures on ecosystems/biodiversity  and the environment  increasing,  there is a risk of losing much of this natural wealth forever; to the detriment of present and future generations. As a result, the lack of national  capacity  and reliable  biodiversity  data has been highlighted  in all recent priority-setting  exercises, including  the National Biodiversity  Strategy  and Action Plan (RGC,



The  Masters   of  Science   in  Biology,   skill  in  applied  ecology   and  management   (Bio-AEM)   was established  in 2017 to address the urgent need for qualified applied ecologists  to guide Cambodia towards sustainable development, address existing knowledge gaps, and uphold the nation’s commitments to conserving its biodiversity. Partner organizations assisting the Masters programme is mainly supported by European Project – Erasmus+ Program 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),  Can  Tho  University  (Vietnam)  and  An Giang  University  (Vietnam).  Centre  for  Biodiversity  Conservation  (CBC)  that  is  currently  running Master of Science in Biodiversity  Conservation  (CBC), Fauna and Flora International  Cambodia (FFI) are the main collaborators for the program implementation.


The  Masters  curriculum  is  a  two-year  programme  which  consists  of  two  stages.  Students  are evaluated at the end of each stage, and only those with adequate grades may proceed to the next stage.

Stage 1: Masters Course, Year One (34 credits)

The first stage of the curriculum consists of two semesters of classes (February-June and September- January  each year).  Classes  are normally  confined  to the afternoons,  though  several  courses  also include short field trips. Each semester includes a fortnightly guest lecture series provided by visiting academics  and  conservation  professionals  working  in Cambodia  and  overseas  under  the  CONSEA project and other partners. After the first year, and if adequate grades have been achieved, students progress  to  the  second  stage  (or  second  year)  of  the  Masters  curriculum.  Students  who  fail  to achieve adequate marks in first year courses can return to repeat failed courses, but cannot graduate from the Masters program until satisfactory grades have been achieved.

Stage 2: Masters Thesis, Year Two (12 credits)

The second  year of the Masters  curriculum  consists  of a dissertation,  which  requires  students  to produce  an  original  research  thesis  (each  student  develops  a  thesis  proposal  during  the  second semester of the first year). For their theses, students are encouraged to address subjects relevant to contemporary  ecological studies and management,  and conservation  issues in Cambodia. Students often undertake their projects in collaboration with national or international organizations (CONSEA partners), many of whom offer employment after they graduate.

Subjects covered during the first and second year of the Masters program are as followed:

Year One
Semester 1 (17 credits)
Course Hours Credits
Ecological Field Techniques 45 3
Environmental Impact Assessment 30 2
Scientific Writing and Data Presentation 30 2
Research Analysis: A Process of Inquiry 45 3
Research Methods & Applied Statistics 45 3
Global Climate Change 30 2
Geographical Information Systems 30 2
Total 255 17
Semester 2 (17 credits)
Course Hours Credits
Advanced Biological Statistics and Modeling Ecology 30 2
Community Ecology and Ecosystem Functioning 30 2
Freshwater and Marine Biology 30 2
Genetics and Species Conservation 30 2
Fish and Fisheries Management 30 2
Tools for ecosystem Management 30 2
Integrated Natural Resource Management 45 3
Seminar I & II 30 2
Total 255 17
Year Two (12 credits)
Research Thesis 180 12
Grand Total 690 46


To be eligible for the Masters of Science in Biology, skill in Applied Ecology and Management, applicants must be under the age of 45 and fulfill one of the following:

  1. 1. Hold a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in any science field (priority will be given to students with a higher GPA);


  1. 2. Hold a bachelor degree in any field and have a minimum of 2 years work experience in the natural science field (certification of employment required)

Admission Requirements

To apply, students need to present:

  • One completed  application  form,  including  three  4×6  cm  and  two  3×4  cm  photographs against a white background
  • A covering letter (Letter of Interest)  in English and stating why you wish to undertake  the

Masters degree and your goals after graduating (2 pages, maximum)

  • Evidence of proficiency in spoken and written English (recent qualifications only)
  • Certification of employment (if required)

Student Selection

Successful applicants will undertake written examinations on General Biology and English language. Candidates performing well in these exams are then selected in January for admission to the first year of the MSc. in Bio-AEM program that begins in February.

Tuition Fees

Successful candidates are required to pay a fee of USD $500 per semester to the graduate school at the Royal University of Phnom Penh. The Masters program consists of four semesters and so the total tuition fee for the program over the course of its two years is USD $2,000. Payment of tuition fees is due at the start of each semester and failure to meet this requirement will result in the candidate being deferred or ejected from the program.

Tuition Scholarships and Research Grants

Varies scholarships and research grants are available based on the partners (CONSEA) and collaborators for this program. It is potentially available for some outstanding students amount the cohort. Additional research mobility to EU partners in the field of studies will be provided under the CONSEA project.


The Royal University of Phnom Penh is accepting applications for Masters of Science in Biology, skill in Applied Ecology and Management (Bio-AEM) one time per year.

Application Deadline:  September 15, 2018

Contact Information and Administrative

  • Dr.Ith Saveng, Programme manager: 012-507-492
  • Mr. Kheam Sokha, Programme coordinator: 092-299-474
  • Mr. Phauk Sophany, Programme coordinator: 016-941-231

Address:      Room 415, 4th Floor, Main Campus

Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Royal University of Phnom Penh

Russian Federation Blvd., Touk Kork, Phnom Penh 12101 Cambodia

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