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, 2002).

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.

 

2. Curriculum

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.

Phase 1: Masters Course, Year One (35 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.

Phase 2: Masters Thesis, Year Two (13 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:

Codes   Credits
i. Core courses (10)
MAE530

MAE531

MAE532

MAE533

Ecological Field Techniques

Scientific Writing and Data Presentation

Geographical Information Systems

Aquatic Ecology

3

2

2

3

ii. Major courses (11)
MAE534

MAE535

MAE536

MAE537

Community Ecology and Ecosystem Functioning

Genetic and Species Conservation

Fish and Fisheries Management

Tools for Ecosystem Management

3

3

2

3

iii. Elective courses (2 courses: 4-6 credits)
MAE541

MAE542

MAE543

MAE544

MAE545

Integrated Natural Resource Management

Seminar I & II

Environmental Impact Assessment

Environmental Law

Behavioral Ecology: Evolutionary Approach

3

2

2

2

3

iv. Research Courses (10)
MAE538

MAE539

MAE540

Fundamental of Research: A Process of Inquiry

Research Methods & Applied Statistics

Advanced Biological Statistics and Modeling Ecology

3

4

3

v. Thesis & Conference (13)
MAE547

MAE546

Thesis Writing

Workshop/ Conference

10

3

Total i + ii + iii + iv + v (Min. – Max.) 48 – 50

Eligibility

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. Hold a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in any science field (priority will be given to students with a higher GPA);
    or
  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 $750 per year 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 $1,500. 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.

Enrollment

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 Admission:

  • Ith Saveng, Programme manager: 012-507-492
  • Kheam Sokha, Programme coordinator: 092-299-474
  • Phauk Sophany, Programme facilitator: 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

 

Full program (PDF)

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