Doctoral degree
Full time
International Environment and Development Studies

Department of International Environment and Development Studies (Noragric), Faculty of Landscape and Society

Start of Studies:

1 September

Global puzzles

This PhD programme is at the heart of NMBU 's mandate with its focus on global challenges related to environmental and climate change, sustainable food production and natural resources management and the governance implications for people's rights and well-being.

The programme integrates development issues with research on environmental problems, typically issues related to natural resource management, resource rights and conflicts, human security, environmental governance, agricultural development and food security. The programme has a clear interdisciplinary profile both in recruitment of candidates and in the topics and problem areas investigated.

More information on how to apply for admission

Career opportunities

Our graduates are employed by both public and private sectors. Some continue in academia, others work in private research foundations, consulting firms or public organisations. Our graduates, almost without exception, quickly acquire relevant jobs.

  • Acquired Learning outcomes :

    On completion of the PhD programme, the new doctor has the following:

    a) knowledge, b) skills and c) general competence:

    a) The doctor

    • is at the forefront of knowledge in International Environment and Development Studies and has a systematic understanding of scholarly theories and methods within her/his field
    • has interdisciplinary understanding of environment-development relations and a critical knowledge of development theories, policies and practices with due regard to diversity and complexity

    b) The doctor

    • is able to formulate critical questions and design and implement research at an internationally high level
    • has contributed, through original research, to new knowledge that merits publication in national or international refereed journals
    • is able to handle interdisciplinarity and complexity, and to synthesise scientific and scholarly information
    • is capable of critical and constructive analysis of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary scientific work in international environment and development studies
    • is able to contribute to the development of new knowledge, new theories and methods within her/his field

    c) The doctor

    • is able to carry out his/her research with professional and ethical integrity, and to identify and assess relevant ethical concerns
    • Has command of interdisciplinary and critical approaches to studying environmental and development issues and processes and/or international relations at various spatial and temporal dimensions
    • is able to disseminate research findings through recognised national and international channels and to take part in scientific debates in international arenas
    • is able to place his/her own research within larger scientific and societal contexts
    • is able to draw on knowledge from social and natural sciences and present approaches that integrate political, economic, cultural, and/or environmental aspects of change at macro, meso and micro levels
  • All compulsory courses can be taken during the first and early second semester such that longer periods can be used for fieldwork, data collection and a stay at a relevant institution abroad.
  • Development Studies relate to problem-oriented research directed at processes of change, aiming at providing knowledge and increased understanding of the complexities of development processes. Based on critical analysis, Development Studies may be committed to identifying best practices or proposing alternative ways of conceiving the issues and problems studied. Environment and Development Studies can be defined as the study of the interface of society and nature with the intention of contributing to the improvement of sustainability. The programme has a clear interdisciplinary profile and focusses on the linkages between social and political processes and the challenges of global and local environmental problems, focusing on issues of sustainable resource management and global justice.

    • Academic training component

    The PhD programme in International Environment and Development Studies at Noragric follows the general criteria and requirements defined by the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) and is undertaken in collaboration with the other NMBU faculties. According to the University requirements, each PhD education plan should include between 30 and 60 ECTS of coursework, which corresponds to half a year to one year. Noragric has defined a minimum of 30 ECTS of coursework for it's PhD programme. These ECTS should cover courses in:

    • International Environment and Development Studies for and by PhD students: EDS430, 10 ECTS obligatory course
    • Research Methodolody in Research Projects: EDS415, 5 ECTS obligatory course
    • Research Ethics and Philosophy of Science, 5 ECTS obligatory course
    • Problem-oriented courses of relevance to the topic of each dissertation within Environment and Development Studies
    • Independent research component

    All candidates are admitted to the programme based on a research proposal, which is developed by the candidate him/herself.

    In addition to the required course work, a PhD candidate at Noragric will give three major seminars associated with the research project. At each point, Noragric will provide academic advice and feedback on the research project and progress. These presentations represent three milestones for the PhD candidate before the dissertation and they all have important pedagogical functions. The first - the start seminar - plays a significant administrative role as it prepares for the final admission to the PhD programme. The formal initiation of PhD studies at Noragric is contingent on a student's satisfactory and timely completion and approval of a study plan, including project proposal, education plan, budget and PhD agreement. The second milestone - a midterm seminar - provides an important intermediate evaluation and check of progress. The third milestone - an end seminar - is meant to provide the student with a simulated thesis defence experience.

    • Research community linked to the programme

    International Environment and Development Studies need to address new contexts, relations and challenges such as global governance, accountability, rights, transformation of the world economy, social movements, conflicts and peace-keeping, citizenship, the role of consumers, genetic engineering of food sovereignty, etc. Considering globalisation issues, Noragric focuses on these overlapping areas of concentration and expertise, organised in the following research clusters:

    • Environmental Governance
    • Global Orders, Security and Crisis
    • Climate Change, Agriculture and Development
    • Rights and Power in Development

    Upon admission, PhD candidates will be offered affiliation to a research cluster. The cluster, represented by the potential main supervisor, will also participate actively in outlining the final research project proposal and serve as a reference group throughout the study period.

    Many of the candidates that do field work abroad have a co-supervisor at an institution (university, or research centre) where the field research is conducted.

    • This PhD programme is at the heart of NMBU 's mandate with its focus on global challenges related to environmental and climate change, sustainable food production and natural resources management and the governance implications for people's rights and well-being. Graduated candidates are employed by research institutions, international organisations, NGOs, and governments.
    • PhD candidates are trained in working independently throughout the whole program. Candidates must complete coursework, carry out (field) research and evaluate methods, obtain the necessary literature, data and consult supervisors or the larger academic community to receive feedback on their work. It is emphasized that research work should be of high quality, which requires that candidates are able to work and think independently. Doctoral candidates are part of active research teams and clusters at the department. Most candidates participate in teaching and supervision activities for the department¿s bachelor and master students.
    • The degree of philosophiae doctor (PhD) is awarded on the basis of:

      • Approved completion of the required coursework
      • An approved doctoral thesis
      • An approved trial lecture on a specified topic of 45 minutes
      • An approved public defence of the doctoral thesis (disputation)

      During the programme the candidate will be evaluated through course work and through 3 major presentations associated with his/her research project. At each point, Noragric will provide academic advice and feedback on the research project and project progress. The three milestones (start, mid-term and end seminar) exist for the PhD candidate on his/her route to defending a dissertation at Noragric. All have important pedagogical functions, while the start seminar also plays a significant administrative role: continuation of PhD studies at Noragric is contingent upon a candidate¿s satisfactory and timely completion of a Project Proposal and Education Plan. The candidate is expected to give the start seminar before 1 April, the year after the start up.

      The second milestone provides an important intermediate evaluation and check of progress. This seminar should take place at the latest one year before your study period ends. The third milestone ¿ an End Seminar ¿ is meant to provide the candidate with a simulated thesis defense experience.

    • Upon admission, PhD candidates will be offered affiliation to a research cluster. The cluster will also participate actively in outlining the final research project proposal and serve as a reference group throughout the study period. The Department also has one administrative advisor who deals with all PhD related issues.