PhD in Sustainable Development (By Research)

School of Mathematical Sciences


About The Programme

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.



Rolling Intake



3 Years (full-time)
4 Years (part-time)


Doctoral graduates may enter positions in academia, industry, government and international and voluntary organisations that are pursuing the SDGs and sustainable practices.                                            


For this PhD programme by Research, students are required to complete a Research Methods course.  This module introduces students to the academic research and methodologies at the postgraduate level in order to conduct an independent research study.

Students must complete an in-depth research on a topic related to sustainable development in the form of a thesis. The student will be required to complete a number of academic milestones including a proposal defense and a viva voce.

We have a team of dedicated Supervisors with expertise in areas of research including (but not limited to):

  • Economics and sustainable development
  • Education reform and social progress
  • Sustainable infrastructure, transportation and mobility
  • Urban sustainability
  • Corporate strategies and operations
  • Public policy and sustainable development
  • Solid and hazardous waste management
  • Political institutions, group conflicts, and democracy
  • Climate change adaptations
  • Renewable energy                                         

  • A Master’s Degree in a related field as accepted by the University Senate; OR
  • Other qualifications equivalent to a Master’s degree as accepted by the University Senate.

  • IELTS 6.0
  • TOEFL 550 (paper-based), 213 (computer-based), 80 (internet-based)
  • PTE Academic 50 overall (minimum 46 in each skill)
  • OR Medium of instruction should be English at undergraduate and Master’s level.

Applicants will be required to submit:

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

Documents will be processed once the application is complete.

Research Proposal

The research proposal should comprise between 1,000 and 1,500 words (excluding references), and covers the following structure:

  1. An appropriate title for the research project (designated supervisor if known)
  2. Introduction and justification of the study, which includes:
    • Research background
    • Problem statement
    • Research objective(s)
    • Research question(s)/hypothesis
  3. Literature review
  4. Research methodology
  5. Proposed research schedule
  6. List of references

For more information and to apply, please email:

Programme Leader
Professor Leong Choon Heng

Associate Dean (Research and Postgraduate Studies)
Professor Agamutu Pariatamby

Programme Administrator
Vijayamalar Sivasegaran

Click here for more information about Jeffrey Sachs Center on Sustainable Development.