At present, there is a consensus that just having a comprehensive understanding of the planet’s natural system does not suffice. It is necessary to understand the complex interactions between the socio-economic system and the vital planetary systems which provide society with the ecosystem and natural services. The Social Ecology doctoral program contributes to the development of the environmental approaches characteristic in their interdisciplinary nature. The goal of the program is the advancement of knowledge, which should contribute to the creation of a theoretical base from within the strategy of making economic, social, and cultural development sustainable, especially from an environmental perspective.
The following scientific directions have been defined for the program:
Relationships between health and the environment.
Application of sociological and economic approaches aimed at addressing environmental issues and sustainable development.
Research topics applying environmental economics.
Socially urgent issues of public policy of sustainable development.
Legal aspects of relationships towards the environment.
Environmentally inspired topics from the perspective of philosophy, anthropology, and history.
Indicators of the relationship between the environment and human activities.
Education for sustainable development.
Students can come up with their own ideas for topics for Ph.D. thesis or may use topics provided by supervisors. The list of offered topics for doctoral theses is available on our web page (https://www.czp.cuni.cz/czp/index.php/en/teaching/env-studies-doctoral-program). The objective of the Ph.D. Social Ecology is to provide, as in the above-mentioned domains, the concept of sustainable development with the support of scientifically conducted research. An important aspect of the program is the interdisciplinary character of the stated research domains and the synergies among them. Although it is not the main goal of the course, we hope that the research outputs be an important source of scientifically valid information for objective, relevant and qualified decision-making on environmental aspects, of the economic and social development of the Czech Republic.
Description of verification and evaluation criteria
Entrance examination includes:
Debate on the proposed topic for a thesis. The project should be prepared together with a tutor and contain the proposal of the tutor (name), selected from the list of tutors approved by the Program Council (dissertation project - maximum 12 points).
Examination of the knowledge of necessary basics in the natural sciences needed for the study of the environment and examination of knowledge in the social sciences, including economics (maximum 4 points).
Examination on English language proficiency (maximum 4 points).
At the admission exam the applicants will present their proposals for doctoral training, focusing mainly on a) the current state of knowledge on the subject, b) the formulation of the research question/s or hypotheses, c) research methods, d) research timetable, e) possibilities of publication. The proposal may be further refined/elaborated in comparison with the version included within the submitted application, preferably in cooperation with the prospective supervisor who confirms his/her consent with the training of the applicant by signing the document available for downloading here www.czp.cuni.cz (Teaching - Studies - Env. Studies Doctoral Program - Admission Procedure).
To enter the admission process, a completed application for doctoral studies must include the following attachments:
A brief professional biography.
Proposal of a Ph.D. thesis topic (description of the thesis topic, goals, methods, a list of most relevant sources, research timetable, and an explanation of the project's relationship to the environmental research topics). It is expected, that the student will discuss the theme of the dissertation with their supervisor beforehand so that the theme will conform to the research program of the training institution.
Other documents worthy of attention (e.g. overview of applicant’s publications to date, proof of scientific practice at home or abroad, proof of English language credentials, etc.).
Conditions for admission
Admission to Doctoral studies is conditioned by successful completion of a Master's study program.
Confirmation date (of entrance exam)
from: 03.06.2019 until: 14.06.2019
Alternative date (of entrance exam)
from: 20.06.2019 until: 25.06.2019
Using acknowledged scientific methods, the holder of the doctoral degree in Social Ecology is trained in gathering valid knowledge on the complex interactions between society (human activities) and the environment. These skills are based on the findings put into context via interdisciplinary study and on research experience.
The graduate is qualified for scientific work and various managerial positions at the highest level. It is capable of critical analysis, evaluation, and synthesis of new and complex ideas. In managerial practice, public administration or in the civil sector, he is able to use the latest knowledge gained by the study. He applies it to solving real-world problems as well as to proposing solutions to the emerging issues and problems characterizing the Anthropocene period.
Students of the program will know the principles and methods of scientific work. Thanks to being trained in the research methodology of at least two subjects, they are capable of a relatively greater insight into interdisciplinary-based problems and are better equipped to resolve them, which we consider being an important added value of the Social Ecology program. The range of expertise of students is determined by the interdisciplinary nature of their studies, which focuses on environmental issues, and issues regarding the dynamics of the relationships between society and natural systems. The basis for this specialization is determined by their previous studies. This specialization is developed within the doctoral studies in such a way, that the students eventually acquire in-depth knowledge of the theoretical bases of the scientific areas they are applying, whilst writing their doctoral theses. They know the broad context of the environmental issues their dissertation is focusing on and develop a deep understanding of the methodology of all scientific areas they are applying while working on their dissertations. The knowledge students gain is considered an essential prerequisite for interdisciplinary dialogue and research.
Graduates will be qualified for positions at academic institutions here and abroad. Moreover, will be able to take positions as scientists in institutions fully focused on research and development in the broad area of subjects related to the environment and sustainable development, e.g. at various institutes of the Czech Academy of Sciences. Examples of possible research areas include environmental economics, environmental sociology, the research and use of sustainability indicators etc. Furthermore, graduates can seek jobs in research institutions abroad. An extremely important outcome is the ability of graduates to hold decision-making positions in public administration, the business sphere and NGOs, where their work will have an impact on the environment. As for the public sector, this includes positions in central administrative bodies, especially ministries and their advisory expert or executive offices; positions in public administration at the regional or lower level. Jobs can also be possibly found in administrative bodies of the European Commission, the United Nations, the OECD, and other multilateral international organizations. In the business sector, graduates can find employment in companies, whose business has a direct impact on the environment. They can also find opportunities in companies and organizations providing expert services directly focused on the environment, such as land planning, planning for Territorial System of Ecological Stability, EIA, SEA, as well as more recently the Sustainability Impact Assessment. If interested, graduates will be able to take a job in the media, where they will be able to competently assess and present information on sustainable development and the environment.