Please consult the Graduate Calendar for the PhD in Sustainability Management (SUSM) degree requirements and the University of Waterloo Guide for Graduate Research and Supervision.

The PhD program in Sustainability Management requires the completion of 4 courses plus program milestones: professional skills milestones, the comprehensive examination, the PhD thesis proposal, and the thesis examination. The expected time to completion is 4 years. A student is expected to be in residence until the time they have completed the thesis proposal (end of fifth term).

A student is required to maintain an overall average of 75% in the course phase to remain in good standing in the program. Elective courses should be selected in consultation with the supervisor. Reading courses may be used as electives but should be discussed with the supervisor.

At a glance:

  • Research-based, on-campus
  • Full or part-time
  • 4 years
  • 4 courses
  • Comprehensive exam
  • PhD thesis

Professional skills milestones

Each student must complete two professional skills milestones. Normally milestones should be completed before the comprehensive examination.

A student can propose a milestone or choose from a list of approved milestones. Milestone selection should be discussed with the supervisor. Milestones may include professional courses, workshops, events or training, whether online or in-person, offered by industry, professional associations, government or third sector organisations.

After completion of a professional skills milestone, a student shall write a one-page report describing the milestone, its value to the student, and provide a recommendation to the program regarding the merits of the milestone for future PhD students. This report will be assessed by the Associate Director Graduate Studies, and if acceptable, the milestone will be approved for the student. As appropriate, the Associate Director may add the milestone to the list of approved professional skills milestones.

Advisory committee

After the comprehensive examination, the student and the supervisor(s) will discuss additional advisory committee members. The supervisor(s) can then approach these members and forms the committee. Normally, the membership of the advisory committee aligns with University requirements of the PhD thesis examining committee (excluding the external examiner), with four members:

  • Supervisor or Co-supervisors
  • Internal Member (from SEED)
  • Internal-external Member (internal to the University but external to SEED)
  • Other Member(s)

The first meeting of the doctoral advisory committee is to be held within 3 months of the comprehensive examination. A PhD advisory committee form is then signed by all committee members and the student, and submitted to the Associate Director, Graduate Studies.

The doctoral advisory committee is to assess the doctoral thesis proposal.

The members normally continue on the doctoral advisory committee through the completion of the degree and are members of the PhD thesis examining committee.

Progress report

The student and the supervisor shall complete an annual progress form submitted to the Associate Director, Graduate Studies.

Dragana Kostic
Program Administrator
PhD in Sustainability Management