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  • Ph.D in Human Ecology

Ph.D in Human Ecology

Programme Description

The School of Human Ecology (SHE) at AUD fosters interdisciplinary research and learning in the areas at the intersection of human society, non-human beings and the biophysical environment, through its PhD programme. The PhD programme is guided by the idea that environmental concerns and challenges such as resource depletion, ecological degradation and resource conflicts result from complex interactions of social and environmental factors, and therefore meaningful intervention in these debates should be informed by knowledge and skills on a wide range of subjects. The uniqueness of the PhD programme in Human Ecology at AUD, and its distinctiveness from other programmes in India, comes from its proposal to synergistically link the sciences and humanities to explore and understand environmental issues as well as its emphasis on field-based learning and research. The aim of PhD coursework and the dissertation is as much to create multi-disciplinary range of knowledge as it is to create depth in a core discipline. A successful PhD candidate at SHE is thus expected to develop understanding of a core/specialised subject area which isenriched, strengthened and informed by other disciplines that may have a bearing on the research question. The thematic areas of research being undertaken at the School of Human Ecology include:

  • Social transitions and environmental change
  • Lvelihood-environment linkages
  • Applied ecology and ecosystem management
  • Policy and politics of natural resource management
  • Health research from ecological perspective
  • Historical understandings of ecological transformations
  • Natural resource economics


Programme Structure

Course Credit Requirements: For students entering with an MA/MSc, 16 credits of coursework are required from the PhD-level course basket of which 4 credits in Research Methodology are mandatory. In addition, students may be prescribed courses from MA-level bridge course basket or independent study in accordance with their educational background and needs of their dissertation topic. For students entering with an MPhil, course work requirements shall be determined by the PhD Advisory Committee.


Applicants must meet general eligibility criteria: these include an MA/MSc/M.Tech from a recognized institution with marks of ≥55% (or equivalent grade/class). There is a relaxation of 5% marks for candidates belonging to SC/ST/PD categories.

The Ph.D. programme in Human Ecology is open to (1) applicants already holding the MPhil degree (in disciplines related to Human Ecology), and (2) for applicants with MSc/MA who have displayed special aptitude, such as completion of a research thesis or scholarly publication in the area of Human Ecology (see description of thematic areas below).


Fee Structure

Admission Procedure

Satisfactory performance in admission procedure requires obtaining a minimum of 55% marks (combined) in research proposal, entrance test and interview (general category; min. 50% marks for candidates in other reservation categories).

Admission will be based on marks obtained on (1) research proposal, (2) written test, and (3) personal interview. The research proposal submitted by the candidate on the date of the entrance test will be given a weightage of 25% in the selection process. The research proposal should be a maximum of 5 pages (or 1000 words), should indicate some relevance to research mandate of the School of Human Ecology, reveal the candidate’s knowledge of the specific subject area and current trends and demonstrate an ability to problematize and articulate clearly. The research proposal should be original, analytical and indicate sensitivity to the multidisciplinary nature of environmental issues. The written test will consist of essay questions addressing contemporary issues at the interface of environment and human society. Readings on which questions will be based will be circulated beforehand to candidates. The test will presume an ability to respond to the questions from a wider perspective than simply the readings themselves. The test questions would be expected to be answered in 500 to 1000 words. Performance on the written entrance test shall carry weightage of 50%. The personal interview will assess the suitability of the candidate for pursuing PhD and will test the student on various aspects of their submitted research proposal. There will be 25 % weightage for the interview.

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