Many physical, ecological and social factors interact to shape the future of our ecosystems and societies. The Ph.D. in Ecosystem Sustainability at Colorado State University enables students to develop core competencies in ecosystem science - the study of organisms and the environment - and apply that knowledge to address real-world issues. 


We help develop leaders in sustainability science: a new generation of practitioners able to address complex, integrated social and ecological problems, in collaborative partnerships with researchers, resource users and decision-makers.

Our graduates have the tools to understand complex scientific questions in sustainability, and the leadership and collaborative skills required to address current and future issues in sustainability. The program serves as a foundation for a wide range of careers, including academic and scholarly professions, and work in government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and corporate and entrepreneurial environments.

A focus on solutions

Students will work at the cutting edge of new research on ecosystem sustainability.  Collaborating with some of the world’s leading ecosystem and sustainability scientists, students will explore solutions to global problems related to water resources, food supplies, energy, greenhouse gas management, land use change, climate change, and environmental justice, among others.

What students can expect to gain

In the course of the degree, students will acquire:

  • Detailed knowledge of quantitative and qualitative methods
  • An understanding of complex ecosystem functioning
  • A transdisciplinary understanding of social-ecological processes
  • The ability to work in teams across disciplines and with decision makers, resource users and team members outside of academia
  • The skills to conduct integrated assessments using systems approaches, conceptual, mathematical, geospatial, and statistical models, and innovative collaborative processes
  • The ability to apply critical thinking in the development of sustainable systems at local and global scales
  • Advanced training in the methods of urban ecology, and on managing the sustainable cities of the future

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
  • Credits
    72 alternative credits
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus
  • More information Go to the programme website

Programme Structure

Courses include:

  • Global Hydrologic Cycle
  • Global Carbon Cycle
  • Phytoremediation
  • Plant Metabolism
  • Foundations of Ecology
  • Community Ecology
  • Applications in Landscape Ecology
  • Ecophysiology of Trees

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Schedule IELTS
  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120. Read more about TOEFL iBT ®.

    Schedule TOEFL®
  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL®PBT is administered in a paper format and measures your ability to use and understand English in a classroom setting at the college or university level. It accurately measures how well you can listen, read and write in English while performing academic tasks. Read more about TOEFL®PBT.

    Schedule TOEFL®
  • Minimum required score:


    PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English Academic) is a language test that enables students to demonstrate their writing, listening, speaking, and reading skills when applying to study in English. Delivered and marked by computer, it reports on a scale between 10 and 90.

General Requirements

  • One official transcript of all collegiate work completed post-high school.  Additionally separate transcripts are not required for study abroad credits if the GPA and credits are recorded on the transcript of the university that sponsored the study abroad experience. CSU transcripts are not required.
  • Any other materials that individual departments or programs may require of applicants.
  • Regardless of citizenship, applicants may be required to demonstrate proof of English language proficiency, if they do not have a degree from an institution where the primary language of instruction is English.

Tuition Fee

  • International

    1391 USD/credit
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 1391 USD per credit and a duration of .
  • National

    567 USD/credit
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 567 USD per credit and a duration of .
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for Fort Collins

  • 1210 - 1800 USD/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Institutional scholarships are funded by CSU and are awarded to students who demonstrate academic excellence, leadership qualities, or outstanding talent. Requirements vary by scholarship. 

Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

The Global Study Awards: get funded with up to £10,000 to study abroad

Together with the ISIC Association and British Council IELTS, Studyportals offers you the chance to receive up to £10000 to expand your horizon and study abroad. We want to ultimately encourage you to study abroad in order to experience and explore new countries, cultures and languages.


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