Forest and Nature for Society (FONASO), Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 36 months
  • Tuition
    Tuition (Year)
    Tuition (Year)
  • English (take IELTS)
University rank #95 ,
Forest and Nature for Society (FONASO) is a three-year world-class Joint Doctoral Programme (180 ECTS). FONASO is part of the Erasmus Mundus programme initiated by the European Commission to enhance and promote European higher education throughout the world. The language of the programme is English.


The main objective of the FONASO programme is to educate the leaders of the future generation of researchers, teachers and top management staff working with sustainable forest and nature management, in both tropical and temperate regions, to ensure wider societal benefits. Within forest and nature management, the programme is focused on the scientific fields of (i) economics and policy, and (ii) ecology and silviculture. The emphasis is on applied research.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity

    You can choose to do this programme part-time or full-time.

    • Duration 36 months
  • Credits
    180 ECTS
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

What is FONASO?

Joint Doctoral Programme

Forest and Nature for Society (FONASO) is a three-year world-class Joint Doctoral Programme offered by a consortium of seven European partner institutions. All FONASO doctoral candidates will study with two of the partner institutions and will be awarded a joint/double degree. They will, furthermore, have access to research periods with and co-supervision from the 13 associate partners.

PhD Topics

In connection with the annual call for applications, the FONASO programme publishes a catalogue of FONASO PhD research topics from which you must choose your research topic.

Common foundation

The FONASO programme has defined a common foundation which all doctoral candidates must build on regardless of research topic and institutions.

  • Study periods with a least two FONASO partner institutions
  • Co-tutelle (see below)
  • Two joint doctoral courses: Theory of Science and The Art of Scientific Writing
  • Attendance at the Annual FONASO Conference to present the project to an audience of supervisors and non-FONASO doctoral candidates and scholars at the organising Partner Institution
  • Engage in limited teaching activities in relation to the thesis subject

Applied research

In FONASO, the emphasis is on applied research. Doctoral candidates will therefore typically do fieldwork (in a wide sense) and it is encouraged, starting already in the project formulation phase, that fieldwork be conducted in connection with stays at Associate Partners, who may contribute with hosting and co-supervision functions.

Supervisory Committee

For each doctoral student a Supervisory Committee is appointed, consisting of two experienced academics, one from each of the relevant Consortium Partners. The Supervisory Committee will continuously monitor and advice on study progress and issues.


Each doctoral candidate receives academic coaching and counselling from two supervisors from two partner institutions as well as from the Supervisory Committee. FONASO Standardised Supervision Guidelines assist in making expectations to doctoral candidates and supervisors explicit.

English Language Requirements

You only need to take one of these language tests:

  • 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.

    Take IELTS test
  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL – or Test OF English as a Foreign Language – offers a paper-based test (PBT). The final, overall PBT score ranges between 310 and 677, and is based on an average taken from the three test components (listening, structure, and reading). The writing part of this test is scored separately on a scale of 0-6. Read more about TOEFL (PBT).

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL – or Test Of English as a Foreign Language – offers an internet-based test (iBT). The final, overall iBT score ranges between 0 and 120, and includes a scaled average from the four components (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). Read more about TOEFL (iBT).

Academic Requirements

FONASO doctoral candidates will be part of research groups at two or more of the twenty partner institutions. All applicants must choose one of the described topics as base for their doctoral study synopsis.

Tuition Fee Per Year

  • Free International
  • Free EU/EEA


Usually, the research group or department provides funding to their doctoral students in the form of either an employment contract or a scholarship (approx. monthly amount of scholarship or net salary: 1100-1400 EUR).

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.