PhD Programme in Conservation Science and Sustainability Studies

The ATREE doctoral programme in Conservation Science and Sustainability Studies is designed to impart training to research scholars, to develop and use integrated approaches in sustainable development and biodiversity conservation. The programme promotes interdisciplinary research and frameworks to integrate tools and approaches from the disciplines of ecology, economics, sociology, and climate science.

ATREE is a recognised centre of the doctoral programme of Manipal Academy for Higher Education (MAHE)—the institution that awards the PhD degree. 

In accordance with the requirements of ATREE and MAHE, students seeking admission should have:

  • a background in natural or social sciences
  • exhibit academic excellence

Typically ATREE accepts new PhD students in odd-numbered years and provides research contingencies and stipend support. In addition students who have (i) qualified for a Junior Research Fellowship under the UGC or the CSIR schemes or (ii) are working on a research project at ATREE can enroll in the doctoral programme. Students are encouraged to check the ‘Research’ tab of the ATREE Jobs webpage to check for project-funded PhD opportunities at ATREE.  

Students admitted to the programme will work under the personal mentorship of an ATREE faculty member and will also be guided by a doctoral committee of 3-5 members. The committee will consist of ATREE faculty members and external scientists and will include representation of expertise from different disciplines

Doctoral training begins with rigorous coursework that is expected to take a year to complete. This will include a set of mandatory courses and a choice of electives. We have designed foundation courses in the natural and social sciences to introduce students to main concepts in both these disciplines, since students will have a background in one of these. 

  • Foundations in Natural Sciences - Ecology
  • Foundations in Natural Sciences - Environmental Science 
  • Foundations in Social Sciences - Economics
  • Foundations in Social  Sciences - Sociology

The foundational coursework in the natural sciences covers ecological concepts, ecosystem processes and species interactions, environmental processes and challenges, sustainability science and biodiversity conservation. The foundational coursework in the social sciences covers the basic principles of economics and sociology and focuses on classical and contemporary economic and sociological theory, and expanding into ecological economics and environmental sociology. 

The foundational coursework is supplemented by a novel course that introduces and encourages students to inculcate an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to address the persistent challenges of biodiversity decline, climate change, land degradation and natural resource governance. Beginning with a multidisciplinary approach, this novel course moves on to discussing integrated approaches that draws upon theoretical ideas and comparative analyses of case studies from across the world. Mandatory coursework concludes with the tools of conducting research in the natural and social sciences and the ethics and practice of disseminating science, through a series of research methods courses.

  • Practising Interdisciplinary Research on the Environment
  • Research Design and Methods ‐ Social Sciences
  • Research Design and Methods ‐ Natural Sciences
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Scientific Writing
  • Research and Publication Ethics
Amit John kurien's picture

Amit John kurien

Date of award: 14 Sep 2021
Current Affiliation:
Ph.D. student
Anirban Datta Roy's picture

Anirban Datta Roy

Batch: 2009
Date of award: 14 Jun 2019
Current Affiliation:
Senior Programme Manager, Foundation for Ecological Security
Aniruddha Marathe's picture

Aniruddha Marathe

Batch: 2009
Date of award: 27 Jul 2018
Current Affiliation:
Post Doctoral Researcher, Indian Institute of Science (IISc)
Arundhati Das's picture

Arundhati Das

Batch: 2008
Date of award: 28 Oct 2015
Current Affiliation:
Post-doc at NCBS
Barkha Subba's picture

Barkha Subba

Batch: 2009
Date of award: 23 Jul 2018
Current Affiliation:
Senior Research Associate, ATREE
Bharath Sundaram's picture

Bharath Sundaram

Batch: 2006
Date of award: 20 Jun 2011
Current Affiliation:
Additional Professor, Environmental Studies, Krea University
Chandrima Home's picture

Chandrima Home

Batch: 2009
Date of award: 18 Jul 2018
Current Affiliation:
Grants Adviser, DBT Wellcome Trust India Alliance
Chetana H.C's picture

Chetana H.C

Batch: 2008
Date of award: 08 Mar 2013
Current Affiliation:
Assistant Professor, Conservation Science, TDU


The ATREE Academy invites applications for two doctoral research fellowships in Conservation Science and Sustainability Studies. The programme is recognised by the Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) and is one of the few programmes in India that provides students interdisciplinary training in the natural sciences and social sciences to conduct research and practice on biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

The two fellowships will specifically investigate (i) the viability of using Nature-based Solutions (NbS) in an urbanising catchment and, (ii) the interrelationship between ecological flows and human wellbeing in the Western Ghats. This research will be conducted under the supervision of Priyanka Jamwal and Siddhartha Krishnan respectively. 

Students with prior training in any branch of the social, natural, or engineering sciences are eligible to apply. Selected students will undergo coursework for three semesters, after which they will conduct independent research on the topics listed above. The students will receive a monthly fellowship of Rs 31,000 (pre-registration) and Rs.35,000 (post-registration) for a period of three years. Contingency support for research at Rs. 50,000 per year for two years will also be provided. ATREE fosters diversity and gender equity at the workplace; women and persons from underprivileged groups are especially encouraged to apply. The Academy will follow ATREE’s affirmative action policy during the PhD selection process.

Admission and Eligibility

  1. The candidate must have a Master’s degree in any social science, natural science or engineering discipline and have secured a minimum of 55% or equivalent.
  2. Applicants will appear for an entrance exam in ATREE on September 8, 2021.
  3. Candidates who have qualified for UGC-CSIR (minimum NET), GATE, ICSSR or equivalent exams, or have an MPhil degree are not required to take the entrance exam and will directly qualify for the interview.

Application Process

Candidates seeking admission for the PhD programme at ATREE should submit the following documents:

  • Updated CV
  • A completed application form
  • A statement of purpose in the applicant’s own words that highlights her/his interest in the proposed research and broader research and career goals (maximum 1000 words).
  • Confidential reference letters from two referees, sent directly by the referees to the address below by email or post.

Applicants should submit completed applications and all supporting documents by email to or post to the address listed below by August 31, 2021. Candidates submitting their applications by email should indicate ‘Application for PhD Fellowship -1’ or ‘Application for PhD Fellowship -2’ in the subject line of the email; those submitting their applications by post should superscribe the envelope. Incomplete applications will be rejected.

Shortlisted applicants will have to appear for an interview at ATREE, Bangalore. The academic year will begin on October 04, 2021.

Contact information:

Academy for Conservation Science and Sustainability Studies,
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE),
Royal Enclave, Srirampura, Jakkur, Bangalore 560 064
Email:   Phone: +91-80-23635555 Extn: 121