• Schulich’s new PhD in Sustainability is research-oriented and at the cutting edge of topics relating to responsible and sustainable business. Students will develop the theoretical and methodological skills to conduct leading edge research at the intersection of sustainable business and society and have the opportunity to pursue research on such topics as corporate social responsibility, environmental accounting/standards, social change/innovation, stakeholder ethics, and sustainable real estate. Working alongside Schulich’s globally renowned faculty, graduates will learn to generate innovative insights as a member of the global community of scholars.

Specialization Details by Category

Study Options

View details Hide details

Student admission is restricted to full-time study exclusively for the first four years. It is not recommended to be working outside of the PhD program during your studies. Students must be able to participate in the PhD program in Toronto.

Choose a study option to view its details and requirements


View details Hide details

The Sustainability field within the doctoral program in Administration offers outstanding students the opportunity to develop the theoretical and methodological skills that will enable them to conduct leading edge research at the intersection of sustainable business and society. Students have the opportunity to pursue research on such topics that include corporate social responsibility, environmental accounting/standards, social change/innovation, stakeholder ethics, and sustainable real estate.

The doctorate is an individualized program of study that is composed of the four tightly linked phases of study. Students first take a series of core courses and electives to acquire in-depth knowledge of theories and methods used in conducting research related to Sustainability. These courses also help students develop the skills necessary to
conduct research and to teach Sustainability. Second, candidates complete a comprehensive examination to test mastery of theoretical methodological foundations of the field. The third phase of the PhD program consists of the preparation of the formal research proposal, which must be defended. Then students conduct the research that is reported in their dissertation, the culmination of the PhD degree.

Course Work

Students are required to take 12 courses during the first two years of the program. The foundation courses are designed to provide the prerequisite disciplinary knowledge relevant to sustainability and methodological expertise required to conduct research in sustainability. The elective courses enable students to gain depth in sustainability related topics and/or broaden your topical knowledge.

Required SUST Courses


Required DCAD Courses



*    This colloquium is a mandatory course held once a month over both the fall and winter semesters in years 1 (DCAD 7600) and 2 (DCAD 7610).

**   It is highly recommended that these two courses be taken concurrently.

Elective Courses

Four elective courses (12 credits), chosen from SUST courses and other Schulich and York courses.

Comprehensive Exam

Students are expected to write their comprehensive exam at some point between their 22nd and 26th month of the program. This examination is designed for students to demonstrate their knowledge of the sustainability field, bodies of theory that are relevant to your specific research interests, and research methodologies. Students must have successfully completed all coursework to write their comprehensive exam. Students should schedule their exam with the Sustainability PhD Coordinator at least six weeks in advance, and should also specify their research area of interest at that time. Students are expected to coordinate their schedule with other students at the same stage in the program.

Dissertation Proposal

After completion of their comprehensive exams, students are expected to focus on developing their dissertation proposal. Students are required to appoint a Supervisory Committee consisting of three faculty members, of whom one is identified as the supervisor, and who is a member of the Sustainability area within the School. Before initiating dissertation research, students are required to submit a formal written proposal that outlines their topic and research plan. Each proposal will then be defended in the form of a formal presentation before the Supervisory Committee. Normally, students are expected to defend their dissertation proposal within one year after the completion of their comprehensive exams. There may be available a monetary bonus from Faculty of Graduate Studies for completion of the proposal by September 15th of the 4th year.


The dissertation is produced under the guidance of the Dissertation Supervisory Committee, and examined by the Dissertation Examining Committee, under guidelines established by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. For details on the composition of the Dissertation Examining Committee and the procedure to be followed for the examination of a dissertation students are referred to the “Guidelines for the Preparation and Examinations of Theses and Dissertations” published and updated periodically by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, York University.


View details Hide details

Career Opportunities

View details Hide details
  • Sustainability is an increasingly salient concern to managers and policymakers. The goal of the PhD program in Sustainability is to equip students with the skills to provide management education and policy advice focused on sustainability or pursue careers in scholarly research.

Student Research

View details Hide details

    Current PhD students in the Sustainability Area:

    as of Fall 2023

    • Sean Sullivan