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Master's Theses / Doctoral Dissertations

All GPSS-GLI students are required to complete a master's thesis or doctoral dissertation related to sustainability science as part of the requirements of the compulsory core courses, Master's/Doctoral Research on Sustainability Science.

Students are encouraged to conduct research activities outside traditional academic disciplines such as applying transdisciplinary and integrative approaches to specific challenges related to sustainability, or proposing novel paradigms and value systems for establishing a sustainable society.

Advisor Selection Process

Firstly, students will discuss their areas of research interest with GPSS-GLI faculty who are identified as possibly being best-suited as a supervisor, in addition to discussing such issues with other faculty also.

Research on sustainability requires diverse concepts, tools, and methodologies, so GPSS-GLI students are strongly encouraged to discuss issues with faculty members from a variety of backgrounds and to choose their supervisor after careful deliberation. GPSS-GLI mentors engage new students in a discussion to determine their interests and knowledge base. Students are then provided with information on the faculty members involved in the program as well as possible research themes. Depending upon students' research interest, individual meetings are arranged between students and potential supervisors. Through this process, supervisors are typically determined within one month after enrollment, based on mutual agreement between the students and their supervisors. The topic of a thesis is decided through discussions with your supervisor.


All students will have a supervisor, co-advisor, and a mentor. Your supervisor is the faculty member who is mainly responsible for guiding you in your research and leading you to a successful result. All supervisors must be approved by the GPSS-GLI Steering Committee. Since these faculty are in high demand and are not always accessible at a student's convenience, every student will also be assigned a co-advisor and a mentor.


Co-advisor faculty generally come from a different background than that of the supervisor to complement the support of the supervisor under that faculty's direction and supervision. Co-advisors provide students with concepts and methodologies for utilizing and integrating diverse academic fields and disciplines. After consulting your supervisor, you will choose a co-advisor during your first year in the program; and your co-advisor will be determined by the beginning of the second year upon approval of the GPSS-GLI Steering Committee. Co-advisors will provide advice to students at least two times during the second year: once before the middle of the second year (Interim Report at Progress Review Session), and once before the final program-end presentation.


Mentors provide even more meticulous support in the specific aspects of research on a more frequent basis under the guidance and direction of the advisor or co-advisor. Mentors may or may not be teaching faculty.

Degree Conferral

The decision on granting a master's or doctoral degree will be made by considering the principal advisor's evaluation of the thesis, co-advisor's evaluation of the thesis, and the evaluation of the final presentation by the members of the Dissertation Review Committee.

Thesis Manual

A manual for the preparation of master thesis and doctral dissertations. For further information,
please refer to the thesis-manual page.