Admission to the Doctoral Degree - FAQs


How can I be admitted for the Doctoral degree?

By applying to our admission examination, which is run by a committee of faculty members. Applicants are selected by the classification in this examination, up to the number of available vacancies (see below).


Who is eligible?

Any person that has a Master's degree, Master's students that are concluding their degrees and also undergraduate students without a Master's degree that have lead published papers in peer-reviewed journals (see below).


What is the admission examination?

  • A written test to assess your general knowledge in ecology, your critical scientific thinking and your argumentation skills;

  • A certificate of English proficiency for non-native English speakers.


Which documents do I have to provide to apply?

  • Online application form;

  • Your Curriculum Vitae or copy of your curriculum at the Lattes database;

  • A certificate of proficiency in English if you are not a native English speaker;
  • Copies  of:

    • Official document issued by your undergraduate course with your grades;

    • Certificate of undergraduate degree;

    • Passport.

  • For applicants to the regular Doctoral degree:

    • Official document with the grades of your Master's or equivalent graduate degree.

    • Your Master's degree or a certificate that you are currently in a graduate program.

    • Master's thesis or similar.

  • For applicants to the direct Doctoral degree:

    • Two scientific papers authored by you that are published in or accepted by a peer-reviewed scientific journal. At least one of the papers must have you as the first author and also must be published/accepted in a journal with impact factor equal or greater than two. The other paper must be published/accepted in a journal with impact factor equal or greater than one.


Must I have a prospective supervisor to apply?

No, but  if you pass the examinations you can only be admitted once you have a supervisor. Therefore we encourage applicants to contact at least one of our accredited supervisors as soon as possible. In doing so you can identify prospective supervisors in the research areas that interest you, and get in touch with them beforehand to check which ones are available for supervising and if he/she agrees to be your supervisor. Acceptance is at the discretion of each supervisor, but usually involves assessing the adherence of your research interests to their line of research, and your academic profile.


Which are the research lines and advisors?

Here you can find a list of accredited supervisors, their research lines and contact information.


What is the English proficiency certification?

To present a certificate of proficiency in English with a minimum grade. Eligible certificates and minimum grades are listed in the official notification of each admission examination. We took certificates as valid even after their expiration dates.


What if my native language is English?

If your native language is English or if you have been literate in the English language at childhood you can apply to the Coordination of the Program at the application to waive the presentation of a Certificate of Proficiency in English.


What is the Portuguese proficiency certification?

Foreign applicants must demonstrate proficiency in Portuguese language until the 14th month after their admission. The eligible certificates are  Portuguese Proficiency for Foreigners (Celpe-Bras), intermediate level or higher; or Portuguese Proficiency Examination applied by the Interdepartmental Language Center at University of São Paulo, with a minimum grade equal to seven. We took certificates as valid even after their expiration dates.


What is the written test?

The written test can last up to four hours and aims to evaluate your ability of critical analysis of scientific texts. We define critical analysis as the ability to evaluate clearly and reasonably a claim, the evidences that sustain such claim and the conclusions that can be deduced from it. Previous written tests are available here.


Which are the papers to be analyzed in the written test?

The papers to be analyzed in the written test are know by the applicants beforehand. They are listed in the official notification of each admission examination, please see the current admission.


What are the evaluation criteria of the written test?

The criteria that will be used to evaluate the responses are:

  • The recognition of the pieces of information that are relevant to the requested analysis;
  • A proper use of concepts and theory from ecology and evolution;
  • A proper interpretation of the data and information provided by the papers, and the a proper assessment of the importance of these pieces of information for the reasoning presented in the papers;
  • The identification of assumptions and values in the papers;
  • The recognition of the existence, or non-existence, of logical links between propositions in the papers;
  • The logical, theoretical and empirical foundation of your reasoning;
  • Appropriate use of written language to express your analysis, with emphasis on clarity, precision and concision.


How the written test is corrected?

The written test is prepared and graded by a faculty committee. To avoid biases grading is anonymized and redundant:

  • Anonymized correction: before doing the test you will receive a numeric code, which is not available for the committee. You must not disclose this code to others and you must use only this code to identify yourself when required. The identification of applicants are disclosed only after grading.
  • Redundant correction: each question is independently corrected by at least two committee members. Each disagreement is then checked and reevaluated until the committee reach a consensus.


What is the research proposal for Doctoral students?

If you pass the examination, you must present a research proposal to be admitted. The proposal must be agreed with the advisor and must contain: title, theoretical background, goals, expected results, as well as an initial proposal of the sampling / experimental design and a plan of activities. The proposal must have up to 2000 words.


What are the requirements to pass the admission examinations?

To demonstrate proficiency in English language and to achieve at least a grade five out of ten in the written test.


It is enough to pass the examinations to be admitted?

Not necessarily, because this depends on the number of vacancies available. Applicants that have passed are called to fill vacancies according to their rank in the written test, up to the number of available vacancies. 


When is the admission examination?

We have admission examinations for the Doctoral degree twice in the year, usually between May and July and between August and October. You can find more information about the next admission here.


Are there fellowships for students?

Yes, we have a limited quota of scholarships from the Brazilian Government, but we cannot assure that they will be enough to grant all students admitted. We therefore grant our scholarships to the applicants that ranked best in our written test. To be granted with a scholarship you must also sign an agreement by which you accept the the terms and conditions of the funding agencies. The two most important terms are that (i) the scholarship ceases at the 48th month after your admission and that (ii) you can not have a job while you have the scholarship.

Other scholarships may also be requested by the supervisor directly from other agencies, such as São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP).



Are there tuition fees?

No. So far public universities in Brazil do not have tuition fees for their Master's or Doctoral Degrees.