Frequently Asked Questions
What is the CDS?
The Center for Sustainable Development (Centro de Desenvolvimento Sustentável) – CDS is a permanent teaching, research and extension unit of the Universidade de Brasília, created in 1995.
What is the PPG-CDS?
The CDS manages the Graduate Program in Sustainable Development – PPG-CDS, whose operation began in 1996.
Which courses are offered by the PPG-CDS?
The PPG-CDS offers two graduate academic degree courses (stricto sensu):
(1) Doctoral Studies in Sustainable Development, focused on Environmental Policies and Management (first class admitted in 1996);
(2) Master’s Studies in Sustainable Development, focused on Environmental Policies and Management (first class admitted in 1998).
What is the MESPT?
The MESPT is a Professional Master’s Course in Sustainability of Traditional Populations and Territories. It aims at training professionals for the development of social research and interventions, based on the dialogue between scientific and traditional knowledge, seeking the attainment of citizen rights, the strengthening of self-managed community, territorial and environmental processes, valuing socio-biodiversity, and safeguarding cultural heritage (both material and intangible) of indigenous peoples, maroon communities and other traditional communities.
Does the CDS have an Undergraduate Course?
Yes. The UnB Environmental Sciences Undergraduate Course, created in 2009, is managed by a group of UnB units, including, in addition to the CDS, the Institute of Chemistry, the Institute of Geosciences, the Institute of Biology and the Department of Economy.
What is a postdoctoral position?
It is a temporary research appointment in which the researcher engages full-time in one or more projects. It does not include teaching responsibilities, but eventually a postdoc may engage in teaching.
Postdocs are typically recently graduated Ph. D.s who are not yet employed. On the other hand, professors and experienced researchers from other institutions who join the CDS for a limited period are usually appointed as visiting professors or associate researchers.
Does the CDS confer a Postdoctoral Degree?
No, because a postdoctoral appointment is not an academic degree program. After completing the postdoctoral appointment, however, researchers receive a certificate describing their performance.
Must the Postdoc have financial support?
Not necessarily, but all postdocs must have full-time dedication to their activities at CDS. In practical terms, this implies that the postdoc either holds some type of financial support or, in rare occasions, is a volunteer.
How do I obtain a postdoc grant?
Every graduate program in Brazil receives at least one postdoc grant from the Capes/PNPD Program. When available, such grants are offered through a specific announcement, according to the research priorities defined by the PPG-CDS Board. In addition, any holders of a Ph. D can submit a project and request a postdoc grant directly from the CNPq. Eventually, projects funded by other institutions include postdoc fellowships, which are allocated by project coordinators.
Does admission to the master’s or doctoral program necessarily imply receiving financial support?
No. The PPG-CDS has a limited number of grants, which are distributed according to the students’ performance in the admission process.
Can I receive a grant if I am currently employed?
No. Both Capes and CNPq preclude employed students from receiving their financial support. In special cases, students who are already scholarship holders may accept a paid job offer if the job is closely aligned with their research project. In this case, the student has to make a formal request that must be approved by both the supervisor and by the Graduate Studies Committee. Usually this happens only when there is not a backlog of students waiting for a scholarship.
What are the obligations of scholarship holders?
They must commit full-time to their study program and maintain excellent academic performance. Doctoral students have also to complete two semesters of Teaching Assistantships in undergraduate classes. Master’s and Doctoral students who are university professors are exempt from this requirement, but they can apply if they so wish.
Do I need a Master’s degree to be admitted into the Doctoral Program?
Not necessarily. The admission process defines specific criteria that allow direct admission to doctoral studies for candidates who do not hold a Master’s degree.
If a student receives a Master’s degree from PPG-CDS and wishes to continue doctoral studies in the program, will he have to go through the regular admission process?
Not necessarily. At the discretion of the PPG-CDS Board, up to two annual openings of each new doctorate class are reserved for students who received the Master’s degree. There is, however, a specific process to admit these students. Their theses must have been defended before enrollment in the doctoral course and their graduation deadlines are reduced by one semester in the Master’s course and by one semester in the Doctoral program.
I would like to fulfill part of my studies abroad – is it possible?
Yes. This is possible in two ways: 1) in co-tutelage with another university – in this case, the successful student will earn two diplomas, one from UnB and another from the foreign university. Co-tutelage studies derive from a mandatory specific agreement for each student, who must follow the requirements spelled out in PPG-CDS regulations regarding deadlines, credit loads and mandatory classes. 2) in the case of doctoral students, it is possible to engage in a doctoral internship abroad. Normally, this internship is financed by Capes, through the PDSE grants, known as “sandwich-grants”. These grants are not guaranteed and depend on Capes’ annual budget allocations.
Does PPG-CDS accept special students?
Yes. All undergraduate and Master’s degree holders can apply to be special students status in PPG-CDS classes at the beginning of each academic semester. The enrollment period is usually limited to the first two days of each academic semester, according to the UnB Academic Calendar. A limited number of openings for special students are available each semester in some of the courses offered by PPG-CDS. Each faculty member is responsible for defining the openings reserved for special students in their classes and for selecting the candidates who will take their classes as special students, using the criteria they consider most appropriate. No professor is forced to open positions for special students, nor to fill all the open vacancies. Subjects taken with special student status are not taken into account in the regular student selection process.
If I am accepted as a regular PPG-CDS student, through the regular annual admission process, can I use the credits earned as a special student?
Yes. These credits can be counted for completing a specific form available in the PPG-CDS Academic Office – but note that there is a 50% limit of the total of elective classes that must be taken. In the case of subjects studied as a special student outside the PPG-CDS, credit counting depends on assessments made by the Graduate Faculty Board and the applicant’s advisor, taking into count class syllabi and their compatibility with the ones adopted in the PPG -CDS.
Is the MESPT a non-attendance course?
No. It requires a full credit load based on attendance to 420 hours of classes, within two calendar years, for a total of 24 months. Face-to-face activities are carried out at the University of Brasília facilities, both in the Darcy Ribeiro and in the Planaltina campuses. They are distributed by seven successive all-class activities, ranging from one to five weeks in duration. The longer lengths of stay at UnB happen in the months of July and January.
What are the research lines in the MESPT?
Currently, they are are as follows:
A) Land and Environmental Management;
B) Intercultural Education for Sustainability;
C) Sustainable Production and Food Security.
Does the MESPT offer financial support for students?
Since its third class, in 2016, the MESPT does not guarantee financial support for any candidate.
What is the difference between professional master’s and the academic masters?
The MESPT is a course focused exclusively on the training of professionals (indigenes, quilombolas (maroons) and a number of non-ethnic students) who already work in government institutions, businesses or civil society organizations (advisory or community based) and wish to reflect upon their professional practice and strengthen their interventions aiming to benefit traditional populations and territories. Therefore, all candidates, to be considered, must be engaged in a working connection (not necessarily employment) with a government agency, a company or a non-governmental organization.
From the methodological point of view, the course presents idiosyncrasies, given that it is based on the dialogue between academic and traditional knowledge. Therefore, classes are multiethnic, as is the faculty, who are indigenes and maroons, amongst other groups.
Is the MESPT a paid course?
No, the MESPT is free. Students make no payments of any kind.
Are there openings for special students in the MESPT classes?
Yes. The MESPT offers special student openings in its elective courses on a regular basis. The classes and the general guidelines for admission of special students can be found on our website.