The program is carried out cooperatively by three universities: the Tecnológico de Costa Rica (TEC), the Universidad Nacional (UNA) and the Universidad Estatal a Distancia (UNED).

The following international institutions also participate:

The doctoral program has a duration of four years.

It is taught bimodally, allowing students to carry out their research activities in their country of origin or, in the case of those who reside in Costa Rica, in the institution for which they work.

The program is based on academic-humanistic education, and organized by educational or disciplinary areas of interest. Social subjects are assumed to be the protagonists of professional practice and formed in an integral and multidisciplinary way, with a solid training in scientific research, linked to their environment.

Deadline for receiving admission applications: April 30, 2020.

Perfil profesional

Graduates of the Doctoral program in Natural Sciences for Development will be able to successfully carry out the the following professional activities:

Research activities: Design and execution of projects related to science and development.

Educator and lecturer: teaching scientific and technological knowledge.

Advisor: either in research or in production.

Consultant: evaluation of production systems.

Manager: management, organization and direction of production units.

Project director: design, implementation and evaluation of production or development projects.

Entrepreneur: planning and creation of their own company.

Areas or companies in which program graduates can work:

  • Universities.
  • Private companies.
  • Research centers.
  • Public institutions.
  • Autonomous institutions.
  • Non-governmental foundations.


Candidates who wish to be admitted to the Doctoral program in Natural Sciences for Development must meet the following conditions:

  1. Have a Master's degree from a public or private university, either national or international, officially recognized in the country of origin. This degree must be in areas related, in general, to the emphasis of the program and, in particular, to the type of work that is carried out by applicants. Professionals who do not reside in Costa Rica and are seeking admission to the Program must request recognition of undergraduate and graduate degrees by the Costa Rican consulate in their country of origin. In all cases, applicants must have sufficient research experience to be able to successfully carry out their PhD research and thesis writing.
  2. Have a licentiate’s degree in an area of engineering or science related to their area of emphasis. In exceptional cases, if requested by the Academic Management Committee of the Program and the respective emphasis commissions, candidates must prove that they have extensive experience in their field of research, which must be demonstrated with publications in books or qualified magazines.
  3. Submit documentation proving your experience and participation in a research project.
  4. Submit a proposal for thesis research.


  • Specialized research centers.
  • Laboratories for research development.
  • Information and communication platform.
  • Specialized platform for distance learning.
  • Library with specialized materials.
  • Access to databases.
  • Indexed journals for the publication of research.


  • Costa Rican Vulcanological and Seismological Observatory, UNA.
  • Environmental Analysis Laboratory, UNA.
  • Ecotoxicology Laboratory, UNA.
  • Pesticide Analysis Laboratory, UNA.
  • Laboratories of the Biological Sciences School, UNA.
  • Specialized Laboratories in Chemistry, FESC-Cuatlitán, Mexico.
  • Production Laboratories, Autonomous University of Chapingo, Mexico.
  • Specialized Laboratories, USAC, Guatemala.


The amount to be paid per semester is calculated according to the number of credits students are enrolled for.

  • Cost per credit: $110.33.
  • Approximate value of the entire program: $12,500.
  • Costs of the enrollment process must also be taken into account.

Differentiator elements

The Doctoral program in Natural Sciences for Development is unique in Central America and the Caribbean – the first program taught bimodally using an inter-university model with the participation of international universities.

Its teaching staff includes researchers in lines of work relevant to the region’s development, and professors from national and international universities.

The program has also signed cooperation agreements with other universities in the region to carry out internships, jointly teach courses with professors in different study centers, and conduct international seminars with participation of professors from the region.

Benefits for the country and region

Formation of high-impact researchers, who will promote both sustainable development and knowledge transfer to society in Costa Rica and other countries in the region.

Promotion of cooperation and integration of universities to strengthen the region’s research and development.

Criterios de selección

  1. Research Experience.
  2. Publications.
  3. Academic degree.
  4. Proficiency in the research area to be emphasized.
  5. Availability of time to pursue the program.
  6. Financing for development during the program.

Study plan

The courses are taught remotely. Seminars and workshops are held at the university or in the country where the program takes place.

In addition, in-person activities will be carried out periodically to analyze students’ progress in their research.

The academic year is based on semesters.

Typical tasks for graduate students include:

  • Carrying out high-impact research on topics related to science and sustainable development.
  • Preparation of scientific articles.
  • Presentation of results in international conferences.

Areas of disciplinary emphasis

  • Agricultural production systems.
  • Natural resources management.
  • Environmental management and culture.
  • Applied electronic technologies.

Graduation requirements

  • Have successfully completed all courses in the curriculum.
  • Complete an internship of at least three months.
  • Have demonstrated proficiency in a language other than Spanish.
  • Publish two scientific articles in major indexed journals.