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Grad Program: Ecology

Basic Information

Ecologists study the relationship between living organisms and their natural and built environments. How does habitat effect and sustain population and health, and how do organisms affect air, soil, water, food, temperature? Students of ecology can probe questions at the cellular level by choosing courses or programs focused on Microbial Ecology. Students of natural habitats can opt for programs in Wildlife, Plant, or Marine Ecology. And the burgeoning fields of Human, Community, and Population Ecology tend to be associated with studying sustainable development. Depending on which track you’ll choose, a course of study may incorporate biology, statistics, computer techniques, mathematical modeling, and systems analysis (in fact, when looking for programs, take note of programs in Conservation Biology).

Degree Information

The Master of Science (M.S.) degree is the most typical graduate degree. The two-to-three year programs are often directed by students’ research interests, which makes it particularly important for you to find out about program faculty to find an appropriate match. The M.S. degree usually requires an oral thesis defense and completion of written exams. Research can be extended into a Ph.D., though this will, of course, take several more years.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Degree Program
  • What are your research interests?
  • What are the faculty’s research interests? Is there any one particular faculty member you would like to work with?
  • At what kinds of institutions have graduates gone on to work, government, corporate, academic?
  • Is there a certain type of field work you’d like to do?
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