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Support and Awards


Georgia Research Education Award Traineeship (GREAT). GREAT Fellows will be selected from among applicants to UGA doctoral programs, in selected disciplines that enhance or develop areas of research/ scholarship strength. GREAT Fellows will be hired as graduate research assistants, with $27,000 compensation and tuition waiver.

Georgia Impact Now Master's (GAIN) Fellows. GAIN Fellows will be selected from applicants to UGA master's programs in specific disciplines having a high impact on the economy of the State of Georgia. GAIN Fellows will be hired as graduate research assistants, with $20,000 12-month compensation and tuition waiver. These assistantships will be renewable for up to two years total support.

Graduate Research Assistantship (GRAs). GRAs are arranged through individual faculty members with grant funding that when available are provided to support major professors' advisees. The demand for these positions is highly sought after and competitive.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GLAs). Ecology typically has 16 of these assistantships of which 3 are usually assigned to the Division of Biology to help with the Biology core courses. The Assistantship requires 18 hours of service per week.

Graduate School Research Assistantship (GSRA). These are awarded by the Graduate Program Committee in a department-wide competition. The award requires that recipients do 18 hours service per week but leaves the specific duties up to the department.

Presidential Graduate Fellows Award. The University of Georgia's Presidential Graduate Fellows Program was established to recruit exceptionally qualified students to our doctoral graduate programs. The awards are for an annual 12-month stipend of $27,000.  Students entering UGA will be guaranteed up to 5 years of funding support contingent on satisfactory performance and progress toward degree completion.  Only citizens and legal permanent residents of the United States are eligible to receive this Fellowship.

The James E. Butler, Jr. Fellowships in Ecology

Columbus attorney James E. Butler, Jr. established the Butler Fellowships with a $1 million gift to the Institute of Ecology in 2006. A lifetime of experiences beginning with a love of fishing in Georgia's rivers instilled in James Butler a deep regard for the environment. The fellowships that bear his name are for graduate students studying aquatic ecology, water quality and land use in Georgia and surrounding states.

Each year the Odum School of Ecology in cooperation with the UGA River Basin Center awards a research assistantship to one incoming Masters student in Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development, who is designated a "Butler Fellow." The assistantship constitutes fall-spring funding (at 4/9 time) for two consecutive years. Applications are solicited annually through a nationwide advertisement, but applicants may also be nominated by any member of the graduate faculty of the Odum School of Ecology or faculty of the River Basin Center. Applicants should be interested in conducting applied research or policy analysis in the Southeastern US.

John Spencer Fellowships

This fellowship honors John Kyle Spencer, a graduate student in the Odum School of Ecology, who was an extraordinary individual loved for his humor, generosity, energy, enthusiasm, and kindness. John studied urban streams and was passionate about freshwater ecology, conservation and ecological restoration. The fellowship was created by his family and friends to honor John's legacy by giving future students the opportunity to pursue a career in freshwater ecology conservation and management.

Each year the Odum School of Ecology in cooperation with the UGA River Basin Center awards a research assistantship to one incoming Masters student designated a "John Spencer Fellow." The assistantship constitutes fall-spring funding (at 4/9 time) for two consecutive years for either the MS in Ecology or the MS in Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development (the latter is preferred). Applications are solicited annually through a nationwide advertisement, but applicants may also be nominated by any member of the graduate faculty of the Odum School of Ecology or faculty of the River Basin Center. Applicants should be interested in pursuing a career in management and conservation of freshwater ecosystems (including rivers, streams, and wetlands). Candidates are judged partly on academic qualifications and partly on their enthusiasm, energy, and passion for freshwater conservation, as expressed in their application essay.

To be considered for the Butler and/or the Spencer fellowship for the upcoming academic year, please send a cover letter and CV (including grades and GRE scores) to Katherine Adams (ktswings@uga.edu) by December 1 (for example, to apply for Fall 2017, send an email by Dec 1, 2016). Please also specify a proposed faculty advisor; it is helpful to contact potential advisors in advance. Your full application to UGA and the Odum School must also be completed by the applicable deadline to be considered.

Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Program: Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology (EEO). The EEO track of the ILS is designed for those students who want to focus their studies towards understanding basic processes that act on populations, species, communities, and ecosystems.  Using a range of approaches, including population genetics and ecology, community ecology, ecosystem ecology, and systematics, EEO students carry out research on a variety of levels of biological organization and organisms.  Research opportunities range from genetic marker based studies of evolutionary processes, to studies of co-evolution, to studies of energy and nutrient flow within ecosystems.  Participating faculty represent a broad range of research interests and come from the Schools of Forestry and Natural Resources, Ecology, and Marine Programs, as well as the Departments of Cell Biology, Plant Biology, and Genetics.  The EEO faculty are very interactive with many cross departmental collaborations possible, not only within these five academic units, but among colleagues in many other departments as well.  Entering the graduate program through the ILS gives students a much broader range of potential research projects and advisors than would direct admission to an individual academic unit.  Students enrolling in the EEO track will receive a stipend of $20,000, and $4000 in research support during the first year.  During years 2-5, the participating academic units hosting the student will provide a stipend of $20,000, or the departmental minimum, whichever is higher.  The host academic unit will also provide the $4000 for research support during years 2-5.  Students may apply to the EEO program online (http://www.ils.uga.edu).

Dissertation Completion Assistantships

Doctoral Research Assistantships are awarded each year on a competitive basis following a highly qualified student’s nomination by their major department or school. The Doctoral Research Assistantships are available to doctoral students in their final year of study. These assistantships allow the student to devote time to the completion of their dissertation.


Something to think about as you compare graduate schools is the cost of living and your quality of life while you are in graduate school. The cost of living index can vary considerably across the country and make a real difference in your lifestyle. Athens not only has a terrific music scene, great restaurants, art, cultural and sports events, trendy shops, etc., but it also has a very low cost of living index compared to many other places in the country.

In order to have the same quality of life, for every dollar you earn in Athens, you would have to earn:

$1.10 -  Durham, NC

$1.11 -  Tucson, AX

$1.12 -  Ithaca, NY

$1.13 -  Austin, TX

$1.16 -  Ann Arbor, MI

$1.78 -  Davis, CA

So $17,000 in Athens is equivalent to:

$18,390  -  Durham, NC

$18,910  -  Austin, TX

$18,560  -  Tucson, AX

$19,400  -  Ann Arbor, MI

$18,760  -  Ithaca, NY

$29,610  -  Davis, CA

You can do this comparison yourself at a number of websites such as http://www.bestplaces.net/col/


Tuition Waiver

Tuition is waived for all students supported on Graduate Teaching Assistantships, Graduate School Assistantships, Graduate Research Assistantships, Presidential Fellowships, and EEO Program Fellowships.

Health Insurance

Graduate students (international and domestic) who have qualified assistantships or qualified fellowships or who are supported by qualified training grants are required to enroll for a contracted health insurance plan that is subsidized by the university.

Odum School of Ecology Research Grants

The OSE funds small grants from the Eugene and William Odum Fund to support certain aspects of Odum School of Ecology graduate student research.

Travel Grants

The Graduate School has limited funds to assist graduate student travel to present papers at professional conferences within the United States. The Office of the Vice President for Research also has limited funds for international travel to meetings.


Outstanding Teaching Assistant Awards

This award carries recognition but no cash award and is given to approximately 35 graduate teaching/laboratory assistants in the University each year. Excellence in Teaching AwardsThis award carries recognition and a cash award of $1,000 and is given to five graduate teaching/laboratory assistants in the University each year.

Regents' Out-of-State Tuition Waivers

This award is for non-resident graduate students who do not have an assistantship. It requires a minimum verbal plus quantitative GRE score of 1100 and a minimum graduate GPA of 3.5 and/or a 3.3 undergraduate GPA. It is awarded for one semester and continued for the remainder of the year provided the student maintains a GPA of 3.5.

Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society

These awards are for submitted theses, dissertations and papers.  Nominations are made by a member of Sigma Xi.  Small research grants are also available from Sigma Xi. National Council of State Garden Clubs, Inc.These scholarships are for Georgia residents (5 years) and require full family financial disclosure. The amount varies from $250 to $5,000 for one calendar year. Also see Funding Opportunities in the Alumni & Support section.

For More Information

The University of Georgia
Ecology Graduate Program Office
Dr. Katherine Adams
Room 19, Odum School of Ecology
Athens, GA 30602-2202
Phone: (706) 542-3404
Fax: (706) 542-6040
e-mail ktswings@uga.edu

More Information on Athens and UGA

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About Athens

Athens, GA is consistently ranked among the top college towns in the U.S. with around 100,000 people, Athens is known for its lively downtown and #1 Rolling Stone-rated music scene. Only an hour from Atlanta, a few hours from the Appalacian and Blue Ridge mountains and more, Athens is in an ideal location. With a great town and a campus with the Sports Illustrated #1 pick for its Ramsey Student Center, a thrilling collegiate sports scene and an abundance of cultural opportunities, you can be sure that Athens is a great place to study, work, and live.

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