Graduate studies at the Odum School of Ecology provide students with an interdisciplinary program that allow them to develop a broad background in ecology and related disciplines. Students work with faculty to become independent thinkers, researchers and decision-makers in ecology. Graduates have gone on to high-level positions, both academic and non-academic in the public and private sectors. In addition to professorships, alumni are employed in a variety of positions including policy analysts, conservation directors, executives in nonprofit organizations, and officers in government agencies.
The Ph.D. program was developed in 1972 and is an interdisciplinary program that allow students to develop a broad background in ecology and related disciplines. The purpose of the program provides a scholarly setting within which a course of study can be designed to fit the individual goals of students.
Three core courses are required for the Ph.D. program: ECOL 8000 (Topics in Modern Ecology), ECOL 8310 (Population Ecology), and ECOL 8322 (Ecosystem Concepts). Students may also take additional course work in organismal and community ecology. The program is deliberately designed to be flexible to complement the student's background and emphasize his or her career objectives in ecology. Major emphasis is on course work related to dissertation research, but students are expected to develop a broad background in environmental science. A wide array of relevant courses are offered by the Odum School of Ecology and other departments (especially botany, entomology, forest resources, genetics, geology, microbiology, and statistics).
Facilities of the Odum School of Ecology in Athens, off-campus facilities such as the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, the Joseph Jones Ecological Research Site and other sites in the state (mountains, coastal plains, wetlands, lakes and rivers, coast and sea), and international sites such as Maquipunca Reserve in Ecuador and the UGA Costa Rica campus in San Luis, Costa Rica, provide students unusual opportunities for ecological training.
“As former director Frank B. Golley said, our goal is 'to develop a community of scholars.' For me, this has meant not only being involved in developing my own research, but also the research of my colleagues for the general advancement of scientific knowledge. As ecologists, we believe that in order to better understand the Earth's ecological systems, we must actively observe and seek to understand the environments and the communities in which we live and work.” -John Kominoski (Ph.D. Ecology, Class of ’08)