About the Master’s in Ecology

The MS is ideal for students who have not previously led an independent research project, who are not certain if they want to pursue a PhD, or whose professional goals do not require a PhD.  Ecology MS students work with faculty mentors to develop a focused research thesis that can be completed in about two years. In addition to the thesis research, the student also takes coursework that helps them develop particular skills relevant to their career goals.  We anticipate that all students will aspire to gain skills in theoretical ecology, research design, lab and field techniques, data analysis, and science communication.  Students address research topics appropriate for a two-year program, that can be drawn from an infinite array of ecological questions.

After their first year in the MS program, students who are making excellent progress can petition the Graduate Program Committee to move into the PhD-Ecology program.



The M.S. in Ecology is an extremely flexible program; students design their own course curriculum under the guidance of their advisor and thesis committee.  The program requires a minimum of 30 hours of graduate credit.  Other than the research writing requirement (required of any MS at UGA), the graduate coursework is entirely flexible and should be designed based upon the professional goals of the student.  The course requirements are:

  • 21 hours (or more) of in-class graduate instruction
  • 9 hours of research and writing
ECOL 7000Master's Research6 hours (a maximum of 6 hrs can count toward the 30 hr requirement)
ECOL 7300Master's Thesis3 hours (3 hrs, and no more, must be applied toward the 30 hr requirement)