About the Ph.D. in Integrative Conservation and Ecology

The Ph.D. in Integrative Conservation and Ecology is a unique program that combines disciplinary depth and cross-disciplinary collaboration with a focus on solving the complex conservation challenges of the future.

At the beginning of the 21st century, as global environmental change proceeds at an unprecedented pace, the practice of conservation is adapting to a complex set of new challenges. The conservation community has increasingly recognized that responding effectively to these challenges will require that the next generation of practitioners and scholars not only develop expertise in specific fields but also have the conceptual tools to work across disciplines.

The University of Georgia’s Integrative Conservation Ph.D. program is designed to meet that need by ensuring that students gain disciplinary depth while also learning to collaborate across disciplines and fields of practice to seek integrative solutions to complex conservation challenges.

Disciplinary Focus

ICON students choose from one of four disciplinary foci, one of which is ecology.  Integrative Conservation and Ecology students gain a deep understanding of ecology alongside broad exposure to social science and other life science disciplines. They also gain practical experience in tackling real-world environmental problems alongside conservation practitioners.


The Integrative Conservation Ph.D. program strives to move beyond the paradigm of interdisciplinary by reaching outside of academia to bring together academics and practitioners. Through mechanisms such as internships, collaborative research, and a practitioner-in-residence program, students will work with conservation practitioners as partners and colleagues. These experiences, along with training modules lead by communications experts, will ensure that students learn to communicate effectively and strategically with those from other backgrounds and disciplines as well as with lay audiences.

Watch our promotional video for the ICON program.


For more information please visit the ICON Homepage at icon.uga.edu or email iconphd@uga.edu.

Course Requirements

ICON students are required to take two team-taught core courses:

  • Integrative Conservation I: Theoretical foundations of an integrative approach, and
  • Integrative Conservation II: Application of integrative principles and perspectives through case studies with other courses as decided by the student and their committee.
  • Students will also meet all degree requirements for their home departments.
Prospective Ph.D. in Integrative Conservation Information

Dear Prospective Applicant:

Thank you for your inquiry about graduate work in Ecology through the Integrative Conservation doctorate degree program at The University of Georgia. Ecology is strong at The University of Georgia, and you will notice that we have a wide variety of course offerings from our diverse faculty. We attempt to structure the program of study to meet the needs of the individual student.

For information on the ICON program, please visit their website at http://icon.uga.edu/. For admission to the ICON program, you should have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in an area of biological science, a strong undergraduate GPA, and three letters of recommendation. We strongly encourage applicants to contact faculty members with whom you are interested in working. Prior to admission, you must indentify a faculty member who will serve as your major professor.

For many students, financial aid (awarded in April prior to the beginning Fall semester) is an important consideration for entering a graduate program. The annual competition for student financial awards (such as Graduate School Assistantships, Presidential Graduate Fellowship Awards and Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Program awards) takes place each February.  Thus, due to the volume of applications received, it is best to have your application and all supporting materials submitted to both the Odum School of Ecology and the Graduate School no later than December 1.

Only applicants who have applied by December 1st, and are nominated by a potential major professor, will be considered for funding to attend the Odum School of Ecology’s graduate student recruitment event and Graduate Student Symposium in January.  The School’s Graduate Program Committee meets in mid-December to review completed applications and select 10-15 highly qualified applicants for travel funding to this invite-only event.

Finally, if you intend to make a formal application for the ICON program in Ecology, you should submit additional information to the Odum School of Ecology Graduate Program Office, such as Background and Interest form (see sidebar), ICON supplemental essay.  All other supporting material, such as application, application fee, transcripts (from each institution attended), Statement of Purpose, and curriculum vitae should be sent directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions in the Graduate School.

If you need additional information, please contact us.

Graduate Program Office
Odum School of Ecology