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

Thank you for your interest in the ICON-Ecology PhD program. Please refer to detailed information about the ICON at icon.uga.edu. For admission to the ICON-Ecology 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.

You also will be required to write an additional (supplemental) essay in addition to your Statement of Purpose. This supplemental ICON essay should be <=600 words. In your essay, you should:

  1. Describe how you envision the ICON PhD Program providing you with training or experiences that are different than a traditional disciplinary-based PhD program in your chosen field;
  2. Briefly share your ideas – be they general or specific – about your intended integrative research project or your previous experience with integrative work;
  3. Please list your preferred faculty advisor. We depend heavily on a prospective advisor’s interest in applicants in the selection process. We strongly encourage you to speak with your prospective advisor before applying.