School of Natural Resources and Environment
The Interdisciplinary Ecology graduate degree program considers the Social-Ecological System the proper conceptual framework for understanding the full scope of complex, adaptive systems comprising humans in the natural world (see the curriculum webpage for a diagrammatic depiction). The degree program challenges students to understand both natural and human dynamics in order to obtain a holistic view and to foster integration of human activities with natural resources and the environment. This is a remarkably difficult goal, but experience shows that the program works on two levels. First, students map their interests on the particular components and processes of the Social-Ecological System and select courses that provide formal training in important areas of connection. Second, the discipline of this program of study sets up a life-long habit of learning that enables alumni to continue to grow intellectually and adapt to changing needs encountered in their careers.
The doctoral program is for graduate students who have had preliminary research experience in a master's program or as an advanced undergraduate. Students use their prior experience to identify research areas in which they excel and to refine the kinds of research questions or problems they want to develop as their signature intellectual endeavor prior to employment. Students ordinarily complete the doctoral degree in four to five years after completion of the master's degree. By including a concentration in the interdisciplinary curriculum, students acquire a "T-shaped" view with depth in one area and breadth in many. Although every degree will look different, a sample plan of study has been included for your convenience.
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