Disease Ecology PhD

Interested in earning a Disease Ecology PhD?

The program in Population Biology, Ecology and Evolution is an intimate and diverse graduate group emphasizing the ecological and evolutionary basis of infectious disease emergence and the molecular basis of evolution. The size of our program provides unmatched opportunity for students to have personal interactions and attention from the faculty.

Students and faculty enjoy sharing ideas and interests during our weekly Population Biology Ecology and Evolution seminar series as well as during our monthly faculty/ student lunch forum and our monthly journal club. The seminar series, primarily organized by the graduate students, provides the opportunity to invite eminent scholars from around the world to meet and speak with faculty and students on questions related to PBEE.

The seminar also provides a unique venue for graduate students to present their ongoing research in a friendly environment in which they can improve their presentation skills while obtaining important feedback and ideas from colleagues. The journal club allows students and faculty to discuss timely papers in an informal setting while the lunchtime forum is structured around two faculty member presentations on a unified theme intended to explore more deeply common research themes through extended discussion among faculty and students.

Graduate students are able to help shape the direction of the graduate program and its policies through representation on the executive committee, seminar committee and recruiting committee. Current students play an integral role in the process of admitting new students through their efforts in organizing, hosting and interacting with prospective students during our spring recruitment weekend. Service on a program committee is a valuable opportunity for students to develop their leadership skills.

The study of the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that give rise to the spatial and temporal dynamics of populations and species is one of the most exciting and rapidly advancing areas of modern science. The general field of Population Biology integrates biological mechanism across many levels of organization, from the molecular forces leading to the evolution of genome organization to large interconnected networks of species in complex ecological systems. Scientists in this challenging area must consequently cross the normal boundary lines dividing traditional disciplines and employ complex, multidisciplinary approaches to begin to understand the evolution, organization and dynamics of natural populations.

Disease Ecology PhD

The graduate program in Population Biology, Ecology, and Evolution provides the multidisciplinary training required for a successful research and teaching career. The program allows the student to learn currently accepted scientific facts and theories; learn to plan, conduct and critically evaluate experiments; make an original contribution to scientific knowledge; become skilled in oral and written communication; and become self-sufficient in continuing education beyond graduate school. The program also prepares the student to teach Population Biology, Ecology, and Evolution and related disciplines in professional and graduate schools.

Graduate training in the Program in Population Biology, Ecology and Evolution is research-focused and differs considerably from undergraduate or professional school. The formal course work is intended to provide basic knowledge as well as guidance for self-education by the student scholar. Such self-education is a full-time job and must be an active, rather than passive, process. Much of graduate teaching consists of individualized instruction between students and their advisors, in an atmosphere of cooperative research and discovery.

Students should consider the graduate training program as the beginning of their professional careers, rather than as an extension of schooling as they have known it. The graduate student does many of the same things that occupy professional scientists: reading scientific literature; planning, conducting, and analyzing experiments; and writing grant proposals and publishing papers. The earlier the student becomes proficient at these endeavors, the sooner and further his or her career will progress. Scientific research can be discouraging at times and a great deal of inertia sometimes must be overcome to bring a project to conclusion. However, the rewards to the dedicated student include a sense of accomplishment, independence, and discovery as well as entry into a challenging profession.