Our interdisciplinary curriculum requires that each IGC Fellow take at least 10 hrs of core coursework designed to address the two interfaces of Global Change. The remaining coursework will be comprised of electives pertinent to the student’s area of research emphasis (e.g., ecology or engineering) and requisite skillsets (e.g., GIS or statistics).


Interface 1:

The interactions among the five global threats (habitat loss, introduction of non-native species, pollution, disease, and climate change)
Students will take 5 credits in these areas as part of the IGC IGEP:
  • Global Change Seminar (FIW 5004, 2 fall semester classes/1cr each, 2 cr total). Brown bag discussion of primary literature on how the five major threats to global biodiversity interact to affect the environment and how science can inform public policy to influence these interactions.  Students will be required to read and discuss primary literature with their peers and the IGC Faculty each week.
  • Interdisciplinary Challenges in Global Change Research (GRAD 5134, 3 cr). This reading-, writing-, and discussion-intensive capstone course will be developed and team-taught by several IGC core faculty.  IGC Fellows will take this course after completing their other major coursework.  Fellows will continue to hone their scientific and technical breadth of knowledge related to global change, but this course will also emphasize a) the practical challenges associated with conducting interdisciplinary research and b) the role of science in society and policy. Using a variety of case studies and active learning techniques, we will cover topics to include: institutional, interpersonal, and disciplinary challenges in interdisciplinary research; working in teams; leadership; discussing science with the public, press, and policy makers; science vs. advocacy; and ethics.

Interface 2:

The Interaction of science, society and policy
Students will also take at least 5 credits representing these two areas:
  • Environmental policy, law, or history course (2-3 cr)
  • Conservation Biology or a Sustainability course (2-3 cr)



Coursework Timeline

Students will complete their primary coursework during the first two years of study, and will then advance to candidacy in their respective department.
Sample Timeline
  • 1st Fall Semester: Global Change Seminar; Electives
  • 1st Spring Semester: Policy, Law, or History course; Electives
  • 2nd Fall Semester: Global Change Seminar; Electives
  • 2nd Spring Semester: Conservation or Sustainability Course; Electives
  • 3rd Fall Semester: GRAD 5134; Electives

Additional Activities

In addition to coursework, IGC Fellows will also be required to:
  • IGC PhD Students are required to engage in submitting externally competitive research proposals.  Proposals should be submitted to a competitive request for proposals (RFP) and should emphasize some clear aspect(s) of the IGC IGEP.  There is no minimum financial award size, but students only pursuing small awards (e.g., < $1,000) are encouraged to submit multiple proposals so that funds can contribute in a meaningful way to your graduate development.  In cases where restrictions allow only a faculty mentor to serve as the PI on the proposal, students should do the majority of the proposal development and the faculty mentor should attest to this in writing.  Internal (VT) grant opportunities and travel grants do not count towards this requirement.  Students do not have to successfully receive funding to fulfill this requirement.
  • Attend IGC workshops each year on topics such as policy, communication, and/or analytical skills for integrating and interpreting large amounts of data from diverse fields
  • Host a seminar speaker relevant to the IGC IGEP in any seminar series (EEB, FREC, ENT, etc.) -OR- Serve on the IGC seminar committee responsible for hosting 1-2 major seminar speakers per year.