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).
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:
- Interfaces of Global Change Seminar I & II (FIW 5004 and the Advanced Seminar BIOL 5174, 2 one-semester classes/1cr each, 2 cr total). Discussion of primary literature and activities designed to explore the two primary themes of the IGC program, (1) addressing the interaction of the five major threats to global biodiversity through interdisciplinary research, and (2) the science – policy interface. Each week, students will be required to read and discuss primary literature and participate in activities with their peers and the IGC Faculty. The seminar is offered in two forms, (1) a seminar geared toward students new to the program offered in the fall semester, and (2) a seminar geared toward more senior students offered in the spring semester. Typically a student will take the fall seminar during the first fall semester they are in the program, and the spring seminar at a later time of their choosing. Fellows may take the seminar as many times as they wish in addition to the two required.
- Interdisciplinary Challenges in Global Change Research (GRAD 5134, 3 cr). This reading-, writing-, and discussion-intensive capstone course is team-taught by several IGC core faculty and is offered every two years. IGC Fellows will take this course no earlier than their second year in the program, but generally 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.
The Interaction of science, society and policy
Students will also take at least 5 credits representing these two areas:
- Science Communication (2 cr) (Communicating Science (GRAD 5144) or Outreach in Biology (BIOL 6004)
- Global change science and policy (3 cr) (conservation biology, sustainability, environmental policy, environmental law, or environmental history course)
Students will complete their primary coursework during the first two years of study, and will then advance to candidacy in their respective department.
- 1st Fall Semester: Interfaces of Global Change Seminar 1 (FIW 5004)
- 1st Spring Semester: Science communication elective
- 2nd Fall Semester: Global change science and policy elective
- 2nd Spring Semester: Interfaces of Global Change Advanced Seminar 2 (BIOL 5174)
- 3rd Fall Semester: Capstone Course (GRAD 5134)
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 on topics such as policy, communication, and/or analytical skills for integrating and interpreting large amounts of data from diverse fields
- During their tenure in the program, 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.
- Participate in the IGC Graduate Student Organization.
Note: These are the current requirements, and all Fellows entering the program in the Fall 2018 semester or later must follow these requirements. Fellows who entered the program prior to Fall 2018 may follow these requirements or the previous requirements in effect when they entered the program.