Information for Prospective Graduate Students
I expect to accept a PhD. student for entry in Fall 2018. I look for potential graduate students who have field and professional experiences, a strong academic record, quantitative skills, are creative and highly motivated, and provide evidence that their interests match on-going work in the lab.
Students who work with me are trained in the theory and practice of ecology and conservation biology, and in quantitative methods. I also ask student to gain skill sets that are transferable to environmental problem-solving, such as modeling, GIS and remote sensing, stable isotope analysis, molecular genetics, etc.
My approach to mentoring students varies depending on where a student is in the Ph.D. cycle. I meet weekly with my graduate students and postdocs during the school year to discuss research proposals, results, or manuscripts. During a grad student’s first year I often meet weekly with them to develop a dissertation project and to work together to obtain funding if needed. I also spend time in the field, but expect that grad students will rapidly become self-sufficient. Later we begin to work more closely again as data are analyzed and written for publication. We often co-author papers together and our goal is for most of the dissertation to be published by the time a student graduates. I expect students to complete a Ph.D. within five years.
ESPM usually only admits students that we can fund for a minimum of three years. By then, we expect that the professor and student have procured funding for the remaining research time to finish the Ph.D. My grad students have been extraordinarily successful in this way, often getting NSF, EPA, or other fellowships as well as other research grants or contracts.
UC Berkeley has been ranked as the top U.S. program in environmental science, ecology and evolutionary biology and, as you might guess, entrance is very competitive. When you contact me, provide a statement of your interests in graduate school discussing the kind of research that you would like to pursue, a CV, information on your grade point and GREs. ESPM ranks students for funding based on their grades, GREs, experience, essays that they write, and their letters of recommendation.
Undergraduate Research Opportunities
We often have opportunities for undergrads to participate in our research projects, to do summer internships in the field, or to develop an honors thesis. Please contact one of the lab members or Steve Beissinger if you are interested in getting involved. We also hire undergrads during the school year to help us in the lab.