The Ph.D. in Integrative Conservation and Ecology is a unique program that combines disciplinary depth and cross-disciplinary collaboration with a focus on solving the complex conservation challenges of the future.
At the beginning of the 21st century, as global environmental change proceeds at an unprecedented pace, the practice of conservation is adapting to a complex set of new challenges. The conservation community has increasingly recognized that responding effectively to these challenges will require that the next generation of practitioners and scholars not only develop expertise in specific fields but also have the conceptual tools to work across disciplines.
The University of Georgia's Integrative Conservation Ph.D. program is designed to meet that need by ensuring that students gain disciplinary depth while also learning to collaborate across disciplines and fields of practice to seek integrative solutions to complex conservation challenges.
Students in this program choose one of four disciplinary focuses: Integrative Conservation and Anthropology; Integrative Conservation and Ecology; Integrative Conservation and Forestry and Natural Resources; or Integrative Conservation and Geography. Each will ensure that students receive rigorous theoretical and methodological training in a traditional discipline, while also working integratively at the intersections of multiple disciplines.
The Integrative Conservation Ph.D. program strives to move beyond the paradigm of interdisciplinarity by reaching outside of academia to bring together academics and practitioners. Through mechanisms such as internships, collaborative research, and a practitioner-in-residence program, students will work with conservation practitioners as partners and colleagues. These experiences, along with training modules lead by communications experts, will ensure that students learn to communicate effectively and strategically with those from other backgrounds and disciplines as well as with lay audiences.
ICON students are required to take two team-taught core courses (Integrative Conservation I: Theoretical foundations of an integrative approach, and Integrative Conservation II: Application of integrative principles and perspectives through case studies) with other courses as decided by the student and their committee. Students will also meet all degree requirements for their home departments.