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Covering basic and applied aspects of ecology, with research and teaching ranging from the molecular to the biosphere level

Program overview

Ecologists study how organisms interact with each other and with their environments.

Penn State's Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Ecology:

  • Provides students with a sound understanding of ecological theory and hypothesis testing
  • Complements other Penn State environmental programs that emphasize the role of humans in ecosystems
  • Offers options to take courses and undertake research in a variety of ecological areas, from the molecular to the biosphere level
  • Offers both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. M.S. degree requirements are usually completed within two years. The Ph.D. degree requires three or more years of research beyond the M.S. level. B.S. level applicants with good academic records who have had strong training in ecology and related courses, including research experience, are encouraged to apply directly to the Ph.D. program.

Program faculty

The program involves more than 50 faculty working in a range of disciplines, including:

Study systems include

Faculty Spotlight
Professor of Wildlife Resources
Scientists in the Center for Pollinator Research at Penn State -- including Huck Institutes affiliates Christina Grozinger, Christopher Mullin, Katriona Shea, and Reka Albert -- received three grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Science Foundation to study various threats to honey bees, including disease, pesticides and the extinction and invasion of other species into their habitats. Researchers receive $1.14 million to study threats to honey bees - Full article
Stigmatization may have once served to protect early humans from infectious diseases, but that strategy may do more harm than good for modern humans, according to Penn State researchers including Rachel Smith and David Hughes. Stigmas, once evolutionarily sound, are now bad health strategies - Full article
Planting cover crops in rotation between cash crops – widely agreed to be ecologically beneficial – is even more valuable than previously thought, according to a team of Penn State agronomists, entomologists, agroecologists, horticulturists and biogeochemists that includes Huck Institutes affiliate Jason Kaye. Research reveals true value of cover crops to farmers, environment - Full article
Upcoming events
Apr 22, 2014 Tuesday 4:00 PM
Robert Colwell (University of Connecticut)
Modeling Chance and Determinism in Biogeography
Apr 23, 2014 Wednesday 12:20 PM
Ethan Davis (Penn State)
The implications of changing diets on land use, greenhouse gas emissions, and potential ecosystem C sequestration relative to bioenergy
Apr 28, 2014 Monday 4:00 PM Canceled
Fred Allendorf (University of Montana)
Human Induced Evolution caused by Unnatural Selection through Harvest of Wild Animals