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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
Adjunct Professor, Wildlife Ecology, Leader, PA Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit
Malaria parasites alter the chemical odor signal of their hosts to attract mosquitos and better spread their offspring, according to researchers including Mark Mescher, Consuelo De Moraes, and Andrew Read, who believe this scent change could be used as a diagnostic tool. Malaria parasite manipulates host's scent - Full article
How are the corals doing now, four years after they were damaged by the Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? You can find out by watching live webcams and by sending messages to the scientists on a research ship that will be in the Gulf until July 4. The research expedition is led by Chief Scientist Chuck Fisher, a Penn State University professor of biology. Live webcams: scientists studying corals damaged by oil in the Gulf of Mexico - Full article
Contrary to recent well-publicized research, habitat loss, not insecticide use, continues to be the best explanation for the declines in grassland bird populations in the U.S. since the 1980s, according to a new study by ecologists including Huck Institutes faculty affiliate Duane Diefenbach. Habitat loss, not poison, better explains grassland bird decline - Full article