The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences


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:



Landscape related

Organism related



Study systems include


Effects of Processes


A Henslow's sparrow Biodiversity
A musk ox. Image courtesy of Dr Eric Post Climate change
Thistle heads Invasive Species




Ecologist standing in a field Agroecosystems
Scuba diver and coral Marine/Freshwater Ecosystems
Trees on the edge of a PA lake in the fall Forest Ecosystems
Turtle sliding into pool Wetland Ecosystems


Other Research Areas


Aedes aegypti mosquito Disease Organisms
Digging up a field Restoration
A soil profile Root and Soil Ecology