Frequently Asked Questions
What is IDEAS and how is it different from traditional graduate programs in the biological sciences?
IDEAS is an inter-disciplinary track within the doctoral training program of the Odum School of Ecology. IDEAS students focus on solving problems in infectious disease biology that manifest at multiple scales of biological organization. For instance, a complete understanding of Ebola virus epidemics involves understanding molecular biology (the mechanisms whereby the virus evades the immune systems), physiology (immune response), sociology (the demographic and social conditions under which epidemics can occur), zoology (where does the Ebola virus persist when it is not affecting human populations?), and large-scale environmental and social change (why is Ebola virus increasingly spilling over into humans?). Our program believes that students trained in the fundamentals of disease biology, data science, and science communication will be best prepared to meet these challenges and those of other emerging and endemic infectious diseases.
Could you characterize the ideal academic and research background that IDEAS is seeking from prospective students?
IDEAS is seeking intellectually curious students that want to do novel research in infectious disease biology. Students should have a broad background in science and mathematics, enthusiasm for intellectually challenging topics, and personal drive to make a difference
How does admissions work?
How do I go about approaching a prospective faculty member about my interest in working with him or her?
After you have identified a possible faculty member, send them an introductory email. It should include the following information:
What type of materials do I need in order to apply?
All such materials are listed on the Graduate School website. However, as we do require a supplemental essay and three (3) letters of recommendation, please take that into consideration as you complete your applications. Details concerning those processes are found here.
Is there a minimum GRE score that I should be mindful of?
No. Each applicant is considered individually.
Can I submit additional documents, such as a fourth letter of recommendation or a recent publication?
No. The IDEAS Admissions Committee asks that applicants only submit what is stipulated.
Why is the IDEAS application deadline so much earlier than the UGA Graduate School deadline?
Since our recruitment event occurs in early January of every year, the IDEAS Admissions Committee requires ample time in December to review each applicant. If nominated, you will be contacted in late December by IDEAS with an invitation to attend our annual Graduate Student Symposium. At this event, applicants receive an in-depth overview of our program and interview with faculty for final program determination. All invitees receive a travel stipend.
Who can serve as faculty mentors and how should I go about selecting them?
Any of the faculty list on our IDEAS faculty page. Contacting those individuals prior to the submission of your application is strongly encouraged.
What prior degrees must I have to apply?
You should have at least a bachelor’s degree (BA or BS) in a relevant major, such as biology, geography, ecology or mathematics. Students with quantitative background (e.g., computer science, math, or statistics) who wish to cross-train are encouraged to apply and invited to inquire about preparatory coursework that might be suggested.
How are students financially supported?
Funding is guaranteed for five years.
Can a non-US citizen participate in this program?
Yes. However, we must disclose that non-US citizens are not eligible for specific funding provided through the NSF; this is in accordance with federal regulations. Nevertheless, all accepted IDEAS students (regardless of national origin) are guaranteed funding for five years.
What courses are required?
Required coursework is contingent upon a student's individual course of study––whether the student pursues the area of emphasis or the IDEAS graduate certificate. Please contact a program coordinator for further assistance.
How does the internship component of the program work?
The internship component is quite flexible. We have internship partners lined up with positions available immediately, but are also open to new opportunities that might better serve your individual course of study.
Will my conferred degree reflect my participation in the IDEAS program?
Currently at this time, the area of emphasis and the IDEAS graduate certificate is still in development. Nevertheless, this will not preclude students from pursuing the listed graduate coursework.
What are my job prospects upon graduation? Will IDEAS assist in job placement?
We believe IDEAS students will be very well prepared for leadership roles in academia, government, and non-government organizations that work in environmental and health issues.
I am not interested in completing the entire IDEAS program, but some of the courses may be useful for my research. Can I enroll only in the IDEAS courses that are directly beneficial to me?
Yes. IDEAS courses are open to all graduate students at the University of Georgia with the permission of the instructor.
From byte to benchtop to biosphere