Most frequent questions and answers

IDEAS is an inter-disciplinary track available to doctoral students at the University of Georgia. 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.

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

There are two tracks for admissions; DIRECT Track (applicant enrolls in the Odum School of Ecology PhD program and IDEAS at the same time) and INTERNAL Track (applicant is already enrolled in a relevant PhD program at the University of Georgia).  Please be mindful of the additional requirements for consideration into our IDEAS program. For further details, see here.

After you have identified a possible faculty member, send them an introductory email. It should include the following information:

  • Your academic background and current research interests
  • Why you think you would be a good fit for their lab (read up on their current research on their lab page)
  • What attracted you to the IDEAS program

We do not use the GRE for admissions decisions.


No. The IDEAS Admissions Committee asks that applicants only submit what is stipulated.

Since our DIRECT Track 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 recruiting event. The site visit provides applicants an opportunity to receive an in-person introduction to our program and to meet IDEAS faculty, staff, and students. Prospective students will also interview with faculty for final program determination.

Any of the faculty listed on our IDEAS trainers page are potential mentors. Contacting those individuals prior to the submission of your application is strongly encouraged.

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 a 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.

IDEAS trainees receive two years of NSF funding*. Trainees admitted through the Direct Track have three additional years of funding through teaching or research assistantships in the Ecology department.  *Recipients who are not US citizens or permanent residents will receive graduate assistantships in lieu of NSF stipends. 

Yes. However, we must disclose that non-US citizens are not eligible for training grant funding provided through the NSF; this is in accordance with federal regulations.

Required coursework is described on the Curriculum page and Program of Study page. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need clarification.

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.

At this time, the area of emphasis and the IDEAS graduate certificate are still in development.

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.