How long does it take to finish this program?
This is a two year program. However, completion times will vary depending on the time-frame of your thesis project and if you need to take undergraduate courses to fulfill admission requirements.
How many classes/credits do I take per semester?
Full time students generally take 9-12 credits per semester. Those who are supported by teaching assistantships are covered for maximum of 10 credits per semester.
In each of your first two semesters, you would take two or three 3-4 credit classes and three seminar classes. The seminar classes include the Graduate Research Seminar (1 credit), the EEB (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) Seminar (0 credits) and the BCP (Biodiversity, Conservation and Policy) Seminar (1 credit). Your other two-three classes will be used to fulfill either your Core Requirements or to make up for any lacking undergraduate requirements (undergraduate classes do not count toward your degree).
What if I'm not sure what I want to do for my thesis?
The Biodiversity faculty are working very hard to build collaborations with many agencies in Albany. Currently, we have students working with the Nature Conservancy, the Department of State Coastal Resources Division, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the New York State Museum. Some of these are paid internships.
If you do have an idea for your thesis, there are many faculty in the Biology department that would be able to help plan your project. You may be able to work with one of the agencies listed above or with a faculty member at the University. There are a few research grants offered by the University Graduate Student Office and the Office of Research which you may apply for to help get your project started.
How are students supported?
The Biodiversity program has two "full support" lines available. One is a teaching assistant position and the other is a graduate assistant position. These two positions include a tuition waiver and a bi-weekly stipend. Other teaching assistant positions may be available depending on the needs of the department (for example, this year there was 1 extra TA line for the fall semester and 3 extra TA lines for the spring semester). Some of these positions are offered right before the semester starts.
Another way students are supported is through paid internships with certain agencies in Albany. These internships can provide financial support and provide a topic for your thesis. We hope to have a list of available internships topics from a few of these agencies soon.
Fellowships are another source of funding for biodiversity students when they are available.
Although funding is not guaranteed, the program is making an effort to support all qualified students that need funding.