The GDPE curriculum is designed to provide a breadth and depth of training to MS and PhD students, who will emerge from the program as highly competent and skilled graduates. There are four courses required of all MS and PhD students: Foundations of Ecology (ECOL 505), Distinguished Ecologists Lecture Series (ECOL 571), Interdisciplinary Seminars in Ecology (ECOL 592), and Research Seminar (ECOL 693). These required courses provide a consistent ecological background for all GDPE students and ensure that all students engage in key intellectual opportunities within the program.

More information on specific course availability throughout the year can be found in the CSU Catalog.
If you have questions about specific non-ECOL courses listed below, please reach out to the department or instructor directly.

ECOL 505 (taught each fall) and ECOL 693 (taught each spring) should be taken the first year in the program.

Continuous Registration (Fall): CRN #64943
Continuous Registration (Spring): CRN #15551

M.S. in Ecology – Minimum of 30 Credits required to complete this program

  • Must take all Required Courses (6 Credits)
  • Ecology Fundamentals (6 Credits not taken elsewhere in the program)
  • Ecology Tools (6 Credits not taken elsewhere in the program)
  • Additional Electives and Independent Study (15 Credits)

M.S. – GS6 GDPE Program of Study Supplemental
M.S. in Ecology – CSU Catalog

Timeline for the MS

  • Semester 1. Discuss with the Advisor a plan of coursework and enroll in first courses. Discuss potential graduate committee members, and a plan for the dissertation or thesis project. Review the literature on the thesis/dissertation topic.
  • Semester 2. Select graduate committee members, prepare research proposal, and hold committee meeting to approve research study plan. Submit GS-6 form to GDPE for review and approval and then submit to the Graduate School. Initiate research and data collection.
  • Semester 3. Perform data analysis from research activities.
  • Semester 4. Complete research, begin to write thesis and a draft manuscript from the research for a professional journal.
  • Semester 4+. Complete thesis and defend, and submit manuscript for publication in a professional journal.

Ph.D. in Ecology – Minimum of 72 Credits required to complete this program

  • Must take all Required Courses (8 Credits)
  • Ecology Fundamentals (6 Credits not taken elsewhere in the program)
  • Ecology Tools (3 Credits not taken elsewhere in the program)
  • Additional Electives and Independent Study (55 Credits)

Ph.D. – GS6 GDPE Program of Study Supplemental
Ph.D. in Ecology – CSU Catalog

Timeline for the PhD

  • Semester 1. Discuss with the Advisor a plan of coursework and enroll in first courses. Discuss potential graduate committee members, and a plan for the dissertation or thesis project. Review the literature on the thesis/dissertation topic.
  • Semester 2. Select committee members and hold an initial committee meeting to agree on the plan of coursework and discuss the thesis/dissertation topic and research approach. Develop a draft GS-6 form to discuss with Advisor. Initiate research and data collection.
  • Semester 3. Complete research proposal. Complete GS6. Hold a formal committee meeting to gain approval of GS6 and proposal from the committee. Submit GS6 to GDPE for review and approval and then submit to Graduate School. Perform data analysis from research activities.
  • Semester 4. Present to-date research results at a professional meeting.
  • Semester 5. Take written and oral comprehensive exams (pre-lims).
  • Semester 6. Analyze project data to date and prepare manuscripts for publication, and present results at professional meeting.
  • Semester 7+. Complete coursework dissertation chapters and defend dissertation in public seminar held in home department. Write manuscripts from dissertation and present key findings at a professional meeting.

Ph.D. in Ecology, Human-Environment Interactions Specialization –

Minimum of 72 Credits required to complete this program

  • Must take all Required Courses, plus ANTH530 (11 Credits)
  • Ecology Fundamentals (6 Credits minimum)
  • Human-Environment Interactions Fundamentals (3 Credits minimum)
  • Ecology Tools (3 Credits minimum)
  • Qualitative Ecology Tools (3 Credits minimum)
  • Additional Electives and Independent Study (46 Credits)

Ph.D. HEI – GS6 GDPE Program of Study Supplemental
Ph.D. in Ecology, HEI – CSU Catalog

Timeline for the PhD

  • Semester 1. Discuss with the Advisor a plan of coursework and enroll in first courses. Discuss potential graduate committee members, and a plan for the dissertation or thesis project. Review the literature on the thesis/dissertation topic.
  • Semester 2. Select committee members and hold an initial committee meeting to agree on the plan of coursework and discuss the thesis/dissertation topic and research approach. Develop a draft GS-6 form to discuss with Advisor. Initiate research and data collection.
  • Semester 3. Complete research proposal. Complete GS6. Hold a formal committee meeting to gain approval of GS6 and proposal from the committee. Submit GS6 to GDPE for review and approval and then submit to Graduate School. Perform data analysis from research activities.
  • Semester 4. Present to-date research results at a professional meeting.
  • Semester 5. Take written and oral comprehensive exams (pre-lims).
  • Semester 6. Analyze project data to date and prepare manuscripts for publication, and present results at professional meeting.
  • Semester 7+. Complete coursework dissertation chapters and defend dissertation in public seminar held in home department. Write manuscripts from dissertation and present key findings at a professional meeting.

Required Courses

CourseTitleCredits
ECOL 505Foundations of Ecology3
ECOL 571Distinguished Ecologists Lecture Series1-2
ECOL 592Interdisciplinary Seminars in Ecology 1-3
ECOL 693Research Seminar1

Ecology Fundamentals

CourseTitleCredits
BZ525Molecular Ecology4
BZ526/BSPM526Evolutionary Ecology3
BZ535Behavioral Ecology3
BZ548Theory of Population and Evolutionary Ecology4
BZ578/MIP578Genetics of Natural Populations4
ECOL600Community Ecology3
ECOL610Ecosystem Ecology3
ECOL620Applications in Landscape Ecology4
ESS 660Biogeochemical Cycling3
ESS575Models for Ecological Data4
FW662Wildlife Population Dynamics 3
HORT576Advanced Environmental Plant Stress Physiology4

Ecology Tools

CourseTitleCredits
AREC535Applied Econometrics3
AREC635Econometric Theory I3
AREC735Econometric Theory II3
BZ548Theory of Population and Evolutionary Ecology4
BZ577/MIP577Computer Analysis in Population Genetics2
CIVE/WR524Modeling Watershed Hydrology3
ERHS 544/STAT 544Biostatistical Methods for Quantitative Data3
ESS655Multivariate Analysis for Community Ecology2
ESS565Niche Models4
ESS 575Models for Ecological Data4
FW551Design of Fish and Wildlife Studies3
FW552Applied Sampling for Wildlife/Fish Studies3
FW663Sampling and Analysis of Vertebrate Populations5
FW673/STAT673Hierarchical Modeling in Ecology3
GR503/NR503Remote Sensing and Image Analysis4
MATH530Mathematics for Scientists and Engineers4
MATH540 Dynamical Systems3
NR505 Concepts in GIS4
NR506GIS Methods for Resource Management4
NR512Spatial Statistical Modeling-Natural Resources3
NR523/STAT523Quantitative Spatial Analysis3
NR554/ANTH554Ecological and Social Agent-based Modeling3
NR621Design of Geographic Information Systems3
NRRT765Applied Multivariate Analysis3
SOCR522Micrometeorology3
SOCR620Modeling Ecosystem Biogeochemistry3
SOCR670Terrestrial Ecosystems Isotope Ecology3
STAT511Design and Data Analysis for Researchers I4
STAT512Design and Data Analysis for Researchers II4
STAT520Introduction to Probability Theory4
STAT521Stochastic Processes I3
STAT530Mathematical Statistics3
STAT540Data Analysis and Regression3
STAT560 Applied Multivariate Analysis3
STAT 675ATopics in Statistical Methods: Sampling1-3
STAT 675BTopics in Statistical Methods: Design1-3
STAT 675CTopics in Statistical Methods: Multivariate and Regression Methods1-3
STAT 675DTopics in Statistical Methods: Computer Intensive Methods1-3
STAT 675FTopics in Statistical Methods: Robustness and Nonparametric Methods1-3
WR674Data Issues in Hydrology3

Additional Electives

* Note that any "Fundamental" or "Tools" course can be used as an "Additional Electives" course if it has not been used to fulfill another requirement
 
CourseTitleCredits
ANTH 530Human Environment Interactions3
AREC505Agricultural Production Economics3
AREC535Applied Econometrics3
AREC540Economics of Natural Resources3
AREC541Environmental Economics3
AREC635Econometric Theory I3
ATS680Land-Atmosphere Interactions2
ATS760Global Carbon Cycle2
BSPM509Herbicide Selectivity and Action3
BSPM523Evolution and Classification of Insects4
BSPM528Invasive Plants and Weeds: Ecosystems to Molecules3
BSPM556Biological Control of Plant Pests3
BSPM570Chemical Ecology3
BZ 561Landscape Ecology3
BZ505Cognitive Ecology3
BZ510Zoophysiological Ecology3
BZ525Molecular Ecology4
BZ526/BSPM526Evolutionary Ecology 3
BZ530Ecological Plant Morphology2
BZ535Behavioral Ecology3
BZ548Theory of Population and Evolutionary Ecology4
BZ555Reproductive Biology of Higher Plants3
BZ572Phytoremediation3
BZ578/MIP578Genetics of Natural Populations4
BZ580The Biological Basis of Behavior4
BZ580 A3Scientific Basis for Freshwater Sustainability3
BZ568/FW568Sustaining River Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in a Dynamically Changing World3
ECOL600Population and Community Ecology3
ECOL610Ecosystem Ecology3
ECOL620Applications in Landscape Ecology4
ESS 660Biogeochemical Cycling3
ESS524Foundations for Greenhouse Gas Accounting and Management3
F610Advance Forest Ecology3
F624Fire Ecology3
FW544Ecotoxicology3
FW555Conservation Biology3
FW558Conservation Genetics of Wild Populations (on-line)3
FW567Wildlife Disease Ecology3
FW605Advanced Physiological Ecology of Fishes4
FW662Wildlife Population Dynamics 3
FW696BWildlife Biology: Bioacoustics3
GEO652Fluvial Geomorphology3
GEOL551Groundwater Modeling3
GES520Issues in Global Environmental Sustainability3
GR580Forests in a Warming World3
HORT571Soil Plant Water Relations3
HORT576Advanced Environmental Plant Stress Physiology4
HORT601Current Topics in Root and Rhizoshpere Biology2
MIP 624Advanced Topics in Microbial Ecology 2
MIP570 Functional Genomics3
NR504Computer Analysis of Remote Sensing Data4
NR510Ecosystem Services: Theory and Practice3
NR575Systems Ecology 4
NR578Ecology of Disturbed Lands3
NR678Advanced Ecological Restoration4
RS580Riparian Ecology and Management3
RS630Ecology of Grasslands and Shrublands3
SOCR540Soil-Plant-Nutrient Relationships3
SOCR550Advanced Soil Genesis3
SOCR567Environmental Soil Chemistry4
SOCR755Advanced Soil Microbiology3
SOCR770Advanced Soil Physics4
STAT580A2Design and Data Analysis for Bioinformatics3
WR574Advanced Snow Hydrology4
WR575Snow Hydrology Field Methods1

Human-Environment Interactions Fundamentals

CourseTitleCredits
ANTH 515Culture and Environment3
ANTH 529Anthropology and Sustainable Development3
ANTH 535Globalization and Culture Change3
ANTH 540Medical Anthropology3
ANTH 545Global Mental Health--Theory and Method3
ANTH 555Paleoindian Archaeology3
ANTH 571Anthropology and Global Health3
ANTH 572Human Origins3
NR 625Community-Based Natural Resource Management3
POLS 739International Environmental Politics3
SOC 668Environmental Sociology3

Qualitative Ecology Tools

CourseTitleCredits
EDRM 704Qualitative Research3
EDRM 706Analysis of Variance--Education Research3
NRRT 665Survey Research and Analysis3
POLS 621Qualitative Methods in Political Science3
SOC 610Seminar in Methods of Qualitative Analysis3

ECOL 505 (taught each fall) and ECOL 693 (taught each spring) should be taken the first year in the program. Some courses (ECOL 620, for example) are not taught every year.

CSU Course Catalog

CRN = Course Registration Number
CourseCourse TitleTermCourse Description 
ECOL 505Foundations of EcologyFallOverview of the science of ecology; what questions are asked, how they are answered. Prerequisites: One course in ecology CRN: 60162 Credits: 3
ECOL 571Advanced Topics in Ecology Distinguished Ecologists Lecture SeriesSpringCurrent research topics presented and analyzed by visiting scientists. Attend each Distinguished Ecologist seminar during the semester for which you are registered. This course does not meet every week. Prerequisites: One course in ecological principles. Section 001 - CRN: 18219 Credits: 1; Section 002 - CRN: 18220 Credits: 2, Section 003 - CRN: 21250 Credits: 2
ECOL 592Interdisciplinary Seminars in EcologyFall/SpringConcepts and principles of basic and applied ecology in an interdisciplinary context. Specific topics vary. Prerequisites: One 300- or 400-level course in ecology. Course details and CRNs: ECOL592 Interdisciplinary Seminar Credits: 1 - 3
ECOL 600Community Ecology LectureSpringCurrent theories on the dynamics and regulation of populations and communities of organisms. Must enroll in a recitation section. Prerequisites: One course each on general ecology, calculus, and statistics. CRN: 20590 Credits: 3 Recitation: Section R01 - CRN: 20591; Section R02 - CRN: 20592
ECOL 610Ecosystem Ecology LectureFallConcepts, methods, issues in ecosystem science: energy and matter cycling, systems perspectives, simulation modeling, sustainability, global change. Must enroll in a recitation section. Prerequisites: LIFE 320 or any ECOL course. CRN: 66480 Credits: 3 Recitation: Section R01 - CRN: 66481
ECOL 620Applications in Landscape Ecology LectureSpring (Odd years only)Spatial patterning of landscape elements and dynamics of ecological systems; spatial heterogeneity. Influence on biotic and abiotic processes. Prerequisites: Previous coursework in geographic information systems, ecology, statistics, and mathematics. CRN: 66478 Credits: 2
ECOL 693Research Seminar enhancing oral presentation skillsSpringCritique of research programs, plans, and ecological theory. Prerequisites: Written consent of instructor. Section 001 - Enhancing oral presentation skills. CRN: 18231; Section 002 - Enhancing proposal writing skills. CRN: 18232; Section 003 - Enhancing proposal writing skills. CRN: 19376 Credits: 1
ECOL 695Independent StudyFall/Spring/SummerRequires a contract, thoroughly outlining the scope of the project, signed by student, instructor and and approved by the Director. Prerequisites: GDPE Approval Fall Semester CRN: 60575 Spring Semester CRN: 10371 Summer Semester CRN: 50821 Credits: 1- 18
ECOL 698ResearchFall/Spring/SummerFall Semester CRN: 60576 Spring Semester CRN: 10372 Summer Semester CRN: 50822 Credits: 1- 18
ECOL 699ThesisFall/Spring/SummerFall Semester CRN: 60277 Spring Semester CRN: 10373 Summer Semester CRN: 50823 Credits: 1- 18
ECOL 799DissertationFall/Spring/SummerFall Semester CRN: 60578 Spring Semester CRN: 10374 Summer Semester CRN: 50824 Credits: 1- 18

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