Frequently Asked Questions
- What is IGERT?
- When can I apply for an IGERT Traineeship?
- What is Applied Biodiversity Science (ABS)?
- What differentiates the IGERT program in ABS from other graduate programs?
- What distinguishes a PhD student in the ABS program?
- What kind of degree will I receive from this program?
- How many students will be admitted each year?
- What does it mean to be interdisciplinary and why is it important?
- Do I have to be funded by an IGERT traineeship to participate in this program?
- What is the difference between Trainees and Associates?
- Is the Applied Biodiversity Science program for Ph.D. students only?
- If I am not a U.S. citizen, can I still participate in the ABS program?
- Can students work in areas outside of the ABS study regions and still be part of the program?
What is IGERT?
IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) is a National Science Foundation program developed to meet the challenges of educating and training U.S. Ph.D. scientists with the interdisciplinary backgrounds, deep knowledge in chosen disciplines, and technical, professional, and personal skills to become in their own careers the leaders and creative agents for change.
When can I apply for an IGERT Traineeship?
The exact deadline varies by year, but more information can be found on the traineeship information page. Students must also apply to a specific department, which may have its own deadline.
What is Applied Biodiversity Science (ABS)?
ABS is aimed at integrating basic biodiversity research with conservation. To achieve this, ABS combines disciplinary research in social and biological sciences with cross-disciplinary research and collaboration with conservation institutions and actors in the field. The primary goal of Applied Biodiversity Science is the application of conservation theory to practice. The purpose of the program in ABS at Texas A&M University is to produce scientists trained to consider not just ecological functions of local ecosystems, but also the activities, attitudes, and needs of surrounding communities, as well as wider social, economic, and political contexts.
What differentiates the IGERT program in ABS from other graduate programs?
IGERT programs focus on problem-centered training, delimited not by the boundaries of an academic discipline, but by the demands of solving a problem. IGERT programs combine interdisciplinary science with practical experience, giving their students deep knowledge in their disciplines as well as a combination of technical, professional and personal skills that enables them to be leaders and creative agents for change in their fields. Other benefits include:
- A sizeable stipend ($30,000 per year).
- Support for tuition and fees.
- Funds for research equipment and supplies.
- Research assistantship and teaching assistantship opportunities.
- Opportunities for international experience.
- Internships in industry and government.
- Work with similar-minded graduate students from different disciplines on similar research topics.
- Great post-IGERT career and employment options
What distinguishes a PhD student in the ABS program?
In order to be associated with the ABS program, a Texas A&M University doctoral student must work as part of an interdisciplinary team researching issues concerning biodiversity conservation in Latin America. They must also find ways to collaborate with local organizations and be creative in designing their research and disseminating the results in ways that can be directly applied.
What kind of degree will I receive from this program?
The IGERT-ABS program is not a degree-granting academic unit. Students receive their degree from the department in which they are enrolled, and therefore, must meet all of the requirements of that department in order to graduate.
How many students will be admitted each year?
Four to five students will be granted NSF-IGERT Fellowships through the ABS program each year. However, there are no limits to the number of students who can be ABS associates – those who participate in the programs coursework, seminars and interdisciplinary research groups but who have not received the NSF-IGERT fellowship. There are many other sources of funding for students interested in becoming ABS program associates.
What does it mean to be interdisciplinary and why is it important?
Interdisciplinary research integrates multiple disciplines to address research questions. The IGERT program was developed with the vision to educate students in an interdisciplinary environment because the issues that surround most ‘real life’ problems and their complex solutions are multifaceted and complex. For example, policy decisions must be informed by science; social values and economics affect whether or not a solution is desirable or feasible. IGERT programs seek to train researchers who will recognize cross-disciplinary issues and communicate with professionals from other disciplines to find creative interdisciplinary solutions for these problems.
Do I have to be funded by an IGERT traineeship to participate in this program?
No. All of the program elements are open to all graduate students; however, the IGERT traineeships are only available to Ph.D. students who are U.S. residents. A limited number of these traineeships are available each year, and they are highly competitive. For more information on the application process, click here. Additional graduate funding may be available via other grants and assistanceships. Students participating in the ABS program, but are not funded on a traineeship, are considered ABS-IGERT Associates.
What is the difference between Trainees and Associates?
An IGERT Trainee is a Ph.D. student who receives an IGERT traineeship. IGERT Trainees participate in all of the program elements in the ABS program in addition to fulfilling any other departmental requirements necessary to attain their Ph.D. degree. An IGERT Associate is a graduate student who participates in the ABS program elements including the ABS Core Curriculum, the ABS Amazon Field Course, Cross-cultural Leadership Training Workshops and Seminars, the Ecological Integration Symposium, and the ABS Annual Research Conference. These graduate students do not receive funding via an IGERT-traineeship.
Is the Applied Biodiversity Science program for Ph.D. students only?
No. The goal of the IGERT program in Applied Biodiversity Science is to provide interdisciplinary graduate training to students who wish to pursue careers in the sciences. To take advantage of great student interest in issues surrounding applied biodiversity science and to enhance collaboration among graduate students, most elements of the IGERT program are open to all interested graduate (both Master and Ph.D.) students, most notably IGERT Associates, who participate in all IGERT elements but do not receive an IGERT traineeship.
If I am not a U.S. citizen, can I still participate in the ABS program?
Yes. The IGERT-ABS program is open to all graduate students. However, the IGERT traineeships are only open to Ph.D. students who are U.S. citizens.
Can students work in areas outside of the ABS study regions and still be part of the program?
The four study regions were chosen because ABS associated faculty at Texas A&M University already have established research programs in these areas. While we encourage ABS students to find sites within these regions, they can remain as program associates as long as they are conducting applied research on issues of biodiversity conservation in Latin America AND are collaborating with other ABS associates as part of interdisciplinary teams.
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