I currently have 5 PhD students and 1 MS student. I also have my sights set on a sabbatical for the 2020/2021 academic year. Therefore, I am not accepting any additional students at this time. The next time I may accept new graduate students will likely be Fall 2021.
If you are interested in applying in general, exceptional or self-funded students should always try their luck, but things are looking pretty full here for the next few years with the exception of this 1 position. I request the following:
- A cover letter expressing your reasons for wanting to continue your education at the PhD level, why at the University of Montana, and why with myself
- CV or resume
- Names, addresses, and emails of three references
- GRE scores, unofficial transcripts
General Graduate School Advice
Regardless of my lab being generally full for the forseeable future, please read on if you are interested in finding out some general advice about getting involved with graduate research in my lab, and general advice on graduate school in general.
There are generally two ways to get into graduate school, especially if your interests are to work on expensive-to-study large mammals such as ungulates and their predators, such as I do. First, find an advisor with existing projects that have funded graduate positions and at least partial funding for the expensive field activities. Second, enterprising and motivated students can develop graduate projects with employers such as government agencies, secure some funding, and then team up with an advisor to initiate the project. I strongly encourage exceptional students to apply for NSF's Predoctoral Fellowships (this years applications are due in early November). Both approaches are possible within my lab, and my philosophy is to allow students in any kind of project as much flexibility in developing their research questions and approaches (empirical, modeling, etc) within the bounds of existing projects within my lab.
In terms of the details, it is my general policy not to accept graduate students without student funding identified for at least most of the graduate degree. The Wildlife Biology Program can only support a limited number of students through TAships. Combined with the expense of conducting research on large scale ungulate ecology, I expect most of the graduate projects to be part of larger projects I have obtained at least initial funding for.
Also note the deadline for admission to a fall semester is January 15th of that same calendar year.
Keep in mind that there is a huge pool of exceptional students jockeying for positions in graduate schools. Over 150 students apply/year to the University of Montana Wildlife Biology Program, and generally only 10-15 are accepted. And the same rules that apply to writing letters to politicians apply to potential graduate school advisors in terms of the ranking of forms of correspondence: email <<< hard copy letter < phone calls < person-to-person meeting. With 50-100 emails in my inbox every day, don’t be dismayed with a form letter if you seek to get into graduate school by email alone.
Best of luck and thanks for your interest in my lab!