Join the North lab!
The UC Davis North Lab welcomes inquiries from prospective graduate students. At this time, I do not know whether I will have funding to take on any new students for the 2017-2018 academic year. Interested students are encouraged to contact me directly by e-mail or phone. Applications for graduate study are evaluated once per year, in the winter for admission the following fall, in late September.
UC Davis Ecology students are accepted into a graduate program, not into any particular academic department. Consequently, departments do not provide financial aid. It is up to the student to secure that funding by either bringing it with them or finding a professor willing to support them. The UC Davis Graduate Group in Ecology has tremendous breadth and students are encouraged to find and talk with more than one professor to find a good match and determine who has funding and for what projects.
Funding is an important issue. Each year there are many more qualified students than can be accepted because the UC Davis Graduate Group in Ecology will only allow professors to accept a student if they can promise some level of financial support. Teaching Assistantships (which include tuition fee waivers) are also available and with some hustling, most students can secure at least one quarter of support through this means. Additionally, I encourage all students to seek external support (i.e., NSF Predoctoral Fellowships, EPA Star Fellowship, etc.) Serious prospective students should try to visit Davis and meet students and other faculty who might serve as advisors.
If I have funding to support a student, it will be for a particular project. However I encourage my students to pursue their own ideas and interest, and they need not make the funded project their thesis or dissertation if they find another topic of interest to them. Master thesis projects are usually completed in 2-2.5 years, and produce one or two journal articles. A Ph.D. often takes 4-6 years and produces 3-5 journal articles. Know that a Ph.D. is a long process filled with hard work and setbacks. The job market is competitive for a very limited number of research positions. For a brutal but partly accurate assessment of what you should know, see this article.
Like most professors in the GGE, I prefer my students write up their research in chapters which are articles submitted to peer-review journals. I work closely with my students to make sure they master good experimental design and writing skills.
In general, most of my students’ and my projects are applied research. I am also a Research Scientist with the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station, Ecosystem Function and Health Program and often work on conservation and management issues related to Sierran conifer forests.
For more information on life in Davis, visit daviswiki.org
Key words: University of California, Davis, UC Davis, Malcolm North Lab, Forest ecology, Fire ecology