(530) 902-8135

Dept of Plant Sciences - PES 2227, U.C. Davis - One Shields Ave. Davis, CA 95616

Prospective Students

Version 2

Join the North lab!


The UC Davis North Lab welcomes inquiries from prospective graduate students.  I will not be accepting students for the 2022-2023 academic year, but do expect to have funding and  accepting students for the 2023-2024 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.


For more information visit the GGE web pages on Funding and Admissions


My Mentoring Approach


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, Fire and Fuels Program, and often work on conservation and management issues related to Sierra Nevada conifer forests.


I now live in Mammoth Lakes, and typically am on campus for 1-3 days every month.  I am readily accessible to my students anytime by phone or video conference call, but understand in-person meetings and ‘stopping by the office’ need to be scheduled.  For some students, this lack of ready access may not be ideal mentoring for their graduate work.


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.



North Lab at Sudwerks Brew Pub (2015)


For more information on life in Davis, visit daviswiki.org



Keywords: University of California, Davis, UC Davis, Malcolm North Lab, Forest ecology, Fire ecology