Frequently Asked Questions

About GDPE

Getting Started

Identifying & Contacting a Potential Advisor & Visiting Campus

Applying to the Program

Graduate Committees

Student Life

About GDPE

How does GDPE differ from departmental affiliation?
GDPE is not an academic department. GDPE faculty do not hold academic appointments in GDPE; their academic appointment is through an academic department. GDPE is an interdisciplinary program and the only one that grants degrees in Ecology at Colorado State University. Your "home department" is that of your major professor.

What physical resources does GDPE provide?
GDPE maintains all Ecology student files. GDPE does not provide other resources such as keys, mailboxes, space, or computer access. Such resources are provided by the student's home department as available.

I am presenting a poster or oral presentation and want to include the GDPE and CSU logos – where do I find these?
GDPE logos suitable for posters and electronic slideshow presentations are available by clicking the black and white Graduate Degree Program in Ecology logo in the footer of this web site. GDPE logos are available in *.jpg, *.gif, *.tif, and *.psd formats. CSU logos are located online at the CSU Graphic Standards site. You should always include both the GDPE and CSU logos in all of your off-campus presentations (poster and oral), and also for on-campus symposia such as the Front Range Student Ecology Symposium (FRSES).

Getting Started

Is GDPE right for me?
The GDPE is the only degree-granting unit on CSU's campus that offers advanced degree in Ecology. We offer a MS in Ecology and a PhD in Ecology. It is important to note that many faculty who participate in GDPE also support students directly through their home departments, and so it is possible to attain a MS or PhD degree in an ecologically-focused area by working with those faculty advisors in their home departments. The major distinction is that such advanced degrees are awarded by the academic department and are not designated "ecology" on the graduate diploma. Further, the curricular requirements for attaining advanced degrees in ecologically-related areas through an academic department differ from those in GDPE. Students who are admitted to graduate study at CSU in an academic department may later petition to transfer to GDPE.

Can you send me information on the program or the application process?
In order to provide the most up-to-date information and to preserve the environment, GDPE provides utilizes this website as the primary information source. This site is your guide to applying to the program--we do not have a hard-copy informational booklet or brochure. If you have questions after exploring our site, please contact us.

What constitutes a proper background for an applicant? Is my undergraduate work sufficient?
In general, having at least one course in Statistics and one course in Ecology is important. However, each applicant's situation and interests are unique. Research experience as an undergraduate, especially if you have the opportunity to complete an independent research project, is perhaps the most valuable investment of your time, since this will give you a taste of what to expect in graduate school, and allow you to decide if a research career is something you really want to do.

Identifying & Contacting a Potential Advisor & Visiting Campus

Do I need to have a primary / major advisor before I can apply?
No, but it is to your advantage to be proactive about this process. It would greatly benefit your chances of being admitted to the program. Students are not admitted without a written letter of acceptance by a primary advisor.

Which faculty are actively looking for students?
Many faculty will accept good students as long as there is space in their lab and funding available through teaching or research assistantships. In addition, several faculty each year have funding for particular projects, and those faculty are actively searching for students.

Please do contact potential advisors / faculty whom you are interested in as a potential advisor, even if they are not on the list of faculty actively seeking students. Find a potential advisor based on your research interests.

Do prospective students often visit the school, and if so, when is a good time?
All times of year are great in Fort Collins. Consider visiting campus during the Front Range Student Ecology Seminar in mid-February. You may also want to incorporate a few meetings with faculty members during your visit. If you want to meet with faculty members during your campus visit, contact them in advance to find out their availability and set up a time to meet.

Applying to the Program

If I have transfer credit that appears on my undergraduate transcript, do I still have to submit a transcript for these courses?
Yes. This is a University requirement and will delay your acceptance if it is missing. It helps verify that you have completed entrance requirements. The Graduate School will not review your transcripts until they have been verified by the Admissions office.

Do all of the materials need to be sent together?
No. GDPE create a file for each student and gathers materials as they arrive. Review of applications begins at the end of the second week of January each year. Maximum consideration will be given to applicants who have all of their materials in by this date. If you have questions, please contact us.

Do recommendation letters require a special form?
No. We prefer receiving letters of reference electronically directly from the letter writer, preferably as a PDF on official letterhead. This is often the most efficient and timely way to receive letters. Please note that you must contact your letter writers; GDPE does not contact your letter writers.

When will I hear about whether or not I have been accepted into the program?
The GDPE program operates on rolling admissions--there is not a specific date by which students receive a letter of recommendation for admission.

Graduate Committees

What is the purpose of having a graduate committee?
The purpose of the committee is to make available to the student a broad range of knowledge and expertise. It aids in general advising of the student and assists in planning the major elements of the program. The committee also evaluates student progress throughout the graduate career. It may provide assessments at various stages and it administers the preliminary and final examinations. The committee is not responsible for reminding students of published deadlines nor for monitoring procedural details. The student should manage such matters independently.

When should I have my first committee meeting, and how should I prepare for it?
Students should begin discussing the formation of their graduate committee as early as is practical. Formal selection of the graduate committee must occur before the student registers for their fourth regular semester. There are very specific University requirements for legal composition of graduate committees (click here for detailed clarification of the University requirements for GDPE graduate committees). Once the graduate committee is agreed upon, and courses selected, a GS6 form is submitted to the Graduate School. Note: Your GS6 form must be approved and signed by the GDPE Director. It is in your best interest to contact the GDPE administrative office to have the GS6 Program of Study Worksheet (found on the GS6 instructions page on the Graduate School site) reviewed before you submit your electronic GS6 form. In addition, GDPE requires a Supplemental Form that elaborates on the course selection and how the requirements for Groups A, B, and C are satisfied.

Student Life

Who can I contact with questions about student life?
GDPE is a wonderful community of very dedicated graduate students, but it isn't all work and no play! And there are certainly things within CSU that are of concern to all graduate students. For more general questions about the graduate student community at CSU, a good place to start is the Colorado State Graduate Students group, either through their website or through their facebook page. For social activities, a good resource is the GDPE Social Listserv. The listserv is also a good place to post questions regarding things to do in and around Fort Collins, housing, ride-sharing, etc. The graduate students in your lab or department are also a good resource.