Applying to Graduate School

The students who are happiest with me tend to be independent. I encourage them to choose their own projects, set their own goals, and find their own funding. I will steer folks in the general right direction (particularly to funding), be there to listen, and read and help with drafts of proposals, but students expecting their graduate careers to be choreographed will be disappointed.

My students cover a broad range of topics, far more than I do. I expect them to know more than me about their areas, to find outside help on technical aspects, and to think for themselves, often agonizing over choices of research topic and successive drafts of their research proposals.

The University of Hawaii has a good library and great surroundings. We also have great relations with many state and federal agencies, so if you are interested in applied problems or can see how to apply basic research to such problems, funding is often easy to come by.

The University of Hawaii is the only (sub)tropical U.S. university and Hawaii has an amazing diversity of habitats from permafrost on Mauna Loa to desert to rainforest to coral reef, all within an hour's drive of one another. The islands represent a range of ages and intactness. Despite the loss of biodiversity because of invasive species and habitat loss, there are intact areas and there are many opportunities to do restoration ecology and to experiment with how perturbations affect ecosystems.

Students may apply in either Botany or Zoology, and through them the interdisciplinary Ecology, Evolutionary and Conservation Program.