Integrative Conservation Ph.D. Program

Latest ICON News

Continued collaborations in Salween Peace Park

Continued collaborations in Salween Peace Park

Andrew Paul, ICON and Anthropology PhD student, recently published an illustrated short piece of his work about Karen water and fish conservation in the Salween Peace Park in the newsletter of the International Institute for Asian Studies. You can read it...

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ICON students recognized for outstanding teaching

ICON students recognized for outstanding teaching

Two ICON PhD students have been included in the 2022-23 Outstanding Teaching Assistant awardees: Behnoosh Abbasnezhad (ICON & Forestry and Natural Resources) and Mariana Matos (ICON & Anthropology). We congratulate these amazing ICON students and all of the...

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Asif Sandeelo explores ways to reduce bycatch

Asif Sandeelo explores ways to reduce bycatch

New article by Asif Sandeelo (ICON & Anthropology PhD student) and colleague Shabina Faraz on sustainable fishing practices and reductions in bycatch by fishers off the coasts of Pakistan: "Bycatch almost eradicated when Pakistan’s fishers embrace different...

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About the ICON Ph.D. Program

As global environmental change proceeds at an unprecedented pace, the practice of conservation is adapting to a complex set of new challenges. The conservation community has increasingly recognized that responding effectively to these challenges will require that the next generation of practitioners and scholars not only develop expertise in specific fields but also have the conceptual tools to work across disciplines. The University of Georgia’s Integrative Conservation (ICON) Ph.D. Program is designed meet that need by ensuring that students gain disciplinary depth in one of five fields – Anthropology, Geography, Ecology, Forestry, or Marine Science – while also collaborating across disciplines and fields of practice to seek integrative solutions to complex conservation challenges.

Each disciplinary focus ensures that ICON students receive rigorous theoretical and methodological training in a traditional discipline, while also working integratively at the intersections of other disciplines. In addition, ICON students work directly with conservation practitioners as partners and colleagues through internships and collaborative research projects. These experiences, along with training modules led by communications experts, ensure that students learn to communicate effectively and strategically with a wide range of audiences.

Prospective students must apply to the ICON program through one of the five departments listed above. We strongly encourage applicants to identify and speak with a prospective advisor prior to applying. Applicants should follow the admissions guidelines of the UGA Graduate School, the chosen home department, and the ICON program.

ICON Ph.D. Program Requirements

  1. Required ICON Coursework
      • ICON 8001 – Principles of Integrative Conservation I: Theoretical foundations of an integrative approach (3 credit hours)
      • ICON 8110 – Field Planning and Preparation (1 credit hour)
      • ICON 8002 – Principles of Integrative Conservation II: Application of integrative principles and perspectives through case studies (3 credit hours)
      • ECOL 8400 – Perspectives on Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development (1-2 credit hours)
      • ICON 8111e – Internship with a conservation organization, government agency, or other group or agency identified as appropriate (3-8 credit hours)
      • Minimum of two (2) additional graduate-level courses decided by the student and his/her committee (minimum 6 total credit hours)
  1. Degree requirements for home department
  1. Participation in integrative activities
      • Organized ICON Network and Cooperative (OINC) student organization
      • Symposium on Integrative Conservation (SIC)
      • Integrative Conservation Conference (ICC)
  1. Dissertation incorporating integrative perspective and strategic communication

Apply to the ICON Ph.D. Program

Thank you for your interest in the Integrative Conservation (ICON) Ph.D. Program. Please complete this form to request more information. Below we’ve listed key steps to prepare your application:

  1. Applications to the ICON Ph.D. Program must come through one of the five home departments: Anthropology, Ecology, Forestry and Natural Resources, Geography, or Marine Sciences. ICON applications are due on or by December 1st to be considered for graduate assistantships and to have an admissions interview scheduled with our Graduate Affairs Committee. You should follow the admissions guidelines of the UGA Graduate School, your chosen home department, and that of the ICON Program.

The December 1st deadline is for ICON applicants from all five participating units; even if your home unit has a later deadline, you must submit materials on or by December 1st to be considered for ICON admission.

  1. We depend heavily on a prospective faculty advisor’s willingness and enthusiasm for applicants in the admission process. We strongly encourage you to identify and contact a prospective advisor before applying. This list of faculty most closely affiliated with the ICON Program is good place to start; however, any faculty member from the five participating units can serve as an ICON student advisor.

Please note that we request statements of support from prospective advisors during the application review process.

  1. Student funding models differ from department to department, and from lab to lab. We strongly encourage you to ask prospective advisors about opportunities for assistantships and research support. Information on UGA student fees can be found here.
  1. Please visit the University of Georgia Graduate School website for admissions requirements for domestic and international applicants, and to apply now.

When completing the online Graduate School application, please be sure to select from the following degree options:

    • Integrative Conservation and Arts and Sciences (Ph.D.)
      • with Area of Emphasis in Anthropology
      • with Area of Emphasis in Geography
      • with Area of Emphasis in Marine Sciences
    • Integrative Conservation and Ecology (Ph.D.) with an Area of Emphasis in Ecology
    • Integrative Conservation and Forestry and Natural Resources (Ph.D.) with an Area of Emphasis in Forestry and Natural Resources
  1. Application Fee Waivers: Participation in certain programs may qualify you for an application fee waiver. Please check the Graduate School website for a complete list of participating programs and instructions on how to apply for an application fee waiver.
  1. In addition to departmental application requirements and Graduate School requirements, you must also complete the ICON supplemental essay. Please email your essay to and your preferred faculty advisor on or by December 1st.
  1. For maximal consideration, complete applications should be submitted by December 1st. Admissions interviews will only be scheduled for those applicants with completed applications submitted by December 1st (a complete application includes the ICON supplemental essay) and a faculty member willing to serve as their advisor.

For more information, please contact Dr. Sonia Hernandez, ICON Program Graduate Coordinator (