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Systems Ecology Graduate Program

Systems Ecology (SE) is the most recent addition to University of Montana’s graduate programs (Board of Regents’ approved 9/22/2011). The SE program focuses on the interdisciplinary approach to the study of ecological systems that recognizes spatial and temporal boundaries, defines internal elements of physical, chemical and biological character, and resolves the ecological behavior resulting from their interactions. Systems Ecology seeks understanding of interrelated parts and processes of ecological systems and facilitates synthesis and broad ecological understanding at very large spatial and/or temporal scales. SE recognizes that critical ecological goods and services are accomplished by large, landscape-scale systems that have important natural and cultural values (e.g., cleansing of water, recycling of nutrients, production of food and fiber, mitigation of pollution and wastes). Systems Ecology is conceptually unique in its approach to ecological science at large landscape and regional scales that includes human mediated transformations. Thus, SE recognizes that natural and social systems are strongly coupled, complex, and continuously evolving and that humans play a strongly interactive role coupling these environmental and cultural systems.

This new program is intercollegiate and offers both master’s and doctoral degrees through either the College of Arts and Sciences or the College of Forestry and Conservation. Graduate applications will be administered by the Division of Biological Sciences. Many UM colleges and departments will collaborate on the program, as will the Ecology and Environmental Sciences graduate program at Montana State University.

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