Ph.D. opportunities in Environmental Studies at UC Santa Cruz

Dr. Kai Zhu is recruiting 1-2 Ph.D. students starting in Fall 2018 in the Department of Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

The Zhu Lab works on a broad range of questions in global ecology and quantitative environmental sciences, at the intersection of climate change, biodiversity, and ecosystem processes. Current research projects include large-scale responses to climate change in forests, long-term global change impacts on grasslands, land surface phenology from remote sensing, and soil fungi and trees in changing environments. More information is available at

Students are encouraged to develop their own projects, which is an important part of their development as independent and creative researchers. Dr. Zhu expects students to have previous research experience and some math/statistics and programming skills. However, in the Zhu Lab students will learn new methods and tools by working on projects, so the most important quality is the willingness to learn new skills.

The Ph.D. program in Environmental Studies is explicitly interdisciplinary, with expectations to engage in both natural and social sciences coursework and research. The department guarantees five years of stipend and fee support for graduate students. UC Santa Cruz ranks third worldwide for research influence ( and is located on the Monterey Bay, a national marine sanctuary, with numerous year-round opportunities for outdoor recreation (sailing, surfing, mountain bike riding, hiking, etc.). For information about program requirements, funding, and admissions, please consult the graduate program coordinator Lisa Birney (831-459-4136 or lmbirney at ucsc dot edu), the department website (, and the Graduate School website (

Interested students should contact Dr. Kai Zhu (kai dot zhu at ucsc dot edu) before the admission deadline on December 15, 2017 with the following information: (1) research experience, ideas, and questions; (2) motivations to pursue a Ph.D. and ultimate career goals; (3) interests in the Environmental Studies Department at UCSC; and (4) current CV, academic transcript, GRE score, and TOEFL score (if English is not the first language).