PhD Students in Conservation Macroecology


Two PhD students are sought to study the influences of habitat connectivity, landscape phenology, climate, transportation infrastructure, or land-cover transitions on North American bird populations and communities.  Possible directions of research include but are not limited to interaction or cumulative effects of these ecological conditions and human dimensions (e.g., social, economic, cultural, or demographic factors).  Students will have considerable latitude and assistance with developing the direction of their work.  National and regional databases will be available for analysis and will enable unique perspectives and new syntheses regarding the macroecological drivers of avian population and community dynamics.  The overarching goals of this work are to improve understanding of the broad-scale ecological and human factors that drive short- and long-term flux in bird populations and communities, and to use this knowledge to inform avian conservation policy, planning, and implementation.  The positions will start in the fall of 2018 in the Department of Biology at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.  Baylor is ranked as a Higher Research Activity institution in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.  The Biology PhD Program is housed in spacious modern facilities, and faculty mentors work closely with each of their doctoral students.  Coupled with the low cost of living in Waco and significant financial support, these positions offer outstanding opportunities for those pursuing a career in ecological research and its application in conservation.


Applicants must have a Master of Science degree in a relevant field.  Training and experience with GIS and statistical methods, through prior coursework or research activities, are essential.  Students should have a strong interest in developing additional expertise in GIS and quantitative methods.  Preference will be given to those who have published quantitative ecological research, who have presented research at scientific meetings, and who have experience working with large databases.  Competitive applicants will have undergraduate and graduate GPAs of 3.5 or higher, verbal and quantitative GRE scores at or above the 70th percentile, and a GRE analytical writing score of 5.0 or greater.  Students with some but not all of these credentials will be considered and are encouraged to submit an application.


For up to 5 years, and depending on qualifications, each position will include teaching-assistantship funding ($24,000-$32,000/12 months), tuition remission (up to 20 credits/12 months), health insurance benefits (80% of cost of premium covered), and funding for travel to professional meetings.  Support for a research assistantship may replace some of the teaching assistantship funding during the course of the student’s program.

Application Instructions

To apply, create a single pdf that includes: a letter of interest that describes your career goals and that specifically addresses the position requirements; a resume; unofficial undergraduate and graduate transcripts; unofficial general GRE scores (no more than 5 years old by early February 2018) including percentile information; and a list of three references and their institution, email address, and phone number.  Before submitting an application, carefully consider the requirements for a PhD degree by examining the Department of Biology Graduate Student Handbook (  Email your pdf to Professor Kevin Gutzwiller (, and contact him with questions about the positions.  The deadline for applications is 1 December 2017.

Review Process

After a review of applications, Professor Gutzwiller will invite the most qualified applicants to apply formally to the Ph.D. Program in Biology.  An all-expenses-paid campus visit will be offered to the applicants in the departmental pool that are the most qualified.  Final decisions about admission and an offer of an assistantship will be made by the Baylor Graduate School and the Biology Graduate Committee.