What exactly does it take to obtain a masters degree in Ecology, what should I expect and how long does it take to gain a masters in Ecology?
Updated Wingate, North Carolina
I'm interested in Ecology, i'm aware that i'd have to go to graduate school but exactly how long. I would like to get a persons perspective that's actually been through the process. #biology #ecologist #science #ecology #career #college
Updated Boston, Massachusetts
I looked at graduate programs in the U.S. and abroad in wildlife ecology. The process in the U.S. involves reaching out to individual professors whose work interests you and trying to set up phone calls, Skype calls or email exchanges to demonstrate your interest in their work and talk about potential study topics. The process takes quite a bit of effort, but on the plus side, you should have a good sense about whether you will be accepted to a school or not before you apply. If you are hoping to get a masters degree, they generally take 2 years after a bachelors and that time is mixed between taking classes, conducting original research, and teaching courses. I ended up choosing to do a masters abroad for a few reasons. The application process was more similar to applying to an undergraduate program and I was able to complete my masters in 1 calendar year instead of 2. All of that being said, for a lot of ecology jobs, it is more often more important to have professional or volunteer experience more so than academic experience. There are definitely jobs that require a masters or PhD but it is often possible to get into these jobs through experience instead so make sure to consider what is best for you.
Hi Marica, Between the comments and answers already you can see it's a little varied. I'm actually currently in my Masters in Ecology. What to expect when you start really depends on what kind of lab you are in. Many labs have field seasons in which you collect most of you data, and then the other part of the year is for analyzing and writing. Other labs (like the one I'm studying in) collect, analyze, and write year round. These differences are often due to study system, and what your funding situation is. The length of a Masters also varies a lot. Different institutions and professors will say different times. Many American ones seem to be 2 years, while Canadian seem to be 2.5 years. Time would also vary depending on study system, one's diligence, and whether experiments actually go to plan. Hopefully this helps
Updated Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
You should also be sure you have all the required courses for the graduate program you're interested in. If you have to make up undergraduate courses then you could add extra semesters and take longer to get the degree. Most MA/MS programs in the sciences are 2 years. Some require writing a thesis and some do not. Some graduate programs will PAY YOU to go to school is you teach some undergraduate laboratories. This is a good option so you don't incur more debt as a grad student. Research programs online, find a professor who is doing work that interests you and then contact that professor. Sometimes professors have grant money and can pay you to be a research assistant. START GOOGLING!