Ecology, Doctor of Philosophy (Joint Doctorate with SDSU) College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences

Walt Oechel, Ph.D., Chairperson of the JDPE Program

Graduate Study

The JDPE is a doctoral degree that is run jointly by the Ecology Program at San Diego State University and the Ecology Graduate Group at UC Davis. The joint nature of the doctoral program offers two primary advantages. First, students benefit from contact and expertise in and outside of the classroom with faculty members of two strong ecology programs. Second, across the two campuses, students have the opportunity to access facilities and field sites in nearly all the major biomes of California. JDPE students spend their first year at San Diego State University with their advisor to begin the preparation of a thesis proposal. The student then moves to UC Davis for additional course work and for the Qualifying Examination. On return to San Diego State University, the thesis research is completed, and the dissertation is prepared and defended. The Ph.D. degree is awarded jointly by San Diego State University and UC Davis.


Appropriate preparation is undergraduate work in any of the biological, social or behavioral, and physical sciences, mathematics or engineering. Applicants will normally be expected to have completed the following courses during the undergraduate years or shortly after matriculating: one course each in introductory biology, general chemistry, physical science, calculus, statistics; and an upper division introduction to ecology course and an upper division introduction to evolution class. Students that choose the environmental policy and human ecology area of emphasis may also substitute one quantitative course in social science such as micro- or macro-economics for one chemistry or physics requirement.