Dept. Code: ECSD

Through the Graduate School, The Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy offers an interdisciplinary course of study leading to a Ph.D. Details regarding areas of specialization can be found at the Abess Center website. In most cases, doctoral students are supported by research assistantships which include tuition remission and a monthly stipend. All students are also required to serve satisfactorily for one term as teaching assistants in the Abess Center undergraduate program.


Students admitted to the program must have earned a bachelor's or master's degree and should display a strong interest in the interdisciplinary study of ecosystem science and policy.

Curriculum Requirements

Core Courses
ECS 601Interdisciplinary Environmental Theory3
ECS 603Interdisciplinary Environmental Methods3
ECS 605Interdisciplinary Enviromental Law & Policy3
ECS 607Interdisciplinary Environmental Decision Analysis3
ECS 840Doctoral Dissertation12
Proposed Additional Courses 118
Additional Courses to get to 60 Credits18
Examinations 2
Dissertation 3
Total Credit Hours60

By the end of their second semester, students must submit a proposed group of additional courses, totaling at least 18 hours, related to their research interest and intended dissertation research area. This group of courses requires approval of both the student's advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies.


 All Ph.D. students will be given comprehensive examinations following the conclusion of the core series of courses. A majority of the examination committee must be members of the graduate faculty of the University. In the event of failing to pass an examination, students are required to retake and pass the examination within one calendar year. By the end of their second year, students must present and defend a research proposal. Following successful completion of the comprehensive examination and research proposal defense, the student may apply to candidacy for the degree. Any student who fails to be admitted to candidacy for the degree within this two-year period can be dismissed from the program.


By the beginning of the second year, students should form a four-member dissertation committee; by the end of the second, write and defend a research proposal. Students may proceed with the dissertation after the dissertation committee has been appointed and the Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate School have accepted the dissertation proposal. The dissertation must be an investigation of a substantial scholarly topic and bridge both scientific and policy aspects of the topic area. A final oral defense of the dissertation is required.


 To attain the Ph.D., students must take a minimum of 60 credits, of which at least 24 must be for coursework taken while in residence at the University of Miami. (Students entering the program with a master's degree in a related field may be given credit for up to 24 course credits.) Students must accrue at least 12 credits worth of dissertation research.