How to Apply to ERIE

Integrative Graduate Education and Training Traineeship (IGERT)

Applications are not being accepted at this time.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is an IGERT?
2. How are IGERT and ERIE related?
3. What is a Traineeship?
4. How do I apply for an ERIE-IGERT Traineeship?
5. How are ERIE Traineeships awarded?
6. What are the selection criteria for an ERIE-IGERT Traineeship?
7. Which PhD programs at the University at Buffalo can I apply to participate in the ERIE-IGERT Traineeship?
8. I do not want to pursue a PhD.  Can I still participate in the ERIE program?
9. The ERIE-IGERT traineeships provide 2 years of support.  What about the remainder of my doctoral study?
10. I would like to study with a faculty member from Buffalo State College.  How do I do that?
11. How does the Canadian component of the program work?

1. What is an IGERT?
IGERT stands for Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship, and is a program developed by the National Science Foundation(NSF) to improve doctoral education. IGERT expands the traditional discipline-centered approach to education by providing interdisciplinary graduate training for students who pursue careers in the sciences, mathematics, engineering or technology.  There are now over 100 IGERT programs at universities across the United States, with approximately 20 new programs funded each year.  Each IGERT program is unique in its research focus and program components. Students, referred to as IGERT trainees, typically follow a rigorous course of interdisciplinary study that includes professional training, and receive $30,000 a year plus tuition and fees for at least two years.  For general information in IGERT programs, visit http://www.igert.org/.

2. How are IGERT and ERIE related?
Ecosystem Restoration through Interdisciplinary Exchange (ERIE) is an umbrella program at the University at Buffalo that coordinates a variety of academic activities related to ecosystem restoration.  The centerpiece of the ERIE program is an NSF IGERT grant that provides doctoral traineeships to qualified applicants.  However, a scholarship program for masters students is underdevelopment, and non-IGERT students can participate in various ERIE activities including research projects, summer workshops, and symposia. In addition, undergraduates may participate in ERIE as part of the recently NSF-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates in Ecosystem Restoration(ERIE-REU) program.

3. What is a Traineeship?
Traineeship is the term used by the National Science Foundation to describe the form of financial support provided to IGERT doctoral students.  A graduate traineeship is similar to a fellowship in that specific teaching or research duties are not required during the period of traineeship support.  However, a professional training experience is typically required, as defined by the particular program.  Details will vary, but common training elements include professional development workshops, short courses and/or internships.

4. How do I apply for an ERIE-IGERT Traineeship?
Instructions for applying for an ERIE-IGERT traineeship are given in the ERIE Application Document (pdf).  Applicants should follow the standard procedure for applying to one of the eight participating UB PhD programs.  Your personal essay or statement of purpose essay should identify a preliminary ERIE faculty adviser and explicitly address how your career goals are consistent with the objectives of the ERIE program, including a interdisciplinary program of study on a topic directly related to ecosystem restoration.  When you submit the departmental application, forward a copy of your statement of purpose to the ERIE program office at igert-erie at buffalo edu.

5. How are ERIE Traineeships awarded?
ERIE-IGERT Traineeships are awarded through a competitive three-stage process.  First, candidates must be admitted to one of the eight participating doctoral programs.  After admission, the department must nominate the applicant for an ERIE-IGERT Traineeship.  The final stage is a review of the nominated applicants by the ERIE admissions committee, which includes representatives from each of the participating doctoral programs.  Typically the final review process begins on February 1 and proceeds until all of the available slots have been filled for the academic year (usually 5-8 students across all programs) or until there are no additional departmental nominees.  Please note that while departmental admissions deadlines may vary, the ERIE review process begins on February 1.  In particular, applications to the UB Chemistry Department should submit their applications ahead of the customary March deadline.

6. What are the selection criteria for an ERIE-IGERT Traineeship?
The awards of ERIE-IGERT Traineeships are made on a competitive basis according to multiple criteria that include the applicant’s academic record, previous research and/or professional experience, correlation between personal statement and ERIE program objectives, programmatic balance across ERIE departments, and inclusion of underrepresented groups, particularly Native Americans.  The academic record includes previous grade point average (GPA) in a relevant discipline, GRE scores, and personal references.  In general, a strong applicant will have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.4 OR a combined (verbal + quantitative) GRE score exceeding 1270.  Combined GRE scores below 1200 are unlikely to be competitive.  However, decisions are made by considering all of the criteria listed above, and applicants with lower GRE scores but strong interest and experience relevant to the ERIE are encouraged to apply.

7. Which PhD programs at the University at Buffalo can I apply to participate in the ERIE-IGERT Traineeship?

The University at Buffalo PhD programs involved in the ERIE program are: Civil Engineering (Environmental); American Studies (Policy Studies, Native Americans); Biology; Chemistry; Ecology, Evolution and Behavior; Geography; Geology; and Philosophy.

8. I do not want to pursue a PhD.  Can I still participate in the ERIE program?
All of the participating departments offer undergraduate and masters program consistent with the ERIE program objectives, and non-IGERT students can participate in ERIE program activities such as academic courses, summer workshops, and topical seminars.  At the time of this writing, academic-year financial support for undergraduate and masters study are limited to non-ERIE departmental programs.  However, fundraising has begun that will eventually provide partial scholarships to non-doctoral participants in the ERIE program.

9. The ERIE-IGERT traineeships provide two years of support.  What about the remainder of my doctoral study?
In general, the home department or graduate program will provide financial support for ERIE doctoral students in the non-traineeship years.  Details particular to each student’s situation will be contained in formal offer letters from the department and the ERIE program.  In most, but not all cases, students will be offered a four-year package that includes two years of support as an IGERT Trainee.  The form of subsequent financial support varies, including Teaching Assistantship (TA) and Research Assistantship (RA) appointments.  The duration, stipend, and requirements will vary by department.  In all cases, applicants are encouraged to coordinate with their ERIE faculty mentor to develop a clear understanding of the financial package and requirements.

10. I would like to study with a faculty member from Buffalo State College.  How do I do that?
Buffalo State College (BSC) participates in the ERIE program but does not offer doctoral degrees.  Therefore, all IGERT Trainees must receive a PhD from the one of the eight participating UB programs and be advised by a UB faculty mentor.  However, a BSC faculty member who is an ERIE participant (please see the faculty list at http://www.erie.buffalo.edu/peopleFaculty.php) and holds an appropriate UB adjunct appointment may serve as co-adviser or member of the doctoral committee.  While specific arrangements are worked out on a case-by-case basis, the following scenarios illustrate possible UB-BSC collaborations:

  • Applicants with BS degrees may wish to first apply to a Masters program in the department associated with a BSC participating faculty member.  During the review process for admission to BSC, the student’s proposed BSC faculty adviser would nominate the student for provisional award of an ERIE-IGERT Traineeship. During the MS program the student would typically receive financial support as a Teaching Assistant (TA) or Research Assistant (RA) subject to the availability of BSC funds. As the student approaches successful completion of a BSC Masters program, the student would then formally apply to one of the participating ERIE doctoral programs.  Award of an ERIE doctoral Traineeship is not guaranteed under this scenario, but would be expected if the applicant successfully completes the Masters program of study and receives the endorsement of his/her BSC faculty advisor.  Note that as of this writing, ERIE-IGERT Traineeships are expected to be available until and including the 2012-2013 academic year.
  • Applicants with an MS degree would apply directly to one of the UB ERIE programs and identify both a UB and BSC faculty mentors, who would collectively develop a plan for financial support for the period of study outside of the Traineeship period.  Although ERIE-IGERT Traineeships are normally awarded for the first two years of doctoral study, other arrangements are possible, such as first year RA support from a BSC faculty member, or extended ERIE Traineeship support beyond the standard 2-year period.  Arrangements of this nature are worked out on a case-by-case basis; please contact the ERIE program, office with specific questions.

11. How does the Canadian component of the program work?
The ERIE-IGERT program was awarded additional NSF resources to support activity at Canadian institutions.  Each ERIE Trainee is required to participate in at least one short course or workshop at a Canadian institution, with details arranged each year by the ERIE administration.  In addition, Trainees may apply for financial support to conduct research on an ERIE theme at a partner Canadian institution.  Subject to ERIE program approval and availability of funds, travel and living allowances are provided for extended visits of up to 6 months in duration.  These visits can occur during or subsequent to the ERIE Traineeship period.  Contact the ERIE program administrator for additional details.

update 12/08