Program type:


On Campus
Est. time to complete:

4-5 years
Credit Hours:

72 (with Bachelor's) or 42 (with Master's)
Discover how humans and the ecosystems they live in interact and find new ways for us to coexist with life on earth in this interdisciplinary program from UNT.
Human ecology is the interdisciplinary study of human-environment interactions. Students will combine perspectives from anthropology, geography, and biology to understand how place and culture define a population's relationship with nature. The Human Ecology concentration helps Ph.D. candidates explore the relationships between humans and the different environments they inhabit, including natural and human-created environments. Students will create research to uncover solutions to the environmental impacts of humans and how to build better relationships with the natural world.

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Why Earn a Human Ecology Environmental Science Ph.D.?

The environmental science program is an interdisciplinary collaboration among the Department of Biological Sciences, the Department of Geography, the Department of Chemistry, the Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies and other departments at UNT to examine major environmental issues through an interdisciplinary perspective.

The program offers graduate studies in environmental science that lead to the PhD, granted through the Department of Biological Sciences. The course of study, involving both core and elective courses, is designed for those students who desire an interdisciplinary perspective concerning human-environmental interactions.

Marketable Skills
  • Communication to professional/lay audiences
  • Design field-based research protocols
  • Proficiency in environmental ethics
  • Recognition of national/international issues
  • Lead/direct research programs/projects

Human Ecology Environmental Science Ph.D. Highlights

The rigorous curriculum has helped students receive prestigious appointments and awards from organizations including the Entomological Society of America.
The department’s facilities for research and graduate training occur in the Life Sciences Complex; Science Research Building; and the Environmental Education, Science and Technology Building.
The Life Sciences Complex, which has Gold-level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification for sustainability, includes an aquatics laboratory and four climate-controlled rooftop research greenhouses.
Qualified students are supported through competitive teaching assistantships or research assistantships funded by research grants to faculty members. Nine-month stipends and tuition scholarships are available for entering master’s and doctoral students.
Our faculty members include internationally renowned researchers who have earned recognition from the National Science Foundation, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Society for Microbiology, among others.

Human Ecology Environmental Science Ph.D. Courses You Could Take

Environmental Anthropology (3 hrs)
Emphasis on theory, major environmental questions, problems, issues, and possible solutions illustrated by case studies from different parts of the world. Examination of environmental issues pertaining to land/sea and natural resources, food production systems, deforestation, population problems, poverty and environmental justice, natural hazards and risks, resource conflicts and warfare, over-fishing, economic development, globalization and transnationalism, mineral and oil extraction, landscapes, biodiversity conservation, the commons, ecofeminism, and valuation of nature.
Environmental Impact Assessment (3 hrs)
Principles and practices of preparing environmental impact assessments and statements. Addresses how to understand the effects that projects, plans and policies have on the environment and the impact those effects have on specific resources, ecosystems and human communities.
Foundations of Geographic Thought (3 hrs)
Explores epistemological developments in the discipline of geography, including the origins, development and diffusion of predominant ideas that form the foundation of geography.
Environmental Ethics (3 hrs)
Examines the philosophical origins of environmental philosophy and the basic positions in the field of environmental ethics. Key authors in environmental philosophy are surveyed, as well as topical considerations with an emphasis on theories of environmental value, legal and moral rights for nature, animal liberation, and Western philosophical and religious traditions.
Seminar in the Philosophy of Ecology (3 hrs)
Traces the evolution of ecology from its roots in 19th-century natural history to the present with an emphasis on the prominent paradigms and conceptual trends, such as organicism, community ecology, ecosystem ecology, disturbance and flux.
Ethnographic and Qualitative Methods (3 hrs)
Focuses on ethnographic and qualitative methods and the development of the skills necessary for the practice of anthropology. Special emphasis is given to qualitative techniques of data collection and analysis, grant writing, the use of computers to analyze qualitative data and ethical problems in conducting qualitative research.

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