The Program for Studies in Tropical Conservation is organized for participants who already have substantial experience, and in many cases responsibility, in the broad area of conservation and resource management in their own countries. They must meet the University of Florida's entrance requirements and may pursue a Masters, a Ph.D. or a non-degree program in a variety of departments.
Students draw on the strengths of the University of Florida to set up their program of study including:
- Expertise in tropical ecology, human dimensions of biological conservation, and development issues;
- A diversity of academic departments with faculty research in the tropics including Wildlife, Forestry, Zoology, Botany, Geography, and Anthropology;
- Centers for Latin American and African Studies;
- The Florida Museum of Natural History with a strong commitment to Latin American biology and conservation;
- An interdisciplinary Tropical Conservation and Development (TCD) curriculum with a variety of related courses in economics, political science, planning, geography, and other disciplines.
Through a variety of mechanisms, PSTC affiliated students also take advantage of non-campus-based educational opportunities. These include: (1) field courses at the Ordway Preserve in Melrose, Florida, the Fairchild Botanical Garden in Miami, Florida, and the Smithsonian's Conservation and Research Center in Front Royal, Virginia; (2) coordinated research expeditions to gather data, such as was conducted by a team of PSTC students working in the Programme for Belize's conservation site in Belize; (3) individual research trips to the field sites of other PSTC students; and (4) internships with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), museums, and governmental agencies. The PSTC has strong ties with many international conservation organizations and works actively to place interested students in these organizations both as interns, and later, as employees.
The PSTC is a cross-campus program and does not grant degrees. Rather, students enroll in degree-granting units on the University of Florida campus.
Application material for the University of Florida can be obtained by writing to the graduate secretary of the appropriate department. Application inquiries to the Graduate Secretary of the department of interest, at the University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA:
Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation - P.O. Box 110430
Tropical Conservation and Development Program (LAS) - P.O. Box 115531
Department of Botany - P.O. Box 118526
School of Forest Research and Conservation - P.O. Box 110410
Department of Zoology - P.O. Box 118525
Center for Latin American Studies - P.O. Box 115530
Center for African Studies - P.O. Box 115560
Note that candidates who wish to enroll in Maters or Ph.D. programs at the University of Florida must possess a B.A., or B.S. or equivalent, and they must take the GRE (Graduate Record Examination). Most departments require a combined score of at least 1100 on the verbal and quantitative sections of the exam. All candidates for whom English in not the first language must have a score of at least 550 (2/3 computer test) on the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). The GRE and TOEFL are periodically conducted at a cultural-exchange institutions in most countries. Application information and locations can usually be obtained at U.S. embassies.