Thanks for investigating opportunities in the Gibbs Land Use and Environment (GLUE) Lab at UW-Madison! Below you will find some information for students interested in working with my research group, based either in the Department of Geography or at Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), a research center of the Nelson Institute. I also frequently have positions for post-doctoral positions as well as research interns with B.S. or M.S. degrees so please inquire if interested. I will accept 2-3 graduate students in Spring or Fall 2017 (U.S. and Brazil / Latin America focus). One position will focus on assessing outcomes from private sector and public policies aiming to reduce deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon and Cerrado biomes (e.g., Soy Moratorium and Zero-Deforestation Cattle Agreements). We will also begin exploring Argentina, Peru, and Paraguay.  For the Brazil project, students should be fluent in Portuguese or willing to quickly gain fluency (or Spanish if interested in other Latin American countries). The other position will focus on land use and carbon emissions in the United States. The student will lead and support projects quantifying the impacts and drivers of agricultural land-use change in the U.S. as well as globally, specifically investigating shifts to carbon stocks and sequestration resulting from recent and potential future changes to the landscape. Most research in GLUE focuses on applied, interdisciplinary questions around global and regional land-use change, carbon emissions, and pathways to sustainable agriculture, particularly in the tropics. Research methods will include GIS, spatial and statistical modeling, case studies and in-country stakeholder interviews. This type of research connects with multiple disciplines and degree programs, and I provide information below to help you choose the degree program that best fits your interests and career goals. I will advise students in the Department of Geography and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. Offices will be based in Science Hall and in SAGE, which both provide vibrant intellectual and social communities. Please see my homepage for more information about specific projects and research questions.

Applying to UW-Madison
Potential students should select the graduate degree program best suited to their interests and career goals. Most students in my lab will be enrolled in the Nelson Institute’s Environment & Resources or the Department of Geography’s People and Environment Program. Both programs are intended for students wanting a deeply interdisciplinary and rigorous academic experience. For an overview of these programs or for detailed information on degree requirements and application procedures, please consult program web pages (geography.wisc.edu or http://www.nelson.wisc.edu/) and communicate directly with administrative staff (for Geography please contact the graduate coordinator, Sharon Kahn at smkahn@geography.wisc.edu, and for the Nelson Institute, Jim Miller jemiller@wisc.edu).

In addition to degree programs, the UW-Madison offers a range of optional graduate certificate programs allowing students to develop proficiency in specific areas and earn a credential to reflect this focus area. Two certificate programs overlap closely with the work of my group: Energy Analysis and Policy (EAP), and the Certificate on Humans and the Global Environment (CHANGE). Certificate programs are optional, but the interdisciplinary nature of our research lends itself well to the certificate program foci. Note that the CHANGE Certificate has its own Graduate Fellowships, which requires a separate application due in early January.

Support for students in my lab will typically come from Research Assistantships (RAs), where you contribute to a specific research project, and Teaching Assistantships (TAs) where you help professors teach courses. Both RAs and TAs receive a stipend, personal health insurance and tuition remission. I also encourage all my prospective and current students to apply for their own funding through external fellowships especially the NSF Graduate Fellowship and the NSDEG Graduate Fellowship, which you can apply for while working on your UW application. Students in my lab would also be competitive for the DOE Global Change Environmental Program and NASA Earth System Science Program among others.

Once you have decided which program(s) to apply, you should fill out the on-line graduate school application. 
You can apply to up to three graduate programs (for the one application fee).  As part of this process, contact your references and send them the information to send in their recommendations; have your official transcripts and test scores sent to UW-Madison; and, If applying for a fellowship, submit the respective application(s). Some on-campus fellowships also require you to submit a separate application (i.e. CHANGE Fellowship.) 

When you apply, note in your application the names of the professor(s) with whom you are interested in working — be sure to read faculty biographies to make sure your interests match those of your potential advisor. In particular, applicants for the E&R PhD are required to designate an advisor when they apply.

I will definitely see any application that explicitly mentions me as a potential advisor, and you can make sure I don’t miss your application by sending me a separate email with the following information: 1) a brief statement of your research and career goals, and your basic reasons for pursuing a graduate degree; 2) your resume or CV.; 3.) names and institutions of 3 people you will ask for letters of recommendation. I encourage you to email me before submitting your application if you feel that your interests are a good fit with my group.

Good luck with the application process!


Holly Gibbs
Assistant Professor
Department of Geography / Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Email: hkgibbs@wisc.edu