The primary educational goal of the Earth's Subsurface Biosphere (ESB) IGERT is to introduce students to the interdisciplinary perspectives and approaches needed to create new knowledge of the Earth's subsurface biosphere.

As a complement to existing disciplinary degree programs, this graduate program will provide an educational background that is broad in discipline and encourages integrative thinking over a range of physical scales.

This breadth will be achieved with interdisciplinary classroom and student team experiences, field programs and internships in national and foreign laboratories that investigate aspects of the subsurface biosphere ranging from molecular mechanisms to global cycles. The program is designed to encompass and integrate diversity at biological, scientific and social levels:

  • Diversity of discipline is ensured by participation of engineers, physical, and biological scientists. (See The Faculty)
  • Diversity of geography follows from the range of study sites, the direct involvement of two universities, and the participation of national laboratories, foreign universities, and industries. (See Internships)
  • Diversity of scale comes from projects that investigate molecular and cellular processes and how they relate to global cycles.
  • Social diversity is evident in the commitment for inclusion of individuals from many groups, especially those underrepresented, in this training program.

Our intent is to support ESB IGERT students while they are completing the majority of their course work and then support them on research grants of participating faculty. Up to two years of support from the IGERT program is available for this (the two years of support does not have to be used in the first two years of the student's program).

A New Student Orientation, for all incoming students, is held every year in the third week of September. IGERT Faculty, new student's advisors and returning students come together for this two day orientation at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest.

IGERT Orienation 2006

IGERT Orientation 2005


IGERT Orientation 2004

Nine students were admitted into the program the first year, eight students in the second year, seven in the third year and five in the fourth and fifth years.

Students entering with bachelor degrees will be scheduled to complete their Ph.D. in five years and those with master's degrees in three years.

Curriculum overview for IGERT Students

Complete the minimum departmental requirements: 36 or more thesis credits, 36 coursework credits, including 18 or more major discipline credits and 15 integrated minor (IGERT) credits.

Every Year:

3 terms Subsurface Biosphere Seminar (first 2 years)

Fall First Year:

Principles in Subsurface Biosphere Processes

Winter First Year:

Global Biogeochemistry

Fall, Winter and Spring Term Second Year:

Micro scale course - like - Microbial Diversity, Microbiology Course
Ethics Course - anytime
Scientific skills course - lab courses, various options available (completed in first 2 yrs.)

Other requirements:

Internship - complete an internship at a national lab, international university or field site by end of Ph.D. program.
In winter term each year, one page of student activities to OSU IGERT Office
Keep portfolio of activities, including a one page summary of your activities - presentations, abstracts and venues.
Submit a paragraph about yourself for the IGERT web site in first year and update yearly
Form graduate committee by end of the third term.
Choose a co-advisor, in the first term, from another discipline that supports the interdisciplinary nature of the IGERT program.

The co-advisor must be from a different field, whose knowledge is related to the subject matter of the student's thesis and a member of the student's committee

The co-advisor assures that the program and project are interdisciplinary

The co-advisor assures that student's training/formal coursework meets the requirements of the IGERT program

Meet at least once per term with advisor and co-advisor to discuss progress.

Click on this link for more information about curriculum .