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Apply to the IGC IGEP

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Global Change Center logo

Join a highly motivated community of Ph.D. students that aspire to change the world.

Our competitive application process requires that students first enroll at Virginia Tech and attend information sessions to ensure that the program aligns with the student’s professional goals. 

After acceptance, students embark on a journey of learning and professional growth with a diverse campus-wide community of peers.


The IGC IGEP application deadline is on Friday, November 17, 2023.

More details on eligibility and how to apply here:


A key strength of the Interfaces of Global Change IGEP is having a membership that is committed to maintaining a vibrant community that integrates across campus. Applicants to the IGC IGEP are expected to have a thorough understanding of the program before they apply. Hence, applications will only be accepted from actively enrolled Ph.D. students who have carefully examined the benefits and commitments of IGC membership. Applicants should actively assess whether the IGC IGEP will be beneficial for their career plans and whether they can meet the expectations of the program. Our interdisciplinary curriculum requires that each IGC Fellow take at least 8 hrs of core coursework and complete a collaborative, student-led capstone project. Program and curriculum requirements are detailed on the IGC Courses & Requirements page.

Numerous opportunities, described below, are provided to help candidates assess their fit for the program. Applicants must be in good standing with one of our GCC faculty members or with another Virginia Tech faculty mentor conducting global-change related scholarship.

Prior to applying to the IGC IGEP, prospective students are required to attend (at a minimum):

A Q&A session with the GCC Director and a group of faculty involved with the IGC IGEP (held late September)
A Q&A session with a group of IGC IGEP PhD fellows (held late October/early November)
A meeting with their mentor and appropriate prospective graduate committee members (e.g., GCC faculty affiliates) to discuss the suitability of the IGC IGEP for the students’ professional goals and plan of study.

**Interested students should send an email to GCC/IGC Coordinator to be included in email communications about the Q&A sessions.

The IGC IGEP application deadline to start Spring 2024 is on November 17, 2023.

Applications will be evaluated by a committee of faculty using an admissions rubric that evaluates the pertinence of the student’s research to global change, the interdisciplinary nature of the work, and clear evidence that the student’s professional aspirations will benefit from the IGC IGEP’s focus on science communication and the science-policy interface. Applicants should explain how their pre-application interactions with IGC students and faculty helped confirm that the IGC IGEP will serve their professional goals.

Please pay close attention to the application requirements described below. Incorrectly formatted or incomplete applications will not be considered by the admissions committee.

Each applicant must have a clearly articulated funding plan (at least 3 years of financial support planned, which cannot include the IGC fellowship). If the funding plan includes any departmental support (e.g., GTA), the letter must include a signature from the home department’s authorized representative (department head or graduate program coordinator).

Applicants should submit the following materials in PDF format, addressed to the IGC Admissions Review Committee, to Bri Wills, IGC Program Coordinator (

  1. A CV that includes your undergraduate GPA, graduate GPA (if available), GRE and/or TOEFL score (optional), and contact information (Institution, email, and phone number) for three references.
  2. A signed letter of application (2-page max) that addresses these topics:
    • Professional Benefits: How will the Interfaces of Global Change IGEP benefit your career plans? Specifically address how training in (a) interdisciplinary research, (b) the interaction between science and policy and (c) science communication relate to your career plans.
    • Fit: How did your pre-application interactions with IGC IGEP students and faculty inform your decision to apply?
    • Commitment: How will you handle the challenges of balancing IGC commitments with your other commitments?
    • Abbreviated Research Statement (max length = 1 pg. of the 2 pg. letter): What kind of interdisciplinary research will you be conducting that relates to global change, and with what faculty member(s) will you be working?
    • The signed letter must also include the following statement at the end:  “I have read the expectations and curricular requirements on the IGC IGEP website, and after consultation with my advisor and graduate committee I assert that I will meet these programmatic expectations”.
  3. A brief letter of support (not exceeding one page), sent directly to the IGC Program Coordinator, from the PhD mentor(s) explaining:
    • Why is the student a good fit for the IGC IGEP and how will the applicant’s training benefit from the IGC IGEP? What evidence have you seen that the student is committed to active participation in the IGC IGEP?
    • Specifically address the interdisciplinary nature of the student’s research, and how training in both the interaction between science and policy and science communication relate to their work and their career plans.
    • An explicit funding plan that describes how stipend, tuition, and research expenses will be covered over the course of the applicant’s tenure at Virginia Tech (at least 3 years of financial support planned, which cannot include the IGC fellowship).  --->  IMPORTANT NOTE: If Departmental support is part of the funding plan (e.g., a GTA), the letter must include a signature from the home department’s authorized representative (department head or graduate program coordinator).

For more information about this program, please contact Dr. Bill Hopkins, Director of the Interfaces of Global Change program, the GCC Program Coordinator, or another GCC faculty member. Information about graduate funding opportunities is detailed on the Graduate Funding Opportunities page.