Jeffrey Bury

Letter to Prospective Graduate Students


Dear prospective graduate student:

Thank you for your interest in my research and the Ph.D. program in Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. My research is directed towards broad questions of environment and development, nature-society interactions and environmental and social change. Most recently, I have been focusing on environmental transformations, conservation and social and economic change in the Andes, with a particular focus on Peru. I am currently engaged in research efforts on three central projects, please see my current research projects for a summary review and my list of publications for more detailed discussions.

Pursuing a Ph.D. is a very challenging and rewarding experience and I am interested in supervising students who are prepared to engage in research, writing and teaching at this level. I expect students I supervise to be quite independent, motivated to obtain external funding and willing to devote significant energies to accomplish their goals. I currently supervise three Ph.D. students and serve as an advisor for a number of other graduate students. I consider working with graduate students a serious commitment on my part and I expect the same from my advisees.

The graduate program in Environmental Studies at UC Santa Cruz is interdisciplinary. In order to be admitted to the program students should have completed courses in ecology, economics, policy, and statistics. Graduate coursework covers the areas of political economy, conservation biology, agroecology, and environmental policy and institutions. As we only have a Ph.D. program, I expect students to have a strong background in at least some of these fields and research and language abilities pertinent to the type of research they plan on accomplishing. Our program offers excellent preparation for students across our fields of interest and we interact extensively through seminars, teaching, labs, independent studies and advising.

I am currently interested in working with students who want to work on themes that are very tightly linked to my ongoing research projects. I expect students to have well-developed research agendas and a clear set of goals and career objectives before they are admitted to our program. I am very committed to training students from Latin America and give high priority to qualified students working in areas that are related to my research interests. Because of the fee structure of the University of California it is difficult for us to accept doctoral students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents without some of their own financial support, so please take this into consideration.

If you are interested in studying in the Department of Environmental Studies under my supervision please send me a letter or email with the following information: (1) a description of your academic and work background, with particular reference to your past research experience, academic and professional training and language fluency if necessary; (2) what types of research questions (the more detail the better) you plan to address in graduate school; (3) why you want to do a Ph.D. and your ultimate career goals; (4) why you are interested in the Environmental Studies Program at UCSC and working with me in particular; and (5) a current CV or resume and other relevant data. This information is helpful to me in determining whether I would be an appropriate advisor for you. Generally, it is helpful both to me and serious prospective students if they visit before applying to the program, but this is not required.

Hopefully this helps answer some of your questions, please feel free to correspond with me by email, phone or fax about our program, my research and your interests in studying in our program.