Graduate Catalog
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
Interfaces of Global Change
Interdisciplinary Academic Programs
This building houses the Fralin Biotechnology Center, which is an interdisciplinary research center at Virginia Tech whose purpose is to bring scientists from different disciplines together under one roof to solve some of biology more complex challenges.
245-1 Steger Hall (0447) Virginia Tech Blacksburg VA 24061
Fralin Biotechnology Center
Degree(s) Offered:
IGEP Degree in Interfaces of Global Change
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Offered In:
Web Resource(s):
Phone Number(s):
Application Deadlines:
Fall: Dec 01
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Graduate Program Director : William Hopkins (Dr. William Hopkins)

Interfaces of Global Change Introduction

The Interfaces of Global Change (IGC) program is an innovative interdisciplinary graduate education program designed to address the multidimensional aspects of global change.  Funded by the Virginia Tech Graduate School, this program is one of several Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Programs (IGEPs).  These programs address a variety of complex societal issues requiring interdisciplinary teams of scholars. Participants (Ph.D. Fellows) typically enter the program at the beginning of their graduate studies and continue to participate throughout their time at Virginia Tech.

The Interfaces of Global Change program is closely aligned with the Global Change Center, which focuses on the social, economic, and environmental causes and consequences of global change.

The goals of the IGC IGEP are to provide each PhD Fellow with a broad perspective on:
  • The social, economic, and environmental causes and consequences of global change.
  • The roles that science and scientists play informing public understanding, engaging with other stakeholders, designing sound environmental policy, and effective communication of science to diverse audiences.
  • The purpose and practice of collaborative, team-based, interdisciplinary research.
  • Professional development tools leading to career success.

Ph.D. Fellows in the IGC IGEP will be part of a campus-wide network and community of scholars studying diverse facets of global change.  During their tenure at Virginia Tech, they will have unique access to visiting scholars, workshops, and other professional development opportunities.  After graduating, they will become part of our community of diverse alumni solving global challenges around the globe.

Ph.D. Fellows enrolled in the IGC IGEP will receive training in the following four areas by integrating the training they receive in their home departments with the additional resources and opportunities provided by the IGC IGEP.

  • Global change: The IGC emphasizes the social, economic, and environmental causes and consequences of global change.  Students acquire understanding of these broad topics through a variety of mechanisms including: their dissertation research and supporting degree-related course work; the 3-credit “IGC breadth elective” required outside a student’s disciplinary home; the annual IGC graduate student symposium; disciplinary and problem-based flash talks occurring in the three IGC seminar courses; exposure to experts hosted by the GCC for distinguished lectures, seminars, workshops, etc.
  • Science in Society: The IGC emphasizes the roles of science and scientists in society and how our fellows can be more influential.  The IGC seminars emphasize this topic, along with invited speakers and professional development workshops.  Example sessions from the seminars include: advocacy versus honest broker; communicating science; science arbitration; joint fact finding; wicked problems and adaptive management, science policy; science advisory boards; government people and process; climate denial; decline of expertise; stakeholder analysis and transdisciplinarity.
  • Collaborative Team Science: The IGC helps fellows effectively conduct multidisciplinary/ interdisciplinary research.  In addition to sessions on this topic as part of the IGC seminars, the capstone project enables students to practice this skill with a team of graduate students and faculty mentors. Example sessions in the seminar courses: team formation and function, conflict resolution, project management, differences of disciplinary, multidisciplinary, and interdisciplinary research; case studies from literature; case studies of global change faculty. 
  • Professional Development: The IGC helps Fellows succeed as professionals.  Topics covered in seminars include: career planning, CV writing, individual development plan, teaching versus research paths in academia, work-life balance, and psychological resilience.

The Interfaces of Global Change program does not grant degrees. Students still receive their Ph.D. degree from their home department.  The IGC provides students with a unique intellectual focus and additional training beyond the disciplinary expertise they develop in their home department. Our goal is for each student to gain depth in their specific scientific area of expertise while simultaneously gaining breadth in the multifaceted realm of global change and the science-policy interface.

Our core faculty members represent a diversity of scientific and societal perspectives as well as a community of scholars spanning all stages of their academic career.  We represent 25 departments and 7 colleges on campus, and one off-campus center, with strong inclusion of both the sciences and social sciences. Reaching across so many academic units is required to achieve our vision for interdisciplinary training.

Colleges and Departments

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Agricultural and Applied Economics
  • Biochemistry
  • Entomology
  • School of Plant and Environmental Sciences
College of Engineering
  • Biological Systems Engineering
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Computer Science
College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • School of Public and International Affairs
  • Sociology
College of Natural Resources and Environment
  • Fish & Wildlife Conservation
  • Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation
  • Geography
  • Sustainable Biomaterials
  • Virginia Water Resources Research Center
College of Science
  • Biological Sciences
  • Geosciences
  • School of Neuroscience
  • Statistics
College of Business
  • Business Information Technology
  • Hospitality and Tourism Management
College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Population Health Sciences
  • Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology
  • Translational Biology, Medicine, and Health
Offered In (Blacksburg)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.0
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
 This is not a degree granting program

Facilities Introduction

The Interfaces of Global Change program is an interdisciplinary graduate program that draws faculty and graduate students from 8 colleges on campus. The main office is located in 245-1 Steger Hall.

245-1 Steger Hall

The Interfaces of Global Change program is an interdisciplinary graduate program that draws faculty and graduate students from 8 colleges on campus. The main office is located in 245-1 Steger Hall.