Society & Culture

UGA interdisciplinary life sciences program receives Graduate School innovation award

UGA interdisciplinary life sciences program receives Graduate School innovation award

Athens, Ga. – The interdisciplinary life sciences program at the University of Georgia is the recipient of the Graduate School’s first Innovation in Graduate Education award. Maureen Grasso, dean of the Graduate School, announced the award for the ILS program at the Graduate School’s recent centennial celebration.

The ILS was recognized because of its focus on interdisciplinary research opportunities for students. The program allows students pursuing a doctoral degree to explore different areas of life sciences research during their first year. After completing a diverse range of classes, students select one of nine UGA life science departments in which to complete their degree.

ILS students choose to participate in one of two broad-based programs, instead of being enrolled in a single department, for their first year. One program focuses on the basic mechanisms of cells while the other program concentrates on the study of species, communities and ecosystems.

At the end of the first year, students select the department and professor with whom they want to work toward their degree. The result matches faculty members with students who share a common research interest.

The ILS program was developed over several years through the collaborative efforts of faculty in nine life science departments across the university. Mark Farmer, head of the cellular biology department, currently manages the program.

The Innovation in Graduate Education award was established to provide an incentive and reward for innovative practices in graduate education at UGA. This award is part of an overall effort by the Graduate School to encourage the implementation of innovative educational practices and highlight new ideas that strengthen and enhance graduate education.

For more information on the interdisciplinary life sciences program, see More information about the UGA Graduate School is available at