Division of
Natural and Applied Sciences

Research Assistantship Available for Graduate Student (MS) in Forest Ecology 

Michigan State University’s Department of Forestry is pleased to announce a graduate research assistantship to support an MS student in conducting research in Forest Ecology. The student will be supervised by Dr. Akihiro Koyama, in collaboration with Dr. Lars Brudvig in the MSU Department of Plant Biology. The successful candidate will help to lead a project investigating how the restoration of oak savannas through prescribed fire affects native tree species through plant-soil feedbacks. This will include field, greenhouse, and laboratory-based research, investigating biotic and abiotic plant-soil feedbacks, focusing on the interaction between native tree seedlings and root and soil microorganisms, such as mycorrhizal fungi and pathogens. Fieldwork will take place in an oak savanna restoration experiment at the MSU MacCready Nature Reserve, near Jackson Michigan, and greenhouse and lab-based activities will take place on campus. The assistantship is available for formal Spring 2024 enrollment. Funding for tuition, health, and stipend is available for two years. 
 
The candidate should have: 

  • Undergraduate degree in ecology or a related field
  • Previously attained and maintained exceptional academic standing 
  • A GRE score 
  • A TOEFL score of 84 iBT or higher (required for students with non-English credentials only) 
  • Experience in report-writing or drafting research articles 
  • A self-motivated, well-organized nature, adaptive to collaborative work 
  • A valid drivers license (by the time in spring 2024 when fieldwork starts) 

Preference will be given to applicants with: 

  • Bachelors degree in terrestrial ecology or closely related field 
  • Experience conducting field and/or greenhouse-based studies 
  • Experience with statistical analyses 
  • Some background of soil microbiology 
  • Peer-reviewed publications

Additionally, candidates must meet the minimum requirements outlined by Michigan State University’s Graduate program, found here:  https://grad.msu.edu/ 
 
The successful candidate will be supported for two years. Assistantships include: 

  • A bi-weekly stipend, determined by prior experience and education levels (first year stipend will be $28,234)
  • A tuition waiver of up to nine credits per semester fall and spring and five credits during the summer with an out-of-state tuition waiver for students who take more than the covered number of credits each semester 
  • Enrollment in the University’s graduate health insurance plan 


Sources of graduate funding in addition to this assistantship are available through national and MSU programs. Students will be encouraged and assisted in seeking this funding. 
 
To show interest in the position (before the formal application process), please send a one-page cover letter, CV, and the names and contact information of three referees by email as a single pdf file to Dr. Aki Koyama at koyamaak@msu.edu. The cover letter should include motivations and strengths as a candidate for this position. Current MSU students and recent graduates may also apply via Handshake by searching for Posting # 8127550. To be accepted into the graduate program, potential students must also apply through the MSU Graduate School at https://grad.msu.edu/apply. When formally applying, please indicate an interest in the Forest Ecology Graduate Assistantship in the required Statement of Interests. Applications must be completed by December 10, 2023 (November 1, 2023 for international applicants) for Spring 2024 enrollment. 
 
Please visit  http://www.for.msu.edu/graduate/important_information_for_graduate_applicants  for specific information regarding the Forestry graduate program.