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Opportunities for Graduate Study

The CLM Internship Program has partnered with Chicago Botanic Garden & Northwestern University's Graduate Program in Plant Biology and Conservation to establish a link between the land management community and applied scientific research. The partnership would allow students in the PBC Program to conduct research under the supervision of scientists at the Chicago Botanic Garden and Northwestern, and federal land managers.

Thesis-based MS degree

Students complete coursework in year one of the program at Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden. They then conduct research under the supervision of scientists at the Chicago Botanic Garden and Northwestern, and federal land managers. This degree involves a research project that focuses on current BLM resource needs, with specific focus on botanical or habitat projects. The research would culminate in the student's thesis and a publishable article(s). The timeline for data collection could possibly be one contiguous ten-month period or two five-month periods over two years.

Research project ideas include, but are not limited to the following areas:

  • Development of a habitat model for a rare plant using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software 
  • Analysis of distribution and trends for the spread of invasive plant species 
  • Analysis of current threats on rare plant populations 
  • Analysis of potential for woody shrub restoration in riparian areas 
  • Investigation of the effects of disturbance (e.g. cattle grazing) as an effective tool to reduce fuel loads of cheat grass and other invasive species, and thus prevent wildfires.

Non-thesis internship-based MS degree

Students complete an academic year of coursework at Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden. Starting in the spring or summer, students complete a 5 month internship with the CLM Program and complete a final project associated with the internship.

How to apply

Interested applicants must apply to both the CLM Program and the Plant Biology and Conservation Program. Before applying, please contact the CLM Program and/or the Plant Biology and Conservation Program.

CLM Internship Program: Please email or call (847) 835-6919 about possible research projects and/or hosting a research student

Plant Biology and Conservation Program: Please contact Nyree Zerega at or (847) 835-6916.