A student in a lab coat conducts an experiment while his faculty mentor looks on

Quantitative and Evolutionary STEM Training (QuEST) Program for Doctoral Students is a training program that integrates with existing Ph.D. programs across the UVM campus in biology, plant biology, plant and soil sciences, mathematics, computer science, engineering, natural resources, and cellular, molecular and biomedical sciences.

The traineeship provides two core courses, a variety of quantitative electives, an applied internship with a non-academic organization, and extensive professional development training in computation, communication, and cultural awareness and inclusion. Trainees will also share physical space for cohort-building and an annual retreat, orientation and community activities.

Degree Time Frame and Requirements

QuEST is a five-year Ph.D. degree program that builds upon the existing strengths of more than eight academic units on the University of Vermont campus.


  • Modeling Complex Systems 
  • QuEST Data Lab course, taken twice, as an early and senior graduate student 
  • Quantitative Elective courses (see list below)
  • An applied internship with a non-academic institution and Special Interest Group Network
  • The QuEST Seminar each Fall - combines inviting speakers with professional development programs relating to computation, communication, and interdisciplinary teamwork as well as cultural inclusion and diversity training.

Support and Eligibility

QuEST Trainees are supported one of two ways, either funding to support their travel, room, and board during the applied internship or by receiving a 1-year of stipend to be used in either year one or two of their graduate studies. In addition, during the 12-month period of receiving the QuEST stipend, the traineeship pays tuition, fees, and health insurance (i.e., nine tuition credits for fall and spring semesters, and up to five tuition credits during the summer). They will also receive up to $5,000 for travel to an applied internship during the summer of your third year (e.g., 8 – 10 weeks). To receive stipend support, trainees must be U.S. citizens per federal regulations. Non-US citizens are also welcome in QuEST and eligible to receive up to $10,000 in internship support and encouraged to apply.

Outside of QuEST support, trainees are supported by a participating faculty member from their academic unit's Ph.D. program through research and teaching assistantships. Trainees are also encouraged to apply for Gund Ph.D. Research Assistantships and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.

Admissions Information

We are seeking trainees passionate about developing tools for pressing environmental and global health problems.

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This graduate training program introduces:

  • A strong understanding of core concepts in evolution, ecology, and epidemiology
  • Exposure to contemporary, real-world topics where modeling and predicting system disturbances are crucial
  • Skill development for hypothesis and experimental design, and interdisciplinary teamwork and communications training

QuEST Leadership and the University of Vermont are especially interested in students who can contribute to the inclusion, diversity, and excellence of the academic environment both professionally and personally.

Students from diverse educational backgrounds (e.g., biology, mathematics, and computer science, agricultural, environmental, and health sciences, STEM education) and work-life experiences (e.g. community college, extracurricular, volunteerism), women, LGBTQ, and first-generation college, veterans, and individuals with disabilities, and underrepresented racial, ethnic, gender, socio-economic and cultural groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

For questions, please email Lola.Chen@uvm.edu, QuEST Program Coordinator.

Made possible by a National Science Foundation Research Traineeship Grant to The University of Vermont.