Graduate students in the lab will generally work on the genomics, function and evolution of microbial symbionts of animals and are encouraged to consider projects involving viral associations with parasitic wasps or other insects. If you are interested, please send Gaelen Burke an email with a letter containing a description of your 1) academic background, 2) research experience, 3) goals as a graduate student and beyond, and 4) your general and specific interests in research in the Burke lab or UGA or the Department of Entomology. Please also attach your current resume or Curriculum Vitae.

You are also encouraged to contact other members of the lab to ask them about the lab and departmental environment and life in Athens. If you are curious to see what the day-to-day is like in our lab, see Kelly’s lab and graduate school themed BeReals here.

You may also be interested in other faculty in Entomology at the University of Georgia, including Dr. Michael Strand, Dr. Mark Brown, and Dr. Kerry Oliver.

Students are encouraged to visit the UGA Graduate SchoolUGA Entomology, and the UGA Entomology graduate student information, including the student handbook, for more information on graduate programs, deadlines and the application process.


The Department of Entomology at UGA has a strong student community. Entomology students are involved in the H.O. Lund Club, which raises funds and is supported by the university to engage in a variety of activities. The club performs outreach activities including running an Insect Zoo. Additionally, they organize social events for the department, and raise money to pay for their travel to scientific meetings. Two departmental seminar speakers every year are chosen by the Lund Club, for the Brady and H.O. Lund Seminars. Finally, students organize Lund Week, which involves a variety of friendly competitions including photography, speaking, poster presentation and more, judged by faculty and postdocs for some great prizes!

Students often get together on Friday afternoons for Happy Hour downtown.


Graduate Teaching Assistantships (LAs, GTAs)

Entomology students are often supported on these assistantships, some of which are assigned to Entomology and other to the Division of Biology to help with the Biology core courses. The Assistantship generally requires 12-16 hours of service per week.

Research Assistantships (RAs)

Research Assistantships are generally funded by a student’s major advisor or the Entomology department. Duties and a work schedule are stipulated by the major advisor. 

Graduate School Assistantships (GSAs)

These fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis from the UGA Graduate School and provide 21 months of stipend support, as well as reduced tuition and fees. Recipients of these assistantships in Entomology allow students to focus their time upon research.

Presidential Graduate Fellows Award

The University of Georgia’s Presidential Graduate Fellows Program was established to recruit exceptionally qualified students to our doctoral graduate programs. The awards are for an annual 12-month stipend for 5 years for students entering with a bachelor’s degree or 3 years for student’s entering with a master’s degree. Only citizens and legal permanent residents of the United States are eligible to receive this Fellowship.

Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Program

The Interdisciplinary Life Sciences (ILS) program is a university-wide program for recruiting graduate students. If you are a student admitted to the ILS, you can do three 6-week “rotations”, or spend time in three labs that are potentially in different departments. At UGA, we have many great faculty members and diverse research programs, so if your interests are multi-disciplinary, the ILS allows you to experience and learn from a variety of lab environments before you commit to choosing a major advisor. The first year of students’ stipends are covered by ILS, then if you join the Burke lab you will join the Entomology department and be eligible for standard departmental support.

The ILS has several Interdisciplinary Groups to help students find faculty members that suit their interests. For the Burke lab, the most fitting Interdisciplinary Group is Evolution & Ecology. Other relevant Interdisciplinary Groups would be Epigenetics & Chromatin, Pathogens & Immunity, Vaccines and Biological Countermeasures, Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, and Disease Models & Mechanisms.

Dissertation Completion Assistantships


Tuition Waivers, Fees, and Costs

Please visit the Office of Student Financial Aid’s website for the latest information:

Health Insurance

Graduate students (international and domestic) who have qualified assistantships or qualified fellowships or who are supported by qualified training grants are required to enroll for a contracted health insurance plan that is subsidized by the university.

Travel Grants

The Graduate School has limited funds to assist graduate student travel to present papers at professional conferences within the United States.

The Office of the Vice President for Research also has limited funds for international travel to international meetings.


Joan Strassmann’s blog has all sorts of advice for graduate students and others with careers in academia.

Scott Keogh’s aggregation of websites containing general advice for graduate students.