The JDPE is a doctoral degree that is run jointly by the Ecology Program at San Diego State University and the Ecology Graduate Group at UC Davis. The joint nature of the doctoral program offers two primary advantages. First, students benefit from contact and expertise in and outside of the classroom with faculty members of two strong ecology programs. Second, across the two campuses, students have the opportunity to access facilities and field sites in nearly all the major biomes of California. JDPE students spend their first year at San Diego State University with their adviser to begin preparation of a thesis proposal. The student then moves to UC Davis for additional course work and for the Qualifying Examination. On return to San Diego State University, the thesis research is completed, and the dissertation is prepared and defended. The Ph.D. degree is awarded jointly by San Diego State University and UC Davis.