Arid Lands Resource Sciences

Arid Lands Resource Sciences GIDP

Arid Lands Resource Sciences

Established by the Arizona Board of Regents: PhD 1968

The Arid Lands Resource Sciences GIDP provides an exciting transdisciplinary environment in which to pursue unique research interests related to the long-term sustainable use of arid and semiarid lands. This PhD program offers a rigorous interdisciplinary curriculum that is individually tailored to meet each student’s particular focus. Indeed, the opportunity for students to develop their own program of study is noted among our students as one of the greatest strengths of the program. Because the sustainable use of arid lands cannot be adequately understood or achieved through the tools available in any single discipline, students in the program are trained in two or more of the physical, biological, resource, agricultural, and social sciences as they specifically relate to each student’s area of study.

The breadth of research opportunities the Arid Lands Resource Sciences PhD program provides can be recognized through the research performed by its graduates and current students. Some of these areas include international development; famine, famine early warning systems, and food security; land use, history, change, degradation, desertification, management, and policy; sustainable agriculture and farming systems; remote sensing and spatial analysis; carbon sequestration; political-ecology of natural resources; ethnoecology and other ethno-sciences; economic and agricultural policy and development; economic botany; borderlands issues; globalization; civil conflict; and urban development as they relate to the arid and semi-arid lands of the world.

Program Contacts

David Quanrud, Ph.D.
Jennifer Shim
Program Coordinator

Program Address

Arid Lands Resource Sciences GIDP
The University of Arizona
1064 E. Lowell Street
ENR2 Bldg., Rm. N231
P.O. Box 210137
Tucson, AZ 85721
Phone:  (520) 626-9111
Fax:  (520) 621-8367

Arid Lands Resource Sciences Program Bylaws


Revised March 2012

The Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Arid Lands Resource Sciences (ALRS) offers a program of graduate study leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree with a major in Arid Lands Resource Sciences. The program is interdisciplinary and provides an academic environment in which to examine the ecological, economic and social factors which influence the sustainable use of arid and semiarid lands. Special interdisciplinary concentrations combining aspects of the biological, physical, and social sciences, not available in the usual major-minor degree programs, may be used by advanced students with promising research projects and strong interests in arid lands.

This interdisciplinary program includes faculty members representing almost 20 different departments across the campus. The current participating departments include, but are not limited to: Agricultural and Resources Economics, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Anthropology, Architecture, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Family and Community Medicine, Geography and Regional Development, Geosciences, Hydrology and Water Resources, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Near Eastern Studies, Office of Arid Lands Studies, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Plant Sciences, Political Science, Psychology, Renewable Natural Resources, and Soil, Water and Environmental Science, The Udall Center, and the Institute for the Environment. This broad based interdisciplinary group is currently represented by over 55 different faculty members. These details are stated explicitly in the Graduate Student Handbook for Arid Lands Resource Sciences and are available on our website.

As the program has grown dramatically over the past few years, the size of the general faculty and the executive committee has grown appropriately. The Executive Committee (appointed by and responsible to the Dean of the Graduate College serves as the executive, policy, and administrative agency for the Program. The structure and organization of this Committee shall conform to the Guidelines for Interdisciplinary Programs established by the Director, Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs.

Innovative planning and creative leadership are essential to maintain and foster excellence in this diversified interdisciplinary program. These and related functions are served by the Committee (Faculty) on Arid Lands Resource Sciences and its Executive Committee. In the following sections the Bylaws that govern policies and operating procedures are outlined.

Executive Committee and Chairperson of the Committee

1. The Chairperson of the Committee will be appointed by the Faculty Director, Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs from nominations submitted by the Executive Council. The Chairperson will normally serve a five-year term (each year will begin on July 1st and end on June 30th of the following year). The Chair may not serve more than ten years consecutively or two terms. A second term must be approved by a two-thirds positive vote by the Executive Committee.

The duties of the Chair are: a) call and preside at meetings of the Executive Committee as needed, but not less than one time per semester, b) appoint necessary subcommittees as needed, c) administer the budget of ALRS Program, d) apply for institutional graduate fellowship and recruitment awards, obtain fee waivers and reward students for both meritorious performance and financial need. e) manage administrative matters and serve as the immediate supervisor of the program staff person, f) prepare annual reports and budget requests, g) direct course change and approval forms and oversee the updating of the graduate handbook, and h) assist students in following through on their qualifiers and finding the appropriate dissertation advisor.

2. The Executive Committee consists of at least 9 members representing the major areas of study within the Arid Lands Resource Sciences Program. The Executive Committee is responsible for nominating or receiving nominations for new members of the Executive Committee and will vote on these nominations. Members of the Executive Committee will be appointed only from the membership of the ALRS Committee (Faculty). Each Executive Committee member will serve a five-year term. Each year of service will begin on July 1st and end on June 30th of the following year. Each of these terms can be renewed by vote of the Executive Committee and approved by the Dean of the Graduate College.

The Executive Committee is responsible for administering the ALRS graduate program, including admission of graduate students, evaluation of continuing graduate students, publicizing the Program both intra- and extra-murally, planning the continued updating and development of the Arid Lands Resources Sciences Program, formulating the annual budget, assisting in the securing and allocating of the necessary funding, and advising University administration on issues pertinent to the overall program.

3. A member of the Executive Committee may be asked to step down as a member of the Executive Committee if that person has three unexcused absences from Executive Committee meetings during a year or fails to respond to three application packages. If that person can demonstrate an active membership in the general Committee, they may continue to serve as a general member, but not as a member of the Executive Committee until at least two years have passed.

4. ALRS’s representative to GIDPAC will be a member of the ALRS Executive Committee and be determined by a majority vote of the Executive Committee. The term will be three years beginning on July 1 and ending on June 30.

Standing Assignments or Committees

1. As needed a curriculum committee will be established to review the core curriculum and provide recommendations for improving the program, updating the requirements, and substituting courses for courses that have been dropped. This committee shall consist of members of the Executive Committee and the professors responsible for teaching the core curriculum. Student input will be requested to assist in this task. This task should be undertaken at least once every three years if not more often, depending on circumstances.

2. The Executive Committee shall be responsible for the recruitment and admissions of all graduate students. The completed packet of each applicant will be distributed to the Executive Committee, who can accept the student as is, reject the applicant, recommend acceptance with probation, or call for an executive committee meeting to discuss the applicant and make a final decision. If two-thirds of the Executive Committee vote yes for acceptance of any one candidate, that shall be construed as an official acceptance. If one-third of the Executive Committee vote no on acceptance of any one candidate, that shall be construed as an official non-acceptance. If a committee member does not respond within a reasonable time (more than three weeks), that vote shall be accepted as an abstention and majority rule shall be the deciding factor. When deemed necessary the Chair shall call a special admissions meeting. A quorum (for a meeting or mail-in voting) shall constitute two-thirds of the Executive Committee membership with majority vote deciding the result.


Nominations for membership in the ALRS Committee (Faculty) can be made by submitting a request for membership, a recent curriculum vita and two letters of recommendation to the Chair of the Executive Committee. The Chair can then poll the executive committee or submit the information for a formal vote. A two-thirds majority of positive votes of the Executive Committee shall be required for recommendation to membership to the Faculty Director of the Graduate College and the Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs, who shall confer membership. Criteria for membership shall include scholarly and research productivity in arid lands research and active service with students as dissertation directors, committee members or sources of research funding.

Members shall be listed as Faculty of the Arid Lands Resource Sciences Committee in the graduate handbook and in the Graduate Catalog.

A member of the Committee or Executive Committee on Arid Lands Resource Sciences may be dropped from membership due to failure to participate in the activities of the Committee (e.g. refusal to be actively involved in the teaching of the required courses, track courses, special electives or required independent study). Participation includes but is not limited to service as a dissertation director for graduate students, active participation as committee members on graduate committees, providing funding and advice to students.

Membership shall be the subject of periodic review by the Executive Committee. In the event that a member is dropped from the program, that member may reapply if the criteria established above are met.


The Bylaws may be amended or revised by motion of the Executive Committee and a two-thirds positive vote of the ALRS Committee.