PHD Environmental Life Sciences

Program Description

Degree Awarded: PHD Environmental Life Sciences

The environmental life sciences PhD program is a unique degree that trains students to solve complex environmental challenges and explore ecological questions in the context of natural and human-caused environmental change.

Arizona State University is an innovative leader in interdisciplinary environmental research. Our faculty participate in novel, collaborative, academic units. In this program, you'll perform research that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries. Participating faculty come from eight diverse academic units and each student will work with professors from at least two of these units.

You will participate in field work at local, national, and international field sites, including NSF Central Arizona Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research site; NSF-NEON Santa Rita Experimental Range; NSF Jornada Basin Long-Term Ecological Research site; and sites in Australia and Namibia. Also, you'll have access to a wide variety of research laboratories and instruments, including facilities for microscopy, genome sequencing, mass spectrometry and chemical analyses.

This program will prepare you for a range of careers related to global environmental change. Our graduates have secured positions as researchers in government laboratories, university professors and staff scientists in conservation organizations.

You will participate in funded research projects that address some of the most difficult and pertinent environmental issues of our time. We will train you to take an integrative approach to studying today's environmental challenges so that you will be positioned as a leader in tackling future challenges in our changing world.

Environmental Life Sciences (PhD) Program Faculty

At a Glance: program details

Degree Requirements

Required Core (3 credit hours)
  • ELS 501 Environmental Life Sciences: Grand Challenge: Global Climate Change (3)
Electives or Research (69 credit hours)
  • 6 credit hours are required from 500+ level courses and can be taken in the following topics
    • Earth sciences (e.g., geology, hydrology)
    • organismal biology (e.g., physiology and behavior)
    • evolutionary biology (e.g., population genetics)
    • ecology/ecosystems/biogeochemistry
    • sustainability/social/policy
  • ELS 792 Research (12+)
Culminating Experience (12 credit hours)
  • ELS 799 Dissertation (12)
Addition Curriculum Information
  • ELS 501 is required for students to take during their first semester at ASU.
  • For electives, students should see the academic unit for approved coursework. Students also may take ELS omnibus courses to fulfill some of the elective requirements.
  • When approved by the student's supervisory committee and the Graduate College, this program allows 30 credit hours from a previously awarded master's degree to be used for this degree. If students do not have a previously awarded master's degree, the 30 hours of coursework are made up of electives and research.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree in a related discipline from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

Applicants must submit the following:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. academic record form
  4. personal statement
  5. curriculum vitae or resume
  6. three letters of recommendation
  7. proof of English proficiency (if applicable)

Application Deadline

  • Applications are accepted between the open date, September 1st and close date, December 1st for consideration for the following August
Additional Application Information
  • The Environmental Life Sciences PhD program admits one group of students annually to start their program the following August
  • There is no guarantee that applications received after December 1st will be reviewed
  • In January, the top applicants will be invited to a recruitment event scheduled in mid-to-late February 
  • You'll be notified of your admission status by April 15th
  • Review tips for applying
Desired Qualifications
  • Research experience
  • TOEFL score of 100 or IELTS score of 6.5 for international students

To apply, follow the Apply Now link.

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Program Contact Information

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