PHD Evolutionary Biology

Become a next-generation scientist and address challenges of the biosphere and human health.

Program Description

Degree Awarded: PHD Evolutionary Biology

Evolution is a fundamental scientific concept — essential to all aspects of modern biological, environmental and health-related research. It cuts across the field of biology in ways that few other topics do. It forms the theoretical foundations of sub-fields such as population genetics, systematics, and ecosystem ecology. 

In this interdisciplinary program, we provide forward-thinking instruction in the historical, conceptual, empirical and quantitative aspects of biological evolution.

You’ll gain crucial training in population genetics while interacting with faculty and research projects that span the entire tree of life. These projects include viral, bacterial and pathogen evolution; plant biology; cancer; and human evolution. This learning experience covers all areas where evolutionary biology can be applied.

Also, you’ll learn about recent advances in systematics — the branch of biology centered on understanding the diversification and relationship of living things. We’re training the next generation of scientists to use this knowledge to meet critical challenges to the biosphere and human health.

Evolutionary Biology (PhD) Faculty

Courses and electives

Elective courses
  • BIO 421/521 Landscape Ecology
  • BIO 423 Population and Community Ecology
  • BIO 436 Sociobiology and Behavioral Ecology
  • BIO 461 Comparative Animal Physiology
  • BIO 462 Endocrine Physiology
  • BIO 522 Populations: Evolutionary Ecology
  • BIO 530 Scientific Teaching
  • BIO 540 Functional Genomics
  • BIO 543 Molecular genetics and genomics
  • BIO 545 Population Genetics
  • BIO 549 Phylogenetic Biology and Analysis
  • BIO 570 Fundamentals of CAS (Complex Adaptive Systems) Science
  • BIO 578 Environmental Leadership and Communication
  • BIO 591 Ecosystem Services Lab
  • BIO 591 Embryo Project Editing Seminar
  • BIO 591 Embryo Project Illustration
  • BIO 598 NSF grfp writing course
  • BIO 615/HPS 615 Biology and Society Lab
  • ELS 790 Reading and Conference (3)
  • ELS 791 Seminar
  • ELS 792 Research
  • EVO 598 Computing for Research
  • EVO 598 Genomic Analysis
  • EVO 598 Principles of Programming for Biologists
  • EVO 598 Software Carpentry
  • HPS 520 Masters of Nonfiction
  • HPS 591 Literary Nonfiction  

At a Glance: program details

Partners in this degree program
  • Biodiversity Knowledge Integration Center
  • Center for Biology and Society
  • Center for Evolution and Medicine
  • Center for Mechanisms of Evolution
  • Center for Social Dynamics and Complexity
  • Institute of Human Origins

Degree Requirements

Required Core (9 credit hours)
  • EVO 601 Principles of Evolution (3)
  • EVO 610 Research Areas of Evolution (2)
  • BIO 514 Statistical Models for Biology (4)
Electives or Research
  • See below for a detailed list of elective options
  • EVO 792 (12+)
Dissertation (12 credit hours)
  • EVO 799 Dissertation (12)

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 (undergraduate GPA minimum of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale)
  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 Evolutionary Biology 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 
  • We will notify you of your admissions 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.

Next Steps to attend ASU

Learn about our programs

Apply to a program

Visit our campus

Global Opportunities

Global Experience

With over 250 programs in more than 65 countries (ranging from one week to one year), study abroad is possible for all ASU students wishing to gain global skills and knowledge in preparation for a 21st-century career. Students earn ASU credit for completed courses, while staying on track for graduation, and may apply financial aid and scholarships toward program costs.

Program Contact Information

If you have questions related to admission, please click here to request information and an admission specialist will reach out to you directly.