Evolutionary Biology, PhD

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

Program Description

Degree Awarded: Evolutionary Biology, PhD

The evolutionary biology PhD is a transdisciplinary graduate degree program that provides doctorate-level training in the historical, conceptual, empirical and quantitative aspects of biological evolution.

Evolution is a fundamental scientific concept underlying all aspects of modern biological, environmental and health-related research. It cuts across biological sciences in ways that few other foci do and informs the theoretical foundations of subfields like population genetics and ecosystem ecology. It allows integration of information and patterns across levels of organization, informs the theoretical foundations of subfields ranging from population genetics to systematics to ecosystem ecology, and provides bridges between temporal and spatial scales.

Forgoing emphases on particular taxa or methods, the program focuses on understanding the patterns and processes that have shaped life on Earth and continue to do so, training the next generation of scientists to use this knowledge to meet present and future challenges to the biosphere and human health in the face of increasing environmental perturbation.

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

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

Degree Requirements

Required Core (9 credit hours)
BIO 514 Statistical Models for Biology (4)
EVO 601 Principles of Evolution (3)
EVO 610 Research Areas of Evolution (2)

Electives (9 credit hours)
The program advisor as well as the student's advisor will determine these courses in conjunction with the student.

Other Requirements (54 credit hours)
research, coursework or 30 credit hours from a previously awarded master's degree

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
  3. academic record form
  4. personal statement
  5. curriculum vitae or resume
  6. three letters of recommendation
  7. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of their current residency.

Career Opportunities

Those who have earned a doctorate in evolutionary biology are prepared for academic careers at every level, from community colleges to research universities, and their skills and knowledge are also valuable for government careers in federal and state agencies and for careers in industry and nongovernmental organizations.

Career examples include:

  • health care scientists in academic, private and industrial labs
  • principal investigators in government labs and nonprofit organizations
  • professors or instructors in universities and colleges
  • science teachers in elementary and high schools
  • wildlife, animal and conservation scientists

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Program Contact Information

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