Evolutionary Biology PhD program

Evolutionary Biology is an interdisciplinary graduate degree program that provides PhD-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 the biological sciences in ways that few other foci do. It also informs the theoretical foundations of subfields — ranging from population genetics to systematics to ecosystem ecology. 

We focus on understanding the patterns and processes that shape life on Earth. And, we are training the next generation of scientists to use this knowledge to meet both present and future challenges to the biosphere and human health.

Our program is linked to several research institutes and center including:

Contact: Program chair Michael Rosenberg


Learn more about ASU graduate admissions.

Application Deadlines

Applications for Fall 2016 accepted:  Oct. 1-Dec. 15, 2015
Priority deadline:  Dec. 1, 2015

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Degree Requirements

84 credit hours, a written prospectus and its defense (these also serve as the written and oral comprehensive exams), and a dissertation.

Core courses

  • EVO 601 Principles of Evolution
  • EVO 610 Research Areas of Evolution (both fall and spring, year 1)
  • BIO 614 Biometry or approved alternate quantitative analysis course

Program electives

Nine hours from approved courses in:

  • life sciences
  • mathematics
  • anthropology or other appropriate fields

Other Courses, Research, or Seminars

54 hours


12 hours 

Application process for Evolutionary Biology PhD program

The Evolutionary Biology PhD program admits one group of students each year for the fall semester.

Application deadline:

  • December 15 to start the program the following August.
  • Applications received after December 15 may or may not be reviewed.

We usually notify applicants of their admissions status no later than the following April 15. Top candidates are typically interviewed before their admission to the program. Our Tips on Applying for Graduate Study in the School of Life Sciences may be helpful.

1. Initiate an online ASU Graduate Admissions Application through the Graduate College’s website.

2. Complete the “General Information Section.” You will be asked to enter information on universities that you’ve attended, GPAs, and GRE scores.

3. Complete the Degree Section.

a. Select “Sciences (Life, Natural, Physical & Chemical)” as your degree program category.

b. Select “Tempe” as your degree program campus.

c. Select appropriate Evolutionary Biology Degree (PhD) as your degree program.

d. Identify the specific Evolutionary Biology Program faculty member(s) you are interested in working with. This will ensure that these faculty members see your application and can participate in admissions and funding decisions.

4. You will need three letters of recommendation from people who can speak to your academic experiences, qualifications and potential. Recommendation letters are completed online. Hard copy letters are not necessary.

a. Provide current email's for your recommenders.

b. Let your recommenders know to expect an email from ASU with instructions on how to upload a letter of recommendation for you.

5. Prepare and upload a Statement of Research Interests and Goals.

6. Prepare and upload a current Curriculum Vitae or Resume.

7. Prepare and upload the School of Life Sciences Academic Record Form (DOC).

8. Submit the online ASU Graduate Admissions Application.

9. Pay the Application Fee.

10. Have your university mail an official, paper transcript to ASU. Send one transcript from each college or university you have attended to:

If sending by U.S. Mail:
Arizona State University
Graduate Admission Services
PO Box 871003
Tempe, AZ 85287-1003

If sending by FedEx, DHL or UPS:
​Arizona State University
Graduate Admission Services
1151 S. Forest Avenue, #SSV112
Tempe, AZ 85287-0112

b. More information on international academic credentials.

11. Have ETS (Educational Testing Service) provide ASU with official GRE scores. The ETS Institutional Code for ASU is 4007. Enter the Department Code as 0000.

International Students

If you are applying from outside of the U.S., you will need to submit additional documents. Students from countries whose native language is not English must provide evidence of English proficiency with acceptable scores on the TOEFL or IELTS. TOEFL and IELTS scores must be current, with the test date within two years of the first day of classes of the semester you enroll at ASU. If you want to attend ASU while holding a student visa (F-1 or J-1), you will need to submit a Financial Guarantee Form to:

If sending by FedEx, DHL or UPS:
​Arizona State University
Graduate Admission Services
1151 S. Forest Avenue, #SSV112
Tempe, AZ 85287-0112

Program Faculty
Michael S. Rosenberg
Program Director
Associate Professor

Gro V. Amdam
Michael J. Angilletta Jr.
Professor & Senior Sustainability Scientist; Associate Director of Undergraduate Programs
Jane Buikstra
Regent’s Professor of Bioarchaeology, School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Assistant Professor
John Chaput
Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Julian (Jiunn Liang) Chen
Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
James Collins
Virginia M. Ullman Professor of Natural History and the Environment; Faculty Leader, Ecology, Evolution & Environmental Science; Senior Sustainability Scientist
James Elser
Regents', and Parents Association Professor; Distinguished Sustainability Scientist
Jack Farmer
Professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration
Jennifer H. Fewell
President's Professor
Rebecca Fisher
Adjunct Faculty
Associate Professor; Curator of Insects; Director, Biodiversity Knowledge Integration Center
Jürgen Gadau
Assistant Professor
Jon F. Harrison
Ullman Professor of Biology
Kim Hill
Professor, School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Donald Johanson
Professor, School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Associate Professor; School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, ASU West Campus
William Kimbel
Professor, School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Kenro Kusumi
Professor; Associate Dean of Graduate Programs, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Manfred Laubichler
President's Professor; Distinguished Sustainability Scientist
Carlo Maley
Associate Professor
Curtis Marean
Professor, School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Professor of Life Sciences; Director, ASU Center for Evolution and Medicine; Foundation Professor
Professor; Director, Initiative for Maximizing Student Development; Faculty Leader, Cellular & Molecular Biosciences
Associate Professor, Department of Physics
Kathleen Pigg
Stephen C. Pratt
Associate Professor
J. Alan Rawls
Associate Professor; Faculty Leader, Genomics, Evolution & Bioinformatics
Jason Raymond
Assistant Professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration
Kaye Reed
Associate Professor, School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Michael S. Rosenberg
Associate Professor
Gary Schwartz
Associate Professor, School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Everett Shock
Professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration
Anne Stone
Professor, School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Karen Sweazea
Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor, School of Mathematical & Statistical Sciences
Willem F. J. Vermaas
Foundation Professor; Director, IGERT-SUN Program; Senior Sustainability Scientist
Melissa A. Wilson Sayres
Assistant Professor
Associate Professor
Martin Wojciechowski
Associate Professor; Associate Dean for Facilities in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences