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Environmental Life Sciences is an interdisciplinary graduate degree program that provides PhD-level training focusing on the interactions between organisms (plants, microbes, people and other animals) and their environments.
The ASU academic units participating in this program include:
You will be trained in core classes, seminars, reading groups and research clusters. The focus of the Environmental Life Sciences Program is on collaborative and integrative study of the causes and consequences of environmental variation across scales ranging from the organism to the globe.
Our goal is to provide a unique, interdisciplinary PhD program that encourages you to explore and solve complex environmental and organismal questions in the context of natural and anthropogenic environmental change.
Sharon J. Hall, Co-Director and Associate Professor
Ph: (480) 965-5650 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Heather Throop, Co-Director and Associate Professor
Ph: (480) 727-2617 | Heather.Throop@asu.edu
Graduate Programs School of Life Sciences-ELS Ph.D. Program
Arizona State University
P.O. Box 874601 Tempe, AZ 85287-4601
Phone: (480) 965-1768 | Fax: (480) 965-7599 | email@example.com
The PhD in Environmental Life Sciences is a research degree culminating in a dissertation that must draw upon multiple disciplinary perspectives. The degree requires the completion of 84 credit hours, 12 of which are for dissertation.
You may apply up to 30 hours from a prior Master's degree toward the total credit hour requirement after the program steering committee provides its approval. Working with your Supervisory Committee, you will develop a unique study plan, which your committee will approve.
There are no foreign language or statistics requirements, except as needed for your particular dissertation project. You will complete the following coursework and milestones.
Successful completion of each course includes a synthetic paper in the subject area.
Comprehensive Exams and Defense of the Dissertation Prospectus
During the second semester and in collaboration with your Supervisory Committee, you will develop a Program of Study that defines what courses you will take.
A detailed description of the rationale and experimental plan of the thesis, in NSF grant-style, should be submitted to the graduate committee at least two months before the scheduled comprehensive exam date. You will be engaged in dissertation projects that explicitly involve interdisciplinary research and will be evaluated on it.
The dissertation committee will judge how well your research proposal is designed and justified. Within one month of receiving the dissertation prospectus, committee members should approve the prospectus as “ready to defend” and send any suggestions for prospectus approval to you. All committee members should indicate that the prospectus is “ready to defend” before the exam is held.
At the beginning of the exam, you will give a 15-30 minute presentation on their research plan. This part is open to a general audience of faculty, as well as to the supervisory committee. Questions from the committee in closed session should then focus on the prospectus and on your general knowledge of your research and teaching discipline.
You will submit your completed thesis to your committee members at least one month prior to the scheduled exam. You are strongly advised to work with your committee members, allowing them sufficient time to provide input on the chapters.
The first hour of the defense is a public presentation of the thesis research. After the public defense, you are examined by your graduate committee, which will judge whether your performance in the oral and written exams are sufficient to award the PhD degree.
We encourage you to take coursework across multiple disciplinary fields. Graduate elective courses 500-level or higher may be taken from any unit at ASU in consultation with your main advisor.
The Environmental Life Sciences PhD Program makes funding offers in conjunction with admission offers. The program director works with faculty who might serve on a prospective student’s advisory committee to develop funding from a variety of campus resources, such as research assistantships funded by faculty grants, teaching assistantships and fellowships.
Prospective students desiring funding should be sure to list three faculty members they may wish to work with on their online application.
We encourage all students to seek external support. The following funding agencies provide graduate student fellowships:
Applications are accepted Oct. 1 - Dec. 15, with a preference date of Dec. 1.
The Environmental Life Sciences PhD program admits one group of students annually to start their program in the following August.
There is no guarantee that applications received after Dec. 15 will be reviewed. In January, the top applicants will be invited to a recruitment event scheduled in mid- to late-February.
Before applying, we encourage you to read our Tips for Applying.
We will notify you of your admissions status by April 15.
Note: Your application is evaluated based on your entire application package.
You will be asked to:
Environmental Life Sciences, PhD
Liberal Arts & Sciences, College of
The Plan of Study is the required curriculum to complete the program.
More information on financial support through the School of Life Sciences.