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Our Animal Behavior PhD program — one of the few in the world — provides interdisciplinary training in both classic and cutting-edge concepts and techniques in the field.
In this degree program, you will develop research competence in animal behavior that integrates approaches from several areas, including:
Your core coursework includes field- and lab-based research, as well as student-driven seminars that cover emerging themes in the literature.
This program provides an ideal academic environment for those who want to create unique intellectual and integrative research niches in their respective areas of animal behavior.
To earn a PhD in Animal Behavior, you must complete a total of 84 credit hours. Eight of those hours will come from enrolling in two Core Courses — a 4-credit-hour, field- and lab-based “research strategies” class (ANB 601) and a 1-hour seminar (ANB 602) on current issues in animal behavior to be taken over four separate semesters during your PhD tenure.
Remaining credit hours are earned through a combination of elective courses in related fields (e.g. ecology, evolutionary biology, genetics, neuroscience, physiology, psychology and statistics) and dissertation research credits. All assembled in conjunction with your Supervisory Committee, this body of coursework will serve as your Plan of Study.
To meet the degree requirements, you must construct a research proposal that you will defend as part of your oral 'admission-to-candidacy exam', and defend a final body of dissertation research by giving a public seminar followed by an oral exam administered by your Supervisory Committee.
Offered each fall, this 4-credit core course is aimed at incoming students in the degree program. It will involve 6 hours of lab or field research and 2 hours of lecture each week.
The exercises will feature a diversity of taxa and conceptual approaches used in the study of animal behavior. Here are examples of exercises that would cover this diversity.
2. To provide, in the first hour of lecture, background information on procedures and strategies used in the study of behavior across a number of disciplines that there is not time to cover during lab exercises throughout the semester. These may include physical characterization of light, chemical and sound signals, basis statistical applications, rigorous comparative analyses of behavioral diversity, tools used in the study of learning, information theory, and the techniques used in the recording and analysis of sequences of behavior.
3. To introduce the diversity of study systems and cutting-edge interdisciplinary approaches taken in the study of animal behavior at ASU and elsewhere. This is done through a series of lectures by ASU researchers. Grading will be based on the following items:
This course is offered every semester. Everyone in the program is required to enroll in this 1-credit-hour course in at least 4 semesters of your PhD degree program.
To achieve these goals we may (have):
Grading is based on written reports on current issues and on the quality of presentations.
Applications are accepted Oct. 1 - Dec. 15, with a preference date of Dec. 1.
The Animal Behavior PhD program admits one group of students annually to start their program 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:
Animal Behavior, PhD
Liberal Arts & Sciences, College of
The Plan of Study is the required curriculum to complete the program.
Applications for Fall 2019 accepted: Oct. 1-Dec. 15, 2018
Priority deadline: Dec. 1, 2018
More information on financial support through the School of Life Sciences.