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Frontiers Program

Program goals and admissions criteria

The Frontiers Master's Program in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan has three primary goals:

  • To bring students to the study of ecology and evolution who might not otherwise have considered it.
  • To give students opportunities to learn about the full range of subjects in ecology and evolution.
  • To prepare students to succeed in top-rated Ph.D. programs in ecology and evolution.

The Frontiers Program is looking for students who:

  • Show academic excellence, would benefit from a broad-based training program and ultimately plan to apply to a Ph.D. program.
  • Are members of a group underrepresented in the field of ecology and evolutionary biology, including: African American, Latino(a), Native American, Pacific Islander
  • Are U.S. citizens, permanent residents or undocumented students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA).

Why join the Frontiers Master's Program?

*Peer institutions: Harvard University; Iowa State University; University of California, Los Angeles, Berkeley and Merced; Michigan State University; University of Minnesota; Penn State University; Stanford University; Wayne State University; and Yale University. *Careers in urban agriculture, research, natural resource management and education. Pictured: Stephanie Alcala. Photo credit: Alicia Farmer. Image design: John Megahan.

The Frontiers Master's Program is designed to attract a diverse student body interested in research within the fields of ecology and evolutionary biology. Students explore the full range of research approaches in EEB – from molecular biology in labs, to field work in remote areas of the world, providing the foundation needed to continue on to a top-rated Ph.D. program.

Students become part of exciting research that has a positive impact and work with an internationally diverse student body representing dozens of countries. The program offers the opportunity to work with outstanding researchers and a faculty committed to ensuring an exciting and supportive environment for students.

The Frontier's program enables you to:

  • Explore a wide range of questions in ecology and evolutionary biology and their applications to solving problems in areas such as sustainability, health, and conservation.
  • Experience the full range of approaches to studying topics in ecology and evolutionary biology from field work in natural ecosystems to molecular biology in a laboratory.
  • Complete a focused research project with a supportive research mentor.
  • Interact with students in our Ph.D. and Traditional M.S. programs by sharing office space, attending seminars, discussion groups, fall retreat, teaching training, and core courses.
  • Develop teaching skills and experience, with extensive training and ongoing support.
  • Participate in research and career development workshops on topics such as career options, choosing a research topic, grant writing, presentation skills, research ethics, applying to Ph.D. programs.
  • Receive mentoring and advice from the faculty program director and staff committed to enhancing the diversity of the discipline in general and our department in particular.

Why study ecology and evolutionary biology?

The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology embraces education and research on virtually all aspects of biodiversity, including the origins and history of species ranging from bacteria to humans, the processes by which this diversity has evolved, and the ecological context in which this evolution takes place. These basic sciences underlie some of the most important applied sciences in the world today, such as global climate change, sustainable agriculture, the emergence and spread of infectious diseases, invasive and exotic species, conservation biology, natural resource management, and evolution of pesticide and antibiotic resistance.

Our focus on a wide diversity of organisms and how they function in the complex environments of the natural world offers a unique perspective among the life science units at the University of Michigan. In addition, the outstanding and innovative academic environment combines with a diverse campus community and a central location in dynamic Ann Arbor to make it one of the nation's most desirable universities.

Stephanie Alcala
Currently, Alcala is investigating the genetic diversity of the cultivated coffee variety Geisha in collaboration with the Hacienda La Esmeralda Coffee Farm in Boquete, Panama. This study has broad conservation implications. It serves as a preliminary study to determine the next steps for conserving coffee plants in the face of climate change and pathogens.  Read full profile>>


The Frontiers Master's Program in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Michigan is a fully-funded master's program. This means that students in good standing receive a stipend, tuition and health care for two years at rates determined by University of Michigan policies. Support is available for four incoming students each academic year. For more information on funding, check out a select list of more funding opportunities.

The U-M Frontiers Master's Program in EEB  is funded by:

  • The National Science Foundation
  • The Michigan AGEP Alliance (Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate)
  • U-M Rackham Graduate School
  • U-M College of Literature, Science and the Arts
  • The U-M Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology