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Ph.D. Program

Program goals/overview

Ph.D. in EEB

The Ph.D. degree program in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology is recognized internationally for its breadth and depth in the study of ecology and evolution, which seeks to understand the origin and complex interactions of the earth's biodiversity and ecosystems. At EEB, we embrace education and research on questions such as the origins and history of species, the processes by which diversity has evolved at the molecular and organismal levels, and the ecological context in which this evolution takes place. Our faculty members are accomplished and remarkably diverse in their interests and expertise.

The Ph.D. program is intended for those interested in carrying out distinguished scholarly activities and contributing to the body of knowledge in their selected fields of specialization. Those who are awarded Ph.D. degrees are expected to have developed competence as teachers and a background in quantitative methods and techniques appropriate to their areas of study.

Program overview

Completion of a dissertation research project under the guidance of a major advisor is the primary goal of EEB doctoral students. Several milestones mark progress through the anticipated five year program.

​During the first year, students take several courses and seminars under the guidance of their faculty advisor, while exploring their research interests. During the second year, in consultation with a research advisor, students identify a research problem and lay the groundwork for a dissertation project. Before the end of winter term of the second year (and typically in the fall term), students undertake the Qualifying Examination, which consists of a research proposal and an oral examination. Students are also required to give a research seminar presentation, on which they will received feedback from a faculty committee of their choice. After successfully completing all portions of the qualifying examination, students select dissertation committee members, write a dissertation proposal, and meet with their committee to discuss this proposal. If their proposal is endorsed by their committee, students will be recommended for advancement to candidacy for the fall of their third year in the program.

The EEB Ph.D. program requires two terms of teaching as part of the curriculum. Through teaching, students gain experience organizing and presenting scientific material to diverse student audiences. Teaching experience is critical for anyone who chooses a scientific career, and especially for those who remain in academic positions at colleges or universities.

Ph.D. candidates complete their dissertation research under the guidance of an advisor and committee. In the final year, as research and writing are completed, candidates apply to defend their dissertation. Successful passage of the defense, and submission and acceptance of the dissertation by the Rackham Graduate School are the final steps in completion of the EEB doctoral program.

Program requirements and funding

Application deadline: December 1

What current students are doing

Correspondence and information

For general inquiries about the Ph.D. program, or applying to graduate school in EEB, please contact:

Graduate Coordinator
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
2019 Natural Science Building, 830 N. University Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1048