Twin Cities campus
 
Twin Cities Campus

Ecology, Evolution and Behavior Ph.D.

Ecology, Evolution & Behavior
College of Biological Sciences
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior Graduate Program, 140 Gortner Laboratory, 1479 Gortner Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108 (612-624-6770, fax: 612-624-6777)
  • Program Type: Doctorate
  • Requirements for this program are current for Spring 2018
  • Length of program in credits: 48
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Along with the program-specific requirements listed below, please read the General Information section of this website for requirements that apply to all major fields.
The graduate program in ecology, evolution, and behavior (EEB) links faculty and students interested in the biology of organisms from molecules to ecosystems. Studies address questions from molecular mechanisms of evolution, the interactions of organisms in social groups and populations, the distributions and abundances of species in communities and ecosystems, to global biogeochemical processes. The program provides broad training in the general areas of ecology, evolution, and animal behavior, and specialized courses and research in vertebrate and invertebrate zoology; behavior and ethology; evolution; population genetics; molecular evolution; systematics; population, community, and ecosystem ecology; global ecology; limnology; ecology of vegetation; and theoretical ecology. Opportunities for field research are available in Africa, Central America, and other parts of the world, as well as in local ecosystems, including the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve and Itasca Biological Station. Seminars and individually designed tutorials are an important part of student programs and provide an exciting intellectual environment.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
Other requirements to be completed before admission:
Courses in inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, general physics, one year of college calculus, animal biology, genetics, physiology, and plant biology are strongly recommended and provide an important background to pursue graduate work in EEB. Proficiency in a foreign language is not required but is strongly recommended for students who expect to pursue field work in a country where English is not the native language. Deficiencies must be made up early in the graduate program.
Special Application Requirements:
Students are admitted only in fall semester. Deadline for application is December 1. Refer to the EEB website for more details.
International applicants must submit score(s) from one of the following tests:
  • TOEFL
    • Internet Based - Total Score: 79
    • Internet Based - Writing Score: 21
    • Internet Based - Reading Score: 19
    • Paper Based - Total Score: 550
  • IELTS
    • Total Score: 6.5
  • MELAB
    • Final score: 80
Key to test abbreviations (TOEFL, IELTS, MELAB).
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
24 credits are required in the major.
24 thesis credits are required.
This program may be completed with a minor.
Use of 4xxx courses towards program requirements is not permitted.
A minimum GPA of 3.00 is required for students to remain in good standing.
At least 2 semesters must be completed before filing a Degree Program Form.
Significant field or laboratory experience, proficiency in using computers in research, and competence in advanced statistics are required. Students are expected to gain some appreciation of history or philosophy of science and are required to teach a minimum of two semesters at 50 percent time. Course plans are discussed and agreed upon by the student and an advisory committee of three to five faculty members.
Required courses
EEB 8201 - Graduate Foundations in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior Semester 1 (4.0 cr)
EEB 8200 - Sustainability Science Distributed Graduate Seminar (3.0 cr)
EEB 8500 - NSF GRF Graduate Research Fellowship Proposal Writing Seminar (1.0 cr)
EEB 8980 - Seminar on Current Topics (1.0-3.0 cr)
EEB 8301 - Prelim Proposal Writing Seminar (1.0 cr)
EEB 8302 - EEB Written Prelim Workshop (1.0 cr)
Quantitative course options
EEB 5042 - Quantitative Genetics (3.0 cr)
or EEB 5371 - Principles of Systematics (3.0 cr)
or STAT 5021 - Statistical Analysis (4.0 cr)
or STAT 5303 - Designing Experiments (4.0 cr)
or STAT 5302 - Applied Regression Analysis (4.0 cr)
or Student may select another course with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.
History and Philosophy of Science course options
PHIL 3601W - Scientific Thought [WI] (4.0 cr)
or PHIL 4105W - Epistemology [WI] (3.0 cr)
or PHIL 4607 - Philosophy of the Biological Sciences (3.0 cr)
or HSCI 3242 - Navigating a Darwinian World [HIS] (3.0 cr)
or HSCI 3244 - Nature's History: Science, Humans, and the Environment [HIS, ENV] (3.0 cr)
or HSCI 3815 - Making Modern Science: Atoms, Genes and Quanta [HIS, GP] (3.0-4.0 cr)
or HSCI 5401 - Ethics in Science and Technology (3.0 cr)
or HSCI 5211 - Biology and Culture in the 19th and 20th Centuries [CIV] (3.0 cr)
or HSCI 5242 - Navigating a Darwinian World (3.0 cr)
or HSCI 5244 - Nature's History: Science, Humans, and the Environment (3.0 cr)
or HSCI 8112 - Historiography of Science, Technology, and Medicine (3.0 cr)
or Student may select another course with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.
Electives
Students take additional graduate level courses to supplement their 24 total credit requirement. Elective coursework is chosen in consultation with the adviser.
Ethics requirement
The ethics requirement for doctoral students is training in four areas. The EEB graduate program has a four-session ethics seminar that is offered during the Friday noon seminar series. Students should complete all four sessions before the end of their second year.
Joint- or Dual-degree Coursework:
Joint Degree Program in Law, Health & the Life Sciences Students may take a total of 12 credits in common among the academic programs.
 
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EEB 8201 - Graduate Foundations in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior Semester 1
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Foundational knowledge in ecology, evolution, behavior. prereq: Grad student in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior
EEB 8200 - Sustainability Science Distributed Graduate Seminar
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Theories of sustainability science. Interactions between human/environmental systems. Improving present/future generations. Presentations/papers. Contemporary research from earth systems science, resource economics, institutional analysis, ecology, geography, development studies, health sciences, engineering.
EEB 8500 - NSF GRF Graduate Research Fellowship Proposal Writing Seminar
Credits: 1.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: S-N only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Prepare EEB students to submit a competitive fellowship proposal to an external organization (e.g., NSF Graduate Research Fellowship program). In addition to announced meeting time, students meet once a week in small groups to discuss proposals/provide each other with feedback. prereq: EEB grad student only
EEB 8980 - Seminar on Current Topics
Credits: 1.0 -3.0 [max 30.0]
Grading Basis: S-N only
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Current research in ecology, evolution, behavior. prereq: EEB grad student
EEB 8301 - Prelim Proposal Writing Seminar
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Grading Basis: S-N only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Learn about structure/format of research proposal under guidance of three faculty members representing fields of Ecology, Evolution/Behavior. Prepare students for writing written preliminary exam. prereq: EEB gradu Student
EEB 8302 - EEB Written Prelim Workshop
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Prerequisites: EEB grad student
Grading Basis: S-N only
Typically offered: Every Spring
Provide time for students to meet/discuss issues associated with writing written preliminary exam. Workshop sections of written preliminary exam with peers. Exam should be reviewed informally by committee/revised by student before final submission. prereq: EEB grad student
EEB 5042 - Quantitative Genetics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Fundamentals of quantitative genetics. Genetic/environmental influences on expression of quantitative traits. Approaches to characterizing genetic basis of trait variation. Processes that lead to change in quantitative traits. Applied/evolutionary aspects of quantitative genetic variation. prereq: [BIOL 4003 or GCD 3022] or instr consent; a course in statistics is recommended
EEB 5371 - Principles of Systematics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
Theoretical/practical procedures of biological systematics. Phylogeny reconstruction. Computer-assisted analyses, morphological and molecular approaches, species concepts/speciation, comparative methods, classification, historical biogeography, nomenclature, use/value of museums. prereq: Grad student or instr consent
STAT 5021 - Statistical Analysis
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Intensive introduction to statistical methods for graduate students needing statistics as a research technique. prereq: Credit will not be granted if credit has been received for: : 3011; College algebra or instr consent; Stat course recommended
STAT 5303 - Designing Experiments
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Analysis of variance. Multiple comparisons. Variance-stabilizing transformations. Contrasts. Construction/analysis of complete/incomplete block designs. Fractional factorial designs. Confounding split plots. Response surface design. prereq: 3022 or 4102 or 5021 or 5102 or instr consent
STAT 5302 - Applied Regression Analysis
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Simple, multiple, and polynomial regression. Estimation, testing, prediction. Use of graphics in regression. Stepwise and other numerical methods. Weighted least squares, nonlinear models, response surfaces. Experimental research/applications. prereq: 3022 or 4102 or 5021 or 5102 or instr consent
PHIL 3601W - Scientific Thought (WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Introduction to philosophical issues concerning the nature of scientific knowledge. Reading of historical and contemporary sources that describe major scientific achievements and controversies. prereq: One course in philosophy or natural science
PHIL 4105W - Epistemology (WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Theories of nature/sources of knowledge/evidence. prereq: 1001 or instr consent
PHIL 4607 - Philosophy of the Biological Sciences
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Structure/status of evolutionary theory. Nature of molecular biology, genetics. Reductionism in biology. Legitimacy of teleology. Species concept. prereq: Courses in [philosophy or biology] or instr consent
HSCI 3242 - Navigating a Darwinian World (HIS)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00995 - HSci 3242/HSci 5242
Typically offered: Every Fall
In this course we grapple with the impact of Darwin's theory of evolution in the scientific community and beyond. We'll examine and engage the controversies that have surrounded this theory from its inception in the 19th century through its applications in the 21st. What made Darwin a Victorian celebrity, a religious scourge, an economic sage and a scientific hero? We'll look closely at the early intellectual influences on theory development; study the changing and dynamic relationship between science and religion; and critically analyze the application of Darwin's theory to questions of human nature and behavior.
HSCI 3244 - Nature's History: Science, Humans, and the Environment (HIS, ENV)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00421 - HSci 3244/5244
Typically offered: Every Fall
We examine environmental ideas, sustainability, conservation history; critique of the human impact on nature; empire and power in the Anthropocene; how the science of ecology has developed; and modern environmental movements around the globe. Case studies include repatriation of endangered species; ecology and evolutionary theory; ecology of disease; and climate change.
HSCI 3815 - Making Modern Science: Atoms, Genes and Quanta (HIS, GP)
Credits: 3.0 -4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00979
Typically offered: Periodic Fall, Spring & Summer
How scientists like Darwin and Einstein taught us to think about nature; everything from space, time and matter to rocks, plants, and animals.
HSCI 5401 - Ethics in Science and Technology
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: HSci 3401/5401
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Historical issues involving ethics in science. Ethical problems posed by modern science/technology, including nuclear energy, chemical industry, and information technologies.
HSCI 5211 - Biology and Culture in the 19th and 20th Centuries (CIV)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: HSci 3211/5211
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Changing conceptions of life and aims and methods of biology; changing relationships between biology and the physical and social sciences; broader intellectual and cultural dimensions of developments in biology.
HSCI 5242 - Navigating a Darwinian World
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00995 - HSci 3242/HSci 5242
Typically offered: Every Spring
In this course we grapple with the impact of Darwin's theory of evolution in the scientific community and beyond. We'll examine and engage the controversies that have surrounded this theory from its inception in the 19th century through its applications in the 21st. What made Darwin a Victorian celebrity, a religious scourge, an economic sage and a scientific hero? We'll look closely at the early intellectual influences on theory development; study the changing and dynamic relationship between science and religion; and critically analyze the application of Darwin's theory to questions of human nature and behavior.
HSCI 5244 - Nature's History: Science, Humans, and the Environment
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00421 - HSci 3244/5244
Typically offered: Every Fall
We examine environmental ideas, sustainability, conservation history; critique of the human impact on nature; empire and power in the Anthropocene; how the science of ecology has developed; and modern environmental movements around the globe. Case studies include repatriation of endangered species; ecology and evolutionary theory; ecology of disease; and climate change.
HSCI 8112 - Historiography of Science, Technology, and Medicine
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Models of practice, different schools. Work of representative historians of science, technology, and medicine.