University General Course Catalog 2020-2021 
    Dec 01, 2023  

Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology, Ph.D.

The Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology program is a research-based interdisciplinary graduate program leading to a doctor of philosophy degree. The program consists of faculty from the College of Science, College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources, and the Desert Research Institute.
The program promotes education in theoretical, experimental, and applied aspects of ecology, evolution and conservation biology. The overarching goal of the program is to produce Ph.D. level scientists with the best technical skills and place them in superior positions in academia, government, and the private sector. Students examine the ecology, evolution and conservation biology of organisms and ecosystem processes of the Great Basin, the Sierra Nevada and throughout the world. Student research encompasses a broad range of biological techniques and levels of ecological complexity, including investigations of individual organisms, populations, species, communities and ecosystems.

Contact Information

Lee Dyer, Graduate Program Director

Department Office:
147 Fleischmann Agriculture

Program Objectives/Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will understand the theoretical and empirical basis of ecology, evolution, conservation biology, and related fields.
  • Students will obtain knowledge of the application of computer tools, conceptual and analytical models, data analysis techniques, and field and laboratory procedures.
  • Students will develop an ability to articulate scientific concepts and results in written, graphical, and verbal formats.
  • Graduates will secure positions in their field upon graduation.

Admission Requirements

Students who seek admission to the program should have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0, a TOEFL score of 600 (for international students) and should have completed the following course requirements:  biology course work (24 credits, ideally including genetics, evolution, and ecology), or equivalent evidence of ability to succeed in a doctoral program in ecology, evolution and conservation biology, as well as course work (18 credits) in other physical or environmental sciences, math, or chemistry. Each student must have a temporary advisor among the EECB faculty before they are accepted into the EECB Program. Within the first academic year, an advisory committee and major professor must be chosen, and the first committee meeting held.

I. Program Requirements

A. Comprehensive Exam

Students will be required to pass a comprehensive written and oral examination. After the written examination is completed, the student’s oral exam will be conducted by the student’s advisory/examining committee.

B. Teaching and Research

Students spend a minimum of two semesters teaching an undergraduate laboratory or lecture course, and complete a rigorous program that includes the writing of a dissertation.

C. Required Core Curriculum

II. Total Units

Candidates for the doctoral degree must satisfy all the general requirements of the Graduate School and complete a minimum of 72 units, which include the following: 24 units of research and dissertation, 18 units of electives, 1 unit of which will be comprehensive examination, 16 units of lecture courses, 12 units of core curriculum and two units of seminar. The comprehensive examination may not be used to fulfill the required 30 units of 700-level course work.


Graduate teaching and research assistantships for the Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology program are available on a competitive basis.

Undergraduate Prerequisites

See Admission Requirements.