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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 give students the foundation to continue in the U-M Ph.D. program 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 U.S. citizens, permanent residents or undocumented students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA).

And meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Come from an educational, cultural or geographic background that is underrepresented in the field of ecology and evolutionary biology in the U.S. or at the University of Michigan
  • Have demonstrated a sustained commitment to diversity in the academic, professional, or civic realm through their work experience, volunteer engagement, or leadership of student or community organizations. By commitment to diversity, we mean efforts in the U.S. to reduce social, educational or economic disparities based on race, ethnicity or gender, or to improve race relations in the U.S.;
  • Have experienced financial hardship as a result of family economic circumstances;
  • Are first-generation U.S. citizens or are the first generation in their families to graduate from a four-year college

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 in our Ph.D. program and beyond.

Students get a jump start on graduate studies through a summer program at the beginning, which includes exposure to field studies and laboratory research. 

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.

Elizabeth Feliciano
Elizabeth Feliciano became interested in science at an early age when, not surprisingly, her favorite television show was “The Magic School Bus,” where she learned about the world with the eccentric teacher, Ms. Frizzle, and her elementary students.

Since then, her research interests have turned to fungi, the focus of her current research.  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 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

Ready to learn more?

View our frequently asked questions page for more information on funding, prerequisites, TOEFL scores, and more. 

Reach out with questions about the Frontiers program, Ph.D. program, or applying to graduate school in EEB:

Graduate Coordinator
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
1105 North University Ave, 2220 Biological Sciences Building
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1085