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Ph.D. Program

Program Goals

The Ph.D. 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 and, in consultation with their advisor, begin developing a research problem and laying the groundwork for future dissertation work. During the second year, students undertake the Preliminary Examination, which consists of a written dissertation proposal, a seminar presentation and an oral examination. After passing all portions of the qualifying examination, students are recommended for advancement to candidacy by winter of their second year or fall of their thrid year in the program.

‚ÄčThe 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.


Graduate Coordinator
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology