The EBIO department offers programs leading to the Master of Arts (MA) degree in a wide variety of biological disciplines, ranging from biogeochemistry to community ecology to evolutionary genetics and others. Modern laboratory facilities for graduate study are located in the Ramaley building. In addition, the department has strong ties with the University Museum, the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), the Institute of Behavioral Genetics (IBG), the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), the Environmental Studies Program (ENVS) and the Departments of Integrative Physiology, Geology, Geography, Anthropology and Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. INSTAAR operates the Mountain Research Station, an alpine field laboratory 25 miles from campus. Graduate student support is available in the form of fellowships, part-time instructorships, teaching assistantships, research assistantships and research grants.
Admission information is provided on the EBIO website. Foreign applications are due by Dec. 1, and U.S. domestic applications by Dec. 31 for consideration for admission during the subsequent academic year. A completed domestic application includes a statement of intent, three letters of recommendation, official transcripts and scores on the GRE General Test. Applicants are encouraged to communicate with potential faculty sponsors well before the application deadline. Applications for spring semester admission are not accepted. Students are required to have a bachelor's degree in biology or an equivalent.
Concurrent Degree Program
BA/MA in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
A combined bachelor's (BA) and master's (MA) degree with thesis is offered for highly motivated undergraduate students. The BA/MA program allows students to take advanced courses at an accelerated pace, engage in an independent research project and obtain both degrees in five years. In addition to preparing graduates for additional graduate study or medical school, the program is expected to position them for employment in areas such as environmental consulting, teaching at the high school or community college level or by businesses with an environmental or biomedical emphasis. Applications from sophomores and juniors for the BA/MA degree are considered on a competitive basis. Applicants must have an overall GPA of 3.00 or higher in the EBIO major and the support of a faculty research advisor. Applications are available from the EBIO graduate coordinator, and are due on Oct. 15 and March 15.
Candidates for this degree must complete all college core requirements by the end of the senior year. To be awarded both BA and MA degrees, a student must maintain a GPA of 3.00 or better and complete at least 144 credit hours. The BA/MA program requires 24 hours of graduate credit at the 5000 level or above, and 4–6 hours of thesis credit. In addition to writing a thesis based on original research, students are examined by their thesis committee in the fifth year on general knowledge in ecology and/or evolutionary biology. The final examination consists of a defense of the thesis before the committee; it should be scheduled by the end of the fifth year.
Students interested in this program are encouraged to consult with the EBIO associate chair for graduate studies early in their undergraduate career. No financial support is available from the department for students enrolled in this program.
Plan I: Thesis Option
The EBIO MA I program (with thesis) is intended to be a two year course of study that prepares students for admission to PhD programs, teaching positions or a variety of forms of employment as professional biologists. MA I students' studies are focused on a research project culminating in a thesis. Prospective students are urged to consult with faculty advisors to determine whether application for the MA I or PhD program is more appropriate. Applications for the MA I program are considered on a competitive basis; the department only admits students for whom financial support is available. Thirty credit hours of coursework are required for the degree, at least 24 of which must be at the 5000 level or above, including 4–6 hours of thesis credit. The thesis topic is presented to the thesis committee as a written research proposal in the second semester of the program, and the committee administers in the third semester an examination on general knowledge in ecology and/or evolutionary biology. The final examination consists of the thesis defense, which should be scheduled during the second year for full-time students.
Plan II: Non-Thesis Option
A non-thesis master's degree is offered through the EBIO department's MA II program for students interested in furthering their knowledge of ecology and/or evolutionary biology but not in graduate training beyond the MA. This program is suitable for secondary school teachers and others whose career choices do not require a research thesis. Applicants are required to attain sponsorship from a faculty member prior to submitting application materials. Applicants are considered on a competitive basis; financial support is not guaranteed for MA II students. Thirty credit hours of coursework are required for the degree, at least 24 of which must be at the 5000 level or above, including 4 credit hours of independent research leading to a paper to be presented to the faculty sponsor. An examination on general knowledge in ecology and/or evolutionary biology is administered by the advisory committee in the third semester, and this committee may also require a final oral examination.