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Degree requirements


EEB students are required to participate in at least two semester-length teaching experience (½ time). Teaching assistantships are generally at the undergraduate level.


Each student works with his or her advisor to select a committee of four faculty members, with approval by the Director of Graduate Studies. This committee provides guidance and scientific expertise as they progress through the program.

Students must pass three examinations to obtain a Ph.D. degree:

  • Written Preliminary Examination: Beginning of Fall Semester, Year III
    Students must create an original research proposal in the format of a NSF Dissertation Improvement Grant (DDIG). This proposal is reviewed by three members of the EEB Graduate Faculty and evaluated in a faculty review panel.
  • Preliminary Oral Examination: Following Written Prelim, Fall Semester, Year III
    Students must defend their written preliminary proposal before with all members of their committee. Students must be prepared to field general questions designed to evaluate his or her breadth of knowledge.
  • Final Ph.D. Oral Examination
    Three members of the student’s committee serve as primary readers of the completed thesis and certify that it is ready for defense. The student must present a public research seminar and pass a private defense of the dissertation by all members of the student’s committee.
Publication of Thesis Research

Ph.D. dissertations must encompass substantial and novel research of high significance. The EEB Graduate Program encourages and enables students to publish high quality research in peer-reviewed journals as early as possible during their tenure in our program, and beyond.

EEB graduate program handbook

Look to the Ecology, Evolution and Behavior Graduate Program Handbook for details about program procedures, degree requirements, safety requirements and more.


Departmental Seminar Series

In order to help students and faculty keep pace with the rapid accumulation of new knowledge and techniques in modern biological research, Departmental Seminars are held every week during the academic year. Students often help to host speakers, and all students are encouraged to meet with visiting scientists.

Graduate Seminars

EEB graduate students and faculty present formal or informal seminars, lightning talks, and more on Friday afternoons. All faculty and students are encouraged to attend each week’s seminar, which are intended to  spark wide-ranging conversations related to current research, professional issues, and career development.

Additional resources

Forms + Information
Special Training, Related Programs and Minors
Related graduate minors

A number of centers affiliated with the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior and Graduate Minor Programs provide additional graduate education opportunities for students.

  • Microbial Ecology
    A Microbial Ecology minor offers training in an interdisciplinary research area concerned with the relationships of microorganisms to their natural environment.
  • Quaternary Paleoecology
    The Quaternary Paleoecology Group offers a minor in Quaternary Paleoecology. Faculty from five departments within the Twin Cities campus provide training for students through seminars and courses.
  • Joint Degree Program in Law, Health and the Life Sciences
    The EEB Graduate Program takes part in the Joint Degree Program in Law, Health and the Life Sciences for students interested in combining a law degree with one of a broad range of graduate and professional degrees in health and the life sciences. This program is unique in the country. It allows a number of degree combinations, one of which is Law and Ecology, Evolution and Behavior. Two applications required.
Research Affiliations