The EEB major is designed to provide students with core disciplinary training while giving them the flexibility of interdisciplinary electives to meet their academic goals. Experiential learning through field trips is a hallmark of our program, allowing students to study the major terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems of an ecoregion.

Learning Outcomes

All students will demonstrate

  • A mastery of the required coursework
  • An understanding of the central issues and current research in the discipline
  • Breadth and depth of knowledge in the discipline
  • An ability to publish research results in peer-reviewed journals
  • An awareness of the societal and ethical issues surrounding the discipline

Curriculum Requirements

Master of Science (MS)

Degree requirements: 30 credits | Time-to-degree: 3 years or less

  • Conceptual Foundations in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB 511) - 4 credits
  • Field Trip (EEB 585A/B) or Organization for Tropical Studies course - 2 credits
  • 'Ecology' or 'evolutionary biology' course - 3 credits
  • Seminar (EEB 698) - 1 credit
  • Statistics/quantitative methods course - 3 credits
  • Thesis research - 10 credits
  • Elective courses/additional research - 7 credits

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree requirements: 72 credits | Time-to-degree: 5 years or less

  • Conceptual Foundations in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB 511) - 4 credits
  • 'Ecology' and 'evolutionary biology' courses (6 credits)
  • Field Trip (EEB 585A/B) or Organization for Tropical Studies course - 2 credits
  • Seminar (EEB 698) - 2 credits
  • Statistics/quantitative methods course (3 credits)
  • Dissertation research - variable credits*
  • Elective courses/additional research (credits as needed)

*No established minimum; at discretion of POS Committee and student.

Approved 'Ecology' and 'Evolutionary Biology' Courses


  • Advanced Community Ecology (EEOB 585)
  • Advanced Ecosystem Ecology (EEOB 584)
  • Behavioral Ecology (A ECL 551)
  • Conservation Biology (EEOB 531)
  • Evolutionary and Ecological Genomics (EEOB 561)
  • Functional Ecology (EEOB 576)
  • Insect Ecology (ENT 571)
  • Microbial Ecology (EEOB 587)
  • Population Ecology (EEOB 589)
  • Restoration Ecology (EEOB 535)
  • Wetland Ecology (EEOB 564)

Evolutionary Biology

  • Advanced Animal Behavior (EEOB 507)
  • Advanced Systematics (EEOB 568)
  • Agrostology (EEOB 553)
  • Biogeography (EEOB 569)
  • Empirical Population Genetics (EEOB 567)
  • Evolutionary and Ecological Genomics (EEOB 561)
  • Evolutionary Genetics (EEOB 562)
  • Life History and Reproductive Strategies (EEOB 514)
  • Molecular Evolution (EEOB 566)
  • Molecular Phylogenetics (EEOB 563)

MS students may also use the following courses to meet the 'ecology' or 'evolutionary biology' requirement:

  • Foundations of Theoretical Ecology and Evolution (EEOB 578)
  • Morphometric Analysis (EEOB 565)
  • Systematic Entomology (ENT 576)


Fall 2017

EEB 698: An exploration of the history of and attitudes about water use in the USA

Spring 2018

EEB 698: Insect Systematics and Evolution

Field Trip

The field trip (EEB 585A and 585B) provides students an opportunity to study the major terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems of an ecoregion and gain hands-on field experience. Trips are offered once per academic year and range from 10-14 days. Depending upon the destination, the trip may be offered during winter break, spring break, or the summer.

Participants enrolled in the course meet regularly through the semester (or the semester prior) to plan the trip and discuss the topic of study. In addition to the trip fee, a written report is required. The course is worth two credits. Students may enroll in the course more than once, if space is available.

Fall 2017

Option 1: South Africa (EEB 585A/B)

Travel dates: November 12-25 | Trip leaders: Bill Graves | Cost: $2500-3500

Tentative plans include world-renowned national parks and botanical gardens, plus diverse terrestrial and aquatic wildlife, rich human history and culture, vineyards, museums, island ecology, and fynbos vegetation. The trip will be in two phases, northern (Johannesburg region) and southern (Cape Town, Stellenbosch, and east along the Garden Route) South Africa, with a scenic train ride in between.

Option 2: Agroecosystems Analysis (SUSAG 509)

Travel dates: Week before classes begin | Trip leaders: Matt Liebman and John Tyndall | Cost: $400

This full semester, 4 credit course offers experiential, interdisciplinary examination of Midwestern agricultural and food systems, emphasizing field visits and classroom activities. The course focuses on understanding multiple elements, perspectives (agronomic, economic, ecological, social, etc), and scales of operation.

Past Trips

Baja California - Colorado - Costa Rica - Desert Southwest - Great Lakes - Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem - Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve - Mississippi River Coast - Northern Great Plains Prairie and Wetlands - Pacific Northwest - Sonoran Desert - Southern Appalachian Mountains - Southern Prairies and Wetlands