Graduate students in the Ecology, Behavior & Evolution (EBE) program study a broad diversity of organisms and ecosystems, and employ a wide range of methods in studies of both basic and applied questions. Student research is often highly integrative and typically includes both laboratory and field-based components. Students conduct field research both in New England and in varied field sites around the globe. Our faculty have significant strengths in areas such as animal behavior, ecosystem ecology, molecular ecology and evolution, and tropical ecology. Because of the diversity of interests represented, students are generally accepted into the PhD program to work with a specific faculty member. Prospective students are thus strongly encouraged to explore the research interests of our faculty and then directly contact those professors with whom they might like to work, in addition to submitting an application to the graduate school.
The graduate curriculum for EBE PhD students, comprising a total of eight courses (or four for students who already hold a master’s degree), is highly flexible and is customized to the needs and interests of the individual student. Graduate-level courses in Biology as well as many other departments (e.g., Earth & Environment, Statistics, Bioinformatics, Biogeoscience) are available to students, as are courses at a number of other universities in the Boston area. A broad sampling of current research is presented by visiting speakers during the weekly EBE seminar series. Graduate student support comes from a combination of teaching fellowships and grant-supported research assistantships.
EBE graduate students typically begin research in their first year and present their research plans and findings annually to their dissertation committee for review and advice. In their second year, students take written and oral qualifying exams testing their depth of knowledge in their specific field of study as well as their understanding of ecology, behavior, and evolution more broadly. Check the list of recent dissertations and publications to see the range of topics addressed by EBE students.