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 students 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, Environmental Health) 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.

EBE graduate students typically begin research in their first year and PhD students present their research plans and findings annually to their dissertation committee for review and advice. In their second year, PhD 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.

Interested in applying to our graduate program? 

All applicants should review the application procedures listed on our apply page. MS applicants please note that we anticipate limited space available in the Fall 2023 Marine Semester; those applying for the MS with coursework or scholarly paper tracks should plan alternate fall courses or delay application to a future year. 

EBE applicants interested in applying to our MS (Coursework Track or Scholarly Paper Track) do not need to contact faculty before applying. 

EBE applicants interested in applying for our PhD or MS (Research Track) require that you have a professor who is willing to accept you into his/her/their lab. We strongly recommend that you contact professors with whom you are interested in working before you apply to the EBE graduate program. Below are guidelines on how to contact professors via e-mail. 

  1. Locate current research projects and contact information for professors in EBE who are currently accepting students (see below).
  2. Compose an e-mail to the faculty member/s you are interested in working with that includes the following: 
    • Your research interests and how they align with the research of the faculty member (1-2 sentences).
    • Your previous research experience (2-3 sentences). 
    • A new idea you might like to pursue while working with the lab you are contacting. This research idea should be consistent with the lab’s current research capabilities and demonstrate some degree of familiarity with the field (2-3 sentences).
    • Responses should be as text in e-mail, not as an attachment. However, please attach your resume/curriculum vitae to your e-mail.

List of EBE faculty currently accepting PhD students for Fall 2023:

List of EBE faculty currently accepting MS students for Fall 2023:

Visit our EBE Research page for a list of all of the EBE faculty.