Admission Requirements


Admission Requirements

Students must have completed at least a Bachelor's Degree. For non-native English speakers, whether international or U.S. citizens or permanent residents, proof of English proficiency, as described by the methods described on the Graduate Admissions English Proficiency Requirements page, must be demonstrated. Please note that there are multiple methods for demonstrating English proficiency as part of an application for admission.

Non-native English speakers should note that the requirements do not remove the need to check in with the Applied English Center: all non-native English speakers are required to check in at KU's Applied English Center upon arrival. Some students may be required to complete an English proficiency exam and to complete English training courses before enrollment in regular courses is allowed.

Required Application Materials

  1. Application Form: You should view the "How to Apply" page to make sure you submit a strong application. Afterwards, submit an application. Fees are due immediately after completing the application form ($65 for domestic; $85 for international).
  2. Resume/Curriculum Vitae: This document can be uploaded when submitting the application form.
  3. Statement: The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) seeks diverse applicants with a variety of personal experiences that are motivated by a strong interest in ecological and evolutionary research. We ask you to reflect on your experience and preparation by providing us with two statements: a) a statement of purpose in pursuing graduate education, and b) a personal statement to help us understand your background and personality. These two statements allow the committee to learn more about you as both a scientist and an individual. Please keep the two combined statements to a total length of about 3 pages, single spaced, 12-point font.
    • Statement  of purpose in pursuing graduate education: Please provide a description of your overall scientific interests, the questions that motivate and inspire you, and explain how EEB is a good fit for developing your career. Please name your prospective faculty mentor(s) at KU or your prospective rotation mentors (if you are applying for the Ph.D. program and you intend to do rotations prior to choosing a faculty mentor) and explain why you seek to be mentored by them. If you have previous research experience, provide an explanation of what that research entailed, including the questions you were focused on answering, how you went about addressing them, and the broader significance of the work. A description of how your previous research influenced you as a scientist is more helpful than a list of previous experiences. We are aware that there is variation in how much opportunity prospective students have to perform prior research. Therefore, it is important to explain what motivates you intellectually as a scientist.
    • Personal statement: This statement is used by the admissions committee to learn more about you as a person and as a potential future colleague. Please describe how your personal background has influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree. For example, you may discuss any educational, economic, cultural or social experiences that shape you as a candidate. The admissions committee recognizes that access to opportunity varies, so feel free to discuss any challenges you have experienced, which can include any hardships due to your life circumstances or scientific challenges you’ve overcome with regards to your previous research experience. Not everyone will have experienced challenges, so you do not need to discuss this if you do not feel it is relevant, but can instead focus on your life experiences that have shaped your interest in pursuing a graduate education. Overall, please indicate how you hope to contribute to EEB as a colleague and to broader society as a scientist.
  4. Letters of Recommendation: Letters of recommendation play an important role in the admissions decision. They provide useful context and perspective about the applicant to the admissions committee, addressing topics like academic ability, work ethic, creativity, leadership, relevant experience, and capacity for doing independent research.  Select three individuals well qualified to write letters of recommendation that most fully speak to your potential to succeed in graduate school. Ideally, at least two of these recommenders can directly address your abilities as a student and scholar as well as your potential as an independent researcher. A sample letter of recommendation is also available upon request to the Graduate Academic Advisor.
    Applicants will provide the email addresses of the letter writers on their application for admission, and KU will contact the letter writers to request the recommendations. Letters of recommendation from prospective KU faculty mentors are not admissible unless the KU faculty member previously served as the applicant’s primary research mentor.
  5. Transcripts: One set of academic transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended must be uploaded with the application form. Uploaded transcripts should be scanned versions of official transcripts issued by the institutions attended. Please note that advising forms do not fulfill the transcript requirement. Transcripts in a language other than English must be accompanied by English translations. You may be admitted with the transcripts you uploaded to the application; however, Graduate Admissions must receive your official, final transcript–sent directly from your institution in a sealed envelope or through an electronic delivery service before you will be permitted to enroll for your second semester. The official, final transcript must show that a degree has been conferred.
  6. GRE Scores: Students who apply to our graduate program are no longer required to submit GRE scores. Applicants who have already taken the GRE are welcome to submit their scores and they will be considered if the scores reflect well on them. However, the GRE is not required and not submitting them will not reduce an applicant’s chance of being admitted to the EEB graduate program.
  7. Minimum GPA:  EEB does not have a minimum GPA as a prerequisite for admission consideration. Students should submit a GPA as part of their admission application, but EEB does not have a minimum required GPA for admission consideration.
  8. Proof of English Proficiency (for non-native English speakers only): An official TOEFL or IELTS score report should be sent directly from the agency that administered the exam. KU English Proficiency requirements as well as alternate means of satisfying the requirement can be found on the Graduate Admissions English Proficiency page. (Institution code 6871; Dept. code 0207).

Optional Materials

  1. A master's degree is not a prerequisite for entering a Ph.D. program
  2. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are not required for your application. You may choose to submit GRE scores if you feel they help inform your academic abilities.  However, choosing not to submit scores will not affect your chances of admission.

General Process

The departmental graduate admissions committee reviews the record of each applicant. The committee considers the candidate's overall undergraduate record in the context of the institution(s) from which the record was received, as are faculty recommendations, honors, awards, undergraduate research experience, publications, and professional experience. The student's academic record in the specialization, motivation, enthusiasm, and realistic career goals as evidenced by the applicant's statements of purpose and personal statement are also important.

The number of students admitted is limited. Qualified candidates may be denied admission because of lack of a faculty sponsor, financial support, or research facilities.

    There are two paths for being admitted and entering a laboratory for graduate study in EEB. The most common path is through direct admission to a single faculty laboratory. However, if you are unsure about joining the lab of a single faculty member, and if you are applying for the Ph.D. program, you may instead do laboratory rotations in two to three labs prior to entering just one.

    Whether seeking direct entrance into a lab or a rotation, students are encouraged to seek a faculty sponsor through correspondence with one or more faculty members prior or during the application process. If students would prefer to do rotations with two or three faculty members in their first year, they should indicate a general field of interest and a short list of prospective faculty mentors on their application.

    Below are some possible rotation themes. We provide them simply as examples and you should feel free on your application to identify your own set of faculty whose research interests you.

    Example Rotation Themes:

    • Vertebrate Systematics: Richard Glor, Rafe Brown, Town Peterson, Leo Smith, Rob Moyle, Jocelyn Colella
    • Plant-Genotype Phenotype: Lena Hileman, John Kelly, Maggie Wagner
    • Insect Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics: Jenny Gleason, Justin Blumenstiel, Jamie Walters, Rob Unckless (MB Affiliate)
    • Disease Ecology: Folashade Agusto, Maria Orive, Town Peterson
    • Plant-Microbe Interactions: Maggie Wagner, Jim Bever, Ben Sikes

    Admitted students with one faculty sponsor have historically been provided a financial support package that includes a stipend and tuition sponsorship from a combination of teaching assistantships and research assistantships financed by faculty grants. Rotation students will be supported either through a teaching assistantship or a combination of teaching assistantship and research assistantship supported by the faculty rotation cohort in the first year. This will be determined on a case-by-case basis. A financial support plan for rotation students will be provided once the student finds a suitable mentor.

    • Must have completed a Bachelor's degree
    • Must have a minimum undergraduate Grade Point Average of 2.0 on a 4-point scale
    • Proof of English proficiency as outlined under "University Requirements."
    • Instructor permission prior to enrolling in classes