Graduate student with red tailed hawk

Graduate Programs

EEB at KU is one of the nation's top graduate programs. We offer Master of Arts (M. A.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Students can also pair their degree with a Museum Studies Certificate.

Why Should You Choose EEB at KU?

The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas seeks applications from passionate and motivated prospective graduate students. KU-EEB includes 40 faculty members and about 80 graduate students whose research focuses on three broad domains: Biodiversity and Macroevolution, Ecology and Global Change Biology, and Evolutionary Mechanisms. Our PhD program was recently ranked as on the top 10 programs in the nation by the National Research Council. If you want to see the ranking information, please request a PDF copy of this report from the Graduate Academic Advisor. We offer M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. Facilities to support graduate education and research include world-class collections in our museums, a genome sequencing core, growth chambers and greenhouses, and extensive field station land holds for establishing controlled experimental plots or for investigating non-manipulated systems.

Students receive professional preparation through a wide range of course offerings, training in proposal preparation, professional development, and a host of special seminars. Our seminar series includes presentations by leading researchers in many disciplines, and there is ample opportunity for graduate students to meet our invited guests for discussions and networking.

EEB's Record of Success

The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at KU has a long history of preparing some of the best scientists in the world for their careers. Notable graduates include Dr. Paul R. Ehrlich (Ph.D. 1957; Bing Professor of Population Studies, and President, Center for Conservation Biology, Stanford University); Dr. Pamela S. Soltis (Ph.D. 1986; Curator, Laboratory of Molecular Systematic Evolutionary Genetics, University of Florida); Dr. David Hillis (Ph.D. 1985; Alfred W. Roark Centennial Professor, Section of Integrative Biology and Center for Computational Biology and Informatics, University of Texas at Austin); Dr. Darrel Frost (Ph.D. 1988; Associate Dean of Science and Associate Curator of Herpetology, American Museum of Natural History).

EEB faculty, post-docs, and graduate students actively participate in studying ecology and evolutionary biology around the globe in such places as Antarctica, Latin America, Southeast Asia, South Africa, and the Canary Islands. In the past 5 years alone:

  • Six of our students have been recipients of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
  • Four were Madison and Lila Self Graduate Fellows,
  • Seven were trainees in the C-CHANGE IGERT program
  • One of our students was awarded the NSERC Graduate Scholarship

Recent graduate students and postdocs from KU's EEB program have started faculty positions at Louisiana State University, the University of Vermont, Colby College, Central Washington University, and Universidad Tecnológica Indoamérica.

Other awards to our graduate students include the NSF GK-12 Fellowship, Smithsonian Institution Predoctoral Fellowship, Foreign Language Area Scholarship, NSF East Asia-Pacific Summer Institutes Fellowship, KU Graduate Studies Diversity Fellowship, and the Fulbright Grant.

Professional Skills that EEB Students Develop

We expect EEB graduate students to be among the best in their field. Specifically, we expect graduate students to:

  • develop an innovative research thesis under the supervision of their faculty mentor(s)
  • write and submit grant proposals, both large- and small-scale, to aid in funding their research
  • present their research findings at regional, national, and international meetings
  • publish research papers based on their work
  • exhibit motivation and passion for doing science, along with the work ethic and organizational skills to meet professional goals
  • develop the emerging frontiers in their disciplines

We want our students to have vision beyond their degree-to ask the next, most exciting questions in the discipline, to be risk-takers in their research pursuits, and to become leaders in the field.

Two people walking in a field

Funding for Students

EEB provides a funding package, with ten semesters of support for each Ph.D. student admitted and four semesters for each M.A. student. In addition to a stipend, students are typically provided with full tuition sponsorship and gain access to other benefits including subsidized student health insurance. EEB also provides funding for students to travel to professional meetings to present the results of their research. Funds to support graduate student research are also available through departmental endowment funds.

Funding through EEB may be provided through a combination of Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) positions, Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) positions, Curatorial Assistant (CA) positions, or fellowships. Most fellowships are for the academic year while assistantships are assigned on a semester-to-semester basis. Financial support varies during the summers, but opportunities for teaching and research assistantships, departmental scholarships, and university fellowships are available on a competitive basis.

Support is contingent upon funding, satisfactory progress toward degree, satisfactory performance in job duties at KU, and, in the case of students whose native language is not English, passing a spoken English test. Any employment with the university, including appointment to graduate assistantships, is also contingent upon satisfactory completion of a background check. Prospective students should speak with their potential faculty mentor for more information regarding financial support.


Life in Lawrence and at KU

Lawrence, Kansas is a terrific place to live, with a vibrant downtown, fantastic restaurants, lively arts scene, history stretching back to the mid-1800s, and beautiful rural scenery. Whether you are an artist, a historian, a sports enthusiast, a wilderness explorer, or something else entirely, Lawrence has something to offer. The KU campus is an exciting, beautiful, invigorating environment. Lawrence has also been ranked ninth on the American Institute for Economic Research's list of best college towns.