The University of Chicago | Graduate Admissions

Department of Ecology and Evolution (E&E) - PhD

Division: Biological Sciences
Degree Type: PhD

Program Description

The Department of Ecology and Evolution (E&E) provides training for research and teaching in the ecology, evolution, and behavior of whole organisms, primarily at the level of the organism, the population, and the ecosystem. The research interests of our faculty include molecular evolution, population genetics, quantitative genetics, animal behavior, plant and animal ecology, evolutionary theory, systematics, paleontology, and related subjects. Individual levels of study range from molecules to communities. A common theme is the conduct of studies in a rigorous quantitative and conceptual context, and all faculty share an interest in the architecture of populations, species, and communities. The Department stresses scientific breadth and the interrelations between various specialized fields. Many students in the Department of Ecology and Evolution participate in interdepartmental programs in genetics, cell biology, developmental biology, population biology, and evolutionary biology. In these programs, dissertation research may be cosponsored by faculty from different departments. The Department manages the University of Chicago's Greenhouse, which is located in the Biological Sciences Learning Center, and the developing Warren Woods Ecological Field Station, in southwest Michigan. Collaboration is also maintained with the Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium for students interested in research in systematics, taxonomy, and evolutionary biology; with the Brookfield Zoo for basic research in conservation and behavior involving zoo animals; and Argonne National Laboratory for the study of microbial metagenomics and terrestrial ecosystems.

Explore program faculty »


  • Alison Anastasio
    Manager of Graduate Research, Education, and Outreach
  • Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy
  • 1027 E 57th St, Chicago, IL 60637
  • Phone: 773.702.8391
  • Ecology & Evolution:
  • Website:

Application Method

Applications should be initiated through the online application.


Deadline for admissions and financial aid: December 1

Campus Visits

The Department invites outstanding applicants to visit with the faculty in February. You are strongly encouraged to get in contact with faculty who share your research interests before or concurrently with the submission of your application.

Degree Objective

Ecology & Evolution admits applicants only for the PhD degree.

Application Requirements

  1. Online Application Form
  2. Application Fee
  3. Transcripts: Transcripts from all institutions attended after high school should be uploaded with the application.
  4. References: Three letters of recommendation from college or university professors who know the applicant's work well. Individuals who have been away from school for several years may submit recommendations from their employers.
  5. Graduate Record Examination scores: We require the GRE general test scores; subject tests will be considered but are optional. The University’s GRE code is 1832.


Admissions Decisions

Admissions decisions are emailed in early March.

Program Requirements

E&E graduate students are required to take one course in three of the five following areas during their first year: (1) evolution, (2) genetics, (3) ecology, (4) behavior, and (5) development. The contents of each student's first-year oral General Knowledge Examination will be based upon materials covered in the courses recommended to the student by the student advisory committee.

The general goals of the second year of residence in the Department of Ecology & Evolution involve the acquisition of requisite knowledge and skills for the preparation for the PhD proposal, preliminary research necessary for the proposal, and beginning participation in the diverse seminar and laboratory discussion groups active in the fields of Ecology and Evolution.

A dissertation proposal will be written, presented, and defended no later than the Spring Quarter of the second year of residence in Ecology and Evolution.

Costs & Financial Aid

The Division of Biological Sciences offers academically qualified applicants complete and equitable support. Students in good academic standing are guaranteed an initial five years of support, which includes full tuition, health insurance, and a living stipend. The graduate stipend is competitive with awards offered at comparable institutions, is established at a level affording a reasonable local standard of living, and is adjusted annually to keep pace with increases in the cost of living. 

E&E encourages all its eligible students to apply for outside funding, including the NSF pre-doctoral fellowship.