Evolution, Ecology & Organismal Biology

Physiology Student working in lab

The program offers both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology. 

The Ph.D. Program

The Ph.D. degree requires demonstration of broad knowledge of Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and/or Organismal Biology, and substantive ability and accomplishment in original research. Summary information about the specific requirements for successful completion of the degree  is outlined below and more detailed information can be found by following the appropriate links below and in the EEOB Graduate Program Handbook:

  Please refer to EEOB Graduate Student Handbook (on the page "Information for current students") for more information

Required Course(s)

1. EEOB 400 (Introduction to Graduate Studies)
2. One Foundational Course in Evolution (EEOB 216), Ecology (EEOB 211)
    or Organismal Biology (EEOB 210)
3. One additional 4-unit graduate course from an approved list

Current Research Topics Courses

BIOL 252 and EEOB 265 (minimum of 12 quarters in each)

First-year research project

To be presented in EEOB 265 in Fall quarter of student's second year Format as a "Contributed Presentation"

Written Qualifying Exam

Can be submitted any quarter, but must be completed by spring of year 2 Format as a "Synthetic Review"

Written Qualifying Exam Evaluation

Evaluated by a standing committee of EEOB faculty members with ad hoc review as necessary

Oral Qualifying Exam

Usually in the fall quarter of the third year

 Teaching Requirement

Minimum of three quarters as a Teaching Assistant


Final Defense and Written Dissertation are required



Time to completion

Students are strongly encouraged to complete the requirements within five years. During the first two years, emphasis is on course work and reading as well as initial research in preparation for Written and Oral qualifying examinations. The final two or three years are devoted primarily to research and to the writing and defense of the Dissertation. There is no foreign language requirement for the Ph.D.


Qualifying Procedure

Students meet with their guidance committee as soon as possible in their initial quarter of study. The guidance committee is assigned by the Graduate Advisor for Recruitment on the basis of your perceived interests indicated in your statement of purpose provided with your application. The committee works with you to design an appropriate academic course of study for your degree plan and helps you select an appropriate major professor.

The Ph.D. qualifying procedure requires satisfactory completion of the written qualifying examination, preparation of a research proposal, and an oral qualifying examination. The written qualifying examination is a comprehensive examination in the field of specialization. It is normally taken in the student's sixth quarter of residence. The Oral Examination is conducted by the student's Qualifying Committee and may cover any material relevant to the interest and goals of the student, especially those in the student's area of research specialization. Work on the proposal and preliminary experiments may begin at any time but the final proposal should be submitted before the beginning of the third year. After successful completion of the Oral Examination, the student is advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. and the Dissertation Committee is formally appointed.


The Dissertation

The format of the dissertation is somewhat flexible (e.g., it may be a formally prepared 'stand-alone' document or a collection of autonomous research papers with appropriate introductory and summary sections), but must meet with the approval of the Graduate Division and the Dissertation Committee. It is the responsibility of this Committee to decide when data of sufficient quality and quantity have been gathered to demonstrate proficiency in independent research. The final Oral Examination includes a public formal presentation (seminar) on the dissertation research followed by a question period. Once the Committee is satisfied with the dissertation, and it is filed with the Graduate Division, all requirements for the Ph.D. will have been met.

For more information please refer to the EEOB Graduate Program Handbook


The Master of Science Program

The UCR Biology Department EEOB program offers a Master's Degree based on research; we do not offer a 'coursework' M.S. degree.

Students accepted into the M.S. program should, in the first year, take basic course work in Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, or Organismal Biology and also plan and begin a research project. By the end of the second quarter, the student should select a faculty research sponsor and prepare a brief description of the proposed research. The general expectations and/or requirements include:

Research should be initiated by the third quarter, and students should register for Biology 297, Directed Research.

Twenty-four units of course work in graduate courses (200 series) in biological sciences, of which at least 12 must be courses other than 290-299. The remaining 12 units can be taken either in the 100 or 200 series.

Enrollment is expected in Biology 252 seminar and the 265 "lunch bunch" for all students during the Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters.

It is generally advisable to concentrate on formal course work during the first year and on research in the second year.

Thesis preparation should begin no later than the beginning of spring quarter in the second year.

Presentation of an acceptable thesis and final oral defense of theses are required of every candidate for the M.S. degree.

Please be aware MS students are self-funded and are not eligible for financial support.

Progress Evaluation

For both M.S. and Ph.D. students, evaluations of progress are carried out each year by the faculty of each specialization, or a committee thereof. All evaluations are reviewed by the Graduate Advisory Committee which is responsible for making specific recommendations to the Graduate Division concerning the student's progress. It is also the responsibility of the Graduate Advisory Committee to recommend exceptions to the normal time schedule occasioned by unusual circumstances. The student is notified in writing of the results of the annual evaluation and a copy is forwarded to the Graduate Division.

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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Department Information

Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology (EEOB)
2710 Life Sciences Bldg.

Tel: (951) 827-5903
Fax: (951) 827-4286
E-mail: bnnadmin@ucr.edu

Graduate Program
1140 Batchelor Hall
Tel: (951) 827-4116
Fax: (951) 827-5517
E-mail: eeobgrad@ucr.edu