Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior Ph.D.

Degree requirements

Within the EEB Program, you choose to concentrate in one of three areas:

  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Ecology/Population Biology
  • Behavior/Physiology

Each area has a specialized set of core courses. In selecting your minimum of 29 graduate course hours, you enroll in at least two core courses from your chosen area of concentration and at least one core course from one of the other two areas.

Additional courses come from a varied and changing list of accessory graduate courses whose topics reflect current faculty and student interests and important developments in the respective fields. In consultation with your advisory committee, you tailor your formal course training to your general and specific research interests.

A weekly seminar series provides advanced students the opportunity to gain experience in presenting research talks and promotes critical thinking among students in the audience. In addition to these graduate biology courses, you receive biostatistics training through at least one graduate course in statistics.

As a first-year student, you can participate in rotations through cognate research labs during the first semester. During your second semester, you choose a lab in which to pursue Ph.D. research, assemble a faculty advisory committee, and design a preliminary research project so that you embark on a first summer research season.


Provided below are links to key resources, documents, guides, and forms to assist you in earning your EEB degree.

If you have additional questions, contact an EEB faculty member, the graduate advising office, or the EEB graduate program director.

The handbook describes the steps for EEB students as they move to degree completion, with a checklist and guides to L500/L501, journal clubs, and minors.

  1. Graduate program handbook (a comprehensive guide to the program)
  2. EEB checklist (a form to document coursework and completion of degree milestones)
  3. FAQs for BIOL-L 500/-L 501, BIOL-Z 620 journal clubs, and minors (a guide for use of independent study (L 500) and rotation (L 501) courses for credit, journal clubs for credit, and finding a minor)
  4. Form for BIOL-L 500/-L 501 (a form to document use of BIOL-L 500/-L 501 for course credit)
  5. Form for transfer credits (IU Biology’s guidelines and procedures for transfer of graduate course credits)

(B) and (D) should be stored in your individual Sharepoint folder.

University Graduate School Bulletin: Biology

You must hold an annual meeting with your advisory or research committee. Find below a guide about committee meetings and the necessary forms.

  1. FAQ for committee meetings (a guide to the mechanics of how committee meetings are run). Find an additional description in the grad program handbook.
  2. Form for committee meeting report (a template for the annual, written review of students by committees). Email completed form to the graduate advisor and EEB graduate program director.
  3. Form for Individualized Development Plan (a template for IDPs, to be completed and distributed before committee meetings).

(B) and (C) should be stored in your individual Sharepoint folder.

Each cohort has specific tasks to complete each year to move towards degree completion. The guides below provide program requirements for each cohort.

  1. First year (taking classes, forming a committee, etc.)
  2. Second year (finishing classes, taking Prelim #1, etc.)
  3. Third year (taking Prelim #2 and becoming a Ph.D. candidate, etc.)
  4. Senior students, fourth year+ (completing the dissertation)

The three major evaluations during the graduate program—prelims (part 1 and part 2) and the dissertation defense—merit their own guides. Students should, however, first consult the graduate handbook before using these supplementary guides.

  1. FAQ for preliminary exam, part 1 (FAQ and list of tips for taking the first qualifying exam, ‘general knowledge’)
  2. FAQ for preliminary exam, part 2 (FAQ and list of tips for taking the second qualifying exam, ‘research skills and proposal defense’)
  3. FAQ for finishing up (FAQ for the dissertation defense and the various logistics concerning degree completion with EEB and the University Graduate School)

Life as a graduate student involves much more than the steps towards degree completion. These guides provide useful tips for life as a graduate student.

  1. FAQ for tips for graduate school (FAQ full of great advice on being a graduate student)
  2. FAQ for mentoring guidelines (FAQ describing mentoring guidelines for students, advisors, and the program/department)
  3. FAQ for finding help (FAQ on who to turn to when challenges and problems arise); learn about IU Biology’s ombudsperson
  4. EEB ORG’s resource document (an extensive guide to life as a graduate student in EEB and beyond, maintained by EEB ORG)

Guide and forms to help you navigate times when a change is needed.

  1. FAQ for lab transfer (FAQ for when students feel a change in lab environment/advising or a change in enrollment is needed; e.g., Ph.D. to M.S.)
  2. Form for Ph.D.-to-M.S. transfer (form to be completed when students opt to change their enrollment ‘plan’ from Ph.D. to M.S.). Students must first carefully read the ‘Ph.D. to M.S. transfer’ section of the handbook.
  3. Form for withdrawal (form to be completed when students opt to withdraw from the program and university)

A guide and form to help students wishing to secure internships.

  1. FAQ for internships (FAQ to help guide students through the various logistics of securing permission for and support for internships outside of EEB)
  2. Form for internships (form for students planning to leave for an internship)

The Ph.D. minor in EEB is described in the most recent version of the UGS Graduate Bulletin. Non-EEB students wishing to receive a minor in EEB must complete the Ph.D. minor in EEB application form.

Here are some additional resources for other important aspects of life as an EEB graduate student.

  1. EEB Organization Representing Graduate Students. EEB ORG maintains an extensive resource document.
  2. University Graduate School forms (key forms must be completed by EEB students as they pass through key degree milestones)
  3. IU Biology’s graduate student portal (a starting place to find information about awards and funding, service and outreach, teaching support, GRW, life assistance, SAA-ships, bias reports, title IC, emergency contacts, etc.)
  4. IU Biology faculty + staff intranet provides resources within the IU Department of Biology as well as other key links
  5. Tips on inclusive teaching (for EEB students as instructors and students themselves, collated from CITL)