Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

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(updated 9/10/13) Applications for admission to the M.S. and Ph.D. programs in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology (EEB) are accepted once a year. The deadline for receipt of all application materials is 1 January for those applicants wishing to enroll in the fall or spring semester of the following academic year. Please note that EEB’s departmental deadline is earlier than the deadlines published on the Graduate Admissions website.

We place a premium on substantial prior research experience, along with an academic background consistent with a bachelor’s degree in one of the life sciences. Some applicants may be deficient in some areas of ecology and evolutionary biology. However, ecology and evolutionary biology are diverse fields, so there is no explicit set of courses required, and particular potential advisers may be willing to advise highly qualified applicants from a variety of educational backgrounds.

In general, applicants are expected to have an overall undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 point scale, and 3.0 or above for all science and mathematics courses. Successful applicants will usually have GPAs well above these minima. In addition, applicants are required to submit scores from the general Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and successful applicants will usually score in the 80th percentile or higher on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical sections of the GRE. Successful applicants typically have research experience as an undergraduate, or have completed a Masters thesis in an appropriate field. Please note that these EEB requirements are more restrictive than those published on the Graduate Admissions page.

Applicants whose native language is not English must submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Please see the Graduate Admissions Requirements for minimum required scores.

Applicants are expected to make direct contact with potential research advisers prior to submitting an application. In general, only those applicants for whom at least one potential research adviser (thesis or dissertation) has been identified will be accepted.

Application ProceduresFieldwork in Hawaii

All application materials should be submitted through the Graduate School. Please visit the Graduate Admissions Application website for more information. International students should also view the information on the Graduate International Students page.

EEB has more application requirements than the Graduate School, but all departmental forms are available in the Graduate School’s online application system. The additional departmental requirements include:

  • Letters of Recommendation
    EEB requires letters of recommendation from each of three individuals qualified to assess the applicant’s potential as a graduate student. These individuals will usually have known the applicant in an academic capacity, such as a previous academic adviser, or as the undergraduate or graduate research adviser.
  • GRE scores
    Self-reported test scores are acceptable during the evaluation process, but official test scores will be required before an offer of admission can be made.
  • Departmental Application, which includes
    • Mentor Selection
    • Scholarships, Fellowships, Honors and/or Awards Received
    • Fellowships Applied For
    • Professional Goals
    • Independent Research Experience(s)
    • Publication(s)

The online application is long and has several parts. Once you start your application, you can save your work and log in later to finish. Please click here to view the full application (subject to change without notice).

While EEB’s application deadline is January 1, we highly recommend that applicants submit materials substantially earlier. We must consider an application to be incomplete until ALL application materials have been received, including letters of recommendation. It is the responsibility of applicants to see to it that their application is complete.

If you need help with the online application, please contact the Graduate Admissions Staff assigned to EEB. For other questions, please contact Dr. Paul Armsworth, Chair of the Graduate Admissions Committee, p.armsworth@utk.edu.

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