Graduate Program

Welcome to the graduate program in EEB at Yale University

The Ecology and Evolutionary Biology graduate program has a long tradition of training exceptional ecologists and evolutionary biologists. Our program is small, but provides outstanding opportunities for our students to grow and expand as scientists and instructors. We provide our students with the intellectual and financial support required to produce world class scientists, educators, and professionals.

The Ecology and Evolutionary Biology graduate program offers integrated training programs in ecology and evolutionary biology. EEB focuses on developing a deep understanding of study systems to generate and test questions fundamental to 21st century advances in ecology and evolutionary biology. The research interests of the faculty span multiple levels of biological organization, from the origins of novel molecular function to the study of global interaction between climatic and biotic change.

The Ph.D. Program in EEB

Faculty with primary appointments in EEB

Graduate students in EEB

Ph.D. requirements

Graduate student guide

How to Apply

Applications to the EEB graduate program are submitted through the Yale University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The Graduate School provides extensive information on the application process, making your decision about admission, and questions for incoming students.  

Please specify Ecology and Evolutionary Biology as the program of study when applying.

It is particularly important to contact potential faculty advisors in EEB before applying to the EEB graduate program. 

Key dates and deadlines:

15 December (midnight EST) is the deadline for submitting an application to the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Selected prospective students will be invited to visit EEB and Yale in early February.

15 April is the deadline for accepting or declining an offer to attend Yale University for graduate studies

Please follow this link for advice and FAQs related to applying to the EEB graduate program. 

Yale Graduate Students Policies & Procedures:  

“Students are reminded that the policies of the Graduate School must be followed.  Any questions regarding these policies should be addressed to your assistant or associate dean.”

The link to the Policies webpage is here:  http://www.yale.edu/printer/bulletin/htmlfiles/grad/index.html

The link to the actual Programs & Policies handbook is here: http://gsas.yale.edu/academics/programs-policies

Resources

In addition to the faculty with primary appointments in EEB, graduate students have access to a vast array of facilities and laboratories. Special resources include:

Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies (YIBS)

YIBS Center for Earth Observation 

YIBS Earth System Center for Stable Isotope Studies

YIBS Molecular Systematics and Conservation Genetics Laboratory Center

YIBS Small grants program (research grants for graduate students research)

Peabody Museum of Natural History 

Yale Natural Lands

Marsh Botanical Gardens and Greenhouses 

Yale’s McDougal Graduate Student Center lists resources for Yale grad students and the New Haven area in general.

Courses

Advanced Topics in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology [Grad] (E&EB 500)

Topics to be announced. Graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory.

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Fall
Day/Time: M 2:00 - 4:00

Advanced Topics in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology [Grad] (E&EB 501)

Topics to be announced. Graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory.

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring
Day/Time: M 2.30-4.30

Conservation Biology [Grad] (E&EB 515)

An introduction to ecological and evolutionary principles underpinning efforts to conserve Earth’s biodiversity. Efforts to halt the rapid increase in disappearance of both plants and animals. Discussion of sociological and economic issues.

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Fall
Day/Time: MW 10.30-11.20, 1 HTBA

General Ecology [Grad] (E&EB 520)

The theory and practice of ecology, including the ecology of individuals, population dynamics and regulation, community structure, ecosystem function, and ecological interactions at broad spatial and temporal scales. Topics such as climate change, fisheries management, and infectious diseases are placed in an ecological context.

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Fall
Day/Time: MWF 10.30-11.20

Lab: Evolution & Functional Traits [Grad] (E&EB 523)

Study of evolutionary novelties, their functional morphology, and their role in the diversity of life. Introduction to techniques used for studying the diversity of animal body plans. Evolutionary innovations that have allowed groups of organisms to increase their diversity.

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TWTh 1.30-4.30

Evolutionary Biology [Grad] (E&EB 525)

An overview of evolutionary biology as the discipline uniting all of the life sciences. Evolution explains the origin of life and Earth’s biodiversity, and how organisms acquire adaptations that improve survival and reproduction. This course uses reading and discussion of scientific papers to emphasize that evolutionary biology is a dynamic science, involving active research to better understand the mysteries of life. We discuss principles of population genetics, paleontology, and systematics; application of evolutionary thinking in disciplines such as developmental biology, ecology, microbiology, molecular biology, and human medicine.

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 10.30-11.20,1 HTBA

Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease [Grad] (E&EB 528)

Overview of the ecology and evolution of pathogens (bacteria, viruses, protozoa) and their impact on host populations. Topics include theoretical concepts, ecological and evolutionary dynamics, molecular biology, and epidemiology of ancient and emerging diseases. 

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 10:30-11:20, 1HTBA

Field Ecology [Grad] (E&EB 530)

A field-based introduction to ecological research, using experimental and descriptive approaches, comparative analysis, and modeling for field and small-group projects. Weekly field trips explore local lake, salt marsh, rocky intertidal, traprock ridge, and upland forest ecosystems. Includes one Saturday field trip and a three-day trip during the October recess.

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Fall 2016
Day/Time: TTh 1:00-5:00

Evolution and Medicine [Grad] (E&EB 535)

Introduction to the ways in which evolutionary science informs medical research and clinical practice. Diseases of civilization and their relation to humans’ evolutionary past; the evolution of human defense mechanisms; antibiotic resistance and virulence in pathogens; cancer as an evolutionary process. Students view course lectures on line; class time focuses on discussion of lecture topics and research papers.

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Fall
Day/Time: Section 1: T 7.00-8.50p -or- Section 2: M 9.25-11.15

Responsible Conduct of Research [Grad] (E&EB 545)

Graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory.

Requires Permission of the Instructor

This 5-week discussion seminar considers issues related to the responsible conduct of research. Topics addressed include: research misconduct, plagiarism, data acquisition and management, mentoring and collaboration, authorship and peer review, the use of animals and humans in scientific research, sexual harassment, diversity, and balancing professional and personal life.

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring
Day/Time: M 2.30-4.30

Plant Diversity & Evolution [Grad] (E&EB 546)

Introduction to the major plant groups and their evolutionary relationships, with an emphasis on the diversification and global importance of flowering plants.

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Fall
Day/Time: MW 1.00-2.15

Lab: Plant Diversity & Evolution [Grad] (E&EB 547)

Hands-on experience with the plant groups examined in the accompanying lectures. Local field trips.

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Fall
Day/Time: T 1.00-5.00

Biology Of Terrestrial Arthropods [Grad] (E&EB 550)

Evolutionary history and diversity of terrestrial arthropods (body plan, phylogenetic relations, fossil record); physiology and functional morphology (water relations, thermo-regulation, energetics of flying and singing); reproduction (biology of reproduction, life cycles, metamorphosis, parental care); behavior (migration, communication, mating systems, evolution of sociality); ecology (parasitism, mutualism, predator-prey interactions, competition, plant-insect interactions).

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Fall
Day/Time: TTh 11.35-12.50

Lab: Biology Of Terrestrial Arthropods [Grad] (E&EB 551)

Evolutionary history and diversity of terrestrial arthropods (body plan, phylogenetic relationships, fossil record); physiology and functional morphology (water relations, thermoregulation, energetics of flying and singing); reproduction (biology of reproduction, life cycles, metamorphosis, parental care); behavior (migration, communication, mating systems, evolution of sociality); ecology (parasitism, mutualism, predator-prey interactions, competition, plant-insect interactions).

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Fall
Day/Time: W 1.30-4.30

Ichthyology [Grad] (E&EB 564)

A survey of fish diversity, including jawless vertebrates, chimaeras and sharks, lungfishes, and ray-finned fishes. Topics include the evolutionary origin of vertebrates, the fossil record of fishes, evolutionary diversification of major extant fish lineages, biogeography, ecology, and reproductive strategies of fishes.

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 1:00-2:15

Laboratory for Ichthyology [Grad] (E&EB 565)

Laboratory and field studies of fish diversity, form, function, behavior, and classification. The course primarily involves study of museum specimens and of living and fossil fishes.
 

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring

Biological Oceanography [Grad] (E&EB 575)

Exploration of a range of coastal and pelagic ecosystems. Relationships between biological systems and the physical processes that control the movements of water and productivity of marine systems. Anthropogenic impacts on oceans, such as the effects of fishing and climate change. Includes three Friday field trips.

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 11.35-12.50

Evolutionary Functional Genomics, Cell Types and Homology [Grad] (E&EB 610)

Functional genomics has opened the opportunity to assess the activity state of all genes in the genomes in a largely scalable way. Many cell types, tissues and characters can readily be assessed across many species (if one has enough money), leading to a new field of evolutionary or comparative functional genomics. At the same time this new field of data analysis can be used to address many deep issues in organismic evolution, like the evolution of cell types, the homology among cell types etc.

In this seminar we will review the current state of published literature as it pertains to the evolutionary analysis of transcriptomes and epigenetic marks and their bearing on issues of cell and tissue evolution and homology.

Location: Yale Systems Biology Institute on Yale West Campus, Building ISTC (aka 850 West Campus Drive) room 101

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Fall
Day/Time: Tuesday, 3:30 pm- 4:30 pm ( or 5:00 pm)

Tropical Field Ecology (E&EB 617)

This course is designed to give students first-hand knowledge of tropical biology and the issues surrounding conservation of biodiversity in a developing nation, through a combination of seminar-style discussions and a mandatory field trip over spring break. The emphasis is on active learning and developing independent research projects carried out during the field trip. Using a case-study approach, topics covered include patterns of biodiversity, tropical forest dynamics, reforestation, species interactions and coevolution, climate change impacts, ecosystem services, and human land-use. Students also gain experience with study design, data collection methods, and statistical analysis. This year’s field trip is to Ecuador, a country famous for its high biological, cultural, and economic diversity. We visit a variety of forest ecosystems and hear from local and international scientists about current research in the field. Students undertake two short research projects and also learn basic identification and natural history of tropical plant, bird, and insect species. Students should expect to spend a major part of each day outside in the natural tropical environment under adverse conditions. Enrollment limited to fifteen. Simon A. Queenborough, Walter Jetz.

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring

Advanced Ecology [Grad] (E&EB 620)

An advanced treatment of ecology, including species interactions, species coexistence theory, species-environment interactions, the maintenance and consequences of biological diversity, spatial ecology, food webs, and eco-evolutionary interactions.

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring
Day/Time: T Th 1:00 - 2:15

Biology of Insect Disease Vectors [Grad] (E&EB 650)

Insects transmit pathogens that cause many emerging and re-emerging human and agriculture-related diseases. Many of these diseases, which are referred to as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), have a dramatically negative impact on human health in the developing world. Furthermore, they cause indirect devastation by significantly reducing agricultural productivity and nutrient availability, exacerbating poverty and deepening disparities. This course introduces students to the biological interactions that occur between major groups of important disease vectors and the pathogens they transmit. Lectures cover current research trends that relate to the ecology and physiology of insect vectors. Course content focuses on how these aspects of vector biology relate to the development and implementation of innovative and effective disease-control strategies.

Prerequisite: full year of college/university-level biology, or permission of the instructor(s).

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring
Day/Time: W 3.00-4.20, Th 3.00-3.50

Ornithology [Grad] (E&EB 672)

An overview of avian biology and evolution, including the structure, function, behavior, and diversity of birds. The evolutionary origin of birds, avian phylogeny, anatomy, physiology, neurobiology, breeding systems, and biogeography.

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MWF 9.25-10.15

Laboratory for Ornithology [Grad] (E&EB 673)

Laboratory and field studies of avian morphology, diversity, phylogeny, classification, identification, and behavior.

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring
Day/Time: T 1.30-4.30

Life History Evolution [Grad] (E&EB 680)

Life history evolution studies how the phenotypic traits directly involved in reproductive success are shaped by evolution to solve ecological problems. Nowhere is the interplay between evolution and ecology more intimate.

Requires Permission of the Instructor

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 11.35-12.50

Long-term Temporal Dynamics of Ecological Systems [Grad] (E&EB 740)

Are ecological systems generally at (or near) equilibrium? Or are their transient dynamics so slow that we need to know how they behave far from equilibrium, too? This question is increasingly pressing in the face of ongoing global change – there remains substantial uncertainty about whether predictions based on ecological equilibria are relevant for predicting ecosystem responses to global change. For insight into this question, we will deal with temporal dynamics of ecosystems, integrating theoretical perspectives with both modern long-term ecological research and paleoecology. We will consider how theoretical concepts like characteristic time scales, lag and legacy effects, and cyclic behaviors apply to empirical work in real ecological systems.

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring
Day/Time: Th 10:00-12:00

Evolving Dynamical Systems [Grad] (E&EB 810)

An introduction to the ways evolving biological systems can be described, modeled, and analyzed by using a dynamical systems approach.  Concrete models will be explored with respect to field or laboratory observations.  Extensive use will be made of the software package Mathematica, but prior experience with the program is not required.

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Fall
Day/Time: TTh 9.25-10.15

Primate Diversity & Evolution [Grad] (E&EB 842)

The diversity and evolutionary history of living and extinct primates.  Focus on major controversies in primate systematics and evolution, including the origins and relationships of several groups.  Consideration of both morphological and molecular studies.  Morphological and diversity and adaptations explored through museum specimens and fossil casts.

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring
Day/Time: W 1:30-3:20

1st Year Intro Research & Rotation [Grad] (E&EB 900)

1st Year Intro Research & Rotation

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Fall
Day/Time: 3 HTBA

2nd Year Research [Grad] (E&EB 950)

By arrangement with faculty.

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring , Term: Fall
Day/Time: 3 HTBA

Studies in Evolutionary Medicine I [Grad] (E&EB 960 )

The first term of a two-term course that begins in January. Students learn the major principles of evolutionary biology and apply them to issues in medical research and practice by presenting and discussing original papers from the current research literature. Such issues include lactose and alcohol tolerance; the hygiene hypothesis and autoimmune disease; human genetic variation in drug response and pathogen resistance; spontaneous abortions, immune genes, and mate choice; parental conflicts over reproductive investment mediated by genetic imprinting; life history trade-offs and the evolution of aging; the evolution of virulence and drug resistance in pathogens; the evolutionary genetics of humans and their pathogens; the ecology and evolution of disease; the evolutionary origin of diseases; and the emergence of new diseases. Students develop a research proposal based on one of their own questions in the spring term, spend the summer on a research project related to their research proposal, and write a paper based on the results of their research in the fall term. Credit and grades are awarded for each term. Only students who have engaged in summer research projects may enroll in the fall term.

Admission is by competitive application only.

http://eeb.yale.edu/sites/default/files/eeb_460b.pdf

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 4.00-5.15

Studies in Evolutionary Medicine II [Grad] (E&EB 961)

Continuation of E&EB 960b. Students learn the major principles of evolutionary biology and apply them to issues in medical research and practice by presenting and discussing original papers from the current research literature. Such issues include lactose and alcohol tolerance; the hygiene hypothesis and autoimmune disease; human genetic variation in drug response and pathogen resistance; spontaneous abortions, immune genes, and mate choice; parental conflicts over reproductive investment mediated by genetic imprinting; life history trade-offs and the evolution of aging; the evolution of virulence and drug resistance in pathogens; the evolutionary genetics of humans and their pathogens; the ecology and evolution of disease; the evolutionary origin of diseases; and the emergence of new diseases. Students develop a research proposal based on one of their own questions in the spring term, spend the summer on a research project related to their research proposal, and write a paper based on the results of their research in the fall term. Credit and grades are awarded for each term. Only students who have engaged in summer research projects may enroll in the fall term.

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Fall
Day/Time: TTh 4.00-5.15