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Students graduating from this program will:
- Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of current and past research accomplishments and techniques in ecology and evolutionary biology.
- Synthesize and critically evaluate scientific literature and concepts in ecology and evolutionary biology.
- Identify novel and potentially transformative research questions in ecology and evolutionary biology and synthesize credible paths towards answering them.
- Demonstrate technical proficiency in a range of ecology and evolutionary biology research methods.
- Demonstrate the effective written communication skills required for scientific publications, grant proposal submissions, and a thesis describing independent research.
- Demonstrate the effective oral and visual communication skills necessary for articulating scientific findings and significance to diverse audiences.
- Understand pedagogical methods appropriate for teaching undergraduate students in biology.
Most of the formal course studies will be completed in the first year of residence to allow the students to begin thesis research at the end of their second semester at Rice. Entering students will meet with a faculty advisor to form a course of study of the first year. Students should have completed coursework in ecology, evolution (or equivalent), mathematics (including calculus), and statistics prior to admission. Deficiencies in these subject areas should be made up during the first year of residence; some may be waived at the discretion of the EEB Graduate Advising Committee and the EEB Graduate Program Director.
The following Rice courses must be taken if students lack course work in ecology or evolution in their undergraduate transcript:
- EBIO 325 Ecology
- EBIO 334/BIOC 334 Evolution
All PhD students are required to take the following graduate-level courses:
- EBIO 569 Core course in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (required in first year)
- EBIO 561/562/563/568 Topics in Evolution/Behavioral Biology/Ecology/Biological Diversity (two semesters of any combination of EBIO “Topics” courses)
- EBIO 585/586 Graduate Research Seminar in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (required in all years of residency)
- EBIO 591 Graduate Teaching (two semesters)
- EBIO 800 Graduate Research (required after the first year of residency)
All students are required to take EBIO 569 in their first semester. Students must enroll in EBIO 585/586 during all years of residency. Students must complete at least six credit hours in a “Topics” course of their choice (EBIO 561/562/563/668) before defending their proposal, and students are strongly encouraged to take at least one topics course per semester during all years of residency. Students must complete two semesters of EBIO 591 during their first four semesters to gain teaching experience; additional teaching experiences are available on an optional basis.
Evaluation of Progress in Graduate Study:
Students must maintain a minimum grade average of B in courses taken in the department and satisfactory grades in courses taken outside the department. Students must demonstrate satisfactory progress in their degree program in annual reviews by the EEB Graduate Advising Committee. The review process requires that each student:
- presents a public seminar on their research on Graduate Science Day
- prepares a written report on their progress
First-year students must also participate in an interview with the EEB Graduate Advising Committee.
In addition to the general university requirements and those listed above, the PhD degree in ecology and evolutionary biology requires:
- Passing the admission to candidacy examination given by the Graduate Thesis Committee. (The committee will be composed of at least four members. At least three must be members of the EEB graduate program faculty and one member has to be outside the EEB graduate program.)
- Complete an original investigation and a doctoral thesis with at least three chapters with the potential to produce publications in reputable, peer-reviewed scientific journals
- Present a departmental seminar on the research
- Publicly defend the doctoral thesis
Applicants for graduate study in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology must have: BA or BS degree or equivalent that provides a strong background in biology, strong ability and motivation, as indicated by academic record and letters of recommendation, and Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores. Scores from the GRE Biology subject exam are optional but can be helpful, particularly for students with nontraditional backgrounds in biology. These requirements do not preclude admission of qualified applicants who have majored in areas other than biology. Students should have completed coursework in ecology, evolution (or equivalent), mathematics (including calculus), and statistics prior to admission. Deficiencies in these subject areas or in specific areas of biology should be made up during the first year of residence; some may be waived at the discretion of the student's advisory committee and the department chair. Although the department offers MA and MS degrees, the department does not guarantee funding for MA/MS students; funding must be provided by the prospective advisor. Questions about admission to the EEB graduate program should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. We encourage you to contact faculty and/or EEB track graduate students to obtain further information about graduate study in our department.
- GRE and TOEFL
Incoming students who do not hold external fellowships will be awarded a Rice University Graduate Fellowship for the first year of study. The fellowship is comprised of a full tuition waiver and a stipend to cover living expenses. The annual stipend (including summer support) for the 2016-17 academic year is $25,000, which is sufficient to live well as a student given Houston's low cost of living. Support beyond the first year is extended to all students who remain in good standing in the program.
Stipend levels are reviewed annually and periodically increased to maintain competitiveness with comparable institutions. If externally obtained stipends should fall below the department's stated level, a supplement is provided. Students who are able to obtain their own independent funding are potentially eligible for additional bonus pay by the department to supplement their stipend.