Duke University logo
  • Tuition Fee:
  • Local: n/a
  • Foreign: $ 79.2k / Year
  • StudyQA ranking:
  • 426pts.
  • Duration:
  • 5 years

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    The University Program in Ecology (UPE) provides interdisciplinary training in all aspects of ecology, including physiological and behavioral ecology; population and evolutionary ecology; community and landscape ecology; biogeochemistry; and ecosystem and global change ecology. The program serves to integrate an exceptionally broad and diverse collection of faculty expertise found in various departments and schools at Duke. The UPE is a rigorous, research-oriented graduate program with an excellent record of scholarly publications by our students. All students participate in a two-semester, graduate-level core course that focuses on both historical and contemporary foundations of ecology (theory, principles, and research); any additional coursework is tailored to each student's specific interests and needs. Students organize and run a weekly seminar series and informally participate in various readings groups. Special facilities for study and research include:

    • Marine Lab
    • Duke Forest
    • Duke Wetlands Center
    • Organization for Tropical Studies
    • Center on Global Change

    First semester

    • Meet with major professor before registration for spring semester.
    • International students whose native language is not English must pass the English proficiency test or take Composition and Oral Communication listed as Graduate Studies 200 A & B in the first year. 
    • Required fall semester Ecology Class (semester 1 of 2)

    Second semester

    • Begin to identify potential faculty members for your PhD committee. Consult with major professor.
    • Meet with major professor before the end of the semester for progress review and for request of continuation of financial aid.

    Third semester

    • Required fall semester Ecology Class (semester 2 of 2)
    • By now you will have identified your Ph.D. Committee, with at least 3 from the Duke Ecology Program.
      • Hold a certification meeting for a proposed program of study with your committee before registration for spring term. The report of the certification meeting to your committee should include a plan for your major and minor courses and a proposed dissertation topic. As a program requirement, you have to fill out this form, have your committee sign it, and then turn it in to the DGSA (Danielle Wiggins).
      • To officially form your committee, fill out this form. To fill out this form, enter the date, your name, the department name (Ecology) and the list of committee members. You must put one of the committee member names on the last line directly above “minor area representative.” E-mail this document as an attachment to Danielle Wiggins.

    Fourth semester

    • Meet with your PhD committee before the end of the semester for progress review (and for request of continuation of financial aid, if appropriate). Email written progress report to the DGSA (see Form at the end of this document), major professor, and committee members.

    Fifth semester

    • Take oral preliminary exam (normal time).
      • Formal notice in writing must be sent to the DGSA two weeks prior to the exam. This list should include a list of your committee members who will be in attendance, their email addresses, and the time and location of your exam.
      • Bring this form to your preliminary exam, fill it out, and return it to Danielle Wiggins.
      • Each committee member must fill out a UPE SACS rubric (UPE SACS preliminary exam) and forward it to Meg Stephens following the preliminary exam.
      • Exams must occur while a term for which you are registered is in session unless prior approval has been granted by the Associate Dean of the Graduate School.
      • Your committee needs to be approved by the Graduate School at least 30 days prior to the exam; see 3rd semester for this procedure and form.
      • If a committee member needs to participate remotely (i.e. via phone or video call), you must first email the UPE DGS and have them request permission for you. You will then receive instructions for remote participation to share with the committee member.

    Sixth semester

    • Oral preliminary exam must be completed. If it is not, a request for extension must be sent to the Graduate School by the DGS and student advisor.
    • Normally, this is the last semester of coursework. Be sure that minor area proficiency and departmental (or committee) course requirements have been met.
    • Email progress report to DGSA, major professor, and committee members.

    Seventh semester

    • Ensure that all TA requirements are fulfilled. TA requirements include conducting teaching services for one semester as a TA assigned to a course.

    Eighth semester

    • Email progress report to DGSA, major professor, and committee members.

    Tenth semester

    • Normally all PhD students should be finished by the end of the semester.
    • Set up your dissertation defense.
      • Intent to Receive a Degree Form must be filed by January 25 for May graduation; by July 1 for September graduation; by November 1 for December graduation. 
      • Formal notice in writing must be sent to the DGSA two weeks prior to the dissertation defense. This list should include a list of your committee members who will be in attendance, their e-mail addresses, and the time and location of your defense.
      • The defense must occur while in a term for which you are registered in unless prior approval has been granted by the Associate Dean of the Graduate School.
      • In the event of a committee member participating remotely, permission from the Associate Dean of the Graduate School needs to be in place at least 30 days prior to the exam. Only one committee member can be approved to participate remotely in the defense.

    USA requirements for international students

    Each university in the Unites States of America sets its own admission standards so there isn't the same criteria for all the students and the university can decide which applicants meet those standards. The fee for each application is between $35 to $100. 

    After the selections of the universities you want to attend, the best of all would be to contact each university for an application form and more admission information for the international students. Moreover, for a graduate or postgraduate program it's necessary to verify the admission requirements. Some programs require that you send your application directly to their department. 

    Admissions decisions are based on students's academic record and different test scores, such as TOEFL, the SAT or ACT (for undergraduate programs) and GRE or GMAT (for graduate programs). Admission decision is based on your academic results and motivation.


    University requirements


    Program requirements

    • Transcripts
    • Letters of recommendation
    • Statement of purpose
    • Resume
    • GRE scores
    • English language proficiency test scores (if English is not your first language)
    • GPA
    • The application fee is $85
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