Prospective students

Three researchers examining plants in a greenhouse.

Program overview

The Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology (EECB) Ph.D. or M.S. programs are for students who want to build in-depth understanding of ecosystems and the organisms that inhabit them -- and help shape policies that respect these natural wonders.

The Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology Ph.D. or M.S. are both interdisciplinary programs that bring together faculty and students from multiple departments at the University of Nevada, Reno, as well as from the Desert Research Institute and the Great Basin Institute. The programs are designed to prepare graduates for high-level careers as scientists and researchers. For both program, career goals may include positions within public agencies, such as government land bureaus; with private organizations, such as social advocacy groups; or even in academia. To learn more about the career possibilities, visit the program's career resource page.

Students in these programs also enjoy access to numerous departmental laboratories, as well as several research centers, including the Chemical Ecology Center, the Nevada Genomics Center, the Whittell Forest and Wildlife Area/Little Valley Field Station and the Valley Road Field Laboratory.

Learn about our admissions process below. 


Admissions information

When to apply

Application deadline for our graduate programs:

  • Fall: Dec 15
  • Spring: Nov 1

How to apply

You can start your application through The Graduate School website, which provides detailed instructions on the application process.

What's required

In addition to the general requirements required by the Graduate School, the EECB program requires the following:

  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • For international students, a TOEFL score of 600 or greater or IELTS
  • Coursework in physical sciences, mathematics, and biochemistry; exact coursework to be determined by each EECB advisor, in consultation with our admissions committee. Recommend coursework could include, for example:
    • Coursework in physical sciences (6 credits)
    • University mathematics including calculus (6 credits)
    • Organic chemistry or biochemistry (6 credits)
  • Biology coursework (24 credits, including genetics, evolution, and ecology), or equivalent evidence of ability to succeed in a doctoral program in ecology, evolution and conservation biology

The admissions committee considers all aspects of each student's application, and we aim to be inclusive and flexible for admissions decisions for students with a variety of backgrounds.

How to get started

The preferred approach to admission to the EECB program is outlined below:

  1. Check out  our list of program areas and potential EECB faculty members.
  2. Visit faculty websites, read some of their papers, and find an advisor with interests that really excite you.
  3. Contact faculty to express interest, and inquire if they are planning to accept students in the near future.
  4. Sending a CV and short statement of interest during these initial email contacts is a great way to help faculty understand who you are and how you might fit into their labs.
  5. As you continue your conversations with potential advisors, we suggest that you ask them if you can talk with their current or past graduate students. This is a great way to get information about our program, generally, and their lab, specifically. 
    Have you contacted any current or former students of your potential advisor? This is not required, but recommended.

Funding your degree program

Students admitted to the EECB Program may be offered financial support from one of the following sources: fellowships, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships.

If a student’s job performance (i.e., as a teaching or research assistant) and progress towards the degree is satisfactory, support from one or more of these sources is typically provided for up to five years total (four years if a student is admitted with a master’s degree).

Below are additional resources for both internal and external research grants, scholarships and fellowships.  

External view of the Fleischmann College of Agriculture building at the south end of campus.


The handbook provides the necessary information for students to understand the requirements, expectations and opportunities associated with this graduate program.

Red wildflowers in the foreground of a grassy field with large dramatic mountains in the background


View an example of a semester-by-semester timeline of the degree program.