Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology

Program Category: 
M.A. Programs
Director of Graduate Studies: 
Josh Drew

Email address:

Degree Programs: Full-Time/Part-Time: Free-Standing M.A. in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology

The Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology (E3B) was established as a result of a multi-institutional collaboration through the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation (CERC). CERC is a consortium of five New York City-based science and research institutions: The American Museum of Natural History, Columbia University, The New York Botanical Garden, The Wildlife Conservation Society and Wildlife Trust. In creating E3B, the University and the Consortium partners held that the fields of ecology, organismal evolution, population biology, and environmental biology constitute a distinct subdivision of the biological sciences with its own set of intellectual foci, theoretical foundations, scales of analysis, and experimental designs and methodologies.

E3B's mission is to educate a new generation of scientists and practitioners in the theory and methods of ecology, evolution, and population biology and to conduct multidisciplinary research on emerging environmental problems associated with the decline of ecosystems and the loss of biological diversity. Though its administrative staff, core faculty, and headquarters are based at Columbia University, E3B's academic staff is also based at the other partner institutions in the CERC consortium. Through the auspices of this consortium, the department is able to tap into an astonishing array of scientific and intellectual resources in the New York City area.

In close coordination with the consortium, E3B has assembled a research and training faculty of over 90 members from the five partner institutions. This academic staff covers the areas of plant and animal systematics, evolutionary and population genetics, demography and population biology, behavioral and community ecology, and related fields of epidemiology, ethnobiology, public health, and environmental policy. Harnessing the expertise of these major research institutions, E3B covers a vast area of inquiry into the evolutionary, genetic, and ecological relationships among all living things.

Special Admissions Requirements: 

A background in ecology and evolutionary biology is preferred, with one year of undergraduate introduction biology and upper-division undergraduate courses in ecology, evolution, and genetics. The GRE General Test is mandatory, and the Biology Subject Test is strongly recommended. Students interested in pursuing the thesis-based option are strongly encouraged to identify a full-time or adjunct faculty member who would act as research sponsor prior to applying to the program.

In addition to the requirements listed below, all students must submit one transcript showing courses and grades per school attended, a Statement of Academic Purpose and three letters of recommendation from academic sources. All international students whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate degree is from an institution in a country whose official language is not English must submit scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS.

For more information, refer to our Admissions Information and Frequently Asked Questions pages.

Additional Information: 

M.A. students have the option of registering with the Department for paid Reading Assistantship in undergraduate courses. Reading Assistants support a course instructor throughout a semester. The Reading Assistantship will allow students to develop additional skills for a variety of professional directions that they may choose to follow. Reading Assistantships are voluntary and limited in number based on the needs of the department and allocations from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The ADA will send out a request during the spring semester for interested students to indicate their availability during the following academic year.

Deadline for Fall Admission: 
Friday, January 13, 2017
Resume Requirement: 
Writing Sample: 
GRE General: 
GRE Subject: 
Degree Programs: 
Full Time/Part Time