Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology

Program Category: 
Ph.D. Programs
Kevin Griffin
Director of Graduate Studies: 
Maria Diuk-Wasser

Degree Programs: Full-Time: M.A./M.Phil./Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; M.A./M.Phil./Ph.D. in Evolutionary Primatology

Certificate Programs: Certificate in Conservation Biology, Certificate in Environmental Policy

The Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology (E3B) was established in 2001 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. The department's educational programs emphasize a multidisciplinary perspective on the earth's declining biodiversity, integrating understanding from relevant fields in biology with insights from related fields in the social sciences. 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 a broad array of scientific and intellectual resources in the greater New York City area.

In close coordination with the consortium, E3B has assembled a research and training faculty of more than 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.

Fellowships are awarded for those admitted to the Ph.D. program in recognition of academic achievement and in expectation of scholarly success. Teaching and research experience are considered an important aspect of the training of graduate students. Thus, graduate fellowships include some teaching and research apprenticeship.

Special Admissions Requirements: 

In addition to the requirements listed below, all students must submit 1 transcript showing courses and grades per school attended, a Statement of Academic Purpose and 3 letters of evaluation 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.

Writing Sample: Optional

Deadline for Fall Admission: 
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Resume Requirement: 
GRE General: 
GRE Subject: 
Degree Programs: 
Full Time

GRE Subject test in Biology is strongly recommended for application to this program.

For the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Ph.D. program, an undergraduate major in one of the natural sciences is required. It is also desirable that students have had course work in calculus, physics, chemistry, statistics, genetics, ecology, evolution and other areas of organismal biology. Prior field biology experience is strongly recommended. Students are admitted to begin only in the fall semester. All students are required to complete the Certificate in Environmental Policy. Applicants must also contact a full-time or adjunct faculty member with whom the applicant is interested in working and who may act as the applicant's dissertation sponsor.

Columbia has offered a Ph.D. program in Evolutionary Primatology for nearly a decade as part of the New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology (NYCEP). NYCEP, a consortium of the City University of New York, Columbia University, New York University, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Wildlife Conservation Society, provides a multi-institutional venue for graduate training leading to the Ph.D., which emphasizes all aspects of the behavioral, morphological and evolutionary biology of primates. Course offerings in this program are coordinated across the NYCEP institutions.