University of Texas at El Paso Academic Catalog

Academic Catalog

Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

The EEB doctoral program provides a training environment in ecological and evolutionary science for future scientists and societal leaders that focuses on research that challenges and/or improves current theory and knowledge and has the capacity to be relevant to society. Faculty in the EEB program work on scales ranging from molecules to global change, in terrestrial and aquatic systems both regionally and around the world. In particular, our research focuses in two key areas: Biodiversity and Global Change Ecology.​

Admission Requirements

  1. Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in the United States or proof of equivalent education in a foreign institution, with:
    1. Two semesters of Organic Chemistry with lab.
    2. One semester of Calculus.
    3. Coursework in Physiology, Microbiology, Cell Biology, Biochemistry, and Genetics.
  2. Competitive scores in the Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical Writing components of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
  3. Personal statement of research and professional interests.
  4. Three letters of recommendation indicating endorsement of the applicant for doctoral study.
  5. Competitive TOEFL score for international applicants whose first language is not English or who have not completed a university degree in the U.S. or at an English-speaking institution. Successful candidates typically have scores above 550. 

Degree Requirements 

With departmental approval, students entering the program with a master’s degree can count up to 24 semester hours of graduate coursework towards advanced standing in the PhD degree. Students with deficiencies in Cell Biology, Genetics, Ecology, or Evolutionary Theory will be required to take additional coursework to remove the deficiencies.

Admission to Candidacy

The student must pass a qualifying oral examination to advance to candidacy for the doctorate. This exam is designed to assess the candidate's knowledge and understanding of the material covered in the core courses as well as the candidate's ability to rationally discuss the design, implementation, and analysis of a research problem of the student's and the committee's choosing. The Preliminary Examination Committee will determine whether the student displays sufficient breadth of knowledge and understanding of basic principles to undertake original research.


A dissertation demonstrating both the ability to do original independent research and competence in scholarly exposition will be required of all students. The dissertation must present original research and should provide the basis for one or more publishable contributions to the research literature. The dissertation will be supervised by the Dissertation Advisor, in consultation with a Dissertation Committee consisting of at least three additional members, at least one of whom must be a graduate faculty member from outside the Department of Biological Sciences. The candidate will present a dissertation proposal for approval by the Dissertation Committee.

Final Oral Examination

Upon completion of the dissertation, the student must defend, in public, his or her work. The Dissertation Committee will be responsible for administering the final public oral defense and will have the responsibility of determining whether the written dissertation and its oral presentation and defense are acceptable.

Degree Plan

Required Credits: 60

PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (All courses require a grade of C or better)
Required Courses:
BIOL 5130Seminar (Complete three semesters)3
BIOL 5322Advances/Evolutionary Theory3
BIOL 5327Advances in Ecological Theory3
BIOL 5328Biostatistics3
BIOL 6208Prof Skills Devel Eco Evo2
BIOL 6209Rsrch Proposals in Eco Evo2
Free Electives:
Select fourteen hours from the following:14
Select Adv Topics Biol Science
Physiology of Bacterial Cell
Structure/Funct Macromolecules
Molecular Pathogenesis
Intro Bio I:Basic Seq. Comp.
Intro Bio II: Gene Find/Compar
Basic Principles of Toxicology
Physiological Regulatory Mech
Adv Research Techniques
Environmental Law and Policy
Interdisciplin Envir Prob Solv
Environmental Chemistry
Digital Image Processing
Plate Tectonics
Multivariate Data Analysis
Time Series Analysis
Select twenty-seven hours from the following:27
Independent Research
Independent Research
Independent Research
Independent Research
Independent Research
Independent Research
BIOL 6398
BIOL 6399
and Dissertation
Total Hours63