There are five course requirements that you typically take during your first year as an EEB graduate student, freeing you up later to concentrate on your research.  Also, in your first year, your committee may recommend that you take or audit some courses (or do guided or independent reading) to fill gaps in your background. Finally, you may take or audit any course that interests you as long as you maintain the focus on your research.


Fundamental Concepts in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior II (EEB 504) ~ two courses, fall of first year and fall of second year

These courses involve reading and discussing papers fundamental to the development of the fields of evolution, ecology, and behavior, as chosen by the faculty. Each week the course is led by a different faculty member who assigns 3-5 key papers in their area of expertise, which you have to read, summarize/synthesize in a short essay, and discuss as a group. These papers comprise much of the material for the general knowledge component of your general exam.

    Responsible Conduct in Research (EEB 506) ~ spring of either first or second year, depending on when offered 

    This is a 6-week course and is important for satisfying requirements from NSF, NIH and most other funding agencies and covers the essential topics of what constitutes responsible conduct in research.

    Recent Research in Population Biology (EEB 507) ('Journal Club') ~ fall of first year

    You will read and discuss current literature with Cassie Stoddard in order to become familiar with key scientific journals and get up-to-date on current research in your cohort’s areas of interest.

    Tropical Ecology (EEB 521) ~ January of first year

    This is an intensive 3-week field course in a suitable tropical zone. Recent locations have included Kenya, Costa Rica, and South Africa. Students go into the field with a faculty member and take part in readings, discussions, and complete individual or group projects. Regular meetings in the fall and follow-up meetings in the spring take place in addition to a final research paper and/or presentation, depending on the instructor's preference. Students contribute to their own airfare while other expenses are covered by the department.

    A sampling of recent projects: 

    • Termites facilitate root foraging by trees in a Bornean tropical forest
    • Regeneration stage influences diversity and abundance of herpetofauna communities, macrofungi and epiphytes in southwestern Costa Rica
    • Costs of parasitism and behavioral adaptions to ameliorate its affects  in four species of colonial weavers
    • Dik-diks know their shit: dunging and territoriality in a dwarf antelope

    Colloquium on the Biology of Populations (EEB 522) ~ every semester for first 2 years

    This course consists of weekly seminars by invited outside speakers focusing on the central problems of population biology and approaches that have proved fruitful. The seminars are followed by graduate student lunches with the speakers; students who have not yet passed their general exam are required to attend the lunches while post-generals students are highly encouraged to attend and typically do. Additionally, there is time to meet one-on-one with the seminar speaker which is highly encouraged. For some speakers, a dinner is held at a faculty member's house, providing another opportunity to interact with the speaker and faculty in a casual setting. See past series here: