Dear Prospective Graduate Students,
Princeton’s Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Department is consistently ranked as one of the top ten EEB programs in the country. And for good reason!
Our faculty and students perform cutting edge research in laboratories on campus and at field sites around the world. We follow the big questions wherever they may lead. We never say “You can’t do that, because (a) it’s too hard to get there, (b) it’s never been done, (c) we don’t have the expertise, or (d) I say so!” Instead we ask, “What is the most direct way to answer that important question?” We follow the biology wherever it leads—from the individual nucleotides of the genome to the savannahs of Africa.
How does our small faculty consistently produce so much high-quality science? It’s a combination of things. First, our faculty work at the forefront of their selected disciplines, which span a wide diversity of major problems in ecology and evolutionary biology. Second, our graduate students are top notch, consistently attracting the best students in ecology and evolution. They quickly settle into their chosen lab or labs (since they often engage in collaborations); then, under guidance from their chosen mentors, they work hard and they work wisely. To ensure that our graduate students can get their work done, whether in the lab or in the field, the department provides extensive intellectual and logistical support. We do not trap students in a seemingly endless PhD program; our students regularly complete their PhDs on schedule (typically in 5 years). We want our students to learn as much as they can from us and then to go into the world and make a difference!
We support students with a rigorous and respectful intellectual environment, with limited teaching requirements, and, not insignificantly, with a reasonable stipend. Many of our faculty and students are engaged in collaborations with other labs on campus and with colleagues around the world. Importantly, many of these collaborations are initiated by the students themselves. Students are not tied down to individual labs by byzantine funding rules. A student’s funding is dependent only on making satisfactory progress toward the degree, whether that student is working with faculty on campus or mainly collaborating with scientists in other countries. We revel in the independence of our graduate students and we take enormous pride in their successes once they leave our department.
Thank you for your interest in EEB and we look forward to seeing your application!
Director of Graduate Studies in EEB