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Ph.D. in Ecology and Environmental Sciences

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The Ph.D. in Ecology and Environmental Sciences was developed jointly by the Departments of Ecology and Land Resources & Environmental Sciences as a broad interdisciplinary Ph.D. program open to graduate students in several departments in the Colleges of Letters & Science and Agriculture. The degree program was approved by the MUS Board of Regents in 2006, and now meets the interests of graduate students in a broad array of subjects. Other collaborating departments include Earth Science, Animal and Range Science, and Plant Science and Plant Pathology.

This cross-college doctoral degree represents a broad collaboration among departments and faculty from across MSU. It provides the opportunity for motivated students to integrate our world-class faculty research programs in diverse aspects of ecology and environmental sciences often within the unparalleled natural laboratory that is the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Particular program strengths include terrestrial and aquatic ecology, environmental biogeochemistry, evolutionary biology, hydrology and watershed analysis, quantitative ecology, invasive plant ecology and management, conservation biology, land rehabilitation/restoration ecology, environmental microbiology, remote sensing and spatial sciences. Graduates will be well-trained professionals who will compete strongly in research, teaching, and related fields nationally and internationally.

Program Participants

The program is jointly centered in the departments of Ecology (College of Letters and Sciences) and Land Resources and Environmental Sciences (College of Agriculture), but is also specifically open to students and faculty mentors in other MSU departments and colleges who undertake relevant doctoral study such as the College of Nursing.

General Admissions Information

Prospective students are requested to submit a preliminary application for a department and faculty advisor.

EES doctoral students will be affiliated with a home department that corresponds to that of their major faculty advisor. Some specific graduate program criteria, procedures, and processes vary among departments; students will follow those of their home department, which are also consistent with policies set forth by the Division of Graduate Education.

Students may undertake the Ph.D. following completion of a Master’s degree, or exceptional students may apply directly following completion of a suitable bachelor degree. An appropriate faculty mentor must agree to serve as the student's major advisor as a condition of admission. Stipend and operations funding are generally from research grants and contracts awarded to faculty members, but graduate teaching assistantships and other forms of support are also available on a limited basis.

Please review the complete list of faculty and researchers interested in mentoring a student in the EES PhD program.

Admission to the Department of Ecology requires a recommendation from a department graduate adviser.


Because of the substantial diversity in disciplinary and multidisciplinary foci within the EES doctoral program, there is no universal required core curriculum. The student's individual coursework program will be developed in partnership with the major advisor and graduate committee, and must be consistent with the home department and Division of Graduate Education (DGE) guidelines and requirements. A minimum of 30 credits of resident coursework must be taken from MSU.

An extensive list of potential courses may be applied to this interdisciplinary degree program.