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The EEB major is designed to provide students with core disciplinary training while giving them the flexibility of interdisciplinary electives to meet their academic goals. Experiential learning through field trips is a hallmark of our program, allowing students to study the major terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems of an ecoregion.

Learning Outcomes

All students will demonstrate

  • A mastery of the required coursework
  • An understanding of the central issues and current research in the discipline
  • Breadth and depth of knowledge in the discipline
  • An ability to publish research results in peer-reviewed journals
  • An awareness of the societal and ethical issues surrounding the discipline

Curriculum Requirements

Master of Science (MS)

Degree requirements: 30 credits | Time-to-degree: 3 years or less

  • Conceptual Foundations in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB 511) - 4 credits
  • Field Trip (EEB 585A/B) - 2 credits
  • 'Ecology' or 'evolutionary biology' course - 3 credits
  • Seminar (EEB 698) - 1 credit
  • Statistics/quantitative methods course - 3 credits
  • Thesis research - 10 credits
  • Elective courses/additional research - 7 credits

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree requirements: 72 credits | Time-to-degree: 5 years or less

  • Conceptual Foundations in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB 511) - 4 credits
  • 'Ecology' and 'evolutionary biology' courses (6 credits)
  • Field Trip (EEB 585A/B) - 2 credits
  • Seminar (EEB 698) - 2 credits
  • Statistics/quantitative methods course (3 credits)
  • Dissertation research - variable credits*
  • Elective courses/additional research (credits as needed)

*No established minimum; at discretion of POS Committee and student.

Approved 'Ecology' and 'Evolutionary Biology' Courses


  • Advanced Community Ecology (EEOB 585)
  • Advanced Ecosystem Ecology (EEOB 584)
  • Behavioral Ecology (A ECL 551)
  • Analysis of Populations (A ECL 611)
  • Conservation Biology (EEOB 531)
  • Evolutionary and Ecological Genomics (EEOB 561)
  • Functional Ecology (EEOB 576)
  • Insect Ecology (ENT 571)
  • Microbial Ecology (EEOB 587)
  • Population Ecology (EEOB 589)
  • Restoration Ecology (EEOB 535)
  • Wetland Ecology (EEOB 564)

Evolutionary Biology

  • Advanced Animal Behavior (EEOB 507)
  • Advanced Systematics (EEOB 568)
  • Agrostology (EEOB 553)
  • Biogeography (EEOB 569)
  • Empirical Population Genetics (EEOB 567)
  • Evolutionary and Ecological Genomics (EEOB 561)
  • Evolutionary Genetics (EEOB 562)
  • Life History and Reproductive Strategies (EEOB 514)
  • Molecular Evolution (EEOB 566)
  • Molecular Phylogenetics (EEOB 563)
  • Macroevolution (EEOB 565X)
  • Plant Evolution and Phylogeny (EEOB 551)

MS students may also use the following courses to meet the 'ecology' or 'evolutionary biology' requirement:

  • Foundations of Theoretical Ecology and Evolution (EEOB 578)
  • Systematic Entomology (ENT 576)


Fall 2021

EEB 698, Section 1  Jonathan Wendel: The Wonderous Cycles of Polyploidy in Plants (pdf).

Field Trip (EEB 585A and 585B)

The field trip provides students an opportunity to study the major terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems of an eco-region and gain hands-on field experience. Trips are offered once per academic year and range from 10-14 days. Depending upon the destination, the trip may be offered during winter break, at spring break, or during the summer.

Participants enrolled in the course meet regularly through the semester (or the semester prior) to plan the trip and discuss the topic of study. In addition to the trip fee, a written report is required. The course is worth two credits, one for each 585A and 585B. Students may enroll in the course more than once, if space is available.

Summer (EEB 585B)/Fall 2021 (EEB 585A) 

EEB 585B in the summer of 2021 & EEB 585A in the fall of 2021. Students must register for both sections.

Travel dates: July 25-31, 2021 | Trip leaders: Lori Biederman & Matt Hufford | Cost: $100

Drs. Lori Biederman and Matt Hufford will be leading a trip based out of the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory that will be focused on the prairie ecology of northwest Iowa and southwest Minnesota from Sunday, July 25th through Saturday, July 31st. During the trip, students will be familiarized with the biota and natural history of the region and, along the way, learn various field techniques and statistical approaches for quantifying plant diversity.

Fall 2021

Agroecosystems Analysis (SUSAG 509)

Travel dates: Week before classes begin | Trip leaders: Matt Liebman and John Tyndall  | Cost: $275

This full semester, 4 credit course offers experiential, interdisciplinary examination of Midwestern agricultural and food systems, emphasizing field visits and classroom activities. The course focuses on understanding multiple elements, perspectives (agronomic, economic, ecological, social, etc), and scales of operation.