Master's Degree Program in Biology, Specializing in the Ecology and Evolution of Medicine

Future breakthroughs in human health issues such as cancer, heart disease, infectious and zoonotic diseases, the human microbiome, and psychiatric illness will be advanced by a fundamental understanding and application of ecological and evolutionary principles. At UCLA, we have a vibrant Program in Evolutionary Medicine that spans multiple departments throughout our campus. Collaborations between faculty members at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and College of Letters and Sciences are at the heart of the Master's program. The College contains a variety of top-ranked departments in the biomedical sciences as well as social sciences and there are a remarkable number of evolutionary biologists and ecologists who study health and disease across campus.

Students study advanced topics in ecology and evolutionary biology in the context of current medical practice. The program will include both coursework and experiences within the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, including Grand Round lectures at the David Geffen School of Medicine and other medical experiences. Students learn how and why ecological and evolutionary principles can be translated into biomedical successes. Graduates will be prepared for future medical and veterinary careers as well as academic graduate programs in the biomedical sciences.

The curriculum includes courses and seminars in Evolutionary Medicine and Applied Evolutionary Medicine, as well as coursework in evolution, ecology and behavior. This is a two-year program with a terminal comprehensive exam. The degree for this program will be reflected on the transcript as a Master's of Science in Biology.

Incoming master's students receive support packages that include two academic years (6 quarters) of teaching assistantships, which cover the cost of standard tuition and fees and provide a quarterly salary of approximately $7,000 per quarter.

For questions about the application process and the program, please contact the Tessa Villaseñor in the Graduate Affairs Office via email at: or by calling 310-825-1959.

Steps to Apply

For the Fall 2019 term, there are two application deadlines - December 1st, 2018 or May 1st, 2019. The application and all supplemental materials such as transcripts and letters of recommendations are due by each respective deadline.

  1. Complete the online general UCLA Online Graduate School Application by the December 1st or May 1st deadline. You will be asked to create an account, and we recommend writing down your password. The EEB major code is 123. Select the Fall 2019 admission term and the MS in Biology degree.

    You will need the following information to complete the online application:
    1. Brief description of your research interests (50 characters max, including spaces).
    2. Prospective Faculty Advisor(s) and brief rationale. Select up to two faculty in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
    3. Statement of Purpose (800 word limit): Please state your purpose in applying for graduate study, your particular area of specialization within the major, your plans for future occupation or profession, and any additional information that may aid the selection committee in evaluating your preparation and your aptitude for graduate study at UCLA. Our department in particular is looking for applicants with knowledge and creativity in a research area of interest, strong communication skills, resiliency in the face of setbacks, capacity for planning, organization, and teamwork, and high standards of ethics and integrity.
    4. Personal History Statement (500 word limit): One of the several factors considered in the admissions review process is an applicant's potential contributions to promoting and sustaining diversity. Please describe any aspects of your personal background, accomplishments, or achievements that will allow the department to evaluate your contributions to the University's diversity mission. This may include challenges or opportunities related to personal, cultural, economic, or social experiences relevant to your academic journey. This may also include contributions to diversity and equal opportunity of various forms, such as efforts to advance equitable access to education, public service that addresses the need of a diverse population, or research that explores inequalities.
    5. Names and email addresses of three recommenders. Specific instructions concerning letters of recommendation are described in the online application.
    6. Copy of unofficial transcripts for uploading.
    7. Curriculum vitae for uploading as a PDF or MS Word document, which should include:
      1. Awards and other Distinctions. Any academic awards, prizes, honors, fellowships or other distinctions that you have received.
      2. Pertinent work experience. Paid or volunteer positions, such as research internships, that you feel are relevant.
      3. Publications. Any publications, or manuscripts submitted for publication, on which you are an author.
  1. Have ONE official, sealed copy of your academic transcripts sent to:

    Graduate Student Affairs Officer
    Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
    610 Charles E. Young Drive East
    University of California Los Angeles
    Los Angeles, CA 90095-7246

    If ordering official digital transcripts, please have them emailed to Tessa Villaseñor at .

  2. International applicants should review the UCLA Requirements for International Applicants.

Please note GRE scores are no longer considered during the application review process. You may see a place for them on the general application, but you do not need to send us an official score report.

The Ecology and Evolutionary Biology MS Program is one of 18 Graduate Programs in the biosciences.