Doctoral Program

The doctoral program prepares students to excel in research, academia, industry, and governmental / non-governmental organizations. Students have access to seminars and courses on a wide range of topics in evolutionary biology, ecology, and animal behavior, as well as biomathematics, theoretical modeling, and statistics. Students enter the program and begin working with a provisional faculty advisor. After completing a common set of course requirements during their first year, doctoral students focus on their research in one of our specializations.

Incoming doctoral students receive five-year support packages that typically include a combination of support in the form of fellowships, graduate student researcher appointments, and teaching assistantships. Many of our continuing students are successful at earning competitive campus and extramural graduate fellowships. Please visit the Graduate Support page for a list of funding sources.

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

Steps to Apply:

The application deadline for Fall 2019 admission has passed. The application for Fall 2020 admission will be available in early September 2019 and the deadline will be December 1st, 2019.

  1. First complete the online general UCLA Online Graduate School Applicationby the December 1st deadline. You will be asked to create an account, and we recommend writing down your password. The EEB major code for Biology is 123. Select Fall 2020 admission term and the PhD in Biology degree.

  2. 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 PhD Program is one of 18 Graduate Programs in the biosciences.