The Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior at the University of Illinois offers graduate work leading to the Master of Science or Doctor of Philosophy degree in Biology. Due to the breadth of modern biological research, our program is flexible and tailored to suit individual student interest. Through course work, research and seminars, students are expected to become proficient in three of six areas: (1) Ecology, (2) Evolution (3) Behavior (4) Genetics (5) Physiology and (6) Conservation. Our graduate students go on to exciting and productive careers in academia, government laboratories, non-for-profit institutions and industry position. The material below should help guide you through our graduate application and admissions process. Of course, should you have any questions, feel free to contact the department or specific faculty members or graduate students directly. Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior faculty also advise students seeking a Master of Science Degree in related programs such as PEEC.

Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior - MS

Program Overview Degree Requirements Learning Outcomes Contact

Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior - PhD

Program Overview Degree Requirements Learning Outcomes Contact

How To Apply

DEADLINES: For full consideration for admission and for University of Illinois fellowship support, your completed application and all supporting materials must be received by December 15. Admission is offered for the fall semester only.

  • STEP 1. Apply online and submit the fee ($70 for domestic and $90 for international applicants) by credit card (Visa and MasterCard). The proposed program name is Biology: Ecology, Ethology and Evolution. (10KS0315PHD, or 10KS0315MS). The application will not be processed until the fee is paid.
  • STEP 2. Upload all transcripts listing the conferral of degrees earned and the coursework directly into the application.
  • STEP 3. Submit a statement of 500 - 750 words (in place of the 1500 word statement requested on the application form) of your interests, career goals, experience, and achievements related to teaching and research, as well as your reasons for wishing to obtain a graduate degree from the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior. The statement should demonstrate an ability to organize and present information in proper English. It should be as specific as possible, especially if you have concrete ideas about the field of research you wish to enter.
  • STEP 4. At least three letters of reference should be submitted online from prior instructors or research supervisors who are most familiar with your scholarship and potential for research.
  • STEP 5. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is encouraged for admission, but it is not required. If you choose to send your GRE scores from ETS, send them directly to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The institution number is 1836 and the GRE program code is 00 or 0223. A minimum of an upper second honours B.Sc. in a relevant life science may be substituted for the GRE for students from Britain and Ireland.
  • Applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. International applicants must have a TOEFL score of at least 103-104 (internet-based test) or an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score of 7.5 or higher to be considered for admission. The TOEFL or IELTS must be taken within two years of the proposed term of entry; older scores are not valid. Request that official scores be sent directly to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The institution number is 1836 and the program code is 00 or 35.

    To qualify for a teaching assistantship, students must score a 24 or higher on the speaking section of the TOEFL iBT test or an 8 or higher on the IELTS or a 4, 5, or 6 on the English Proficiency Interview (EPI). English Proficiency Interviews are required for students who do not have a qualifying score on the TOEFL or IELTS. A score of 5 or 6 (on a six-point scale) of the EPI test is necessary for a teaching assistantship; a score of 4CP ("conditional pass") qualifies a graduate student to teach with prior or concurrent enrollment in an approved English as a Second Language class.

  • All applications with the requested information listed above must be received by the December 15 deadline. Incomplete applications due to missing information will not be considered. It is the responsibility of the applicant to inquire about the status of their application.
  • Prospective students are encouraged to e-mail or write faculty members with whom they would like to work. Letters may be sent in care of the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior, University of Illinois, 515 Morrill Hall, 505 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana, IL 61801.
  • If you have additional questions, contact the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior, 515 Morrill Hall, 505 South Goodwin Ave., Urbana, IL 61801; phone: 217-333-7801; fax 217-244-4565;

Admissions Criteria

Applicants for admission to the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior:

  • Must have at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited college in the United States or a comparable degree from a recognized institution of higher learning abroad. Current or previous UIUC graduate students should not submit an application or pay the application fee, but must follow reentry instructions or petition for a change of curriculum via the Graduate Student Petition process. More information on the petition process can be found at:
  • Must have a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 (A = 4.0) for the last 2 years of bachelor's degree work and a minimum GPA of 3.0 for previous graduate degree work. Applicants will have separate GPAs computed for: (1) all biology courses and (2) all science/math courses taken during graduate studies. The GPA for each of these areas should be a minimum of 3.0.
  • Are encouraged, but not required, to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). All exam scores must be dated less than two years prior to an applicant's desired date of admission.
  • Naturalized citizens, permanent resident aliens, and legal immigrants may be required to furnish TOEFL scores, depending on their countries of origin, their length of residency in the US, or the locations and media of instruction for previous institutions they have attended.
  • Must possess the potential for success in advanced research, as documented in letters of reference (at least 3) from prior instructors or research supervisors and demonstrated in the applicant's "Statement of Purpose."

Additional requirements for international applicants:

  • Applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit TOEFL scores. International applicants must have a TOEFL score of at least 613 (paper-based test), 257 (computer-based test), or 103-104 (internet-based test) to be considered for admission. The TOEFL must be taken within two years of the proposed term of entry; older scores are not valid. Request that official TOEFL scores be sent directly to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available in the form of fellowships, tuition and fee waivers, teaching and research assistantships, federal training program, and loans. Financial need is not a factor in awarding fellowships, tuition and fee waivers, or assistantships administered by the University. Priority for financial aid is given to doctoral students.

For a list of the grants and awards offered by the School of Integrative Biology, please refer to the Graduate Student Grants & Awards page. 

For additional information about availability, see the Graduate College information. 

Admissions Decisions

Candidates for admission to graduate study are chosen by the Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior Admissions Committee. Based on its decisions, offers for admission are made to selected candidates. Candidates offered admission are also offered financial support in the form of assistantships, fellowships and tuition waivers. By agreement with many other U.S. graduate programs, these offers remain in effect until April 15, although your acceptance earlier is appreciated. Admission recommendations made do not become official until the Office of Admissions and Records issues a "Notice of Admission" and sends registration instructions to the candidates who have accepted offers. In general, if your academic credentials are in order, the Office of Admissions and Records will accept the Department's recommendations and issue the "Notice of Admission."