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Evolutionary Biology Degree, Certificate and Training Program Overviews

Oct 12, 2019

Evolutionary biology, or ecology, is the study of how and why biological entities change. In evolutionary biology programs, students get an in-depth understanding of life sciences with thorough research projects, traditional coursework, fieldwork and laboratory sessions.

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Essential Information

Those interested in evolutionary biology as a career often pursue a related bachelor's or doctoral degree. Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Evolutionary Biology curriculum covers life-sciences, like biology, entomology, geosciences and oceanography. Graduate studies are research-intensive. Students have to complete and defend a thesis and dissertation before a faculty committee and may be asked to write articles for publishing in scientific journals. Concentration selections include animal ecology, limnology, plant ecology or vertebrate zoology. Applicants must have a relevant bachelor's degree, acceptable Graduate Records Examination (GRE) scores, letters of recommendation and an academic statement. Those with research experience may be given preference.


Bachelor's Degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Bachelor's coursework includes field and laboratory sessions. In addition to genetic problem solving tools and ornithology, other topics addressed in lectures are:

  • Developmental morphology of plants
  • Animal parasitology
  • Ichthyologic biology
  • Human evolution and genetics
  • Evolution and sociobiology

Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Doctoral students spend a large part of their time in a laboratory or out in the field gathering data. In-class topics include:

  • Animal behavioral adaptations
  • Insect diversity
  • Genomic evolution
  • Infectious disease biology
  • Microsatellite DNA evolution

Popular Careers

Graduates are qualified for a number of positions. Some individuals work as veterinarians or for museums, zoos and consulting firms. Popular job titles include:

  • Elementary or high school biology teacher
  • Research associate
  • Research technician
  • Science writer

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for biochemists and biophysicists were predicted to increase by 11% between 2018 and 2028, with a mean salary of $97,340 as of May 2018 (www.bls.gov).

Continuing Education

Bachelor's-level students can further their education with internships, typically offered by universities, governmental facilities or pharmaceutical agencies. The National Science Foundation has an internship program called 'Research Experiences for Undergraduates.' Universities and museums often have postdoctoral fellowships for those desiring to continue their training and research.

Those interested in evolutionary biology can find degree programs at the bachelor's and Ph.D. levels. After graduation, an internship or career as a research associate may be of interest.

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