Students who are interested in enrolling in a graduate program in the fields of ecology and evolutionary biology have a few options to choose from in the state of Washington. This article will explore three of these programs in greater detail by covering what options are available to students at these schools, any unique attributes about each of these programs, and what types of admissions requirements students will need to fulfill in order to be considered for admission.
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Graduate Programs in Washington State
University of Washington
The University of Washington in Seattle offers a Ph.D. program in biology in which students can focus their studies and research in the fields of ecology and evolutionary biology. The program offers several graduate courses that cover issues in these fields, in addition to offering students the opportunity to pursue independent research in these areas. The university has a greenhouse space that can be used by students conducting ecology- and evolution-related research. Students in this program generally spend the first couple of years taking graduate courses before preparing to write their doctoral dissertation under the supervision of a committee and advisor. In order to fulfill the requirements for teaching experience, students must also hold Teaching Assistant positions for at least two quarters while in the program.
Western Washington University
Western Washington University offers a Master of Science program in biology, in which students will study the field of biology broadly while also getting the opportunity to focus on a specific research area. The faculty of the school of biology has research interests in four areas, including ecology and evolutionary biology, which is particularly helpful for students who hope to conduct their own research in this area. This two-year program requires that student complete 45 credit hours, 24-33 of which come from coursework and the additional 12-21 from thesis research. Students in this program may also benefit from the natural environment around the university's location in Bellingham, which includes three national parks and three freshwater lakes.
Central Washington University
Located in Ellensburg, Central Washington University also offers a Master of Science program in biological sciences. Faculty in this program also have research interests in the broad field of ecology, covering topics like population and ecosystem ecology; as well as in evolution, covering topics like evolutionary development. Students in this program can easily access a variety of different ecosystems within close range to the school in order to conduct research. This two-year program also requires that students complete 45 credit hours, which is roughly split between coursework and research for the master's thesis. Graduate students at CWU will have opportunities to gain valuable research and teaching experience working as Research Assistants or Teaching Assistants.
Admission Standards for Graduate Programs in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
In general, graduate programs that focus on biology, and more specifically ecology and evolutionary biology, expect that prospective students will have already obtained a degree in biology or a very closely related field while they were undergraduates. When applying to these programs, students will typically need to prepare a number of documents in order to submit a complete application file. These include a personal statement, letters of recommendation, undergraduate transcripts, a resume, and results from the GRE exam. Each program may have more specific requirements, so it is wise for students to do some research before applying.
To summarize, students who are interested in studying ecology and evolutionary biology at the graduate level in Washington will typically enroll in more general graduate programs in biology that also offer coursework and research opportunities in these subfields. There are a few such options in Washington state.