The University Program in Ecology (UPE) provides interdisciplinary training in all aspects of ecology, including physiological and behavioral ecology; population and evolutionary ecology; community and landscape ecology; biogeochemistry; and ecosystem and global change ecology. The program serves to integrate an exceptionally broad and diverse collection of faculty expertise found in various departments and schools at Duke. The UPE is a rigorous, research-oriented graduate program with an excellent record of scholarly publications by our students. All students participate in a two-semester, graduate-level core course that focuses on both historical and contemporary foundations of ecology (theory, principles, and research); any additional coursework is tailored to each student's specific interests and needs. Students organize and run a weekly seminar series and informally participate in various readings groups. Special facilities for study and research include:
- Marine Lab
- Duke Forest
- Duke Wetlands Center
- Organization for Tropical Studies
- Center on Global Change
plus an extraordinary array of major analytical equipment and additional resources.
- Ecology: PhD Admissions and Enrollment Statistics
- Ecology: PhD Completion Rate Statistics
- Ecology: PhD Time to Degree Statistics
- Ecology: PhD Career Outcomes Statistics
Application Deadline: December 1
Graduate School Application Requirements
See the Application Instructions page for important details about each Graduate School requirement.
- Transcripts: Unofficial transcripts required with application submission; official transcripts required upon admission
- Letters of Recommendation: 3 Required
- Statement of Purpose: Required
- Résumé: Required
- GRE Scores: GRE General (Optional for 2023)
- English Language Exam: TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test required* for applicants whose first language is not English
*test waiver may apply for some applicants
- GPA: Undergraduate GPA calculated on 4.0 scale required
Department-Specific Application Requirements (submitted through online application)
Statement of Purpose Guidelines
The statement of purpose is a central component of your application materials and should be designed to provide a portrait of the type of ecologist you aspire to become by pursuing a PhD at Duke. We are particularly looking for applicants who are able to clearly describe their motivation for pursuing a PhD; how their previous research experience has helped them develop skills and knowledge of the field; what questions they are interested in addressing during their PhD and how they might approach those questions; and why the University Program in Ecology at Duke is particularly good place to conduct their PhD. In your statement, be sure to mention which faculty members you are interested in working with, as common interests are considered.
You are encouraged to include examples of educational, cultural, or other life opportunities or challenges you have experienced, and how these are likely to contribute to your overall success in our graduate program and beyond.
We strongly encourage you to review additional department-specific application guidance from the program to which you are applying: Departmental Application Guidance