General Info

  • Faculty working with students: 39
  • Students: 30
  • Students receiving Financial Aid: 100%
  • Part time study available: No
  • Application terms: Fall
  • Application deadline: November 30
Application Info


Danielle Wiggins
Director of Graduate Studies Assistant
University Program in Ecology
Duke University
Box 90328
Durham, NC 27708-0329


Phone: (919) 613-8002



Program Description

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:

plus an extraordinary array of major analytical equipment and additional resources.


Application Information

Application Terms Available: Fall

Application Deadline: November 30

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)
  • 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.

Writing Sample
None required

We strongly encourage you to review additional department-specific application guidance from the program to which you are applying: Departmental Application Guidance