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Evolution is a fundamental scientific concept — essential to all aspects of modern biological, environmental and health-related research. It cuts across the field of biology in ways that few other topics do. It forms the theoretical foundations of sub-fields such as population genetics, systematics, and ecosystem ecology.
In this interdisciplinary program, we provide forward-thinking instruction in the historical, conceptual, empirical and quantitative aspects of biological evolution.
You’ll gain crucial training in population genetics while interacting with faculty and research projects that span the entire tree of life. These projects include viral, bacterial and pathogen evolution; plant biology; cancer; and human evolution. This learning experience covers all areas where evolutionary biology can be applied.
Also, you’ll learn about recent advances in systematics — the branch of biology centered on understanding the diversification and relationship of living things. We’re training the next generation of scientists to use this knowledge to meet critical challenges to the biosphere and human health.
Our partners include:
With a flexible curriculum, you’ll develop critical-thinking skills and approach your research through an evolutionary lens. You’ll gain a deep understanding of the complexities of evolutionary biology and emerge from this program with an unparalleled edge in the job market.
Our graduates work as research or tenure-track faculty in higher education, as professionals with wildlife organizations, and as researchers for companies that provide genetic health profiles.
This doctoral program requires a total of 84 credit hours, along with a written prospectus and its defense, and a dissertation. The written prospectus and its defense also serve as the written and oral comprehensive exams. You'll be required to take three core courses, as well as a variety of electives.
The evolutionary biology PhD program admits one group of students annually to start their program the following August. We encourage you to read Tips for Applying.
Follow the Apply Now link.
You will be asked to:
Applications are accepted Oct. 1 - Dec. 15, with a preference date of Dec. 1. There is no guarantee that applications received after Dec. 15 will be reviewed.
In January, the top applicants will be invited to a recruitment event scheduled in mid- to late-February. We will notify you of your admissions status by April 15.
Desired qualifications include:
ASU's Evolutionary Biology doctoral program is formed by knowledgeable and enthusiastic individuals. It was a great place to learn and create collaborations! Moreover, the EVO program has developed a highly comprehensive and competitive curriculum.
—Andreina Castillo, PhD, EVO program
The Evolutionary Biology PhD program requires the completion of 84 credit hours. Students must also complete a a written prospectus and its defense, as these will serve as the written and oral comprehensive exams. In addition, you will be required to research, write, and defend a dissertation.
Total hours required
Our students will focus on three core courses that cover the principles of evolution, research areas of evolution, and either biometry or an approved alternate quantitative analysis course.
Remaining credit hours are earned through a combination of elective courses in related fields, for example ecology, genomics, population genetics, sociobiology, ecosystem studies and genomic analysis. Assembled by you, in conjunction with your supervisory committee, this body of coursework will serve as your individual Plan of Study.
You may transfer 30 hours from a previous master's degree if applicable.
EVO 792 (12+)
EVO 799 Dissertation (12)