Graduate Studies in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. The curriculum is designed to encourage maximum student choice and independence while maintaining a close student-advisor relationship. Students are encouraged to adopt a broad, integrative view of science and biological research. Course offerings cover such areas as animal and plant physiology, plant ecology, plant-animal interactions, population biology, structural and evolutionary biology, systematic biology, environmental toxicology, marine/estuarine ecology, and the biology of diverse groups of plants and animals. Students participate in an active departmental seminar program and informal research discussion groups.

Programs of Study

Students are accepted into either the master's non-thesis, master's thesis or the doctoral program. After two years, thesis master's students normally will have completed all requirements for their degree; the doctoral degree normally requires five or six years of study leading to the production of a publishable dissertation.

Research Facilities

Research facilities and opportunities in the Department are excellent. Students and faculty researchers have access to a centralized instrumentation facility that includes state-of-the-art transmission and scanning electron microscopes and extensive facilities located in the adjacent Center for Bioenvironmental Research. Other facilities include a greenhouse, growth-chambers, facilities for culture of aquatic organisms, and several field vehicles.

Collections and Libraries

The university maintains large museum collections of plant and animal specimens, especially of fishes (six million specimens), mammals (6,300 specimens), amphibians and reptiles (60,000 specimens). These collections are recognized as among the most significant in the United States and form the basis of diverse research in systematic biology, functional morphology, and ecology. The university's nine libraries house roughly two million volumes and receive 15,000 serials, most of which are located in the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library. Additional local library resources include those of the Tulane Medical Center, the Southern Forest Experiment Station (USDA), Loyola University, and the University of New Orleans.

Field Study

Opportunities for field study are excellent, both in the Gulf Coast area and in the tropics, and many graduate courses include a field component. The Tulane University Biodiversity Research Institute (TUBRI), located in Belle Chasse, just 10 miles from the main campus, are part of a 500-acre research station supporting ecological research and teaching. Other sites available for graduate research include the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park in Lafitte, Louisiana and the Crosby Arboretum in Picayune, Mississippi. Tulane is an associate member of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, which operates a modern marine research laboratory at Cocodrie, Louisiana, where summer graduate-level courses are regularly offered. In addition, the University is a member of the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) and Tulane graduate students regularly participate in OTS courses in Costa Rica. Many students work in the Choco region of Ecuador as part of the TIERA program. TIERA is a collaboration between Tulane University and the Foundation for the Conservation of the Tropical Andes (FCAT), an Ecuadorian NGO. The program combines on-campus activities with immersion in an award-winning, community engaged research experience at a safe, modern “learning laboratory” in Ecuador where students gain hands-on experience and develop environmental leadership skills.

Financial Support

Qualified applicants may be eligible for teaching assistantships and research assistantships, which carry full tuition scholarships. Please see the section on Financial Support for more detailed information.


Graduate tuition is waived for students with assistantships or fellowships typically receive a scholarship to cover the cost of tuition. The only direct costs to students are for activity fees and books. On-campus housing is available, but most students prefer to live in nearby residential neighborhoods.

Current Student Enrollment

There are forty-three graduate students currently enrolled in the EEB department. Tulane University enrolls approximately 5,000 graduate and professional students in diverse programs as law, medicine, engineering, the sciences, arts and humanities.


Tulane's uptown campus is located in an historic neighborhood four miles from downtown New Orleans, one of the most interesting and colorful cities in the nation. Streetcars connect Tulane with Canal Street and the French Quarter, with its distinctive heritage and entertainment offerings. The Louisiana Philharmonic, the Opera Association, various theatrical and jazz groups, antique and art galleries, and other cultural amenities add to the city's flavor. Festivals are a way of life in New Orleans, ranging from the Jazz and Heritage Festival, Crawfish and Catfish Festivals, and the world famous Mardi Gras. Other attractions include the Audubon Zoo, Aquarium of the Americas, the Louisiana Superdome, and superb conference facilities that attract many scientific conferences.

Tulane University

Tulane University is one of the major private universities in the United States. Originally founded as the Medical College of Louisiana in 1834, a graduate school was added in 1884. Today, Tulane offers graduate degrees in 46 fields and thus provides a strong and diverse academic environment. With 11 schools and colleges, Tulane gives its 12,976 students a breadth of choice equaled by few other private universities in the country.

Want To Know More?

Sign into the School of Science and Engineering's TulaneGrad to get your own personalized information about your program!