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The Application Process

Admission to the Ecology and Evolution Graduate Program Is a Two-step Process

  • You must be approved for admission to the program by the Admissions Committee.
  • You must have a professor in the program who is willing to serve as your advisor.


Complete applications must be received by the following dates for consideration of admission to the program:

December 1

  • Deadline for all applicants, both Domestic and International, who wish to be considered for University fellowships, teaching assistantships or graduate assistantships.

February 1

  • Deadline for both Domestic and International applicants to be considered for admission without University support.

    Applications Consist Of:
  • Application
  • Personal statement
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Resume
  • Official transcripts from all other universities and colleges attended. Unofficial transcripts should be uploaded as Supporting Materials for review by the admissions committee until the official transcripts arrive.
  • Optional GRE. The program recognizes the barriers to graduate school posed by GRE tests and their relative lack of utility in predicting later success in school. We do not require them and the absence of a GRE score will not affect admission decisions
  • A TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) test score is required if your undergraduate education was completed in a non-English speaking country.

Any missing item(s) other than GRE and TOEFL (if latter is not applicable) renders the application incomplete. Your application will not be reviewed by the admissions committee.

The Application Process

Apply online Please read the process below before beginning your application.

We have recently revised our application process to be more inclusive and more broadly increase representation in the fields of ecology and evolution. These changes are based on a committee from across the program, including staff, graduate students, postdocs, and faculty. Building upon rubrics designed by similar programs, including the Diversity Committee within the Graduate Group of Ecology at UC Davis and the Biology Department at Penn State, we evaluate applicants from a holistic perspective. This rubric utilizes a common set of criteria that will allow the admissions committee to use a wider range of predictors of student success rather than strictly relying on traditional metrics that are more prone to bias.
We encourage you to address these topics that represent our holistic review criteria in your application essays:

Creativity and Innovation
Proposes and/or demonstrates a history of creativity and innovation in approaching science and/or problem-solving.

Long term goals and commitment to graduate school
Demonstrates ability and willingness to work hard and steadily towards long-term goals. Clearly articulates the role of graduate school in moving towards their long term goal(s).

Contributions to diversity
Potential to contribute to intellectual and cultural diversity in higher education and the fields of ecology and evolution. This can be demonstrated by their life experiences, educational, cultural, or socioeconomic background or ability to help reduce the barriers facing underrepresented communities in higher education/science.

Outreach and inclusion
Commitment and/or motivation to making science accessible and inclusive of communities both within and outside the University.

Academic preparedness
Demonstrates academic preparation or “toolbox” that equips them well for graduate coursework and research.

Resilience and adaptability
Demonstrated ability to push past obstacles and/or to take in new information/events and adjust accordingly. Has clear understanding of uncertainty in a way that will equip them to weather the ups and downs of research and graduate school.

Research experience
Takes advantage of relevant research opportunities available to them, given socio-economic background and previous schools attended. Has a realistic perspective on how to conduct and/or complete research projects; strong ability to work independently and problem solve.

Leadership and work experience
Demonstrates maturity through clear communication, ability to work with and lead a team, strong organizational skills, and/or ability to juggle multiple tasks at once.

Other Important Information

  • Note the RUID number that your application is assigned.
  • Use that ID number to check the status of your application online throughout the process.
  • Send official copies of transcripts directly to the Graduate and Professional Admissions office at 56 College Avenue, New Brunswick NJ 08901. (Note: this is a new address effective 12/02/13). Do not send items to the Ecology and Evolution graduate program as this will cause a delay in processing and may result in your application not being received in time for review by the E&E admissions committee.

The Admissions Committee

  • Every application will be reviewed and ranked by members of the admissions committee. This committee is comprised of faculty in the Graduate Program in Ecology and Evolution.
  • Information on applicants found acceptable to the program is forwarded to every faculty member in the Graduate Program in Ecology and Evolution as each application review is completed. This allows faculty who are searching for students to review the acceptable applicant pool and contact applicants whose interests may overlap with theirs.
  • It is best to complete your application early in the timeline before other applicants are chosen to fill open spaces in labs.

The Advisor Requirement

  • An advisor is required for admission to the program. That is, if you do not have an EE faculty member who has agreed to serve as your advisor by the time admissions decisions are made (generally January / February), you will not be admitted to the program.
  • As part of the application process, applicants must provide the names of 1 to 3 Ecology and Evolution Graduate Program faculty who they would be interested in working with. Faculty of interest indicated in each application will have the opportunity to review the application materials for each potential applicant to their lab during the application process.
  • Applicants need to contact the faculty they are interested in working with to express their interest and to determine if they will be accepting new graduate students. Please reach out to the faculty you are interested in working with well in advance (several months) of the December 1 application deadline.

Important Note: A promise of faculty sponsorship does not guarantee admission to the program. In other words, you can be denied admissions due to a lack of faculty sponsorship, but you cannot be automatically admitted to the program simply because of faculty sponsorship.

For more information about our faculty, see our list of current Ecology and Evolution Program faculty and their research interests.