Graduate Program Description

The Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) Graduate Program at UCSC reflects the remarkable local and global diversity of species and environments studied by the EEB faculty and students. The vision of the EEB graduate program is to provide a nurturing, creative, and intellectual environment conducive to the development of world-class scientists. The EEB graduate program encourages close working relations between students and faculty in an informal atmosphere advantageous to rapid learning and professional growth. Interdisciplinary collaborations with oceanographers, geologists, mathematicians, environmental and conservation biologists, toxicologists, and others enable students to explore the conceptual connections between related fields as they acquire mastery in their areas of specialization.

The graduate program in EEB at UC Santa Cruz is one of the premier EEB programs in the country. UCSC graduate students in EEB regularly win prestigious research fellowships and awards for their presentations at international meetings in addition to publishing their work in the best journals of their fields. In addition to taking advantage of local field sites and state-of-the-art departmental laboratories, more than two-thirds of the EEB faculty participate in field studies throughout the world, especially in Africa, Latin America, Antarctica and the Arctic, and around the Pacific Rim. Research in EEB comprises four core areas: ecology, evolutionary biology, physiology, and behavior.

Core Courses

BIOE 200A, Scientific Skills (Fall)
BIOE 200B, Advanced Organismal Biology (Fall)
BIOE 279, Evolutionary Ecology (Winter)
BIOE 281, Lab Meetings with Advisor (all quarters)
BIOE 203, Readings in Ecology and Evolution (Winter)
BIOE 215, Advanced Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Seminar (topics vary)
BIOE 294, Ecology, Evolutionary Biology Seminar (all quarters)
BIOE 297, Independent Study (all quarters through the Qualifying exam)
BIOE 299, Thesis Research (extra units post ATC)

Graduate Program Administration

The EEB Graduate Program Coordinator and EEB Graduate Advisory Committee (EEB-GAC) serve as the primary links between EEB students, the department, and university.

If students have questions or concerns regarding university/program administration, policy, processes, or degree progress, the appropriate contacts are:

EEB Graduate Program Coordinator: Judy Straub

EEB-GAC Chair: Jarmilla Pittermann

In addition to overseeing admissions decisions, EEB-GAC is also responsible for deliberating on graduate program policy matters, overseeing student progress-to-degree, and awarding funds for summer research and writing, scientific meetings, and nominations for fellowships and awards.

2023-24 EEB-GAC

Kristy Kroeker, Giacomo Bernardi, Malin Pinsky

For issues related to academic and professional development, courses, academic milestones, etc., students should contact their faculty advisor. Students are encouraged to consult their program advisor, Judy Straub, for advice on work-life balance, mental health resources, disability or accessiblity resources and policies on leaves, part-time or in-absentia status. 

Graduate Student Representatives

Two graduate representatives are selected by students to act in a leadership role within the department the representatives are invited to attend faculty meetings (excluding those parts where confidential information is discussed), and may be asked to gather and present information on graduate student opinion on a range of issues, including graduate program policy and hiring decisions. The graduate representatives also help organize departmental seminars, symposia and quarterly Grad town halls. 

2023-24 Graduate Student Representatives

Kat Bernier

Megan Molinari


Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Action (IDEA) Committee

THe IDEA committee consists of faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate representatives who each serve a one or two-year term. This highly collaborative committee is charged with representing all department constituents as we strive to build a model for successful inclusion, equity and diversity practices that foster a sense of belonging and value for all members of our community. Please visit the EEB IDEA page for our diversity statement and links to anonymous reporting. 

The EEB Peer-to-Peer Mentorship program (the P2P)

The Peer-to-Peer Mentorship program is designed by grads for grads to help first-year students transition into the graduate program and the EEB Department. Every year, each member of the incoming cohort is paired with more senior (3+ year) graduate student mentors, who volunteer to share their diverse backgrounds and experiences. Who better to give advice about navigating the first year as a grad student at UCSC than someone who successfully did so! 

This program offers opportunities to establish connections within the first-year cohort, provides one-on-one mentoring with senior graduate students, and builds social and supportive relationships across the department. In addition to meetings between mentors and mentees, the program provides workshops on subjects including mentoring and mental health, departmental milestones like the comprehensive exam, and quarterly social events like trivia nights and hikes. 

2023-24 Program Co-Chairs 

Hugh Leonard