Required Courses

Ecology Ph.D. and master's students are required to successfully complete courses in Ecology (Advances, Classical, Colloquium), Ecology-related subdisciplines (Molecular, Physiological, Behavioral, and Evolutionary Ecology; Population and Community Ecology; Ecosystem, Landscape, and Global Ecology), and Statistics, as well as the SARI online component. Differences between the Ph.D. and master's requirements are detailed below and in the degree-specific sections of this website. (If you are seeking a minor in Ecology, please refer to the relevant requirements). The Ecology Program Graduate Academic Course Plan should be completed by both Ph.D. and master's students and is available by contacting the Huck Institutes' Graduate Programs Office.

1a) ECLGY 515 Advances in Ecology

  • All Ph.D. and master's students must successfully complete Advances in Ecology. Advances in Ecology must be taken during the first fall semester of enrollment in order to fulfill the Scholastic and Research Integrity (SARI) instructional module.

1b) SARI online component

  • All Ph.D. and master's students must successfully complete the online component of the SARI course during their first semester of study.
  • This online course can be found here and takes several hours to complete. Select the "Responsible Conduct of Research" (RCR) - Basic course and select an elective module that best matches your research needs.
  • A copy of the student's completion report must be submitted to the Huck Institutes' Graduate Programs office and the course instructor of ECLGY 515.

2) ECLGY 510 Classical Ecology

  • All Ph.D. students must successfully complete Classical Ecology. Classical Ecology is offered in the fall semester and should be taken during the first year of study.
  • Master's students are encouraged to take Classical Ecology after consulting with their advisor and with the approval of the course instructor on a space-available basis.

3) ECLGY 590 Ecology Colloquium

The Ecology Colloquium helps students develop scientific communication skills and is a required course for Ecology master's and Ph.D. students. Communication with colleagues is an essential part of the scientific process. Ecology 590 is a 1-credit seminar class intended to provide Ecology graduate students with an opportunity to present their research to their peers. All presentations need to have some type of ecological context. Goals of the class are to provide practice and feedback for communicating research in a scientific forum and allow constructive feedback on research ideas and results.

  • Ph.D. students must must register for 4 semesters of Ecology Colloquium (ECLGY 590). The first 2 semesters of Colloquium should be taken for graded credit prior to taking the Comprehensive Exam, normally in the first 2-3 years of the program. Registered students will be scheduled to present their research at one of the weekly seminars. The remaining 2 semesters of Colloquium can be audited (enrollment required) after the Comprehensive Exam, typically in the semester of a presentation at a national or international meeting and in the semester of the final public dissertation defense or mini-symposium presentation.
  • Master's students must register for 2 semesters of Ecology Colloquium (ECLGY 590). Registered students will be scheduled to present their research at one of the weekly Colloquium seminars.
  • Regular participation in Colloquium is expected of all Ecology graduate students even in the semesters when they are not officially registered for the course.

4) Subdiscipline Courses:

  • All Ph.D. and master's students must successfully complete a total of two core courses (6 credits) chosen from the following three categories. It is recommended, for breadth of knowledge, that these two courses come from different categories.

Molecular, Physiological, Behavioral, and Evolutionary Ecology

  • ANTH 560 Ecology, Evolution, and Human Behavior (fall)
  • BIOL 406 Symbiosis (spring)
  • BIOL 428 Population Genetics (spring)
  • ENT 410 Insect Structure and Function
  • ENT 539 Chemical Ecology of Insects (fall)
  • FOR 409 Tree Physiology (spring, odd)
  • HORT 445 Plant Ecology (fall)
  • PPEM 440 Introduction to Microbiome Analysis (spring)
  • PPEM 456 Applied Microbial Ecology (fall)
  • SOILS 512 Environmental Soil Microbiology (spring, even)

Population and Community Ecology

  • AEPS 510 Ecology of Agricultural Systems (spring)
  • AGECO/ENT 457 Principles of Integrated Pest Management (fall)
  • BIOL 412 Ecology of Infectious Diseases (fall)
  • BIOL 519 Ecological and Environmental Problem Solving (spring)
  • ECLGY 526: Community Ecology (fall)
  • ENT 440: Plant-Insect Interactions (fall)
  • FOR 508 Forest Ecology (spring, even)
  • WFS 560 Population Estimation and Modeling (spring)

Ecosystem, Landscape and Global Ecology

  • ERM 435 / WFS 435 Limnology (fall)
  • GEOG 411W Forest Geography (fall, odd)
  • GEOG 414 Principles and Applications in Landscape Ecology (fall or spring)
  • GEOG 510 Seminar in Physical Geography (ecology-related topics)
  • SOILS 571 Ecosystem Nutrient Cycles
  • WFS 585 Applied Spatial Ecology (spring)

5) Statistics

  • All Ph.D. students need to successfully complete two advanced level Statistics courses.
  • All master's students need to successfully complete one advanced level Statistics course.
  • Courses that typically fulfill this requirement must be 500- or 800-level courses. If students want to use a 400-level class (e.g., GEOG 464 Advanced Spatial Statistics) to meet their statistics requirement, they should vet the class with their advisor and make a formal request to the curriculum committee. Introductory statistics classes at either the 400- or 500-level do not fulfill this requirement, nor do “programming” classes.

The Department of Statistics offers a range of applied and theoretical statistic courses. Other courses that Ecology students have found useful to meet their statistics requirements include:

  • AEPS 808 Applied Computational Analysis (fall or spring)
  • ANTH 508 Visualizing Anthropological Data (spring)
  • ENT 535 Statistical Techniques in Entomology (fall)
  • GEOG 464 Advanced Spatial Statistics (spring)
  • STAT 502 Analysis of Variance and Design of Experiments (spring)
  • STAT 505 Applied Multivariate Statistical Analysis (fall)
  • STAT 511 Regression Analysis and Modeling (fall)
  • STAT 512 Design and Analysis of Experiments (spring)
  • WFS/SOILS/FOR 597-002 Special Topic: Stat Thinking for Ecologists
  • WFS 560 Population Estimation and Modeling (spring)

6) ECLGY 602

The purpose of this requirement is to provide the Ph.D. student a meaningful teaching experience and to develop teaching techniques. Master’s students are not required to fulfill a teaching requirement. Discuss the teaching requirement ahead of time with the advisor and consider which course is appropriate to obtain this experience. Students should be familiar with course subject material, and the course instructor must be willing to supervise the teaching experience. Contact the course instructor ahead of time and discuss the expectations and activities which will provide a meaningful teaching experience. Register for ECLGY 602 during the semester of the supervised teaching experience. A minimum of 1 credit of supervised teaching is required, but depending on involvement, up to 3 credits may be registered.

7) Additional Ecology-related courses that you may consider as you develop a program of study with your advisor and committee


  • AGRO 410W Physiology of Agricultural Crops (spring)


  • BIOL 414 Taxonomy of Seed Plants (summer)
  • BIOL 415 Ecotoxicology (spring)
  • BIOL 427 Evolution (fall & spring)
  • BIOL 428 Population Genetics
  • BIOL 429 Animal Behavior
  • BIOL 450W Experimental Field Biology (fall)
  • BIOL 463 General Ecology (fall)
  • BIOL 464 (ANTH) Sociobiology (spring)
  • BIOL 499A Tropical Field Ecology (spring)


  • ENT 532 Insect Biodiversity and Evolution (fall)
  • ENT 539 Chemical Ecology of Insects

Environmental Resource Management

  • ERM 413W Case Studies in Ecosystem Management (spring)
  • ERM 450 Wetland Conservation (fall)


  • FOR 409 Tree Physiology (spring, odd)
  • FOR 421 Silviculture: Applied Forest Ecology (fall)
  • FOR 455 Remote Sensing and Spatial Data Handling (spring)
  • FOR 466W Forest Resource Management (spring)
  • FOR 508 Forest Ecology (spring, even)


  • GEOG 510 Seminar in Physical Geography (fall and spring)


  • GEOSC 409W Geomicrobiology (fall, even)


  • HORT 402W Plant Nutrition (fall)
  • HORT 445: Plant Ecology (fall)

International Agriculture and Development

  • INTAD 577 Global Agriculture Systems


  • METEO 563 Bioclimatology (fall or spring)

Plant Biology

  • PLBIO 512 Plant Resource Acquisition and Utilization (fall)
  • PLBIO 513 Integrative Plant Communication and Growth (spring)
  • PLBIO 515 Modern Techniques and Concepts in Plant Cell Biology (fall or spring)
  • PLBIO 516 Modern Techniques and Concepts in Plant Molecular Biology (spring)


  • SOC 423 Social Demography (fall and spring)


  • SOILS 412W Soil Ecology (fall)
  • SOILS 416 Soil Genesis, Classification, and Mapping (fall)
  • SOILS 502 Soils Properties and Functions (fall)
  • SOILS 512 Environmental Soil Microbiology (spring, even)

Wildlife and Fisheries Science

  • WFS 407 Ornithology (spring)
  • WFS 408 Mammalogy (spring)
  • WFS 409 Mammalogy Laboratory (spring)
  • WFS 422 Ecology of Fishes (fall)
  • WFS 430 Conservation Biology (fall)
  • WFS 446 Wildlife and Fisheries Population Dynamics (spring)
  • WFS 447W Wildlife Management (fall)
  • WFS 452 Ichthyology (fall)
  • WFS 453 Ichthyology Laboratory (fall)
  • WFS 460 Wildlife Behavior (fall)
  • WFS 463W Fishery Management (spring)
  • WFS 560 Population Estimation and Modeling (spring)