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Ecological Sciences (Ph.D.)

The primary goal of the doctoral program in ecological sciences is to provide advanced training in ecological, evolutionary and integrative biology. The program has notable strengths in a broad range of biological subdisciplines, including ecosystem studies, experimental ecology, population biology, conservation biology, systematics, evolutionary biology, biomechanics, and comparative and functional morphology. Program faculty conduct studies in a variety of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine environments on several continents, and their research focuses on a broad spectrum of taxa, including, but not limited to, vascular plants, polychaetes, mollusks, crustaceans, insects, fishes, amphibians, and reptiles.

Ecological Sciences (Ph.D.)


Description


What is Ecological Sciences at ODU like?

The primary goal of the doctoral program in ecological sciences is to provide advanced training in ecological, evolutionary and integrative biology. The program has notable strengths in a broad range of biological subdisciplines, including ecosystem studies, experimental ecology, population biology, conservation biology, systematics, evolutionary biology, biomechanics, and comparative and functional morphology. Program faculty conduct studies in a variety of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine environments on several continents, and their research focuses on a broad spectrum of taxa, including, but not limited to, vascular plants, polychaetes, mollusks, crustaceans, insects, fishes, amphibians, and reptiles.

Program Highlights


What makes Ecological Sciences at ODU unique?

  • The program is enhanced by excellent on-campus resources that include a scanning electron microscopy lab, sequencing lab, herbarium, aquatics laboratory, water tunnel facility, GIS facilities, greenhouse, and digital imaging facilities. Field research sites have been established in the Virginia Coastal Reserve, Blackwater Ecological Preserve, Great Dismal Swamp, Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay, and other areas.

  • Many faculty combine active field research with parallel laboratory studies. Quantitative approaches are encouraged and the opportunity exists to obtain a master's degree in statistics while pursuing a doctorate in Ecological Sciences.

Careers


What are some careers in this field?

Check out these ideas from ODU Career Development Services and the Occupational Information Network (O*NET). A median salary is the midpoint of what people typically earn—half of those surveyed earned above the median salary, and half earned below.

Atmospheric, Earth, Marine, and Space Sciences Teachers, Postsecondary

$98,560

MEDIAN SALARY


Teach courses in the physical sciences, except chemistry and physics. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching, and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, Including Health

$49,310

MEDIAN SALARY


Perform laboratory and field tests to monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution, including those that affect health, under the direction of an environmental scientist, engineer, or other specialist. May collect samples of gases, soil, water, and other materials for testing.

Biologists

$84,060

MEDIAN SALARY


Research or study basic principles of plant and animal life, such as origin, relationship, development, anatomy, and functions.

Conservation Scientists

$64,850

MEDIAN SALARY


Manage, improve, and protect natural resources to maximize their use without damaging the environment. May conduct soil surveys and develop plans to eliminate soil erosion or to protect rangelands. May instruct farmers, agricultural production managers, or ranchers in best ways to use crop rotation, contour plowing, or terracing to conserve soil and water; in the number and kind of livestock and forage plants best suited to particular ranges; and in range and farm improvements, such as fencing and reservoirs for stock watering.

Courses


What are some courses offered in Ecological Sciences at ODU?

BIOL 859:
Foundations and Principles in Ecology


A survey of the seminal ideas and perspectives in historical and contemporary ecology. The course is designed to provide a broad overview of the important theoretical and conceptual paradigms in ecology.

BIOL 801:
Practical Computing for Biology


This hands-on training course emphasizes the use of general computing tools to work more effectively in the biological sciences. It integrates a broad range of powerful and flexible tools that are applicable to ecologists, molecular biologists, physiologists, and anyone who has struggled analyzing large or complex data sets. Text file manipulation with regular expressions, basic shell scripting, programming in Python and R, interaction with remote devices, and basic graphical concepts will be reviewed.

BIOL 849:
Biogeography


Emphasis on historical biogeography, utilizing both dispersal and vicariance models for explanations of the geographic distribution of organisms. Ecological explanations are also considered. Useful techniques for biogeographic analyses, such as comparison of area cladograms are discussed at length.

Requirements


What are the requirements to apply for Ecological Sciences at ODU?

Students entering the Doctor of Philosophy program in Ecological Sciences should meet the minimum university admission requirements (Graduate Admission)

The deadline for application to the program is February 1 for the subsequent fall semester.

  • A bachelor's degree in biology or a related field from an accredited college or university

     

  • Transcripts for all college-level courses

  • Three letters of recommendation, including one from the applicant’s major advisor.

  • An essay describing the area of biology of interest for graduate study, professional goals and motivation for graduate study in biology.

  • Written acknowledgment from a Department of Biological Sciences faculty member agreeing to serve as the student's major advisor, if the student is accepted. The applicant does not submit anything to ODU Admissions Office about the advisor---the Faculty member will notify the Graduate Program Director of their willingness to be your advisor

  • Application form and application fee. Submission of application materials Submit all materials to the Office of Admissions (applicants from USA schools) or the Office of International Admissions

For admission to the Ecological Sciences program


GPA:

A grade point average of at least 3.00 on a 4.00 scale.


TOEFL:

To qualify for admission, a student needs a TOEFL score of at least 550.


Cost

Tuition and Fees

Estimated rates for the 2021-22 academic year. Rates are subject to change. Anyone that is not a current Virginia resident will be charged non-resident rates. That includes international students.

Virginia Resident


Per Credit:

$ 551

Non-Resident


Per Credit:

$ 1,387

Technology Delivered Courses Outside Virginia and/or the United States


Per Credit:

$ 595

Ways to Save

Here are a few ways for you to save on the cost of attending ODU. For more information visit University Student Financial aid

Next Steps


I like this program. What are the next steps?

Contact


Need help applying?

Meet Your Enrollment Team

Our enrollment coordinators are ready to help you through the admissions process.

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ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR


Name:

Dan Barshis


Location:

302J MILLS GODWIN BLDG, NORFOLK, VA, 23529



Office:

757-683-3614


Graduate Admissions


Location:

1000 Rollins Hall, Norfolk, VA 23529


Phone Office:

757-683-3685


Fax:

757-683-6512


Email:

gradadmit@odu.edu


International Admissions


Location:

2101 Dragas Hall, Norfolk, VA 23529


Phone Office:

757-683-3701


Fax:

757-683-3651


Email:

intladm@odu.edu

Additional Programs


Are there other programs at ODU I may be interested in?

With over 120 undergraduate programs, 130 graduate programs at the master'seducation specialist and doctoral levels plus a wealth of certificate and professional development programs, Old Dominion University has the program for you. Visit our academic program listing page to see other programs ODU has to offer.

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