Rice University
BioSciences at Rice


Graduate Program in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Admissions & Financial Support

Contact email for admissions: eebgradapps@rice.edu.  

Program Description
How to Apply
Financial Support  

Program Description

The Ecology & Evolutionary Biology graduate program faculty members are committed to training and mentoring graduate students to reach their full potential as scientists. We seek to facilitate students’ progression towards fulfilling, exciting careers in academia, industry, private sector, or government, and to develop their skills as future leaders in science and society. Our program is designed to foster close working relationships between students and faculty. Graduate study is tailored to the individual student. The program has a unique emphasis on research, where students have the possibility to start research during their first year. In addition, it includes formal class work such as classroom lectures, discussions, seminars, laboratory tutorials, and field studies. Students also have access to a number of courses in other departments to provide them with additional skill sets that complement their research interests.

Students have access to well-equipped research areas housed in attractive facilities, which include laboratories, a 3500 sq. ft. greenhouse, and an experimental field site. In addition, within a two-hour drive of the campus are many federal, state, and private refuges, parks, experimental stations, and preserves available for field research. Habitats include southeastern coastal plain forests; coastal prairies; fresh, brackish, and saline marshes; estuaries; temporary to permanent ponds and lakes, and near-shore marine environments. Slightly further away is the Hill Country (Austin, San Antonio) where a number of faculty members also do research. In addition, faculty members conduct research in other areas of the United States including Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Indiana, New Mexico, Michigan, and Guam as well as abroad in Madagascar, Germany, and China. Houston is also host to numerous institutions within the Texas Medical Center, located across the street from Rice University, that provide additional opportunities for research in evolutionary genomics and bioinformatics.

Although the department offers MS (non-thesis) and MA (with thesis) degrees in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, the program is designed for students who wish to pursue the Ph.D. degree. The most current version of the EEB Graduate Program Handbook (click to view pdf version) provides a detailed description of the graduate program. For general university requirements,view the Rice University General Announcements.



How to Apply

Admission Requirements
Applicants for graduate study in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology must have: BA or BS degree or equivalent that provides a strong background in biology, strong ability and motivation, as indicated by academic record and letters of recommendation, and Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores. Scores from the GRE Biology subject exam are optional but can be helpful, particularly for students with nontraditional backgrounds in biology. These requirements do not preclude admission of qualified applicants who have majored in areas other than biology. Students should have completed coursework in ecology, evolution (or equivalent), mathematics (including calculus), and statistics prior to admission. Deficiencies in these subject areas or in specific areas of biology should be made up during the first year of residence; some may be waived at the discretion of the student's advisory committee and the department chair. Although the department offers MA and MS degrees, the department does not guarantee funding for MA/MS students; funding must be provided by the prospective advisor. Questions about admission to the EEB graduate program should be sent to eebgradapps@rice.edu. We encourage you to contact faculty and/or EEB track graduate students to obtain further information about graduate study in our department.

Completed applications should be received by December 31 to ensure full consideration, although late applications will be considered when possible. There is no application fee for United States citizens and permanent residents. If you are in this category, please request a fee waiver from eebgradapps. If you are an international student, your application will not be processed until the application fee is received. Fee waivers usually cannot be granted to international students. 

In addition, fee waivers are granted to students participating in certain programs (e.g., McNair Scholars, Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium (GCURS), Mellon Mays Fellows, Project 1000, Nankai University Hundred Young Teachers Program, Vietnam Education Foundation). Please indicate participation in such programs in the University Programs and Fellowships field in the application to receive one of those waivers.

Click here to apply  

In addition to submitting the application form, all official transcripts and test scores should be sent directly to the department:

Graduate Admissions Administrator 
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Graduate Program
Rice University, MS-140 
P.O. Box 1892 
Houston, TX 77251-1892
for FedEx, UPS, DHL and other couriers:
Graduate Admissions Administrator
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Graduate Program
Rice University, MS-140
6100 Main Street
Houston, TX 

Items needed for your application


A transcript or transcripts of all previous college or university (including graduate) work must be presented. These records should be sent directly to the department by the institution or institutions attended. A supplementary transcript, covering work in progress at the time of application and any later work, must be furnished as soon as possible.

International applicants should contact our Departmental office or the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) for further information.


You should request recommendations from four persons (preferably professors in your major field) who know your personal and scholastic qualities. Forms provided for this purpose should be mailed by the writers directly to the department. Applications will not be reviewed until three recommendations are received.


Applicants should have their scores on the aptitude portion of the Graduate Record Examination sent directly to the department by Educational Testing Service. Advanced test scores in Biology are preferred, but not required. Tests should be scheduled at least six weeks before the application deadline.

Applicants whose native language is not English must also take either the TOEFL or IELTS test and must score at least 90 on the internet-based TOEFL. For those students who choose to take the IELTS in lieu of TOEFL, the minimum score is 7. Reporting codes for these scores are as follows: Institutional code is 6609, GRE department code is 0207, TOEFL department code is 35.

Questions about admission to the EEB graduate program should be sent to eebgradapps@rice.edu

Proceed to Online Application


Financial Support

Incoming students who do not hold external fellowships will be awarded a Rice University Graduate Fellowship for the first year of study. The fellowship is comprised of a full tuition waiver and a stipend to cover living expenses. The annual stipend (including summer support) for the 2017-18 academic year is $25,500, which is sufficient to live well as a student given Houston's low cost of living. Support beyond the first year is extended to all students who remain in good standing in the program.

Stipend levels are reviewed annually and periodically increased to maintain competitiveness with comparable institutions. If externally obtained stipends should fall below the department's stated level, a supplement is provided. Students who are able to obtain their own independent funding are potentially eligible for additional bonus pay by the department to supplement their stipend. Further detail on financial support is provided in the EEB graduate student handbook.

Graduate students may choose to live either on campus in Rice Graduate Apartments or off campus. Most graduate students live within two miles of campus. Rice Graduate Housing offers furnished apartments in a variety of floor plans and their shuttle service provides easy transportation to and from campus, nearby grocery stores, and shopping centers. Free high-speed Internet access through the Rice network gives you access to Fondren Library’s online journals and databases.

Those choosing off campus housing can find tips on finding housing and information on the various Houston neighborhoods here. With off campus housing you need to decide what your budget is and how far you are willing to commute.

You can also contact the Graduate Student Association for additional information regarding housing options.