Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology, PhD

The PhD in Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology (EEMB) program provides students with advanced course work and training in ecology, evolution, and marine biology. For students entering with a bachelor’s degree, EEMB program completion requires 30 semester hours of graduate-level course work, of which 20 semester hours must carry a letter grade. The remaining 10 semester hours must consist of colloquia, doctoral research, and approved graduate courses. Planned course work must be approved by the student’s dissertation committee.

Students must pass three examinations during the course of their graduate studies:

  1. A written examination consisting of questions posed by the student’s written examination committee.
  2. An oral examination by the student’s dissertation committee consisting of an oral presentation and defense of the student’s dissertation proposal and including questions about the research areas that the student proposes to work in.
  3. A defense of the student's written dissertation consisting of a public seminar, public question-and-answer period, and private defense of their work to their dissertation committee. Dissertation committees consist of at least four Northeastern faculty and one external faculty member.

A cumulative GPA of 3.000 is required for graduation. All PhD students are required to have at least one first-authored publication submitted to or accepted in a peer-reviewed journal prior to their defense. The PhD will be awarded following submission of a dissertation, approved by the candidate’s dissertation committee, to the College of Science.

Students who are admitted to the PhD program, complete the course work component of the curriculum, and prepare and defend a written thesis (as opposed to a more comprehensive dissertation) may, at the discretion of the graduate committee and their dissertation committee, be awarded a master’s degree (Master of Science in Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology). The MS degree will only be awarded in rare instances when students and/or their dissertation committee, after communication with the graduate committee, determine that the PhD is untenable.

Bachelor's Degree Entrance

Complete all courses and requirements listed below unless otherwise indicated.


Qualifying examination
Annual review
Dissertation committee
Dissertation proposal
First-author publication
Dissertation defense

Required Course Work

Complete the following (repeatable) course twice:2
Approved Graduate-Level Courses
Complete 28 semester hours from the following; 20 semester hours must carry a letter grade:28
BIOL 5000 to BIOL 9000
ENVR 5000 to ENVR 9000
EEMB 5000 to EEMB 9000


Complete the following (repeatable) course twice:

Program Credit/GPA Requirements

30 total semester hours required
Minimum 3.000 GPA required