Jump to Main Content

I. Program Overview

A. Introduction
B. Nature of a Dual Program
C. EEBB Program Affiliated Departments
D. Administrative Organization of the EEBB Program

 

A. Introduction

The Ecology, Evolutionary Biology & Behavior (EEBB) Graduate Program offers a multidisciplinary program of study and research in the areas of ecology, evolutionary biology, and behavior. Through course work and weekly seminars, EEBB students are exposed to scientific research on animals, plants, and microorganisms in a variety of settings including natural ecosystems, managed landscapes, and laboratory microcosms. Although individual students will often focus on a particular group of organisms and habitats, EEBB students as a whole perform original research that encompasses all of these systems.

All EEBB students must be admitted to, and subsequently enrolled in, one of more than a dozen participating departments. The EEBB program thus offers a supplemental program to its students, rather than functioning as a separate, free-standing alternative. In the case of students pursuing the Ph.D. degree, fulfillment of the EEBB requirements (in addition to those of a home department) leads to a dual-major degree that includes both ecology, evolutionary biology and behavior and the discipline of the home department. In the case of students pursuing an M.S. degree, fulfillment of the corresponding requirements leads to certification of a specialization in ecology, evolutionary biology and behavior along with the traditional degree from the home department.

The EEBB Program is designed to emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of these fields, and it allows its students considerable flexibility in choosing individual areas of study. Each student’s course of study is planned with his or her particular interests, capabilities and professional goals in mind. EEBB students are expected to complete the EEBB core courses in addition to the requirements of their home departments, and to attend EEBB seminars throughout each semester in which they are in residence at MSU. Students are also encouraged to interact and share ideas with one another in the EEBB Graduate Colloquium.

A dual-major Ph.D. or M.S. certification in EEBB is awarded upon completion of all the requirements of both the student’s home department and the EEBB Program. The course work, thesis, and final oral examination can usually be completed in two years for the M.S. degree, and in five years for the Ph.D. degree program.

B. Nature of a Dual Program

All students in the EEBB Graduate Program are appointed through a participating MSU department. Therefore, this document serves as a supplement to the Graduate Handbook for each student’s home department. There are more than a dozen departments that participate in the EEBB Program, and each department has specific requirements, expectations, and other guidelines for its students.

This document focuses primarily on the requirements, expectations, and other guidelines that are specific to the EEBB Program. In some cases, these requirements, expectations, and other guidelines may be similar or identical to those for participating departments. In other cases, the requirements, expectations, and guidelines for EEBB may extend those that pertain to the student’s home department.

All EEBB students must therefore be cognizant of the dual requirements, expectations, and guidelines pertaining to both the EEBB program and their home department. In addition to consulting the relevant handbooks, every EEBB student should work closely with his or her advisor, guidance committee, and administrative staff to ensure that he or she is satisfying all of the relevant requirements, expectations, and guidelines.

C. EEBB Program Affiliated Departments

The following departments participate in the EEBB Program:

• Anthropology
• Computer Science and Engineering
• Crop and Soil Sciences
• Entomology
• Fisheries and Wildlife
• Forestry
• Geography
• Geological Sciences
• Horticulture
• Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
• Philosophy
• Plant Biology
• Plant Pathology
• Psychology
• Statistics and Probability
• Zoology

Additional participating departments may be added from time to time, as interdisciplinary opportunities arise that are relevant to the mission of the EEBB Program.

D. Administrative Organization of the EEBB Program

The EEBB Program is administered by the College of Natural Science. However, the Program accepts students from other colleges on campus that are affiliated with the Program. The chief administrator of the Program is the Director. The Director of the EEBB Program is responsible for the overall operational guidance of the Program, including long-range planning with respect to graduate-student training and budgetary matters. The Director may also serve as a liaison between the Program and its affiliated colleges and departments, and in this role is assisted by participating faculty including members of the EEBB Program Executive Committee. The Director also oversees supportive services and Program functions including but not limited to: graduate student recruitment and admission, graduate student requirements, progress of graduate students through their programs, support of graduate student research, EEBB core courses, seminars, retreats and any personnel issues within the realm of the EEBB Program.

Faculty in the EEBB Program include MSU tenured or tenure-track faculty with an active interest in the areas of ecology, evolutionary biology and behavior. EEBB faculty may supervise students in the Program and serve as major professor (advisor) on the student’s guidance committee. A faculty member serving as a major professor should ensure that a student’s program fulfils the requirements, expectations, and guidelines of the EEBB Program as well as those of the home department. The EEBB faculty also participate in teaching the required EEBB courses along with graduate seminars and other relevant courses. In addition, EEBB faculty serve on EEBB Program committees, attend EEBB Program faculty meetings, and participate in other EEBB activities.

Because the EEBB Program does not have its own separate faculty, teaching assignments and expectations depend on the cooperation of participating departments. The Director will work with the EEBB faculty and the participating departmental chairs to ensure that required and other relevant courses are available to EEBB students. The Director will also work with the EEBB faculty and departmental chairs to identify program needs and opportunities, such that the recruitment of new faculty can fill important gaps created by the departure of faculty and, as appropriate, extend course offerings in new directions within the areas covered by EEBB.

The EEBB Program Executive Committee (EEBBPEC) consists of the Director, one faculty member from each department affiliated with the EEBB Program and two student representatives. EEBBPEC may advise the Director on such matters as appointment of new faculty, reappointment or termination of existing faculty, and other major policy matters relating to the EEBB Program. In addition to any meetings scheduled by the Director, a meeting may be initiated by an EEBBPEC member or at the request of any EEBB Program faculty member or graduate student for the purpose of discussing a specific matter of concern that he or she wants brought to the attention of the committee. If a suggested solution from the EEBBPEC or Director does not satisfy the concern, the individual raising the concern may request that the matter be brought before the EEBB Program faculty at a faculty meeting.

The departments that currently participate in the EEBB Program are listed in Section I.C. Additional participating departments may be added from time to time, as interdisciplinary opportunities arise that are relevant to the mission of the EEBB Program. Such additions require the approval of the EEBB Director, following consultation with the EEBBPEC, as well as approval of the participating departmental chair. Such approvals also require that at least one faculty member in the participating department agrees to become an active EEBB faculty participant, with the attendant responsibilities and opportunities.

The EEBB Graduate Committee consists of two to four EEBB Program faculty selected by the Director in consultation with the EEBBPEC. The Graduate Committee evaluates each EEBB graduate student’s record and recommends to the EEBB Director that the student be granted the EEBB dual-major Ph.D. or M.S. certification provided that all program requirements are satisfied. (Each participating department will separately evaluate whether a student fulfills its own requirements.)

The EEBB Seminar Committee consists of at least three EEBB Program faculty members selected by the Director in consultation with the EEBBPEC and three EEBB Program graduate students elected by the graduate students. The Committee assists the Director in choosing a seminar or symposium format for the year, and in selecting appropriate topics and presenters. In doing so, the Seminar Committee solicits suggestions from the EEBB faculty and students. The Seminar Committee assumes responsibility for the organization and execution of the seminar series or symposium.

The EEBB Graduate Student Colloquium meets weekly during the fall and spring semesters to discuss graduate issues and research activities. The group serves as a friendly forum for students to discuss research plans, career goals, programmatic concerns, and other ideas. All EEBB graduate students are welcome.

The Director will attend the first Graduate Student Colloquium in the academic year to discuss the EEBB Program and its expectations of graduate students, meet incoming graduate students, present any new program initiatives, and hear any programmatic concerns that the students wish to raise. The Director or other EEBB faculty may also occasionally attend meetings of the Graduate Student Colloquium, if the students want to discuss issues regarding the EEBB Program or other concerns.