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Master’s Degree in Ecology or Evolution
 
Complete your Master’s Degree in 3 semesters.
» Master of Arts (MA) in Biological Sciences, Concentration in Applied Ecology or Applied Evolution.
» Preparation for a doctoral degree, or to work in industry, NGOs, or public agencies.
 
One of the first departments of its kind, we have notable strengths in:
Applied Ecology ✭ Conservation Biology ✭ Invasion Ecology ✭ Aquatic Ecology ✭ Research Synthesis ✭ Phylogenetics ✭ Molecular Evolution ✭ Evolutionary Genomics ✭ Biological Statistics ✭ Science Education
 
Our MA program has four components:
1 » Work closely with a faculty advisor on a capstone project.
The capstone project is an opportunity for MA students to dive deeply into a specific line of intellectual inquiry that builds on their coursework, to hone their organizational and writing skills, and to produce a product that is evidence of their scholarly experience. The goal of the project should be inquiry into a topic of scientific interest in ecology or evolution, and may be composed of a literature review, systematic review, or original research, depending on the goals of the student and subject to the approval of the faculty mentor. Evaluation of the paper is conducted by the student's advisor and a second reader from the program faculty.
Examples of recent capstone projects:
✭ Dry season feeding behavior & ecology of the black-and-white ruffed lemur across a gradient of habitat disturbance preceding a synchronous reproductive event
✭ Comparative analysis of phylogenetic and microbiome approaches to delimitation of Northwestern Pacific sea sponges
✭ Conservation and management of caribou in North America
2 » Take core courses in ecology or evolution, and biostatistics.

3 » Participate in topical discussion seminars.
Each semester, students may participate in faculty led, graduate discussion groups focused on critical topics in ecology and evolution.
Examples of recent seminar topics:
Speciation Genomics (Veeramah) ✭ Evolutionary Ecology of Marine Invertebrate Larvae (Padilla) ✭ Genomic Conflict (Eanes) ✭ Analyzing Data for Conservation (Davalos)
4 » Develop a curriculum tailored to your interests. Course choices from across the university are available for a tailored curriculum to meet each student's experience level and goals. Choose from elective courses in Ecology and Evolution, or sister departments including Anthropology, Anatomical Sciences, or Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.
 
Advanced certificates: Students may stay an extra semester and complete an advanced graduate certificate, administered through their respective programs. Typical certificates our students pursue are:
Data and Computational Science (offered through IACS)
Environmental Management (offered through SOMAS)
Geospatial Science (offered through Geosciences)

A strong graduate student culture:
In our small program, MA students interact with a faculty mentor and their lab group. We offer a rich, scholarly environment with a strong focus on quantitative and computational analysis. MA students have a shared office space, and participate fully in the life of the department. Weekly colloquia, a weekly informal graduate student seminar, and weekly departmental soup lunches are highlights in the departmental. A yearly departmental retreat and picnic are also important components.
 
Admissions criteria:
1 » Admission is dependent on a successful match with a faculty advisor.
We suggest you contact a potential faculty advisor. You will be asked to rank up to 3 prospective faculty advisors. Possible faculty advisors can be found here, although not all faculty accept MA students in any particular year. Feel free to contact Joshua Rest, the program director, for advice.
2 » Likely success in our core courses.
An important consideration for admissions is likelihood of success in our graduate level ecology or evolution courses. These courses require substantial intellectual engagement, fluency with the scientific literature, strong quantitative skills, and the ability to assimilate knowledge at a rapid pace. Students need to have strong study skills and the ability to address complex questions and problems on essay style exams in order to succeed. Similarly, we also consider the likelihood of success in our required biometry (biostatistics) course. This course requires very strong quantitative skills, including a working knowledge of calculus, and the ability to apply. In your essay, please comment on your preparation and likelihood of success in each of these courses.
 
Ecology concentration:
Our program provides students with a strong foundation in ecological principles and theory. We offer opportunities to develop quantitative skills necessary for ecological research or for assessment of environmental issues in the nonprofit or government sectors.
 
Required Courses (16 credits)
BEE 550: Principles of Ecology
BEE 692/693/695: Seminars (two required)
BEE 552: Biometry
WRT 621: Writing in the Academic Disciplines
BEE 556: Research Areas of Ecology & Evolution
BEE 599: Research (2-4 credits total)
BEE 671/672: Ecology and Evolution Colloquium

Suggested Electives (14 credits)
These courses vary in availability.
BEE 520: Advanced Human Genetics
BEE 521: Genomics Lab
BEE 555: Mathematical Methods in Population Biol.
BEE 560:Advanced Ecology
BEE 562: Bayesian Data Analysis and Computation
BEE 571: Ecology Laboratory
BEE 572: Conservation Biology
BEE 574: Landscape Ecology Laboratory
BEE 577: Ecological Genetics
BEE 585: Research Design and Analysis in Eco & Evol
BEE 586: Introduction to Ecological Modeling
BEE 587: Applied Ecology & Conservation Biol. Lab
ANT 536: Adv. Biostatistics & Phylogenetic Comparative Methods
GSS 513: GIS Fundamentals I
GSS 525: GIS Fundamentals II
GSS 526: Project Management
JRN 501: Communicating Science: Distilling Your Message
JRN 503: Communicating Science: Improvisation for Scientists
JRN 505: Communicating Science: Connecting with the Community
MAR 507: Marine Conservation
MAR 522: Environmental Toxicology & Public Health
MAR 536: Environmental Law and Regulation
MAR 569: Programming Statistics in R
MAR 581: Next Gen Sequencing Apps in Funct Genomics
and additional courses as determined by the GPD.
 
Evolution concentration:
Our program offers training in population genetics, phylogenetics, and evolutionary genomics. We also provide opportunities to develop skills that can be applied in evolutionary analysis.
 
Required Courses (16 credits)
BEE 551: Principles of Evolution
BEE 690/691/692: Seminars (two required)
BEE 552: Biometry
WRT 621: Writing in the Academic Disciplines
BEE 556: Research Areas of Ecology & Evolution
BEE 599: Research (2-4 credits total)
BEE 671/672: Ecology and Evolution Colloquium

Suggested Electives (14 credits)
These courses vary in availability.
BEE 520: Advanced Human Genetics
BEE 521: Genomics Lab
BEE 554: Population Genetics and Evolution
BEE 562: Bayesian Data Analysis and Computation
BEE 567: Molecular Diversity Laboratory
BEE 572: Conservation Biology
BEE 577: Ecological Genetics
BEE 585: Research Design & Analysis in Ecol. & Evol.
BEE 587: Applied Ecology & Conservation Biol. Lab
AMS 533: Num. Methods and Algorithms in Comp Bio
AMS 536: Molecular Modeling of Biol. Molecules
AMS 561: Intro. to Computational & Data Science
AMS 589: Quantitative Genetics
ANT 508: Paleoanthropological Field Methods
ANT 536: Advanced Biostatistics & Phylogenetic Comparative Methods
ANT 564: Primate Evolution
ANT 565: Human Evolution
CSE 549: Computational Biology
HBA 550: Vertebrate Evolution
HBA 551: Phylogenetic Systematics, Biogeography & Comparative Methods
HBM 503: Molecular Genetics
JRN 501: Communicating Science: Distilling Your Message
JRN 503: Communicating Science: Improvisation for Scientists
JRN 505: Communicating Science: Connecting with the Community
MAR 569: Programming Statistics in R
MAR 581: Next Gen Sequencing Apps in Funct. Genomics
and additional courses as determined by the GPD.

 

 From the Program Director
Thank you for considering a Master's Degree in Ecology or Evolution. The strength of our program is the close relationships you will build with your faculty advisor and with your fellow graduate students. We offer a strong scholarly environment that will allow you to engage rigorously in the disciplines of Ecology or Evolution. Many of our students go on to jobs in industry, non-profits, or government agencies. Other students are preparing for doctoral work. If you have matched interests and a strong academic record - we want you to join our program! I am here to support you during the application process and throughout the completion of your degree.
Joshua Rest, PhD
Joshua 
 
For further Information, contact:
Dr. Joshua S. Rest, Director
MA Program in Ecology and Evolution
631-632-1916 
Melissa J. CohenGraduate Program Coordinator
Department of Ecology & Evolution
631-632-8604
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, New York 11794-5245

State University of New York at Stony Brook is an affirmative action/equal opportunity educator and employer.

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