The MEES Program provides access to a strong curriculum of interdisciplinary graduate training and research in ecology. Within this Area of Specialization, numerous scientists throughout the University System of Maryland are actively involved in teaching and research, with collaboration common between these scientists and those in the other areas of MEES.

Ecology is a broad discipline encompassing terrestrial, aquatic, estuarine and marine environments. Specific areas of study include behavioral, community, evolutionary, marine, benthic, limnological, systematic, and physiological ecology. Variations and/or combinations of one or more of these subdisciplines are common (e.g., marine benthic community ecology as one area of study or the evolution of terrestrial communities as another). Students successfully completing this Area ofSpecialization could go on to academic appointments in a variety of departments (e.g., Environmental Sciences, Ecology, Biology, Zoology, Botany, etc.), or work for environmental consulting companies, as well as federal or state government agencies.

Due to the nature of the MEES Program, heavy emphasis is placed on the student's unique research goals within this AOS. As such, core course requirements are kept to a minimum. The remainder of a student's course load is determined by that student and his or her Research Advisory Committee on the basis of the individual's research topic and previous academic experience. The University System of Maryland has a wide and diverse set of course offerings in ecology and related areas, making it possible for students in almost any area of ecology to create a beneficial program of study.

The MEES Program ecology faculty believe graduate students should be well trained in the following five important areas:

1) scientific method and experimental design
2) statistical methods and use of computers for statistics, database manipulation, and modeling
3) ecological theory and mathematical modeling
4) fieldtechniques in ecology
5) scientific writing


A Bachelor's degree in the natural or life sciences (i.e., equivalent to UM undergraduate Biology degree) including a grade of C or better in the following courses:
1. Two semesters of Calculus
2. Two semesters of Introductory Chemistry
3. Two semesters of Organic Chemistry or Biochemistry
4. Two semesters of Physics
5. Two semesters of Introductory Biology
6. 2 Advanced Biology courses, one including Ecology

Core Courses and Other Requirements (M.S. and Ph.D.):

1. Population Biology, including mathematical modeling (600 level or above, 3-4 credits)
2. Ecosystem Ecology and/or Community Ecology (600 level or above, 3-4 credits)
3. One 3 - 4 credit course from one of the other MEES AOSs (from an approved list)
4. One 3 - 4 credit course in Statistics/Biostatistics (600 level for the Ph.D., 400 level for the M.S.)
5. One graduate level seminar (MEES 608 or equivalent) for each year in residence (on average) up to cap
6. One course or seminar in Management, Policy, Ethics or Philosophy of Science (400 or 600 level, 1-4 credits)
7. One specialized field or laboratory based Ecology course is recommended
8. Courses in Experimental Design and Analysis and in Scientific Writing are strongly recommended



The Comprehensive Examination must be passed by each candidate as one requirement for Admission to Candidacy. The exam is normally administered to a candidate before five semesters have been completed in a Ph.D. program. Each advisory committee member will provide five questions to the advisor and the student will select three to answer. Each exam will last no more than six hours and will be administered by the advisor on five consecutive days. Subsequently, the oral examination will be administered by all members of the student's advisory committee meeting together at one time. The oral exam should be given within 4 weeks of the satisfactory completion of the written exam.

The Advisory Committee of each Ph.D. candidate will develop a written exam comprised of five areas. Three of those areas will be based upon the AOS core and two will be selected from the four additional areas listed below.

Core Exam Areas
3 of 4 comprehensive exam areas: 

Community Ecology
Population Ecology

Additional Exam Areas
2 of 4 comprehensive exam areas: 

Physiological Ecology
Statistics and Experimental Design
Ecological Energetics
Quantitative Ecology