The Ecological Systems Foundation encompasses a broad array of topics and scales of research, all with the fundamental perspective that understanding the interactions between organisms and their environment leads to valuable scientific discovery and application. From genes to ecosystems and from the mountains to the seafloor, previous student research in this area has included development of techniques in landscape ecology, ecological genomics and fisheries stock assessment.  Tools developed over the course of a graduate student career may include sophisticated field and laboratory studies as well as analytical and simulation modeling.  Faculty supporting this foundation are actively conducting research around the globe from the Arctic and Australia to continental areas such as the American Midwestern prairie and the iconic Chesapeake Bay.  Our faculty draw from the traditions of individual, population, community, and ecosystem approaches, providing students with depth in their individualized training even as the curriculum promotes access to a variety of ecological perspectives.  We are committed to training the future leading scientists and professionals in all aspects of ecology.  Students interested in pursuing ecological research or engaging in cross-disciplinary research that bridges to each of the other three Foundational Areas are strongly encouraged to explore graduate work with us. 


  1. Two Introductory Science courses (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Geology)
  2. Two Advanced Science courses (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Geology)
  3. Two Quantitative courses (Calculus, Statistics, or Computer Programming)
  4. Two Foundation relevant courses

Courses & Other Requirements (M.S. & Ph.D) 

  1. Foundational Course: MEES 660 – Ecological Systems
  2. A minimum of three Professional Development courses from the four subject areas, including a course in Applied Environmental Sciences
    • Applied Environmental Sciences (*required)
    • Responsible Conduct of Research
    • Scientific Communication
    • Environmental Statistics
  3. One seminar for each year in residence of the program (up to 4)
  4. Elective courses approved by the student's advisory committee including at least one 700 level course. 

For information regarding faculty members who are associated with Ecological Systems, see the link below.