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Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Five-Year Combined Degree Program - B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEBI) or Environmental Biology (ENVB) and M.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

top ⇑Description

CordylineThe five-year, combined degree program is open only to Tulane undergraduate students. It combines the Bachelor of Science degrees offered by the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) with the terminal Master of Science degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, condensing what would normally be about six years of study into five years. Students pursuing the interdisciplinary bachelor's degree in Environmental Science may also apply.

Undergraduate students typically graduate after four years of study, having fulfilled all regular requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree. The accelerated master's degree component allows six graduate credits (two 6000- or 7000- level courses) completed during the senior year to be applied to the B.S. degree as well as to the M.S. degree. Each student pursuing the M.S. degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology then completes course work toward the master's degree during one additional year of graduate study. During the fifth (graduate) year the student typically completes a minimum of 24 credits of graduate work for a minimum total of 30 semester hours. The master's degree requires two semesters of independent study or internship courses instead of a written master's thesis. Each master's student will have a graduate advisor who has agreed to advise the student regarding the graduate program and to mentor the student during the independent study or internship.

top ⇑Rationale

This degree program provides a broad background in the theories and methods of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the graduate level, and comprises 30 graduate credit hours. The purpose of the 4+1 master’s degree program is to provide students with training at the graduate level for one additional year beyond the baccalaureate degree. Thus, the master’s degree component provides more complete preparation for future career paths than the Bachelor of Science degree alone. Students electing to pursue this degree program typically desire a broad background rather than a degree program involving a specialization in a particular area based on a master’s thesis.

Students who are interested in seeking employment with environmental agencies of federal, state, and municipal government; non-governmental organizations; and in private industry, including environmental consulting firms, will want to take advantage of the elective courses (listed below) that can be taken outside the Department in credit toward this degree. This degree program also will be useful to students planning to enter the field of environmental law as the elective courses outside the Department include law courses in that field.

The degree program provides a foundation in Ecology and Organismal Biology. It requires independent study in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EBIO 6910, 6920) or Environmental Biology (EBIO 7150, 7160), or an internship with an approved off-campus agency (EBIO 7660, 7670). These components distinguish this terminal degree program from the thesis-based master's degree in EEB. The opportunity to undertake independent study or to accrue on-the-job training with a governmental or private agency through an internship lends a unique character to this program and may give graduates an employment advantage.

top ⇑Eligibility

Candidates should apply for admission during the junior year, but students in their senior year also may apply. By the end of the junior year (or at the time of application), candidates should have completed all LAS proficiency and distribution requirements for the B.S. degree and all core requirements for the major. Candidates are required to have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA and EEB GPA. To advance to the fifth (graduate) year, candidates must complete all requirements for the B.S. degree in EEB by the end of their senior year, while maintaining the minimum 3.0 cumulative and EEB GPAs. Teaching assistantships are not available to students pursuing the master's degree in Environmental Biology as they are only awarded to doctoral students.

top ⇑Tuition

Students enrolled in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 4+1 degree program pay reduced tuition, which is 35% of full-time graduate tuition. Fees are not discounted and presently include an Academic Support Services Fee, Student Health Service Fee, Reily Recreation Center Fee and Student Activity Fee. The amounts for tuition and fees are subject to change. For the current tuition and fee structure, click here.

top ⇑Admission

Applications for the program are obtained through the Graduate Division of the School of Science and Engineering. Official transcripts and two letters of recommendation must accompany the application. One of the letters of recommendation must come from the intended graduate advisor who will advise the student and mentor her/him during the independent study or internship. The letter will indicate a willingness to work with the student and support her/his admission to the program. Scores from the GRE exam are not required for admission to this program. Students admitted to the program should be aware that in the fifth (graduate) year their academic progress is evaluated using the performance standards expected of all graduate students; the graduate course catalog should be consulted for details. The Graduate Division application form may be downloaded here. You may contact the Graduate Division of the SSE at 504-314-2907.

top ⇑Course Requirements

A minimum of 30 credits of graduate course work is required for the master's degree, six of which may also be used to complete the baccalaureate degree. In addition, the particular courses identified below may be completed as part of the combined degree program.

top ⇑Undergraduate Years

During the senior year, two 6000- or 7000-level courses (6 credits), chosen in consultation with the graduate faculty advisor, may be completed toward both the bachelor's degree and the M.S. degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. In some cases, students wishing to advance their work on the graduate component so as to devote more time to independent study or internship courses in the fifth year may petition the EEB Department to count as many as 12 credits of 6000- or 7000-level courses toward the graduate component. The six additional credits must be completed in excess of the 120 needed for the bachelor's degree, giving the student a total of 126 credits upon receiving the bachelor's degree.

top ⇑Fifth (Graduate) Year

Students must have completed a minimum of 30 credits of applicable graduate course work by the end of the fifth (graduate) year. The courses taken in the fifth year are chosen and arranged by the student and the graduate faculty advisor, including the following requirements:


  • Complete one of the following three sets of courses. The student's graduate advisor will mentor her/him during the independent study or internship. 
    • EBIO 6910-6920 – Independent Study (3 credits each)
      • Directed independent study in ecology and evolutionary biology.
    • EBIO 7150-7160 – Problems in Environmental Biology (3 credits each)
      • Directed independent study applying field and laboratory methods to environmental problems.
    • EBIO 7660-7670 – Internship in Environmental Biology (3 credits each)
      • Experiential learning in cooperation with federal, state, municipal, or private agencies and industry.
  • Complete one semester of EEB Journal Review, EBIO 6810 (1 credit) in the fall semester of the fifth year.

top ⇑Interdepartmental Electives

As many as nine additional credits (three courses) counting toward the graduate degree may be taken as electives at the appropriate level in other graduate departments or schools, depending upon the interests and career goals of the student. The following courses from other departments may be used as electives in the graduate component up to the maximum of nine (9) credits allowed from outside EEB. Students may petition individually to have other, alternative courses added to their programs. Students should consult appropriate catalogs for any pre-requisites for these courses.

Earth and Environmental Sciences, School of Science and Engineering


  • EENS 6030 – Environmental Methods
  • EENS 6050 – Natural Disasters
  • EENS 6190 – Marine Geology
  • EENS 6250 – Isotopes in the Environment
  • EENS 6300 – Groundwater Hydrology

School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine


  • ENHS 6470 – Management of Natural Resources

Law School


  • 4LAW 4460 – Environmental Law: Comparative
  • 4LAW 4990 – Environmental Law: Pollution Control
  • 4LAW 5010 – Environmental Law: Clean Water Act Seminar
  • 4LAW 5020 – Environmental Law: Endangered Species& Biodiversity Seminar
  • 4LAW 5080 – Environmental Law: Coastal & Wetlands Law Seminar
  • 4LAW 6080 – Environmental Law: Natural Resources Law

School of Science and Engineering, 201 Lindy Boggs Center, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5764 sse@tulane.edu