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Graduate Student Handbook: Ph.D. Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior Degree Program

Table of Contents


This graduate student handbook is intended as a supplement to, rather than a replacement for,  official university publications such as the Boise State University Graduate Catalog, and the Standards for  Preparation of Dissertation, Theses and Projects. It is the purpose of this handbook to provide students  and faculty with information concerning the policies of the Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior (EEB)  program. While efforts are made to keep this handbook current, it is the student’s responsibility to  stay informed of changes in the Graduate College and Graduate Program policies and regulations.  Careful planning at the start of your graduate program is essential for you to complete degree  requirements in a timely manner. We hope that this handbook will be a helpful guide to new and  continuing graduate students and to faculty who serve as advisors. 

Description of Ph.D. In Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior Degree

The Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior is a research-based degree. Admission to the  program is based on the compatibility of the applicant’s research interests with those of a  prospective major advisor, the availability of support (assistantships), and the applicant’s academic  preparation and promise. Students admitted into the Ph.D. program are expected to produce a  written dissertation based on original research carried out by the student. The dissertation should  make significant contributions to the body of scientific knowledge and be of sufficient quality to  warrant publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Following the completion of the  dissertation, the student is required to give a public presentation of the dissertation and successfully  pass an oral defense of the work. 

Department, Major Advisor, and Student Responsibilities

 The EEB program and home department of a doctoral student will provide the necessary tools and  the environment for the student’s growth and professional development. The major advisor has the  primary responsibility for day-to-day mentoring and professional development of their student(s).  The student, not the major advisor or the department, is responsible for meeting all deadlines  and academic requirements and for initiating a process of regular communication with the major  advisor and supervisory committee. The student is responsible for his/her program, which includes: 

  • Initiating regular communication and meetings with the major advisor. 
  • Working with the major advisor to ensure that all degree requirements are met in a timely  manner. 
  • Meeting with the supervisory committee as early as possible to discuss research and  academic goals, continuing to meet with the supervisory committee regularly (e.g., once per  semester) to update them on your activities. At the very least, communicate with committee  members regularly. 
  • Planning adequate and appropriate amounts of time each semester for research activities,  course work, and (if applicable) teaching. Full-time graduate students should expect to  devote a minimum of 40 hours per week on these activities, although in some cases more  time may be needed, and on a schedule dictated by the needs of the research. 
  • Professional development activities such as attending scientific conferences, presenting at  conferences, presenting seminars, and writing scientific papers for publication are highly  encouraged and recommended. 
  • Preparing drafts (proposals, dissertation chapters, manuscripts) in consultation with major  advisor before sending them to committee members. Drafts should be grammatically correct and free  of typographical and spelling errors.  

Administering the Doctoral Program

Application and Admittance

Students wishing to enter the Ph.D. program in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior must submit to  the Graduate College an online application for graduate admission along with a non-refundable $65  ($95 for International Students) application fee. The application deadline is January 15th each year.  Applications are reviewed once each year for admission starting in the fall semester.  

Applicants must hold a baccalaureate or masters (recommended) degree, preferably in a field closely  related to ecology, evolution, or behavior, from an accredited university or college. Provisional admission is sometimes granted for otherwise  promising applicants who do not meet GPA requirements or who have undergraduate  course work deficiencies. Students admitted provisionally must fulfill specific requirements before  being advanced to regular status. Regular status is required to graduate. 

Submission of Application Materials

The EEB Ph.D. Program processes online applications through Hobsons ApplyYourself. Please  read the application instructions carefully. The Graduate College Application is available year-round  for receiving application materials. Applicants are encouraged to submit their application and  application materials well in advance of the deadline to ensure that the application is complete by the  January 15th deadline. The following items are required for your EEB application: 

  1. Transcripts – Please request official copies of all undergraduate and graduate transcripts be  sent to Boise State.  
  2. Curriculum vitae (CV) – Please provide a CV that outlines your education, skills, and  professional experience. 
  3. Letters of Recommendation – Three letters of recommendation are required. Applicants  will list contact information for their recommenders in the application system. The system  will notify recommenders and provide an electronic upload mechanism for submitting  letters.  
  4. Cover Letter – See instructions below. 
  5. Identify interest in graduate faculty advisor/research labs – Complete the electronic  Applicant Faculty Advisor Selection form. The link to this form is provided in the graduate  application. Upon clicking this link, you will be prompted to provide 1-3 faculty names in  which you are interested in conducting research. A list of EEB advisors is available on the  program website ( Note that all faculty may review all  applications, so you may be contacted by faculty who you do not list, but who see you as a  good candidate for their lab. However, if you know of a faculty member that you hope to serve as your advisor, it is strongly recommended that you contact that person well in advance. 
  6. Application Fee – Pay the application fee. Application fees cannot be waived. 
  7. TOEFL or IELTS Scores – Required for International applicants only.  

Completed applications received by the deadline are reviewed by the EEB Graduate Studies  Committee (GSC) to select for admission (either acceptance or denial) and financial support  recommendations. Applicants are recommended for acceptance to the Ecology, Evolution, and  Behavior doctoral program only if they appear qualified academically, a major advisor is identified  and willing, and funding is available through a research award, fellowship, or graduate assistantship. 

The admission recommendation made by the EEB GSC is then forwarded to the Graduate College  for review. An admission decision is not official until approved by the Graduate College.  

Cover Letter Instructions

Please write a cover letter of no more than 750 total words which includes: 

  • A description of your overall academic interests and goals. Why do you seek graduate  training? What are your career goals? Why are you applying to this program? 
  • Include a description of your specific scientific interests. The letter is a great place to  describe your motivation to further your training in science and research in your chosen  field. Also, explain why your selected research labs are a good fit with your interests. 
  • A summary of your previous research experience or jobs involving laboratory of  fieldwork that cannot be seen from your CV. 
  • Please describe a situation where problem-solving and creativity helped you overcome a  challenge or obstacle.  
  • If needed, please request to be considered for a graduate assistantship in your cover letter.  

On-Campus Visit

The EEB GSC will invite a group of applicants for on-campus visits in late February to early March. On-campus visits will  provide time for prospective students to meet with faculty, staff, and graduate students, tour campus  and facilities, and learn more about the graduate program.  


Students should plan to register each semester except summer, even when working exclusively on research. Students should register for  dissertation credits (EEB 693) continuously until their degree program is completed unless the  student is not utilizing faculty time or department facilities. A student must be registered in at least  one credit of study during the semester in which they defend their dissertation. Students receiving a  graduate assistantship must enroll in at least 9, but preferably 12 credits, per semester (including  EEB 693 dissertation credits). Approval from the program coordinator is required for students to  enroll in more than 13 credits in a semester. 

International Students

International students must comply with and keep abreast of current rules and regulations of the US  Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Please refer any questions you have about such rules and regulations to the International Admissions Coordinator at, or visit  the International Students website (

New Student Orientation

All new graduate students are required to attend a program orientation meeting to be held the week  before the start of the fall semester. During the orientation program, faculty and staff will review  program policy, give helpful hints on how to be successful in graduate school, and answer questions.  New Teaching Assistants will be required to attend additional orientation events to become familiar  with their teaching responsibilities.

Contacting Students Via Email

Students are responsible for checking their Boise State University email account for messages and  announcements regarding the graduate program and teaching assistantships. If you prefer to use an  alternative email address (e.g., Hotmail, Gmail, etc.), please have your Boise State email automatically  forwarded to that account. Also, make sure that those forwarded messages are not being  quarantined as spam by your email server. All email communications from the University are  required to be sent to your email address.

Appointment of Major Advisor

The major advisor assumes the primary responsibility for day-to-day mentoring and professional  development of their students. This individual is identified during the review of the student’s  graduate application and must be in place before admission. To chair a graduate committee, the  major advisor must either be a member of the university’s graduate faculty, or an adjunct or member  of the graduate faculty with a departmental endorsement to chair dissertation committees. Students  with an off-campus advisor must have an on-campus co-advisor to assist the student with space  needs and academic procedures. The Graduate College confirms final approval of major advisor  selection. 

Appointment of Supervisory Committee

The Supervisory Committee is charged with general guidance of the doctoral student, including  design and approval of the program of study, administration of the comprehensive examination,  supervision of the dissertation research, and participation in the dissertation defense. The  Supervisory Committee consists of a major advisor who serves as chair, and at least three additional  members, two of whom must be members of the University regular or research faculty. All  members must be members of the Graduate Faculty. Please verify with the EEB Program Coordinator that all of your committee members are approved as Graduate Faculty before completing the committee.  Faculty who students wish to be on the committee but are not Graduate Faculty should consult with the Program Coordinator as early as possible.  Other members may be appointed when  necessary. A majority of the committee members must hold appointments in one of the academic  units of the EEB (Departments of Biological Sciences, Anthropology, Geosciences, and Human  Environmental Systems). Students are encouraged to have at least one member of their committee  who is external to the advisor’s department. 

Students should form a Supervisory Committee during their first semester of enrollment in the  graduate program. Composition of the committee should be based on a reasonable match between  student and faculty academic interest. Selection of the committee typically begins with the graduate student and major advisor agreeing on appropriate committee membership. The student then  contacts and meets with potential members to determine their availability to serve on the committee.  Once a committee has been identified, a Supervisory Committee Appointment form must be  completed. The form will then be routed to the program and the Dean of the Graduate College for  approval. The graduate dean can either appoint the recommended committee or solicit an  alternative recommendation from the program. A change in membership of the committee can be  made after its appointment, but only in accordance with program policies and the approval of the  Graduate College.

Student Mentoring and Assessment

Planning of Academic Course Work

Students will work with their major advisor and committee to complete an Individual Development  Plan (Google Spreadsheet Template to be shared with the student by the EEB Program). The plan  identifies the calendar of course work necessary for students to complete their degree requirements.  Each student’s spreadsheet is updated on an annual basis, providing an opportunity for the advisor  

and student to review the plan and make corrections, additions, etc., as necessary. Once approval for  the course plan and research are obtained, the completed Individual Development Plan is saved by  the student’s file.  

Evaluation of the Dissertation Proposal

Students must submit to their Supervisory Committee a dissertation proposal describing in sufficient  detail the proposed scope of work, anticipated scientific impact, timeline, and a plan for obtaining  and utilizing the resources necessary to complete the research. A complete draft proposal is  evaluated by the committee and returned to the student with comments and suggestions for revision  (if required). Then, the student will be required to present a 30-minute oral proposal presentation  followed by 15-20 minutes for questions. A final dissertation proposal must be submitted by the end  of the third semester via the Graduate Proposal Showcase. Where students will present their  research proposal via a lightning talk and poster to faculty, staff, and students of the department.

Progress and Competency in Graded Coursework

How students perform in the classroom will provide a direct metric of progress and achievement – particularly in the early portion of the program when much the required course work is typically  taken by students.  

The Comprehensive Exam

The comprehensive exam represents a significant milestone and an important assessment tool for  monitoring the extent to which students have assimilated information from various sources and  integrated it into a comprehensive knowledge of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior. It has both an  oral and written component (discussed in more detail below). 

Dissertation Defense

The culminating activity of the program is the oral presentation and public defense of the  dissertation (discussed in more detail below).

Comprehensive Examination

Doctoral students must enroll in and complete a comprehensive examination (EEB 691) before the  end of their fifth semester in the degree program. The objective of the comprehensive examination  is to assess the student’s depth and breadth of knowledge in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior. The  examination, which consists of both a written and oral test, is developed and administered by the  student’s Supervisory Committee.

The process begins in the student’s third semester with a written proposal and enrollment in EEB 689. This is intended to formally cover the aspect of readiness to undertake dissertation research.

  1. Oral lightning talk and poster presentation early in the third semester.
  2. Written 10-15 page proposal approved by the full committee by the end of the third semester. Students are encouraged to work with their full committee during the writing and editing process as a means of learning to work in a collaborative framework.

In the student’s fifth semester, they will enroll in EEB 691 and complete the comprehensive examination. This exam is intended as a review of student ability to complete the doctoral degree. It consists of short answers to a series of questions put forward by the committee followed by an oral exam to probe further into the written responses and relevance to research.

  1. Early in the 5th semester – no later than three weeks in – each committee member submits up to three questions but no more than 12 per student from the entire committee. The expected answer length should be 300-1500 words.
  2. The student works independently on answering these questions. They may consult the submitting committee member for clarification , but not assistance from any committee member, faculty member, or  peer.
  3. Responses are submitted to the committee for evaluation toward the end of the semester, but with sufficient time for everyone to evaluate the responses and hold an oral exam.
    1. Each committee member gives a ranking of: 1) The answer is thorough and accurate, 2)     The answer is mostly correct, but some aspect is missing/in error, 3) The answer is deficient in many ways, or NA (in case the committee member feels the question is beyond their expertise)
    2. The student should receive a majority of responses as 1 or 2. Less than a majority may be considered a fail, but can be resolved, in the oral exam should the number be close. A clear majority of responses rated as 3 should be considered a fail.
  4. Oral exam will be held before the end of the semester and the student will have the chance to respond orally to additional questions that may arise from the responses to the questions.

If a fail, the supervisory committee may allow for one additional attempt if requested by the student  and approved by the supervisory committee and program. Permission for a second attempt must be  requested in writing from the student within five days of the failed exam to the EEB Ph.D.  Coordinator. The supervisory committee must be specific on which portion(s) of the exam the  student failed (e.g., written, specific parts of orals) and must provide constructive feedback for the  student. Failure must also be documented by submission of a Report of Failure of a Comprehensive  Examination form to the Graduate College. The second attempt must be scheduled within three  months of the first attempt and a grade of Incomplete assigned to EEB691. The program and the  Graduate Dean must approve extensions beyond the three months. If the student does not request  a second attempt, or the request is denied, a grade of Fail is entered for EEB691. Failure of the  comprehensive exam will mean dismissal from the program. 

If the supervisory committee cannot reach a consensus decision on the pass/fail outcome of the  comprehensive exam, the student may be tasked with additional specific studies to address  weakness(es) raised in the committee and these will be re-evaluated by the full supervisory  committee within 3 months of the initial date of the exam with approval from the program.

Individual Development Plan and Annual Review

Each student will be given access to an Individual Development Plan and Review Tool. This tool is  an online Google spreadsheet which students will use to summarize the courses taken during the  previous year, the grades achieved, and the research accomplishments made over that time period.  As well as complete an annual self-evaluation. Once the student completes the self-evaluation, the  major advisor will be able to review the report and self-evaluation, and then will provide written  comments for feedback on the Faculty Annual Review tab. Once both the self-evaluation and  faculty evaluations have been completed, the student and major advisor should meet to discuss  them. If the major advisor indicates that satisfactory progress did not occur, the department’s EEB  GSC will investigate the matter further. Individual Development Plans are made available to the  student, the student’s supervisory committee, and the EEB program administration. 

Timeline for Individual Development Plan and Annual Review

Each student will receive a link to their Individual Development Plan and Annual Review Tool at  the beginning of the Spring semester. Students will have until mid-April to update their tool for the  past academic year, complete the self-evaluation, and receive a faculty evaluation.

Admission to Candidacy

Admission to candidacy is required by all degree-seeking graduate students and serves as an essential  intermediate check that reveals overlooked or misinterpreted program requirements. A student who  has not been admitted to candidacy cannot schedule or participate in a final oral examination or  apply for graduation. A student may be admitted to candidacy if he/she is in regular status and has  satisfactorily completed a set of courses sufficient to meet at least one-half of the total credit  requirements of the program. Students must submit a completed Application for Admission to  Candidacy form before the deadline published in the academic calendar (note that this deadline  occurs early in the semester preceding the intended semester of graduation). The completed form requires the exact final list of courses that are to be applied to meet the credit requirements of the  student’s graduate program. Following department approval, the form will be forwarded to  Graduate College for approval. Once the Application for Admission to Candidacy receives approval  from the Graduate College, students may apply for graduation on my.BoiseState. Note that an  approved Application for Admission to Candidacy is a binding agreement between the student and  university. Any subsequent changes to coursework requires approval by the EEB program and the  Graduate College. Please consult with the EEB program coordinator.

Dissertation Defense Procedures

A public defense of the dissertation is scheduled after the Supervisory Committee has reviewed a  draft that is considered to be nearly a final version. The defense committee consists of the student’s  entire supervisory committee, plus a graduate faculty representative (GFR). The date of the defense  is determined jointly by the Supervisory Committee and the student and must be consistent with any  guidelines provided by the Graduate College. The student or major advisor must notify the  Graduate College of the defense date by completing a Graduate Defense Notification Form at least two  weeks in advance of the defense date. 

The first part of the defense is a public oral presentation of the dissertation. The second part is a  final oral exam with the defense committee. After the oral examination, the GFR calls for a vote by  the voting members of the defense committee to determine the examination result, which must be  either pass or fail. A student who fails the defense may be permitted to try again but failure a second  time will result in dismissal from the program. 

If the defense is completed with a result of a pass, the Supervisory Committee prepares a statement  describing final requirements such as additions or modifications to the dissertation and any  additional requirements such as archival of data. When these requirements have been met, the  approval page of the dissertation is signed by the Chair of the Committee. 

The final version of the dissertation must be submitted to the Graduate College for approval by the  Dean of Graduate Studies. Before doing so, it must conform to the standards of the Graduate  College as determined by the dissertation editor. Students should refer to the Standards and Guidelines  for Theses and Dissertations manual for instructions on formatting and the type of paper required for  official university copies of the dissertation. A Thesis & Dissertation Template is also available for  download. 

Academic and Scholastic Requirements

Credit Requirements

Each doctoral student follows a study plan based on program requirements and on individual career  goals. According to Graduate College policies, at least two-thirds of the total credit requirement for  the degree program must be earned at Boise State University after admission to the graduate  program. 

Students engaging in any activity requiring faculty time and consultation, or the use of any Boise  State facilities, must register for the number of credits appropriate to the degree of activity. Students engaged in any phase of research, such as writing a manuscript or dissertation, must register for such  work in the amount reflecting the effort required. All students funded by a graduate assistantship  must register for a minimum of 9 credits each fall and spring semester and one credit in the summer  (if conducting research). All students are required to enroll in the appropriate number of credits  during the semester in which their degree requirements are completed. 

*A minimum of 60 credits is required for the Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior degree.  Please see the Graduate Catalog for information on transfer credits from other graduate degrees.  Specific curriculum requirements are provided below: 

Doctor of Philosophy in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior
Course Number and Title  Credits
EEB 601 Principles and Processes in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior I EEB 603 Reproducible Science 

EEB 604 Science and Communication II


EEB 605 Current Research in EEB   2
Quantitative Requirement (choose at least 1 course from the following): ANTH 504 Statistical Methods in Anthropology (3 cr) 

BIOL 601 Biometry (4 cr) 

BIOL 603 Advanced Biometry (4 cr) 

EEB 607 Quantitative Methods for Population and Habitat Analysis (3 cr) EEB 621 Advanced Ecological Data Analysis (3 cr) 

GEOPH 522 Data Analysis and Geostatistics (3 cr) 

GEOS 505 Introduction to Numerical Methods for the Geosciences (3 cr) MATH 572 Computational Statistics (3 cr) 

MATH 573 Time Series Analysis (3 cr)  

MATH 574 Linear Models (3 cr)

HES 600 SES (Social-Ecological Systems) Research Methods (3 cr)

HES 610 Spatial Analysis (3 cr)

Approved electives courses in ANTH, BIOL, BMOL, BOT, EEB, GEOS,  HES, ZOOL or related fields as approved by the supervisory committee  and by the coordinator of the EEB doctoral program. 13-14
EEB 691 Doctoral Comprehensive Examination  1
EEB 693 Dissertation  30
Total  60
Doctor of Philosophy in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior 

Emphasis in Global Change Biology

Course Number and Title  Credits
EEB 601 Principles and Processes in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior I EEB 603 Science and Communication I 

EEB 604 Science and Communication II


EEB 605 Current Research in EEB   2
Quantitative Requirement (choose at least 1 course from the following): ANTH 504 Statistical Methods in Anthropology (3 cr) 

BIOL 601 Biometry (4 cr) 

BIOL 603 Advanced Biometry (4 cr) 

EEB 607 Quantitative Methods for Population and Habitat Analysis (3 cr) EEB 621 Advanced Ecological Data Analysis (3 cr) 

GEOPH 522 Data Analysis and Geostatistics (3 cr) 

GEOS 505 Introduction to Numerical Methods for the Geosciences (3 cr) MATH 572 Computational Statistics (3 cr) 

MATH 573 Time Series Analysis (3 cr)  

MATH 574 Linear Models (3 cr)

HES 600 SES (Social-Ecological Systems) Research Methods (3 cr)

HES 610 Spatial Analysis (3 cr)

Human Behavior and Ecology (choose 1-2 courses from the following): ANTH 501 Adaptation and Human Behavior (3 cr) 

ANTH 502 Human Evolutionary History and Development (3 cr)  ANTH 521 Human Paleoecology of North America (3 cr) 

ANTH 530 Advanced Topics in Evolutionary Anthropology (3 cr)  ANTH 531 Economic Anthropology (3 cr)  

ANTH 532 Game Theory and Human Cooperation (3 cr) 

Earth Sciences (choose 1-2 courses from the following): 

BIOL 628 Geographic Information Systems in Biology (3 cr) 

GEOG 570 (GEOS 570) Earth System Science and Global Warming (3 cr) GEOS 511 Hydrology: Land-Atmosphere Interaction (3 cr) 

GEOS 580 Selected Topics in Watershed Hydrology (1-3 cr) GEOS 585 Selected Topics in Isotope Geoscience (1-3 cr) 

GEOS 605 Topics in Geomorphology (3 cr) 

GEOS 607 Paleoclimatology and Paleoceanography (3 cr) 

GEOS 620 Coupled Land-Atmosphere Modeling (3 cr) 

GEOS 621 Global Hydrologic Change (3 cr) 

GEOS 633 (CE 633) Contaminant Hydrogeology (3 cr) 

GEOS 636 Stable Isotope Geochemistry (3 cr) 

GEOS 638 Radiogenic Isotope Geochemistry and Geochronology (3 cr)

Approved elective courses in ANTH, BIOL, BMOL, BOT, EEB, GEOS, HES,  ZOOL or related fields as approved by the supervisory committee and by  the coordinator of the EEB doctoral program. 4-5
EEB 691 Doctoral Comprehensive Examination  1
EEB 693 Dissertation  30
Total  60

Independent Study (EEB 596) and Directed Research (EEB 696)

Subject to the credit restrictions of the degree, students may apply EEB 596 Independent Study and EEB 696 Directed Research to their elective credit requirements.

Independent Study (EEB 596)

Involves the advanced study of a specialized topic. The student works with a high degree of  independence to meet well-defined goals under the supervision of a member of the graduate faculty.  Credit is variable (1-3) and dependent on the magnitude and scope of the study. Enrolling in EEB  596 requires submission of a completed Application for Graduate Independent Study form prior to  the deadline specified in the academic calendar. Approval from the department and Graduate  College is required.

Directed Research (EEB 696)

Involves research conducted by the student under the supervision of a member of the graduate  faculty. The study requires a clear statement of the hypothesis or proposition, a review of relevant  literature, analysis and synthesis of data, and the inference of conclusions. Credit is variable (1-3)  and dependent on the magnitude and scope of the study. Students may not apply portions of their  dissertation research toward EEB 696 credit, although projects related to the dissertation topic are  acceptable. Enrolling in EEB 696 requires submission of a completed Application for Directed Research form prior to the deadline specified in the academic calendar. Approval from the department and  Graduate College is required.

Residency Requirements and Duration of Graduate Program

A Ph.D. student must spend at least one academic year in full-time, on-campus graduate study at  Boise State University. The minimum duration of study for the Ph.D. degree is three academic years  beyond the baccalaureate degree. All requirements for a Ph.D. degree, including courses completed  at another college or university, must be started and completed within a single continuous interval of  no more than ten years.

GPA Requirements

All students admitted to the program must meet the cumulative GPA requirements described in this  section. A student admitted to the program must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00, including transfer courses. If the cumulative GPA is below 3.00 at the end of the next enrolled  semester (including summer), the Graduate College reviews the student’s progress and takes one of  the following actions: 

  1. Remove the student from probation if the cumulative GPA is 3.00 or above.
  2. Continue the student on probation if the cumulative GPA is below 3.00 and the semester  GPA is 3.00 or above. Students may continue on probation for an unlimited number of  semesters but will be ineligible for graduation if their cumulative GPA is below 3.00 at the  end of their graduation semester. Students should consult their advisor and the Graduate  Program Coordinator for advice and possible options.  
  3. Dismiss the student from their graduate program and Boise State University if the  cumulative GPA is below 3.00 and the semester GPA is below 3.00. Students who are  dismissed are administratively withdrawn from their courses and cannot register for classes  until they are either reinstated to the graduate program or readmitted to the Graduate  College. Students who request reinstatement (following Boise State policy #3090) and are  granted reinstatement to the program within 30 calendar days are not required to reapply to  the Graduate College. A new online application and application fee is required after 30 days,  or when a student’s request for reinstatement is denied. 

Graduation GPA Requirements

At the end of the graduation semester, a student’s eligibility for graduation will be reviewed using the  following guidelines: 

  • Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or above will be eligible for graduation.  Students with a cumulative GPA below 3.00 and who were not on probation at the start of  the graduation semester will be ineligible for graduation and placed on probation until their  cumulative GPA is 3.00 or above. Students should consult their advisor and the Graduate  Program Coordinator for advice and possible options. 
  • Students with a cumulative GPA below 3.00 and who were on probation at the start of the  graduation semester will be dismissed from the graduate program and Boise State University.  

Academic Performance Requirements

Every student who is admitted to a graduate program must meet three scholastic grade requirements  set by the Graduate College:  

1) Semester GPA Requirement: A student is required to achieve a minimum GPA of 3.0 each  and every semester in which the student is enrolled. If a student fails to meet the semester  GPA requirement and the failure is the first occurrence since admission to the program,  the student will be placed on academic notice by the college but will be allowed to  continue in the program. If a student fails to meet the semester GPA for a second time  since admission to the program, the student will be administratively withdrawn from the  program by the Graduate College. The withdrawal decision is subject to an appeal  process; please discuss your situation with the director of graduate studies. 

2) Program GPA Requirement: Students must achieve a program GPA of 3.0 or higher to be  eligible for a graduate degree. If a student fails to achieve a program GPA of 3.0 or better, the student is ineligible for a degree and should consult with the director of graduate  studies for advice and possible options. 

3) Individual Course Requirement: Graduate courses (500 and 600 level) for which a student  receives a grade lower than C will not count toward the degree requirements of the  program. Undergraduate courses approved for graduate credit, G-level courses, and  transfer credits require at least a grade of B to count toward the degree requirements of the  program.  

A grade of I (Incomplete) is assigned when extenuating circumstances make it impossible for a student  to complete a course before the end of the semester, subject to the requirement that the student has  been in attendance and has done satisfactory work up to a time within three weeks of the end of the  semester. In order to receive an incomplete on a graduate course, the student and instructor must agree to a contract which stipulates the work that is required and the time frame in which it must be  completed for the student to receive a grade in the class. 

A grade of IP (In Progress) is used for EEB 693 dissertation credits until all aspects of the dissertation  are completed. When the dissertation is complete, or when the student ceases to work under the  faculty member supervising the research, the IP grade is changed either to a Pass (P) or Fail (F).  Once a final grade for EEB 693 has been submitted by the major advisor, the Registrar’s Office will  adjust all IP grades on the student’s transcript to reflect the new final grade. 

Academic Performance at Graduation

All students enrolled in a degree or certificate program must meet the following academic  performance requirements at the end of their final (graduation) semester: (1) cumulative GPA  requirement, (2) program GPA requirement, and (3) individual course requirements. 

Department Facilities

Graduate Student Desk Space

Faculty may have desk space available for their graduate students. Alternatively, a limited number of  desks are available for EEB students in the Science Building (Science, Room 140). Please contact the  Graduate Program Manager for more information about desk availability.  

Computers and Printers

For students needing access to computing facilities, a computer lab with access to printing is  provided in each academic unit. A username and password are required for printing – please see the  department Administrative Assistants (Science, Room 107) for details. 

Photocopies and Faxes

A photocopier is available for graduate student use in Science 219. Photocopies should be limited to  activities associated with dissertation research, graduate course work, and teaching responsibilities.  

A fax machine (208-426-1040) is available in the main office of the Department of Biological  Sciences. Faxes should be limited to research-related activities. Personal faxes are not permitted.


Each graduate student has a mailbox located in Science 106 or a building of their choosing.  Packages can be picked up in the main office of the Department of Biological Sciences. Assistance  with preparing labels and mailing FedEx packages for teaching/research is available in the front  office (Science, Room 107). 

Poster Printing

The Biology Department has a plotter printer which can be used to print posters for teaching and  presenting research. Requests for printing can be made via the Poster Printing Request Form  ( 

Financial Assistance

Assistantship Support

Graduate assistantships are available on a limited basis to Ph.D. students. These assistantships  include a stipend over the twelve months (currently $25,000), a tuition and fee waiver covering the  spring and fall semesters, and student health insurance.  Continued assistantship support is contingent financial need, and program review of performance in  teaching, course work, and dissertation research. Graduate assistants with  teaching duties are required to enroll in BIOL 604 “Intro to Biology College Teaching” in their first  fall semester associated with their teaching assignment. 

Graduate assistantships with teaching duties are expected to provide up to 20 hours of service per  week. Program policy prohibits students on teaching assistantships from accepting additional  employment without the written approval of the major professor and the program. The permission  form can be obtained from the EEB coordinator. 

Research assistantships funded by research grants may be available to students. The terms of such  assistantships will depend on the amount of funding available. Please consult your major professor  for details about such funding opportunities. 

Financial Aid

Graduate students can apply for loans and work-study through federal aid programs. Please consult  the Graduate Catalog (available online at the Registrar’s web page) for details on application  procedures, or visit the Financial Aid Office website for more information on these programs. 

Graduate Student Awards, Grants, & Fellowships

Travel Grants

Doctoral students in good standing may apply for a total of two $600 awards for travel to attend and  present their dissertation research at scientific meetings. To be eligible for travel funds the student  must submit details of the conference to the Director of Graduate Studies, including the name, date,  and location of the conference, a budget, proof that you are presenting research at the conference,  and evidence that you have applied for travel assistance if such assistance is offered by the  conference organizers. If everything is in order, the director will ask the program manager to begin processing the travel request paperwork. Please note that the awarding of travel grants is contingent  on the availability of program funds. 

Please use the Ph.D. Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior Travel Award Request Form at to request travel support from the EEB program. You will  be required to upload a Department of Biological Sciences Travel Pre-Approval Authorization form  as part of this request.  

Off-campus travel may require permission in the form of an approved Travel Request. Please see  the graduate program manager for details on travel procedures.

Graduate College Conference Travel Funding

The Graduate College has a limited number of travel funding opportunities with application  deadlines of October 1 (Fall) and April 1 (Spring). For more information, see the Graduate College  Travel Award Website at 


Many graduate students find off-campus accommodations in the vicinity of Boise State University.  For those interested in on-campus accommodations, there are a number of options. For  information on-campus housing and application procedures, please visit the Housing Office website.

Notice of Non-Discrimination

It is the policy of Boise State University to comply with all federal, state and local authorities  requiring nondiscrimination, including but not limited to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,  the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section  504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Age  Discrimination Act of 1975, and Executive Orders 12898 (Environmental Justice) and 13166  (Limited English Proficiency). Boise State is an equal opportunity employer. The University does  not exclude from participation in, deny the benefits of, or subject any individual to discrimination on  the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, income,  protected veteran status, limited English proficiency, or any other status protected under applicable  federal, state or local law. 

For more information or if you believe you have been subject to discrimination on the basis of sex,  sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability, please contact Boise State’s Title IX, ADA, and 504  Coordinator: 

Alicia Estey 

Interim Coordinator of Title IX/ADA/504 Compliance 

Riverfront Hall, Suite 306 

1910 University Drive, Boise, ID 83725-1500 

(208) 426-1258  

For more information or if you believe you have been subject to discrimination on any other basis,  please contact: 

Alicia Estey 

Interim Coordinator of Title IX/ADA/504 Compliance 

Riverfront Hall, Suite 306 

1910 University Drive, Boise, ID 83725-1500 

(208) 426-1258  

You may also file a complaint with: 

U.S. Department of Education 

Office of Civil Rights (OCR) 

810 3rd Avenue #750 

Seattle, WA 98104 

(206) 607-1600

APPENDIX – Suggested Timeline for EEB Ph.D. Graduate Students

First Semester

The student begins to develop a proposed dissertation project in consultation with the major  advisor. 

Forms supervisory committee. Student submits the Appointment of Supervisory  Committee Form.  

Convene initial committee meeting. The student brings an outline of the proposed research  topic for discussion with the committee. 

Second Semester

The student begins to draft a written proposal and animal care protocols (if necessary). The student fills out and completes the Individual Development Plan and Annual  Assessment plan (Google Spreadsheet Document to be sent by the EEB Program Manager) 

Third Semester

The second week: Student submits written proposal for the dissertation project, receives  feedback, presents at Graduate Proposal Showcase (lightning talk and poster presentation). 

Fifth Semester

Comprehensive Exams 

Seventh Semester

The student applies for candidacy in the semester before expected completion by submitting  the Application for Admission to Candidacy form – Be Aware of the deadline! 

Eight Semester

  • The student applies for Graduation by completing the Application for Graduate Degree  process in their my.BoiseState student center. The system will check to confirm that an  Application for Admission to Candidacy has been received and approved by the graduate  college. If you have not submitted a Candidacy form, you will receive an error message and  will not be able to apply for graduation. The deadline to apply for graduation comes early in  the semester. – Check the Academic Calendar for details.  
  • Student completes and defends dissertation – Be aware of the deadlines for defending and  submitting completed dissertation to the graduate college, and program rules for scheduling  a defense! 
  • Student submits required dissertation materials to the Graduate College. 

Intervening Period Between Specific Deadlines Listed Above

  • Course work 
  • Dissertation research 
  • The student analyzes data; continues research; writes about preliminary results or research  projects; attends meetings, etc. 
  • Student meets with and updates the graduate committee regularly about research progress.

APPENDIX – Participating Faculty



Ph.D. Institution 

Brief Research  


Department of Biological Sciences

Jesse Barber 



Wake Forest U 

Sensory ecology, animal  

behavior, conservation  


Jim Belthoff 


Clemson U 

Behavioral ecology, animal  behavior, and avian biology

Leonora Bittleston 

Assistant Professor 

Harvard University 

Convergent Interactions,  Pitcher Microcosm  


Sven Buerki 

Assistant Professor 

University of Neuchatel,  Switzerland

Biogeography, Madagascar,  taxonomy & Systematics

Trevor Caughlin 

Assistant Professor 

U Florida 

Forest landscape restoration,  spatial ecology, seed dispersal

Jen Cruz

Assistant Professor

U Queensland

Population Ecology

Marie-Anne de Graaff 



Wageningen U 

Plant/Soil interactions in  terrestrial ecosystems

Kevin Feris 


U Montana 

Microbial community  

ecology; bioremediation  


Jennifer Forbey 



U Utah 

Physiological, chemical and  pharmacological ecology

Eric Hayden 

Assistant Professor 

Portland State U 

RNA evolution, biomedical &  biotechnical molecules

Julie Heath 


U Florida 

Avian biology and  

conservation ecology

Peter Koetsier 


Idaho State U 

Aquatic ecology; lotic  

macroinvertebrate ecology

Steve Novak 


Washington State U 

Plant evolutionary biology;  introduced species

Ian Robertson 


Simon Fraser U 

Insect behavior and ecology;  plant-insect interactions

Marcelo Serpe 


U California Davis 

Plant biochemistry and  


James Smith 


U Wisconsin 

Plant molecular systematics,  cladistic analyses

Merlin White 


U Kansas 

Fungal molecular systematics,  arthropod-associated fungi

Jay Carlisle 

Associate Research  Professor

U South Dakota 

Avian migration and  

physiological ecology

Department of Anthropology

Cheryl Anderson 


U Nevada Las Vegas 


Kathryn Warden  




U California Davis 

Cultural evolution, behavioral  and evolutionary ecology

Christopher Hill 


Southern Methodist U 

Environmental archaeology geoarchaeology


Kristin Snopkowski 



U New Mexico 

Human behavioral ecology,  evolutionary demography

Shelley Volsche


U Nevada, Las Vegas

Reproductive choices, human-animal bond

Pei-Lin Yu 



Southern Methodist U 

Ethnoarchaeology, human  response to climate change

John Ziker 


University of California,  Santa Barbara

Kinship, social organization,  and demography; Human  Behavioral Ecology; Network  Analysis; Medical  


Human-Environment Systems

Jodi Brandt 

Assistant Professor 

U of Wisconsin 

Land use science, remote  sensing, conservation biology

Megan Cattau

Assistant Professor

Columbia U

Anthropogenic/biophysical factors and disturbance regimes, social-ecological resilience

Vicken Hillis 

Assistant Professor 

U California Davis 

Behavioral and institutional  change in environmental  settings

Kelly Hopping 

Assistant Professor 

Colorado State U 

Global change, local  

ecological knowledge, alpine,  and grassland social 

ecological systems

Matt Williamson

Assistant Professor

U California Davis

Conservation, human-environment interactions


Shawn Benner 



U Waterloo 



Alejandro Flores 




Ecohydrology and modeling,  remote sensing

Nancy Glenn 


U Nevada Reno 

Remote sensing, image  

analysis, geological  


Matt Kohn 



Rensselaer Polytechnic  Institute

Geochemistry, petrology, and  paleoecology

Jen Pierce 



U New Mexico 

Geomorphology &  


US Geological Survey

Matthew Germino 


Research Ecologist

U Wyoming 


relationships; biophysical  ecology

Todd Katzner 

Research Wildlife  Biologist

Arizona State U 

Conservation biology,  

ornithology, mammalogy

David Pilliod 


Research Ecologist

Idaho State U 

Herpetology, wildlife ecology,  stream & fire ecology

Douglas Shinneman 


Research Fire  


U Wyoming 

Fire, landscape, restoration  and, plant ecology

The Peregrine Fund

David Anderson 

Director Gyrfalcon  Conservation  


Louisiana State U 

Raptor biology; ecological  structure and function

Chris McClure 

Director of  

American Kestrel  




Auburn U 

Vertebrate monitoring and  ecological modeling

APPENDIX – Student Resources

Graduate College Homepage 

Graduate Catalog (download the graduate catalog specific to your enrollment date in the  graduate program.) 

Graduate Student Success Center – resources and support provided by the Graduate College  for graduate students. Includes writing assistance, workshops, and dissertation support.  Academic Calendar (download the academic calendar for a complete list of deadlines) Campus Security and Police – 2245 University Drive, 426-6911 

Complaints About the Behavior of Another Student – Contact Office of the Dean of  Students, NORCO Building, Suite 116, 426-1527  

Discrimination – Contact Alicia Estey Interim Coordinator of Title IX/ADA/504  Compliance, Riverfront Hall Building, Room 306, 426-1258 

Financial Concerns (explore aid options available or see if extenuating circumstances qualify  as “special conditions” for adjusting existing aid) – Financial Aid Office, Administration  Building, Room 113, 426-1664, email 

Health or Medical Problems – Contact the University Health Services, NORCO Building,  426-1459  

Personal, Relationship or Educational Concerns – Contact Health & Wellness Counseling  Services, NORCO Building, 426-1459 

Sexual Harassment – Contact Alicia Estey, Interim Coordinator of Title IX/ADA/504  Compliance, Riverfront Hall Building, Room 306, 426-1258 or Office of the Dean of  Students, NORCO Building, Suite 116, 426-1527 

Support for Women – Gender Equity Center, 426-4259 

Academic Accommodations – Educational Access Center, 1st Floor of the Lincoln Parking  Garage, 426-1583 

Veteran Resources – Veteran Services – Lincoln Parking Garage, 426-3744 Reaching Out Handbook – Resources for Responding to Individuals in Distress

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