Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

Graduate Education

Graduate Education

Ecology graduate students may pursue either a M.S. or Ph.D. in Biology and have opportunities to conduct their research through the LCC – Biological Field Station. Our course offerings are designed to ensure students have a solid education in ecological sciences while providing the opportunity for specialization in their chosen area. Research projects are an integral part of that training, and we provide excellent facilities and a broadly-based faculty to support many areas in ecology.

There are also opportunities to enroll in courses in cell and molecular biology, especially if the student wishes to learn molecular techniques and apply them to an ecological question.

Graduate Programs In Ecology

M.S. Degree

Graduate students conducting research and enrolled in the M.S. program typically complete:
  • 24 course credits + 6 research credits, and a thesis on their research
  • Reading knowledge of a foreign or computer language, or Biostatistics
  • Master’s comprehensive exam
  • Submission and defense of their thesis

Ph.D. Degree
Students enrolled in the Ph.D. program and entering with a M.S. degree typically complete:
  • 30 credits (minimum 18 course credits, maximum 12 research credits)
  • Reading knowledge of a foreign or computer language, or Biostatistics
  • Ph.D. comprehensive exam   
  • Submission and defense of dissertation
  • Students entering without a M.S. degree must complete 30 course credits + 30 research credits (as well as the requirements above).
Further details on requirements can be obtained from the
Biology Department (718-817-3641) or the
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (718-817-4400)

Graduate Courses

Graduate courses include lecture format, discussion groups, and field courses. We offer regular journal discussion groups each semester, where faculty and students gather to discuss recent papers in ecological sciences. All ecology graduate students complete an intensive reading of the ecological literature based on a rigorous, three-semester sequence of core courses:

  • Population Biology (BIGA 6531, 3 credits): An introduction to principles of evolution and ecology, including mechanisms of evolution, species, speciation, gene flow, adaptation, behavioral ecology, life histories, population growth, and intraspecific interactions.
  • Community Ecology (BIGA 6532, 3 credits): A consideration of species interactions, including interspecific competition, predation, parasitism, mutualism, species diversity, niche theory, and community structure.
  • Ecosystem Ecology (BIGA 6533, 3 credits): The principles of ecosystem science, covering patterns of productivity, energy and matter flow in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, island biogeography, landscape ecology, effects of human disturbance, global change, biodiversity, and conservation.

Students also gain hands-on, practical experience at the station over two semesters, with two 1-credit, field–laboratory courses each fall semester.

Methods courses utilize a problem-solving approach, from experimental design to data collection and analysis, emphasizing the match between data and theory.  Students focus on understanding and explaining data, types of data analysis, graphic presentations, and writing effective scientific papers. These topics are organized under the following:
  • Methods in Ecology 1 (BIGA 6541, 1 credit): A practical field and lab course covering methods of experimental design, data collection, testing models, plant, animal, and microbial census methods in a variety of aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Taken concurrently with or after BIGA 6531.
  • Methods in Ecology 2 (BIGA 6542, 1 credit): A field and lab course covering community analysis, chemical analysis of water, soil and biological materials, measurements of microbial, plant and animal activity, and nutrient cycling. Taken after BIGA 6541.

We offer a variety of elective courses on more specialized topics. All ecology graduate students are strongly encouraged to take Biostatistics, which is offered each year (for details see Biology Department home page). Below are elective courses that have been offered recently:

Biogeography - BIGA 6538

Mammology - BIGA 6561

Biostatistics - BIGA 6525

Microbial Ecology - BIGA 7563

Conservation Biology - BIGA 6597

Paleobiology - BIGA 6599
Environmental Management - BIGA 6595

Physiological Ecology - BIGA 7528

Evolutionary Ecology - BIGA 6589

Systematics - BIGA 6539

Limnology - BIGA 6513

Plant Ecology - BIGA 7565

Students also have the option to request and design courses on particular subjects that require more in-depth study. These include reading and discussion courses (Seminars) and research topics, where a student may require specialized training (Tutorials). Either can be arranged with the approval of an interested faculty member. Recent offerings include:

  • Seminar in Ecology and Evolution -- a weekly reading group at the Calder Center
  • Nonparametric Statistics
  • Aquatic Microbial Ecology
  • Field Entomology
  • Phytoplankton Ecology
Details of admission requirements and degree paths are available through the Department of Biological Sciences and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Applications and Financial Aid

Students are strongly encouraged to contact a faculty member in the Biology Department before making an application. The prospective student shouldespecially communicate with faculty having research interests that most closely match their own.  See faculty listing for further information on research areas available. Tours of the Biologiy Department and the Louis Calder Center Biological Field Station may also be arranged by appointment.
  • Applications typically are considered for the fall semesters.
  • You may obtain a username and password to apply online as well as receive specific information about your program of interest by creating a VIP Page.
  • Click here to submit an online application.
  • To find out more about the application process go to: Graduate School of Arts and Sciences-Admissions
  • Deadlines are typically mid-January for the following fall semester or by writing this station:
    Louis Calder Center - Biological Field Station, Fordham University
    53 Whippoorwill Road, P.O. Box 887
    Armonk, NY 10504

We provide financial support in the form teaching and research fellowships for highly qualified students. Stipends range from $15,000 to $17,000 per year, plus full tuition remission.

Students conducting independent research may also receive funding to attend national meetings in their field of study. Recent meetings at which students have presented results include the Ecological Society of America, American Society of Mammology, and the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography.

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