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Evolutionary Biology PhD Program

 Admissions Information

Thank you for your interest in the Joint Doctoral Program in Evolutionary Biology at San Diego State University.  The principal objective of the Joint Doctoral Program in Evolutionary Biology (JDPEB) is to allow talented students to pursue graduate work in integrative evolutionary studies towards a doctoral degree jointly administered by UCR and SDSU.

The joint nature of the doctoral program offers many advantages.  Students benefit from contact and expertise in and outside the classroom with faculty members at two strong, complementary evolutionary biology programs. Students also have the opportunity to access facilities and field sites from both institutions that are located throughout southern California and adjacent regions.

At SDSU and UCR, students may study a broad range of topics in evolutionary biology including systematics, paleontology, molecular evolution, population biology, and organismal/biodiversity biology.  The Ph.D. degree is jointly awarded by both institutions after successful defense of the dissertation.

Admission eligibility is based on evidence of adequate preparation and capacity for advance work in evolutionary biology.  Preparation should include a strong background in biology.  Applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Acceptance of students into the joint program by each institution is required. Admission depends on meeting the standards of admission for the respective institutions, the interest of a potential major professor at each institution, and the availability of facilities for research and instruction.

There are two critical steps in the admission process:
   1. Find a faculty advisor. Students must have an SDSU faculty member in the EB Joint Doctoral program willing to accept them into their lab as a condition of acceptance into the program. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to contact faculty whose research interests are compatible with their own to determine if these faculty are accepting students, and, if so, to arrange a visit to campus. Most faculty will request to see a curriculum vitae and a statement of research interests from prospective students.
   2. Submit an application.  The Joint Admissions Committee consisting of SDSU and UCR JDPEB faculty will evaluate potential student applications based on grade point average, TOEFL scores (if applicable), research experience, and letters of recommendation.  Selected students will be invited to interview at SDSU with faculty and current Ph.D. students.  Selected foreign students will be invited to interview by phone. 

JDP EB Student Admissions Guidelines

The following are to be taken into consideration when evaluating applicants for admission into the program.  We will use the following criteria in our evaluation of students for the EB JDP.   (in no particular order here)
   1. The prior experience and preparation of the applicant for advanced graduate course work in evolutionary biology (i.e. has the applicant successfully completed the undergraduate courses or equivalent that serve as prerequisites for required graduate course).
   2. The research interests and/or proposed a research project of the applicant needs to address a question that is central to Evolutionary Biology and is closely allied to the research program of at least one faculty member within the EB JDP.
   3. Both SDSU and UC Riverside have mandatory mininums in terms of GPA (as well as TOEFL if appropriate).  All successful applicants must meet and in almost all cases exceed these minimums.

In general we consider student excellence the primary factor governing program admissibility. Primary and secondary members of EB shall have the same standing with regard to student admission although this is subject to periodic re-evaluation and may change with program growth.

In Application Procedures, PLEASE FIND DETAILED STEP BY STEP APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS. Please read all of the materials regarding the application process thoroughly.  If you still have questions, please feel free to contact the Evolutionary Biology Joint Doctoral Administrator, Katherine Zumstein:

Please note:  Even though we offer a Joint Doctoral Ph.D. Program with UCR, you do not need to send your application materials to both SDSU and UCR, only submit materials to SDSU.  If you are being considered for the program, your application materials will then be forwarded to UCR for review. If you are accepted then you will need to complete a UCR application, which includes a separate personal history statement.

Current SDSU MS students applying to the Joint Doctoral Program please note: Students who plan on graduating with their MS degree must fill out the CSU application and pay the $70 fee.