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Graduate Admissions

Applicants are strongly encouraged to identify and communicate with a potential faculty sponsor early in the application and admission process.  We do not generally accept students without an identified, mutually agreed upon faculty advisor.

For admission to the Ecology Graduate Program, an undergraduate degree is required in:

  • a natural science (eg., physics, chemistry, biology, botany, zoology, geology),
  • a social science (eg., anthropology, sociology, or economics),
  • a mathematical area (eg., statistics, mathematics, or systems analysis),
  • an engineering area,
  • or environmental science.

Students are advised to develop an undergraduate major with focal areas in the following courses: anthropology; calculus; computer science; general physics; analytical, organic, and physical chemistry; city and regional planning; economics; general botany and zoology; geography; geology; marine sciences; public policy; sociology; organismal biology; general ecology; physiology; and statistics.  Students seeking admission to work with a social scientist will obviously direct their coursework efforts along a different path than students seeking admission to work with a natural scientist.

Please note that the minimum qualification for admission to the Program includes a B average for undergraduate courses.

We recommend applicants visit UNC and the Program prior to accepting.

For additional information on applying, visit

Students wishing to pursue a graduate degree in Ecology must apply to and be accepted by both the University of North Carolina Graduate School and by the Environment, Ecology and Energy Program. New Ecology students are generally admitted for the Fall term.

The Fall 2025 application deadline for the Graduate School is December 10, 2024. Although the Graduate School will accept applications past this date, this is a definite deadline for all applicants who wish to be considered for Graduate School fellowships and awards.  Follow this link to the Graduate School Application Instructions:

The deadline for your completed application materials in order for you to be considered for UNC Graduate Recruitment Fellowships and/or Fall 2025 admission is December 10th, 2024:

Programs Degrees Major Codes Admissions
Term Deadline
Doctoral PhD ECOL Fall* June 10, 2025
Master’s MA, MS ECOL Fall* June 10, 2025
Fall Graduate School Fellowships December 10, 2024 (Recommended)Your application must be completed by December 10, 2024 to receive full consideration for departmental or university financial support.

The Environment, Ecology and Energy Program (E3P) attempts to provide financial support for all of its graduate students.  This support may include teaching assistantships, research assistantships through your faculty advisor, campus fellowships, or external fellowships.

Payroll and Benefits Information. For first-year students with out-of-state residency, we recommend to the Graduate School that tuition be remitted to the in-state rate while they are employed as Teaching Assistants or Research Assistants. In-state tuition awards are available to Teaching and Research Assistants meeting the Graduate School criteria for in-state residency.

Student health insurance is provided each semester with qualifying salary and course registration.

Teaching assistants are paid 18 biweekly payments for the academic year, usually beginning the first of September and continuing through the end of April. Research assistants are paid either biweekly or monthly for the academic year.

Teaching Assistantships. Teaching Assistants assist with the courses, recitations, and laboratories related to the undergraduate environmental majors and minors (ENEC) or in other constituent departments such as Biology and Geography. TAs are expected to work 15-20 hours per week.

Research Assistantships.  Research Assistantships may be available through a research grant held by a faculty member. The time commitment for a research grant is based on the arrangement between the faculty member and student, but generally it is around 20 hours per week.

Graduate School Fellowships

Annually, the Graduate School conducts competitions for fellowships for new and continuing students. The Program will select candidates from among the applicant pool to recommend to the graduate school for fellowships. Continuing students will be invited to be considered for nomination by the Program for appropriate fellowship opportunities.

External Fellowships and Awards