Application Process

There is no typical ecology student, and we aim to recruit students with diverse interests, backgrounds, and goals.

Cohorts are kept small, usually 3 – 5 students each year that span the full topical breadth of  ecology.  All students are guaranteed 5 years of full funding through teaching and research assistantships, but our matriculates have historically had good success with being awarded external and internal fellowships to fund their research.

applyWHEN: Every November, December, and January, Duke’s Ecology program begins evaluating and recruiting qualified applicants for admission to the PhD cohort that matriculates the following August.

HOW: Formal applications to the Ecology Program are entirely through Duke’s Graduate School ( You can find the PhD program application here:

We strongly recommend that you be able to articulate your research and academic objectives AND contact individual ecology faculty prior to and during the application period.

If you have any questions, please contact the Director, Dr. Kathleen Donohue (