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Biology – Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Major Guide for 2015-2016

What is Biology – Ecology and Evolutionary Biology?

The Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) concentration of the Biological Sciences major is designed for students interested in pursuing careers that require a better understanding of our natural world. Through formal classes and research experiences, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology provides students with first-hand knowledge of modern science in our field — from conservation biology, to animal behavior, to ecological genetics, to systematics, to evolutionary development, to computational and theoretical biology, to community, ecosystems, and global change ecology.

The faculty associated with the EEB concentration is a mix of internationally known senior researchers and energetic junior faculty at the cutting edges of their fields. Our interests range from mathematical ecology through evolutionary genetics to field studies of behavior and ecology. Our faculty members are eager to involve our majors in research so they can get first-hand knowledge of modern science in our various sub-disciplines. These experiences might lead our students to choose a career in ecology and evolutionary biology; it will definitely provide them with valuable credentials for many other career goals. We have an undergraduate student club and special funds in the department to provide financial support for supplies and travel to undergraduate students who are pursuing independent study projects in our department. Our students may also complete an honors program in this concentration. Check out our web site and list of faculty to see all of the diverse options available for research with our faculty: If you would like to discuss this concentration of the Biological Sciences major with a faculty member, please contact Dr. Fordyce, EEB Undergraduate Committee Chair or Dr. Small, EEB Department Head, who will be glad to talk with you about options.

Career Opportunities in Biology – Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

The goal of the EEB concentration is to provide students with the necessary intellectual and technological tools to access and succeed in a wide variety of careers. Students who major in EEB have career opportunities that include fields such as conservation and natural resource management, teaching, employment at government agencies and parks, biotechnology, environmental consulting, and pursuit of advanced training in graduate school.  Many recent EEB graduates have gone on to graduate school for a MS or PhD, or entered veterinary or medical school.

Requirements for Biology – Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

  • Biology 150 or Biology 158 Organismal and Ecological Biology (3, 3)
  • Biology 160 or Biology 168 Cellular and Molecular Biology (3, 3)
  • Biology 159 Skills of Biological Investigation (2)
  • Biology 260 Ecology (2)
  • Biology 269 Ecology Field-based Laboratory (2)
  • Biology 280 Evolution (3)
  • Biology 281 Evolution Discussion (1)
  • Physics 221 Elements of Physics (4)
  • Chemistry 120 & 130 General Chemistry (4, 4)
  • Math 141 & 142 Calculus I, II (4, 4), or Math 151 & 152 Mathematics for the Life Sciences I, II (3, 3)
Note that Math 141-142 is recommended for students with a strong interest in quantitative ecology and is prerequisite to several courses that satisfy the ecology and evolutionary biology quantitative requirement.

The EEB concentration consists of 32 hours:

Quantitative Requirement
Students must take two courses from the list below, but one must be EEB 406 or EEB 411.

  • EEB 406 Models in Biology
  • EEB 411 Biostatistics
  • STAT 201 Introduction to Statistics
  • STAT 251 Probability and Statistics for Scientists and Engineers
  • STAT 320 Regression Modeling
  • STAT 330 Experimental Methods
  • MATH 231 Differential Equations I
  • MATH 251 Matrix Algebra I

A total of 26 hours are required from the courses listed below. Fifteen of these hours must be EEB courses, including two field or lab emphasis courses (courses designated below with a ✻). Additionally, all majors must take EEB 490 or EEB 409. Up to two credit hours of EEB 490 can count toward the major. EEB 304, EEB 305, EEB 306, EEB 309, EEB 413 are not allowed for credit in the concentration. Other courses, related to division. Courses applied to the major must include at least 4 hours at the 400-level.

  • EEB 330 – Field Botany *
  • EEB 351 – Biodiversity of Fungi *
  • EEB 353 – Comparative Vertebrate Biology *
  • EEB 370 – Ethology and Sociobiology
  • EEB 400 – Undergraduate Research
  • EEB 404 – Ecosystem Ecology
  • EEB 405 – Ecosystem Ecology Laboratory *
  • EEB 406 – Models in Biology
  • EEB 407 – Senior Honors Thesis
  • EEB 409 – Perspectives in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • EEB 411 – Biostatistics
  • EEB 414 – Plant Anatomy *
  • EEB 415 – Field Ecology *
  • EEB 421 – Community Ecology *
  • EEB 424 – Plant Diversity and Evolution
  • EEB 426 – Plant Animal Interactions
  • EEB 433 – Plant Ecology
  • EEB 450 – Comparative Animal Behavior
  • EEB 459 – Comparative Animal Behavior Laboratory *
  • EEB 461 – Special Topics in Organismal Biology *
  • EEB 462 – Paleoecology
  • EEB 463 – Plant Ecophysiology *
  • EEB 464 – Macroevolution
  • EEB 470 – Aquatic Ecology *
  • EEB 473 – Herpetology *
  • EEB 474 – Ichthyology *
  • EEB 484 – Conservation Biology
  • EEB 490 – Undergraduate Seminar
  • EEB 493 – Independent Study
  • EEB 495 – Evolutionary Ecology
  • EEB 460 – Evolution
  • ANTH 490 – Primate Evolution
  • ANTH 494 – Primate Behavior
  • CHEM 350 / 358 – Organic Chemistry I
  • CHEM 360 / 368 – Organic Chemistry I
  • CHEM 369 – Organic Chemistry Laboratory *
  • MICRO 320 – Advanced Microbiology
  • MICRO 411 – Microbial Genetics
  • MICRO 470 – Microbial Ecology
  • GEOG 430 – Global Environment of the Quaternary
  • GEOG 432 – Dendrochronology
  • GEOG 435 – Biogeography
  • GEOG 439 – Plant Geography of North America
  • EPS 329 – Paleobiology
  • EPS 455 – Basic Environmental Geology
  • EPS 459 – Introduction to Oceanography
  • BCMB 311 – Advanced Cellular Biology
  • BCMB 401 – Biochemistry
  • BCMB 412 – Molecular Biology and Genomics
  • BCMB 423 – Neural Basis of Behavior
  • FORS 414 – Tree Physiology
  • WFS 301 – Ecology and Management of Wildlife Health
  • WFS 433 – Amphibian Ecology and Conservation
  • WFS 444 – Ecology and Management of Wild Mammals
  • WFS 445 – Ecology and Management of Wild Birds
  • WFS 450 – Fish Physiology

Honors Option

Requirements for the honors option are:

  • Fulfill all requirements for the major in biological sciences with a concentration in ecology and evolutionary biology
  • Achieve at least a grade of B in the upper-level concentration courses
  • Maintain a concentration GPA of at least 3.5
  • Maintain an overall GPA of at least 3.25
  • Complete 9 hours of honors-by-contract coursework from EEB 400, 490, 493 and other upper division level ecology and evolutionary biology courses available for major credit in the concentration
  • Complete EEB 407 Senior Honors Thesis with thesis to be approved by student’s committee.

Ready for the World logoReady for the World

“Ready for the World” is part of a long-range plan to transform the UTK campus into a culture of diversity that best prepares students for working and competing in the 21st century.  Thus students are encouraged to actively participate in the diverse cultural programs offered on campus.  Some of these events include the guest lecture series, cultural nights at the International House, and international film screenings.  Visit the Center for International Education web site ( or the Ready for the World web site ( for more information on upcoming cultural programs and activities. Learn more about UT’s Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.

Students are also encouraged to develop a global perspective within their academic program through study abroad. Studying abroad options do exist for science majors! Possibilities include (but are not limited to) studying parasitology in Botswana, environmental chemistry in Fiji, igneous petrology in Iceland, or particle accelerator physics in London. In addition to taking science courses abroad, many science majors have elected to fulfill their language requirement and/or general education courses overseas.

Consult an academic advisor early in your academic career about the best time for you to study abroad as well as what courses you may need to take. For more information about program options, the application process, and how to finance study abroad, please visit the Programs Abroad Office website.

Academic Plan and Milestones

Following an academic plan will help students stay on track to graduate in four years. For all first-time, first-year, full-time, degree-seeking students, UT has implemented Universal Tracking (uTrack), an academic monitoring system designed to help students stay on track for timely graduation. In order to remain on track, students must complete the minimum requirements for each tracking semester, known as milestones. Milestones may include successful completion of specified courses and/or attainment of a minimum GPA.

To see a sample academic plan and milestones for this major, please visit the undergraduate catalog.

For More Information

EEB Program
569 Dabney Hall
(865) 974-3065


The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.

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