About this Program

The primary goal of the doctoral program in ecological sciences is to provide advanced training in ecological, evolutionary and integrative biology. The program has notable strengths in a broad range of biological subdisciplines, including ecosystem studies, experimental ecology, population biology, conservation biology, systematics, evolutionary biology, biomechanics, and comparative and functional morphology. Program faculty conduct studies in a variety of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine environments on several continents, and their research focuses on a broad spectrum of taxa, including, but not limited to, vascular plants, polychaetes, mollusks, crustaceans, insects, fishes, amphibians, and reptiles.

Program Highlights

  • The program is enhanced by excellent on-campus resources that include a scanning electron microscopy lab, sequencing lab, herbarium, aquatics laboratory, water tunnel facility, GIS facilities, greenhouse, and digital imaging facilities. Field research sites have been established in the Virginia Coastal Reserve, Blackwater Ecological Preserve, Great Dismal Swamp, Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay, and other areas.

  • Many faculty combine active field research with parallel laboratory studies. Quantitative approaches are encouraged and the opportunity exists to obtain a master's degree in statistics while pursuing a doctorate in Ecological Sciences.

Degree Level
Degree Earned
Doctor of Philosophy
Delivery Modes


Check out these ideas from ODU Career Development Services and the Occupational Information Network (O*NET). A median salary is a midpoint of what people typically earn—half of those surveyed earned above the median salary, and half earned below.


$84,060 Median Salary

Research or study basic principles of plant and animal life, such as origin, relationship, development, anatomy, and functions.

Conservation Scientists

$64,850 Median Salary

Manage, improve, and protect natural resources to maximize their use without damaging the environment. May conduct soil surveys and develop plans to eliminate soil erosion or to protect rangelands. May instruct farmers, agricultural production managers, or ranchers in best ways to use crop rotation, contour plowing, or terracing to conserve soil and water; in the number and kind of livestock and forage plants best suited to particular ranges; and in range and farm improvements, such as fencing and reservoirs for stock watering.

Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, Including Health

$49,310 Median Salary

Perform laboratory and field tests to monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution, including those that affect health, under the direction of an environmental scientist, engineer, or other specialist. May collect samples of gases, soil, water, and other materials for testing.

Atmospheric, Earth, Marine, and Space Sciences Teachers, Postsecondary

$98,560 Median Salary

Teach courses in the physical sciences, except chemistry and physics. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching, and those who do a combination of teaching and research.


What are the requirements to apply for Ecological Sciences at ODU?
Students entering the Doctor of Philosophy program in Ecological Sciences should meet the minimum university admission requirements Graduate Admission.

The deadline for application to the program is February 1 for the subsequent fall semester.

  • A bachelor's degree in biology or a related field from an accredited college or university  

  • Transcripts for all college-level courses  

  • Three letters of recommendation, including one from the applicant’s major advisor.  

  • An essay describing the area of biology of interest for graduate study, professional goals and motivation for graduate study in biology.  

  • Written acknowledgment from a Department of Biological Sciences faculty member agreeing to serve as the student's major advisor, if the student is accepted. The applicant does not submit anything to ODU Admissions Office about the advisor---the Faculty member will notify the Graduate Program Director of their willingness to be your advisor  

  • Application form and application fee. Submission of application materials Submit all materials to the Office of Admissions (applicants from USA schools) or the Office of International Admissions

For Admission to the Ecological Sciences Program


A grade point average of at least 3.00 on a 4.00 scale.


To qualify for admission, a student needs a TOEFL score of at least 550.


Estimated rates for the 2023-24 academic year. Rates are subject to change. Anyone that is not a current Virginia resident will be charged non-resident rates. That includes international students.

Virginia Resident
Cost Per-Credit $599
Technology Delivered Courses Outside Virginia and/or the United States
Cost Per-Credit $623
Cost Per-Credit $1,439

Ways to Save

Here are a few ways for you to save on the cost of attending ODU. For more information visit University Student Financial aid


Associate Professor

NORFOLK, 23529