University Program in Ecology (UPE)

The University Program in Ecology serves as a common home for doctoral (PhD) students who study ecology through any of Duke’s strong ecology research programs. Many of these students study with advisors in the Nicholas School, while others study with advisors in other schools and departments across Duke University.

See the University Program in Ecology website for more details.


First, identify and contact one or more potential faculty advisors in your area of interest. Then, apply through one of two pathways:

  • Apply directly to the University Program in Ecology through the Graduate School. (Admitted students will be automatically admitted to their advisor’s home department.)
  • Apply to one of the departments participating in the program. (Admitted students earn their degrees in the department sponsoring their admission and receive a Certificate of Graduate Study in Ecology from the University Program in Ecology.)


Students admitted to the University Program in Ecology are guaranteed two years of financial support from the program. After that, students must seek funding from their department. Students are normally supported for up to five years of doctoral study if they maintain satisfactory progress towards their degree.