Biology – Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Major Guide for 2011-2012

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 climate change ecology.  Because of the breadth of this discipline, EEB provides its majors examples of specific tracts or emphases that they might follow (e.g., pre med, aquatic ecology, animal behavior and computational biology) at our web page.
The faculty associated with this 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 so 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 diverse labs.  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. McCracken, 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 and pursuit of advanced training in graduate school.  Career options might also include working in environmental consulting and non-profits, in zoos and in natural history museums.  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

Prerequisite courses (required for all biological sciences concentrations)

  • Chemistry 120 & 130 General Chemistry (4, 4)
  • Physics 221 & 222 Elements of Physics (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 EEB Quantitative Requirement.
  • Biology 130 Biodiversity (4), or Biology 111 & 112 General Botany (4, 4)
  • Biology 140 Organization and Function of the Cell (4), Biology 240 General Genetics (4), and Biology 250 General Ecology (4)

The EEB concentration consists of 32 hours:

  • Chemistry Requirement: Organic Chemistry I 350.  Note that pre med students are encouraged to take the second semester of Organic Chemistry and Organic Lab under EEB’s category D. Physiology/Chemical Ecology.
  • Quantitative Requirement: Statistics 201 or Statistics 251 and one course from (note prerequisites in parentheses): Math 231 (Prereq. Math 141-142); Math 251 (Prereq. Math 141-142); Math 405 (Prereq. Math 141-142 or 151-152); Statistics 320 (Prereq. Statistics 201); Statistics 330 (Prereq. Statistics 201).
  • Upper Division Courses: A total of 24 additional hours is required at the 300 level or above to include at least 15 hours from Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and at least one course* from each of the following categories:  Please note *EEB 409 Perspectives in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior is a writing emphasis course that can be applied by petition to categories A, B, or C depending on the topic covered in a particular offering.  EEB 461 Special Topics (listed under category C) may also be applied by petition to other categories where appropriate.
    A. Evolution
  • EEB 410* Plant Evolutionary Morphol­ogy(4)
  • EEB 460 Evolution(4)
  • EEB 461 Macroevolution (3)
  • EEB 495 Evolutionary Ecology(3)
    B. Ecology
  • EEB 404 Ecosystem Ecology (3)
  • EEB 405* Ecosystem Ecology Laboratory (2)
  • EEB 415* Field Ecology (4)
  • EEB 421 Community Ecology (3)
  • EEB 433* Plant Ecology (3)
  • EEB 470* Aquatic Ecology (3)
  • EEB 484 Conservation Biology (3)
  • Microbiology 470 Microbial Ecology (3)
    C. Organismal Biology
  • EEB 330* Field Botany (3)
  • EEB 353* Comparative Vertebrate Biology (4)
  • EEB 360* Comparative Invertebrate Biology (4)
  • EEB 414* Plant Anatomy (3)
  • EEB 450 Comparative Animal Behavior (3)
  • EEB 454 Animal Communication (3)
  • EEB 459* Comparative Animal Behavior Laboratory (3)
  • EEB 461* Special Topics in Organismal Behavior (3)
  • EEB 474* Ichthyology (4)
    D. Physiology/Chemical Ecology
  • EEB 321 Introductory Plant Physiology (4)
  • BCMB 310 Physiological Chemistry (4)
  • BCMB 415 Foundations in Neurobiology (3)
  • BCMB 416* Neurobiology Laboratory (3)
  • BCMB 419* Cellular and Comparative Biochemistry Laboratory (2)
  • BCMB 440 General Physiology (3)
  • Chemistry 360 Organic Chemistry (3)
  • Chemistry 369* Organic Chemistry Laboratory (2)
  • Micro 310 Introduction to Microbiology (2)
  • Micro 319* Introduction to Microbiology Laboratory (2)
    *indicates courses with a lab or field component

Honors Option Requirements:

  • fulfill all requirements for the biological sciences EEB major
  • achieve at least a grade of B in the individual concentration courses
  • maintain a concentration GPA of at least 3.5 and an overall GPA of at least a 3.25
  • complete 9 hours of honors-by-contract coursework from EEB 400, 490, 493 and other EEB courses
  • complete EEB 407 Senior Honors Thesis with thesis 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.
Students are also encouraged to develop a global perspective within their academic program through study abroad.  Visit the Programs Abroad Office web site ( for information on study abroad opportunities.  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.

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.

Sample Curriculum

Following this four-year plan will help you stay on track to graduate in four years.  Milestone courses have been identified as the minimum courses that must be completed.

Freshman Year Credit Hours
English Composition 6
Mathematics 141-142 or 151-152 6-8
Biology 130 or 111-112 4-8
Biology 140 4
Chemistry 120, 130 8
General Elective 0-2
Milestone courses: English 101, Biology 130 or 111 or Chemistry 120,  and Math 130 or higher
Sophomore Year Credit Hours
Foreign Language (intermediate level) 6
Chemistry 350 3
Statistics 201 or 251 3
Biology 240, 250 8
EEB (major) 3
General Elective 3
Social Science 3
Milestone courses: English 102, elementary foreign language proficiency, Chemistry 130, Biology 130 or 111-112, Biology 140 and Math 141 or 151
Junior Year Credit Hours
EEB (major) 6
Physics 221, 222 8
Art and Humanities 3
Upper Level Distribution 3
Math 231, 251, 405, Stats 320, or Stats 330 3
Non-US History Sequence 6
Philosophy 244 (Communicating Orally) 3
Senior Year Credit Hours
EEB (major) 15
Upper Level Distribution 3
Communicating Through Writing (Upper Division) 3
Upper Division Elective 6
Social Science 3
GRAND TOTAL (minimum) 120

For More Information

Gary McCracken, Ph.D.
Department Head
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.