Ecology, Evolution & Systematics Biology

2022 Ecology, Evolution & Systematics Biology Degree Guide

Ecology, Evolution & Systematics Biology is all about nature and how the webs of living and nonliving things interact. If you choose this major, you will learn how organisms develop and evolve throughout time, study their relationships with each other, and see how organisms and the environment work together in complex ecosystems.

Some of the classes may take include: biodiversity, conservation biology, ecology, evolutionary biology, genetics, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and advanced mathematics.

As you study, you will gain a big picture in nature as well as knowledge of the tiny creatures that make it possible. You may choose to focus on populations and the reasons behind why a particular species thrives or dies. As you continue towards your degree, you may be able to pick a specialization. Some of the concentrations available at various schools are Ecology, Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography, Evolutionary Biology, Aquatic Biology/Limnology, Environmental Biology, Population Biology, Conservation Biology, Systematic Biology, and Epidemiology.

Rapid Growth in Ecology, Evolution & Systematics Biology Degrees Awarded

#103 Most Popular Major
7.3k Degrees Awarded
6.9% Increase in Graduates

Ecology, Evolution & Systematics Biology was the 103rd most popular major in the 2019-2020 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 7,312 degrees in this year alone. This is a difference of 501 over the prior year, a growth of 6.9%.

The United States has 334 different schools where you can get a degree in ecology, evolution and systematics biology. This year's Best Ecology, Evolution & Systematics Biology Schools ranking compares 225 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of ecology programs later in this article.

Best Ecology, Evolution & Systematics Biology Schools by Degree

Requirements for Getting a Degree in Ecology, Evolution & Systematics Biology

The most successful students in this major enjoy nature and the outdoors. You will be working with all types of natural systems and you may have to hike to remote locations in order to collect specimens or observe natural environments. Be ready for a lot of lab work observing, analyzing and experimenting with a variety of animals and plants. Students will need to learn to synthesize information from a variety of classes and subjects in order to draw conclusions.

Interpersonal skills are very important in this field. You will be working very closely with your peers and your professors. You need to be able to communicate effectively and collaborate well with others. Writing skills will help you complete lab reports and document your research clearly. Most colleges will require you to get an internship or a job working in the field over the summer. Some colleges will allow you to research with your professors over the summer.

Ecology Degree Program Entry Requirements

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most ecology degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. In addition to these basic ecology, evolution and systematics biology program qualifications, to serve in some ecology careers, special certification may be required outside of your degree.

Ecology, Evolution & Systematics Biology Degree Types

There are various different levels of ecology degrees. Ecology, Evolution & Systematics Biology programs offered by schools range from a to a , which is the highest ecology degree you can get. The type of ecology degree you choose will determine how long it takes to get your diploma.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to ecology, with approximately 28.3% of workers getting one. Find out other typical degree levels for ecology workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 28.9%
Master’s Degree 26.4%
Doctoral Degree 19.8%
Post-Doctoral Training 18.1%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate 1.8%

66.2% of ecology workers have at least a master's. View the chart below to get an idea of what degree level most of those in ecology, evolution and systematics biology careers have.


The education level required is different depending on the ecology career you are seeking.

Career Opportunities for Ecology Majors

Average Number of Jobs
$32.8k Average Starting Salary
18% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

This broad major prepares graduates for many different career paths. Some students continue their education with a Master's Degree. Others obtain work as an environmental researcher for public or private institutions. Graduates also find work as park rangers, natural science managers, bioinformatics scientists, or even biology teachers.

High Growth Projected for Ecology Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your ecology degree? Ecology, Evolution & Systematics Biology careers are expected to grow 17.9% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to ecology, evolution and systematics biology.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Health Specialties Professors 294,000 25.9%
Medical Scientists 136,100 13.4%
Biological Science Professors 71,700 15.1%
Natural Sciences Managers 62,300 9.9%
Biological Scientists 41,800 8.0%

How Much Money Do Ecology Grads Make?

Ecology, Evolution & Systematics Biology graduates between 2015-2017 reported earning an average of $32,807 in the 2017-2018 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $17,300 to as high as $75,000. As you might expect, salaries for ecology graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


Highest Paid Ecology Careers

Salaries for ecology, evolution and systematics biology graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top highest paying careers ecology grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Natural Sciences Managers $139,680
Health Specialties Professors $122,320
Biological Science Professors $97,340
Medical Scientists $96,420
Life Scientists $89,150

Getting Your Ecology, Evolution & Systematics Biology Degree

With over 725 different ecology degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased ecology school rankings to help you with this.

Ecology, Evolution & Systematics Biology is one of 14 different types of Biological & Biomedical Sciences programs to choose from.

Ecology Focus Areas

Major Annual Graduates
Epidemiology 2,180
Marine Biology 1,914
Ecology 1,130
Evolutionary Biology 699
Environmental Biology 442

View All Ecology Concentrations >

Related Major Annual Graduates
General Biology 102,043
Biochemistry, Biophysics & Molecular Biology 14,318
Neurobiology & Neurosciences 10,508
Physiology & Pathology Sciences 8,385
Cell Biology & Anatomical Sciences 6,087

View All Ecology Related Majors >


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