The requirements of the graduate EvoS program are as follows:
16 credits of eligible courses, including two semesters of the 2 credit Current Topics in EvoS seminar (BIOL 680S). Evolution and Human Affairs (BIOL 570) is recommended but not required as an introduction.
A clarified breadth requirement will be specified for new members beginning Fall 2012.
To join, follow the instructions to apply for the graduate certificate.
Types of Courses
This section describes in detail the different ways to earn the 16 credits required for the graduate certificate.
Permanent courses form the core of the program. EvoS provides a structured way for students to learn about and access evolution-oriented courses in all departments, ranging from biology to anthropology, psychology, English, and engineering.
Special Topics Seminars
Special topics seminars allow new subject areas to be explored that are not already covered by permanent courses. These seminars will often be taught by two or more faculty who bring different areas of expertise to the subject. They provide an excellent way for faculty and graduate students alike to become professionally competent in a new area, reviewing the literature, integrating it with their own established areas of expertise, inviting the most relevant experts from other institutions, and ultimately incorporating the new material into their ongoing research. EvoS graduate students are welcome to suggest subjects for special topics seminars and to participate in their operation along with the faculty.
Permanent courses outside the program, supplemented by evolutionary material will allow graduate students explore specific subjects of particular interest that are not already being covered by a permanent course or special topics seminar within the program. This option will also allow students to resolve conflicts between the requirements of their degree program and the evolutionary studies program, which hopefully will not arise too often. For example, suppose that a history student becomes interested in exploring the transition from relatively small city-states to larger nations. Suppose that a graduate course is available on this subject, although not from an evolutionary perspective. The student, his/her advisor within EvoS, and the instructor of the course can meet to discuss how the student can supplement the course with evolutionary content. This might include reading additional material, writing a term paper that is already assigned for the course from an evolutionary perspective, or perhaps writing an additional paper. Once the conditions are agreed upon, the course will count toward the graduate certificate. In all cases, the course must be approved by the program executive committee in addition to the student, the student’s advisor, and the course instructor.
Independent study credits enable graduate students to explore a particular subject (usually closely related to their thesis topic). We hope that graduate students will incorporate the evolutionary perspective in their own research. Independent study credits can be counted towards the EvoS certificate if the student and the advisor provide statements describing the evolutionary orientation of the work.
Teaching and Research Supervision
Teaching undergraduate special topics seminars and supervising undergraduate research. EvoS includes both a graduate and undergraduate component and is designed to maximize interactions among undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty. Graduate students can benefit from undergraduate students by acting in the capacity of teachers and by extending their own research capabilities through undergraduate help. Undergraduates will benefit by directly experiencing what graduate education is like and by becoming involved in research and intellectual discourse beyond their interactions with faculty. Opportunities for graduate students include teaching undergraduate special topics seminars, involving undergraduates as interns in their own research, and advising undergraduate independent study projects. An example from Spring 2004 is the course “Evolution and Addiction (Psych 473H)”, taught by James MacKillop, a graduate student in the Psychology Department who achieved an advanced level of competence on this subject through his research. Funds to teach this course were made available by the Dean’s office because of undergraduate student interest. In this fashion, an excellent EvoS course offering was made available to undergraduate students and a graduate student was both financially supported and received excellent training in teaching a course as the instructor rather than as TA. EvoS is designed to capitalize on win-win situations such as this whenever possible.