Evolutionary Biology

All organisms on earth seem to share a common ancestry, and to some extent their evolution has been governed by a common set of principles. Thus evolutionary biology is both central and unifying for all of biology.

The evolutionary biology area of concentration provides the basic core knowledge for beginning graduate studies in evolutionary ecology, evolutionary developmental biology, evolution of behavior, evolutionary psychology, systematics, paleobiology, molecular evolution, evolutionary genetics, philosophy of biology, and both micro- and macroevolutionary studies generally.

Duke University has a diverse and internationally acclaimed faculty of evolutionary biologists, offering a wide range of courses, independent studies, and research opportunities. Students fulfilling the requirements of the Concentration in Evolutionary Biology will receive a note on their official transcripts.

Area Advisor

Area Advisors Area Faculty
Dr. Dan McShea , Department of Biology
Phone:  919-660-7342 or e-mail: dmcshea@duke.edu

Susan Alberts, Robert Brandon, Sherryl Broverman, Cliff Cunningham, Francois Lutzoni, Paul Manos, Paul Magwene, Dan McShea, John Mercer, Tom Mitchell-Olds, Fred Nijhout, Mohamed Noor, Stephen Nowicki, Kathleen Pryer, Mark Rausher, V. Louise Roth, Jon Shaw, Marcy Uyenoyama, Rytas Vilgalys, John Willis, Gregory Wray, Anne Yoder

Pre/Corequisites

Chemistry

For B.S. Degree For B.A. Degree
  • CHEM 101DL Core Concepts in Chemistry OR
  • CHEM 110DL Honors Chemistry: Core Concepts in context OR
  • CHEM 21 General Chemistry Credit
  • CHEM 101DL Core Concepts in Chemistry OR
  • CHEM 110DL Honors Chemistry: Core Concepts in context OR
  • CHEM 21 General Chemistry Credit
  • CHEM201DL Organic Chemistry
 

NOTE: CHEM 210DL and CHEM 202L are recommended for pre-med, pre-vet, biochem and pharm students.

Math

For B.S. Degree For B.A. Degree
  • MATH 111L Laboratory Calculus I OR
  • MATH 121 Introductory Calculus I OR
  • MATH 21 Introductory Calculus I OR
  • BOTH MATH 105L/106L Laboratory Calculus and Functions I and II
  • BOTH MATH 105L/106L Laboratory Calculus and Functions I and II OR
  • MATH 111L Laboratory Calculus I (OR Math 21 or 112L or 122) OR
  • STA 102 Introductory Biostatistics  OR
  • BIOLOGY 304 (204) Biological Data Analysis (cannot be double counted as an elective) OR
  • STA 101 or above Data Analysis/Statistical Inference
  • MATH 112L Laboratory Calculus II OR
  • MATH 122 Introductory Calculus II OR
  • MATH 22 Introductory Calculus II OR
  • STA 102 Biostatisctics OR STA 101 or higher OR
  • BIOLOGY 304 Biological Data Analysis (cannot also count as an elective)

 

Physics

For B.S. Degree For B.A. Degree
  • PHYSICS 141L General Physics I OR
  • PHYSICS 151L Introductory Mechanics OR
  • PHYSICS 161L Introductory Experimental Physics I OR
  • PHYSICS 25 (AP credit)
  • No Physics Required

NOTE: PHYSICS 142L is recommended for pre-med, pre-vet, biochem and pharm students.

Biology Major Requirements (minimum 10 Courses)

The following courses are required for students pursuing both the B.S. and B.A. biology credentials.

Gateway Courses (2 or 1 courses)

The gateways are not sequenced and can be taken in either order.

  • BIOLOGY 201L Molecular Biology (prerequisite: Chem 101D or equivalent)
  • BIOLOGY 202L Genetics & Evolution

OR

  • BIOLOGY 203L Molecular Biology, Genetics & Evolution (prerequisite: Biology AP 5 and Chem 101D or equivalent)

Biology Area Requirements (3 courses)

Select 1 course from EACH of the following three areas. Courses listed in more than one area may only be used to meet one area requirement.

Evolutionary Biology Concentration Area Electives (5 or 6 courses)

A maximum of 2 independent studies or tutorials may count toward the major. A maximum of 2 alternate electives may count toward the major (3 if using Bio 203L)

  • 1 independent study, tutorial or seminar on an evolution-related topic, taken with a concentration area faculty member or with approval of the concentration area advisor.
    • BIOLOGY 293 / 493 Research Independent Study OR
    • BIOLOGY 490T Tutorial OR
    • BIOLOGY 490S/590S Special Topics Seminar with area faculty or as approved by the area advisor
  • 1 course from the following list or other course as approved by the area advisor: (cannot double count an elective that fulfills any of the requirements above)
    • BIOLOGY 251L Molecular Evolution
    • BIOLOGY 255 Philosophy of Biology
    • BIOLOGY 267D Behavioral Ecology and the Evolution of Animal Behavior
    • BIOLOGY 268D Mechanisms of Animal Behavior
    • BIOLOGY 330L Comparative and Functional Anatomy of the Vertebrates
    • BIOLOGY 347L People and Plants
    • BIOLOGY 350 Complex Traits and Evolutionary Genetics
  • 1 course from the following list or other course as approved by the area advisor: (cannot double count an elective that fulfills any of the requirements above)
    • BIOLOGY 450S Genomics of Adaptation: A Modern Look at Evolution
    • BIOLOGY 453S Genes in an Ecological Context
    • BIOLOGY 460 (formerly 250) Population Genetics
    • BIOLOGY 555S Problems in the Philosophy of Biology
    • BIOLOGY 556 Systematic Biology
    • BIOLOGY 557L Microbial Ecology and Evolution
    • BIOLOGY 588S Macroevolution
    • BIOLOGY 651S Speciation
  • 2 courses listed or cross-listed in Biology at the 200-level or above or approved alternate elective courses OR 3 biology elective or approved alternate elective courses (if using Bio 203L)

Lab Experience Requirement

Through your area menu and electives courses, you must take at least 2 full lab courses in addition to the gateway courses. Courses must be at the 200 level or above. A maximum of 1 independent study may count as a lab course.

Capstone Course Requirement

You must take at least 1 full 400-level or higher biology 'Capstone' course or other approved capstone course. Independent study can count towards this requirement if it is a second semester continuation.