Paleobiology at Berkeley—Graduate Studies


Course Offerings
    Earth and Planetary Science
    Integrative Biology
Application Process


Requirements for admission for graduate study vary by department, and students are advised to obtain current information by writing to the department of their choice, reading the General Catalog of UC Berkeley, or visiting the department's website (see Application Process below). An undergraduate major does not dictate which department a student may enter. Thus, for example, geology students with interests in paleontology may apply to the Department of Integrative Biology or Geography, as well as Earth and Planetary Science.

All entering graduate students are generally expected to have met or to meet the undergraduate requirements for the department they enter. Ph.D. students must complete their oral examination before the end of their second year of study, write a dissertation based on original research in paleontology broadly defined, and be in official residence at Berkeley for at least two years. Normative time for a Ph.D. is 5 years. Master's programs are offered in Earth and Planetary Science. Beyond those general requirements, graduate curricula are designed by the student and her/his faculty guidance committee to assure a broad training and expertise specific to the student's career interests in paleontology.

Courses will be selected from advanced undergraduate and graduate courses in evolutionary biology, paleontology, ecology, systematics, vertebrate, invertebrate, protist and plant biology and paleontology, molecular biology, field geology and biology, sedimentary geology, stratigraphy, geochemistry, oceanography, statistics, or other appropriate subjects in any department at Berkeley.

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Course Offerings

Geography, Earth and Planetary Science, and Integrative Biology (100 series are upper division; 200 are graduate) each offer courses that make up the Paleontology Program. A selection of these and other courses will be made by the student and her/his committee that will constitute the paleobiology program of study. See the Department Web Sites for complete listings of courses, some of which also may be of interest to paleontology graduate students. Listed below are the specific departmental requirements for admission to graduate study and a selection of courses of interest to paleontology students.

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Geography (

Entrance requirements: An undergraduate degree in biology, geology, geography, a recent General GRE examination, and a recent pass on the TOEFL examination for foreign applicants.

133. Islands and Oceans.
143. Coastal Landforms.
147. Climatic Change.
148. Biogeography.
149. Coral Reefs and Islands.
180. Field Methods for Physical Geography.
188. Geographic Information Systems.
257. Topics in Climatology.
260. Topics in Biogeography.
261. Field and Laboratory Techniques in Quaternary Paleoecology.
266. Oceans and Coasts.

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Earth and Planetary Science (

Entrance requirements: An undergraduate degree, usually in geological science, a recent GRE examination in Geology, 2 years of mathematics and one year of general chemistry and physics, and a recent pass on the TOEFL examination for foreign applicants.

101. Field Geology and Digital Mapping.
107. Global Tectonics.
115. Stratigraphy and Earth History
116. Structural Geology and Tectonics.
118. Advanced Field Course.
119. Geologic Field Studies
131. Geochemistry.
145. Geological Oceanography.
185. Marine Geobiology.
212. Advanced Stratigraphy and Tectonics.
241. Geochemical Approaches to Modern and Past Environments and Climates.
262 and 264. Sedimentary Rocks and Processes.
401. Use of the Electron Microprobe.
402. Electron Microscopy and X-Ray Diffraction.

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Integrative Biology (

Entrance requirements: An undergraduate degree in biology, geology, geography, anthropology, molecular biology, or similar field; a recent General GRE examination and the GRE Area exam in Biology, Geology or other appropriate field; a recent pass on the TOEFL examination for foreign applicants.

100B. Principles of Biodiversity.
101. Diversity of Plants and Fungi.
103. Invertebrate Zoology and Paleontology.
104. Natural History of the Vertebrates.
105. General Ecology.
106. Biological Oceanography.
107. Principles of Plant Morphology.
108. Principles of Paleontology.
130. Evolutionary and Functional Vertebrate Morphology.
134. Prinicples of Integrative Morphology.
135. The Mechanics of Organisms.
142. Introduction to Human Osteology.
154. Plant Population and Community Ecology
155. Ecosystem Ecology.
160. Evolution.
165. Molecular Evolution.
168. Systematics of Vascular Plants.
173. Mammalogy.
174. Ornithology
175. Herpetology.
180. Micropaleontology.
181. Evolution of Plants in Geological Time.
182. Invertebrate Paleontology.
183. Evolution of the Vertebrates.
184. Morphology of the Vertebrate Skeleton.
185. Human Paleontology.
186. Evolution of Hominid Behavior.
200A. Principles of Phylogenetics: Systematics.
200B. Principles of Phylogenetics. Ecology and Evolution.
234. Seminar on Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles.
259. Advanced Paleoecology.
264. Seminar in Evolutionary Biology of the Vertebrates.
267. Evolution and Systematics of Mammals.
268. Seminar in Evolution Above the Species Level.
280. Seminar in Paleontological Research.
281. Seminar in Evolution.
282. Paleontology and Evolution of Amphibians, Reptiles and Birds.
284. Advanced Stratigraphic Paleontology.
285. Advanced Marine Micropaleontology.
286. Seminars in Paleontology.

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Application Process

Prospective students should correspond with a faculty member in their area of interest before applying to any graduate department. Applications should be directed to the department most closely associated with their interests or the faculty member with whom they choose to work. To find out more about the paleobiology program and departmental requirements or to request an application, use the contact information below:


Visit the department website:

Write to:
Graduate Assistant
University of California, Berkeley
Dept of Geography
501 McCone Hall # 4740
Berkeley, CA 94720-4740

Contact a faculty member:
Roger Byrne (
David Stoddart    

Earth and Planetary Science

Visit the department website:

Write to:
Graduate Assistant
University of California, Berkeley
Dept of Earht and Planetary Science
365 McCone Hall # 4767
Berkeley, CA 94720-4767

Contact a faculty member:
Walter Alvarez (
William Berry (
Lynn Ingram (

Integrative Biology

Visit the department website:

Write to:
Graduate Assistant
University of California, Berkeley
Dept of Integrative Biology
3060 Valley Life Sci Bldg # 3140
Berkeley, CA 94720-3140

Contact a faculty member:
Anthony Barnosky (
Roy Caldwell (
William Clemens (
Carole Hickman (
David Lindberg (
Jere H. Lipps (
Kevin Padian (
Tim White (

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