Department of Entomology

Academic Programs


Graduate Programs in Entomology

The Department of Entomology offers programs leading to the M.S. or Ph.D. degree in Entomology, with research specialization in the following areas: arthropod vectors of plant pathogens, biochemistry and physiology, biological control, ecology and evolution, insect behavior, insect pathology, insect systematics, integrated pest management, insect-plant interactions, medical and veterinary entomology, molecular entomology, nematology, neuroscience, pesticide toxicology, and urban entomology. Information on participating faculty and their research specializations may be here. University requirements for the M.S. and Ph.D degrees can be found in the UC Riverside General Catalog at catalog.ucr.edu. Additional information can be obtained by contacting the Entomology Graduate Student Affairs Officer via email at insects@mail.ucr.edu or by phone at 800.735.0717 or 951.827.5621.

  • Admission


    To be considered for admission to the graduate program, prospective applicants must have a bachelor's degree with a major in Entomology, a biological science, Chemistry, Biochemistry, or a suitable equivalent. Regardless of undergraduate major, students must have had, or complete soon after entering graduate school, the following: 1. The equivalent of one year of course work each in general biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry. 2. The equivalent of a one quarter course each in genetics and biochemistry. 3. The equivalent of 30 quarter units of life sciences other than entomology. Students who wish to specialize in insect biochemistry, insect physiology, molecular entomology, neuroscience, or toxicology may substitute additional courses in physical, organic, and biological chemistry; toxicology; and pharmacology for courses in life sciences. Credit from these courses does not count toward the unit requirement for the M.S. degree. The department requires a minimum score of 300 on the GRE General Exam (verbal, quantitative, and analytical). All applicants are required to submit a Curriculum Vitae as part of the application materials.  All applicants whose first language is not English must complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and obtain a minimum score on the exam of 550 (paper-based), 213 (computer-based), or 80 (internet-based). All admitted applicants whose first language is not English and are expected to be Teaching Assistants are required, upon arrival at UCR, to take the SPEAK test. The SPEAK evaluates English speaking proficiency at the intermediate to advanced levels. For details on how to apply to the graduate program, please refer to our application checklist.

    Application Deadline

    The Department encourages students to begin their studies in the Fall quarter in order to complete the normal sequence of graduate core courses during their first academic year. Accordingly, to be eligible for Departmental support, students should make sure that all application materials, including transcripts, all test scores, and all letters of reference are received by the Department by December 1 of the year prior to anticipated enrollment. Students with outstanding scholastic records are also eligible to compete for campus-wide fellowships and trainee-ships, some of which also carry waiver of the non-resident tuition fee (and are thus particularly valuable to international students). These are awarded competitively, but early completion of your application can increase the pool of funds for which you can compete, since some are awarded early in the year. All applications should be complete by December 1, and earlier if possible. Late applicants, and applicants entering Winter or Spring quarters, will be provided Departmental support as-available. However, research assistantships sometimes can be arranged through individual faculty on relatively short notice.

  • Program and Course Requirements

    Academic Advisor

    When students arrive at UCR, they are assigned a Graduate Advisor. This Advisor remains with the student throughout their graduate program, providing advice on the student's academic program and course selection. Typically, near the middle of each quarter, students meet with their Graduate Advisor to discuss courses for the following quarter, and to obtain authorization for course registration.

    Major Professor and Guidance Committee

    Generally, students have identified their Major Professor upon admission to the graduate program.  The Major Professor directs the student's research project and serves as Chair of the Guidance Committee. This committee consists of the Major Professor, and at least 2 (M.S. program) or 3 (Ph.D. program) other faculty members. The Committee assists the student in their research program and in selecting courses that will complement the research. The Guidance Committee is formed by the end of the 1st quarter. Working with the Guidance Committee, the student will select courses that will form a Program of Academic Study and this must be completed by the end of the 3rd quarter.

    Graduate Core Courses

    All incoming graduate students are required to take the following courses: ENTM 201 (Subcellular-Cellular Disciplines), ENTM 202 (Suborganismal-Organismal Disciplines), and ENTM 203 (Supraorganismal Disciplines). Normally, these courses will be taken during the first year. Students who can demonstrate that they have had equivalent, graduate-level courses elsewhere may petition the Instruction and Student Affairs Committee (ISAC) to waive taking one or more of these courses.

  • Suggested First-Year Graduate Program


    ENTM 201 (4 units)
    Subcellular-Cellular Disciplines
    ENTM 202 (5 units)
    Suborganismal-Organismal Disciplines
    ENTM 203 (5 units)
    Supraorganismal Disciplines
    Electives (7) Electives (6) Electives (6)
    ENTM 250 (1)
    Seminar in Entomology
    ENTM 250 (1)
    Seminar in Entomology
    ENTM 250 (1)
    Seminar in Entomology
  • Degrees

    The Master's (M.S.) Degree

    The Department of Entomology offers a thesis Masters Degree, for which a minimum of 36 quarter-units of graduate and upper division undergraduate courses is required. As stated earlier, the Guidance Committee offers consultation and/or assistance with regard to planning, execution and analysis of the research and recommending supporting coursework. After completion of the research program, the thesis is defended during an oral examination administered by the student's guidance committee.


    The Doctoral (Ph.D.)Degree

    Graduate students pursuing a Ph.D. in Entomology usually have received the M.S. degree, but some students are admitted directly into the Ph.D. program without an M.S.


    Students come to UCR with diverse interests, varying degrees of prior training, and numerous career objectives, thus there are no specific course requirements for the various fields of specialization.  Each student, with the advice of their Ph.D. Guidance Committee, will select courses that complement their research program and help the student prepare for the qualifying examination. 
  • Requirements, Examinations and Dissertations.

    Foreign Language Requirements

    There is no specific departmental requirement for foreign language competency. The Guidance Committee may recommend or require such competency in some cases.

    Examinations and Advancement to Candidacy

    The Qualifying Examination is typically completed at the end of the second year of study.  The student, in consultation with the Ph.D. Guidance Committee, will select three faculty members to serve on the Qualifying Committee (Part I).   The Major Professor may not serve on the Qualifying Committee.  The three members will consist of the Chair, one other faculty member from Entomology, and one faculty member from outside of Entomology.  Typically, these three faculty members have also served on the Ph.D. Guidance Committee, but this is not required.  These three names are submitted to ISAC on the PhD Qualifying Exam Committee Form.  ISAC, upon approval of the three, will suggest three additional names for service on the Qualifying Committee on the ISAC Qualifying Exam Committee Form.  The student chooses two from this list of three, completing the 5 member Qualifying Committee.  ISAC will submit the committee members to the Graduate Division, who confers final appointment.  The Chair is responsible for all aspects of administering the Qualifying Examination.


    The completion of a dissertation demonstrates the student's ability to conduct independent, original research. The student's Dissertation Committee (major professor and at least two other members) advises the student in planning, conducting and analyzing the research. Students defend the dissertation before the Committee in a departmental seminar. Final approval of the dissertation must be given by the Dissertation Committee and the Dean of the Graduate Division.

  • Graduate Student Financial Support

    Typically, graduate students are supported at a level to pay tuition, fees, and adequate living expenses for the full duration of their studies. Within the last 15 years, all graduate students making adequate progress towards their degree objectives have been fully supported financially. Funding for graduate student support comes from a variety of sources, including campus-wide competitive fellowships, departmental Research Assistantships and Teaching Assistantships, external fellowships and research grants, and educational grants from the students' home countries. Students receiving Departmental support assist with instruction, curatorial work in the museum, or other duties consistent with the Department's mission. The type and amount of service may vary and is set by the Department.

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Career OpportunitiesUCR Libraries
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Dept of Entomology Information

417 Entomology Bldg.

Fax: (951) 827-3086
Prospective Grad Students: (800) 735-0717
Grad Student Affairs