The underlying mechanisms that control life on earth are only now being revealed. Clearly, great discoveries await and the next generation of life scientists need training in a diverse set of disciplines to tackle these pending discoveries. Students require interdisciplinary training in both fundamental and applied approaches to problem solving so that they may understand how life functions, behaves, interacts and evolves.

The guiding principle of the Zoology graduate program is that by integrating training across multiple disciplines, we can gain deeper insights into challenging problems such as how life functions and adapts to changing physical and social environments and how disease develops. Our goal is to prepare our graduate students to be world-class scientists and leaders, unafraid of tackling the most significant scientific challenges of our era.

Degree Programs

The university offers graduate programs leading to Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in zoology, as well as a non-thesis Master of Zoology degree. For the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, graduate work consists of a program of courses, seminars and research planned in conjunction with the student’s adviser and advisory committee. The non-thesis Master of Zoology program consists primarily of coursework and helps prepare students for positions in science education or professional programs (for example, human or veterinary medicine).

Admission Requirements

Applications to the zoology degree programs go through the Graduate School at NC State.

If you have questions about the application process, please contact the Graduate Services Coordinator, Freha Legoas (919.515.5712). Prospective and current students should consult the Zoology Program Handbook to learn more about the program requirements.

Mentor Selection

All interested applicants should identify a potential faculty adviser prior to submitting an application. To learn more about the faculty advisers who mentor zoology graduate students, please see the list of faculty members on this page.

Prospective students are encouraged to explore faculty websites and contact faculty members with whom they share similar research interests.

Participating Faculty

Jenny Campbell

Teaching Assoc Professor

Miles Engell

Teaching Associate Professor


Jason Flores

Teaching Associate Professor


Terry Gates




Jim Gilliam



Jennifer Landin

Teaching Assistant Professor


Brian Langerhans

Assistant Professor


Gerald LeBlanc

Department Head

Trudy Mackay

William Neal Reynolds and Distinguished University Professor


Vicki Martin

Professor of Biological Sciences


Holly Menninger

Director of Public Science

Marianne Niedzlek-Feaver

Associate Professor


Ann Ross

Professor, D-ABFA



Adrian Smith

Head, Evolutionary Biology & Behavior Research Lab, NC Museum of Nat Sci


Jeffrey Thorne

Professor of Genetics and Statistics

Lindsay Zanno

Assistant Research Professor & Head of Paleontology, NC Museum of Nat Sci