​​​​​​​​​​​TABLE OF CONTENTS​​

For correcting problems or inconsistencies or requesting updates to this handbook, please contact the EBIO Graduate Student IT Representative, whose email can be found on the Graduate Committees page.


Welcome to CU Boulder's Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Program (EBIO). The EBIO faculty and your fellow graduate students are glad you're here – so glad that our team has collaborated to compile this Handbook of policies and pointers to speed you along in your EBIO endeavors over the next few years. On that note, we want to make sure you know that the information in the following pages should be considered guidance only; this text is not an official articulation of EBIO policy, or even CU Boulder policy, for that matter. Disclaimer aside, we hope this Handbook will be a valuable resource. At press time, it is the only place that EBIO enrollees can find a graduate-student-relevant synthesis of many important EBIO, Graduate School, and CU Boulder policies and links to many of those policies in their online form.

Where to Begin?


Program De​scription​

Descriptions of the EBIO Masters and PhD programs can be found here: http://www.colorado.edu/ebio/graduate/ma-phd-programs

EBIO Graduate courses can be found in MyCUInfo.  Here is some info on how to search for classes:  http://www.colorado.edu/registrar/students/registration/search-classes


EBIO Exams

There are several major meetings and exams that graduate students must complete over the course of their graduate work. EBIO's Policies and Procedures page provides information on the exams to be completed by graduate students. 

  • The EBIO Graduate Regulations link explains exam deadlines and goals specific to the EBIO Department.

    • Ph.D. students, please note that the EBIO Graduate Committee has approved a 3rd-semester exam length of 2 hours instead of the previous 3 hours dictated by our EBIO Graduate Regulations. This change will not be reflected in the regulations document on our website as we are still working on updating the file.

  • The CU Boulder Graduate School Regulations delineates the regulations for campus-wide graduate programs.

  • The EBIO Program Forms dropdown menu within the EBIO's Policies and Procedures page contains the needed exams and semester meeting forms. 

  • We highly recommend that you look at the Graduate Student Annual Progress Report during your first semester as a graduate student (to view but not sign, type your own email in place of your advisor's and write 'TEST' in the name slot). This document is intended to serve as a yearly check-in between graduate students and their committee to determine if the student is making sufficient progress toward their degree.  While you won't be required to submit this form until the fall of your 2nd year, this document provides the most comprehensive explanation of the expectations that the department has of what progress graduate students in the department should be making about research, publications, conference presentations, and teaching.  This document can also provide a good jumping-off point for a conversation with your advisor about how their expectations might align with or differ from those put out by the department. 


Department Organization​

Hierarchy for EBIO Graduate Program

  • Chair of EBIO (Faculty member)
  • Associate Chair of Graduate Studies (Faculty member)
    • Graduate Committee (made up of faculty members)
  • Graduate Coordinator (Staff member)

Faculty meetings, Decision-making by faculty, Faculty Committees

I. Faculty meetings. 

Faculty meetings occur on Wednesdays from 11:15 – 12.  A graduate student representative attends these meetings unless it is a personnel decision (promotion or tenure; hiring).  There are also notes taken by a faculty member at each meeting.  These are posted on the Faculty Meeting Archive on the departmental Sharepoint site.

II. Decision-making by faculty. 

1)  General.  Faculty vote on items brought to the faculty by various committees (e.g., they would vote on revisions to the classes required for the major, and those changes would be brought to the faculty by the Curriculum Committee).  These votes require a 50% majority to pass. 

2)  Personnel decisions.  Personnel decisions such as promotion or tenure require a 2/3 majority. 

3)  Hiring decisions.  Described in detail in the EBIO by-laws (posted on SharePoint).

III. Departmental Committees

Executive Committee.  As described in the By-laws, this committee is elected each spring for the following year. The Chair heads it and includes the two Associate Chairs (graduate chair and undergraduate chair) and four other faculty members, at least one of whom must be untenured.  The Executive Committee deals with space issues, concerns of graduate students and faculty, election of adjunct faculty, departmental finances, relations with other departments/institutes, etc.  A subset of items discussed in the Executive Committee are brought to full faculty meetings, but not all.  The Chair uses this committee for input on a variety of issues.

Merit Evaluation Committee.  As described in the By-laws, this committee is elected each spring for the following year and is headed by the Chair.  There are eight elected members, one of whom must be an Instructor and one of whom must be an untenured faculty member.  The rest are tenured faculty.  This committee scores the accomplishments of each faculty member in terms of research, teaching, and service, and the Chair uses these scores to determine raises for faculty.

Promotion and Tenure committees.  These are composed of three faculty members, and they are responsible for working with the faculty members up for reappointment, tenure, or promotion to put together their files.

Search Committees.  These are typically three or four faculty members and a graduate student.  This committee does the initial screening of applicants for jobs and develops a "medium list" of candidates for whom to get letters of recommendation and then submits a group of candidates (10 – 30) for the faculty to evaluate and vote on whom to interview. More info on grad student involvement in this process.

Graduate Committee.  Chaired by the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies with five other members.  This committee oversees graduate student evaluations, admissions, and departmental grants. 

Curriculum Committee.  Chaired by the Associate Chair of the Curriculum Committee, it is open to anyone but usually has six to eight members.  Makes recommendations and decisions about undergraduate courses and course offerings.

Course Improvement Committee.  Composed of three or four faculty, two graduate students, and two undergraduates.  This committee makes decisions about course budgets and course improvement funds.

Aesthetics Committee.  Works on classroom and building décor and some classroom enhancement.

Teaching Committee.  Deals with teaching innovation in the department

Other Committees

  • Web Site Committee
  • General Biology Committee.  All faculty who teach in General Biology
  • Greenhouse committee
  • Teaching Review Committee
  • Outcomes Committee
  • Post Tenure Review Committee


IV. Departmental Representatives (represent the department at college or university-wide groups)

EBIO Staff

Several full-time staff members are responsible for keeping the department running.  They have offices in Ramaley N122.  You will interact with them regularly for IT needs, financial tasks, Human Resources issues, graduate school paperwork, and building and teaching concerns, among others. 

Here is a list of EBIO staff members, contacts, and responsibilities: http://www.colorado.edu/ebio/people/staff/staff-responsibilities


International Student Resources

Note that the following recommendations and checklists are suggestions from current and former EBIO international students, and you should double-check all requirements yourself. This is meant to be a general guide, and we cannot guarantee that it is fully complete or accurate. Also, you may find here the CU Official Admitted Student Checklist

Pre-Arrival Timeline and Documents

By April 15th

  • Accept the program offer (after paying the CU grad school confirmation deposit of $200)
  • Submit official transcripts, Duolingo / IELTS / TOEFL scores, and other documentation to the school (Admissions/ISSS)
  • Submit Proof of Funding (mention according to your offer)

Later in April

  • Wait for the I-20 from the department (likely from the Admission Office)
    • Check your personal information and pay attention to the details listed (especially the program description, program start, and end date
  • Visa Application (make sure passport is valid and hopefully new)
    • You will need your I-20
    • You need to pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee ( $350 for the F visa and $220 for the J Visa); if you were in the US as an undergrad or on OPT within six months of the start of the program, you may transfer your SEVIS ID to CU Boulder.
    • Schedule an interview with the embassy outside of the US
  • Apply for Graduate Housing as early as possible if you plan to stay in the University Graduate Housing (highly competitive, but likely most economical in Boulder). See the post-arrival section below for more details on finding housing and signing a lease.
  • Identikey + CU Boulder Email Activation
  • Submit your BuffOne Card photo
  • Access your BuffPortal
  • Accept/decline CU Anthem Gold Health Insurance
  • Update your immunization record on the MyCUHealth Portal. You can get some vaccine shots here through your CU Insurance after arrival, so don’t spend money on getting shots in your home country if you need to pay
  • Complete the International Student Orientation and Community Equity For Graduate Students Canvas Course Online (on CANVAS) – explore CANVAS if you have spare time.
  • Join Whatsapp Arrival Group
  • Plan for flights. Note that you may only enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the program start date. You can fly into Denver International Airport and take the AB1 bus route to Boulder. See post-arrival below for more details.
  • Register for classes

No later than June (but recommended ASAP)

  • Start looking for accommodation/ housemates in Boulder (see below for more info)
  • Look for mobile phone plans, check if your phone is compatible with US providers (https://sim-usa.mobi/phone-compatibility-check/), and banking services (ask current grad students). There are three phone carriers with stores in Boulder - T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon, but you can also hire an online plan with Mint (https://www.mintmobile.com/) or other online providers. You might be able to arrange for your sim card to be mailed to your PI, who will welcome you/pick you up at the airport. You want to ensure your phone is compatible with the US sim card or network type, especially for Android phones.
  • Talk to your PI about the following:
    • Semester vs. summer funding
    • Semester mentorship plan
    • Course Plans
    • Lab expectations
    • Lab communication styles (Slack, Discord, email?)
    • Setting up meetings even before arrival

To keep in mind

Pre-arrival documents

  • I-20 – certificate of nonimmigrant student status (F1) or DS-2019 form (J-1)
    • Most important form
    • Needed for US visa application
    • Need a physical copy to show US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer(s) at the airport/any customs upon every (re)entry into the US.
    • Needed for I-9 and SSN application
    • Travel - Every time you leave the country, you need to get this signed by the ISSS (getting travel authorization). Print off and sign again to allow you re-entry to the US - apply for this on the ISSS platform; each travel authorization signature would be valid for a year before you need to get another one. Your travel authorization needs to be valid upon reentering the country. In other words, the expiration date should be a day after you return to the US.
    • Issued by the Admission Office contact person from the school, along with instructions for visa application.
    • You should always keep all of your old I-20 and/or DS-2019 forms with your other immigration documents in order to be able to present your immigration history if needed (e.g., future H-1B application). You might be asked to present all of your I-20s every time you reenter the US, so have them all together and ready at hand. DO NOT PUT THEM IN CHECKED LUGGAGES.
  • Visa Application (SEVIS Registration)
    • Schedule a visa interview with the US embassy in your country.
    • A visa interview has to be done outside of the US; this applies to subsequent visa renewals, too. For example, if your visa expires two years after your first entry into the US (to start your CU journey), you will have to schedule an interview with an embassy or consulate outside of the US, travel outside of the US (even Canada, Mexico, or Dominican Republic is fine)
    • Make sure you have your I-20 and valid passport for the interview. 
    • Pay I-901 SEVIS Fee (F visa $350; J Visa $220)

Post-arrival checklist

  • Fly into Denver International Airport. A few options for getting to Boulder are:
    • Your advisor may be interested in greeting you and giving you a ride from the airport. Coordinate directly with them if this is the case. 
    • You can reach out to the EBIO GSA international student rep (for 2023-2024, this is Katie Kariatsumari Katherine.Kariatsumari@colorado.edu ) to be connected with a current grad student who can greet you and give you a ride. 
    • Take the RTD bus route AB1. Buses run every 30-45 minutes, depending on the day and time you arrive. You can purchase a ticket at the RTD's airport kiosk, on the RTD MyRide App, or pay $10.50 in cash when you board the bus. The Airport bus stop is on the first floor of the Airport; walk toward the southern entrance of the building and take two flights of electric stairs down to the RTD station. You can ride to the first stop in Boulder (Table Mesa park-and-ride), to campus (Broadway and Euclid), or to Downtown Boulder. Once in Boulder, you can connect to other local bus routes. 
    • RTD bus routes can be found on Google Maps.
    • CU students, including grad students, get a free transit pass paid for by student fees. You will pick this up after arriving in Boulder at the same time as your BuffOne card. 
  • Staying in Boulder while you look for housing or before your lease starts
    • Reach out to the EBIO GSA international student rep (for 2023-2024, this is Katie Kariatsumari Katherine.Kariatsumari@colorado.edu ) to connect with current graduate students who may be able to host you for a short period until you arrange for a permanent living situation.
  • Get a US phone number.
    • Do this as soon as possible after arriving. Many other processes (applying for housing, SSN, bank account)
    • Check which mobile carriers are compatible with your current phone (see pre-arrival checklist)
    • Visit the mobile carrier office in Boulder to sign up for a plan and set up your phone number.
    • Signing up with multiple people in a family plan is often more economical. Try reaching out to other incoming international students to set this up. One person will be listed as the main manager of the plan and will get the bill from the carrier. Others can then pay the plan manager for their portion. Make sure you trust your plan manager as you may need their help in the future to change your plan or details of your network services/device.
  • Housing
    • Leasing
      • Places to look: Ralphie’s List, Craigslist, Facebook Market Place, Apartments.com, Zillow, Boulder Property Management
      • It may be best to contact other incoming graduate students (through provided whatsapp chat), and see about potentially living as flatmates.
      • Living in your own apartment is becoming less and less affordable; expect to live with others.
      • Try to avoid applying to places with application fees and background checks. Being an international student puts you at a severe disadvantage in renting these places.
    • Graduate students have priority for graduate student housing (https://www.colorado.edu/living/housing/graduate-and-family-housing)
      • This is likely the ideal option, it is cheaper than avg. Rent, and living with other graduate students may be easier, particularly as one transitions to living in the US.
      • Co-op housing (Boulder Housing Coalition): Need to interview and income qualify. Live with ~10-15 housemates for $650-800 and food costs.
      • Thrift stores (Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc.) are excellent ways to buy used furniture, clothes, and other household items for a fraction of the price of new items.
      • Security deposit - Before you rent, you may be required to pay a deposit. This is a charge (often equal to a month of rent) taken when your lease is signed and kept by your landlord. It is kept in case of damages to your housing and will be refunded at the end of your lease (if there is no damage).
      • Signing a lease (https://bouldercolorado.gov/media/734/download?inline?)
        • Signing a lease is a binding agreement and typically CANNOT BE UNDONE (If signed, you will be obligated to pay for the whole year/lease term), even if you vacate the premises.
        • The lease will contain all the necessary information about the payment of rent (amount, due date, and location)
    • Finding roommates
      • Raphie’s List https://ralphieslist.colorado.edu/)
        • We recommend to send messages to others who seem to be a good match.
        • You can filter for only other graduate students (recommended rather than living with undergraduates)
      • You can also send a message to Bugs List, the informal listserv for current EBIO grad students, to see if anyone is looking to fill a room or find a roommate. 
  • Get a social security number (SSN)
    • An SSN is required for all students employed by the university. All new students should receive an email from International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) with detailed instructions and updated links to all necessary forms. To apply for an SSN, international students need a letter from ISSS and an official university employment offer letter (different from an admission offer). To receive the required letter from ISSS, F1 status students will need to complete the online International Student Orientation Course available through Canvas. Then, all students will need to complete the Immigration Check-In Form. Once these requirements are completed, students can submit an SSN Letter Request Form to receive their SSN letter from ISSS. The SSN application can be completed online, and documents can be brought to the local Social Security office. If you think a document could be needed, bring it with you, just in case! The U.S Social Security Administration states that once your application is approved, you should receive your Social Security Card within 14 days. 
  • Set up a US bank account.
    • In order to receive any payment from the University, students should apply for a U.S. bank account. It is best to talk to current international students for recommendations on good accounts for international students. Application details and requirements will vary depending on the bank (often required: proof of local mailing address, forms of ID, income information, U.S. phone number, and/or email). When in doubt, bring any documents you have, even if they might not be necessary. Some banks will require a social security number (see SSN section above), but there are options that do not require one (for example, Bank of America and Chase). 
    • Note that Credit Union Banks won't charge a fee for account maintenance. At standard banks, you might have to pay an annual fee or maintain a minimum. Do your research before deciding.
    • If you do not have a local mailing address when you are setting up your bank account, you can list your department mailbox. 

[your name]

Ramaley N122

Campus Box 334

University of Colorado Boulder

Boulder, CO 80309-0334 USA

  • Attend the FIRED UP program
    • As of 2022, this is an EBIO cohort program held at the Mountain Research Station near Nederland, CO. Participation in the program comes with a stipend, so it is important that you get your SSN and bank account set up BEFORE attending FIRED UP if at all possible. This will allow you to receive the stipend payment as soon as possible after the program completion. 
  • Attend International Student Orientation through ISSS
  • Attend EBIO orientation/teaching orientation (generally the week before classes start)
  • Resources for teaching
    • The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) offers teaching workshops during their Fall Intensive the week before classes begin. In 2023, the fall intensive is happening Aug 17-19, and covers various topics like planning your first day teaching, how to use Canvas, etc. 
    • Keep an eye out for specific workshops about being an international TA and navigating the US higher education system. CTL offers a variety of workshops throughout the year. 
  • Resources for English as a Second Language
    • ISSS has a page for ESL resources, including official CU Boulder courses, plus courses offered through the International English Center (IEC)
    • Most IEC courses charge a fee, but you can look into applying for a scholarship.
    • IEC also leads a series of free workshops for graduate students called “Confident Conversations”. Check out their events calendar to find upcoming sessions. 
  • Connect with cultural affinity groups on campus.
  • Getting a US driver's license
  • Filing taxes for international students
    • CU Boulder has an International Tax Office that assists with international taxes.
    • You can also check out some unofficial tips and explanations put together by current EBIO international students regarding taxes.

Grad student voice in the department

EBIO Graduate Student Association (GSA)

The newly-formed Graduate Student Association (GSA, established in Spring 2023) is intended to consolidate the various organizing and service roles that EBIO graduate students hold in EBIO and across CU Boulder. We know how confusing university processes can be and how challenging communicating across power levels can be. We hope to work together to alleviate all these difficulties. See the current GSA Bylaws and Mission Statement here. The GSA holds monthly meetings open to all EBIO grad students, and are a forum to discuss grad student issues and brainstorm solutions. We send representation to the CU Boulder Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG) meetings and work closely with the Grad Rep (below) so everyone can stay involved and up to date on the broader organizing initiatives at CU. The GSA leadership consists of two co-chairs, a secretary, a GPSG representative, the EBIO Grad Rep, plus appointed roles of International Student Rep, First Year Rep, and IT Rep. See who currently holds these positions on the Working Groups page. This is also where you can find the GSA meeting schedule and locations. We hope to see you at our next meeting! Reach out to the GSA at gsa.ebio@gmail.com

One of our core plans for 2023-2024 is to develop infrastructure for advisor accountability and feedback in our department. We are also planning to help first-year students settle into our department—what is SharePoint? What is a P card?—and to make resources for international students more accessible—so much paperwork! So many horrible tax laws!—etc. We also coordinate among the various service groups that graduate students in our department hold (see the Working Groups page). Graduate student committees are responsible for running many of our department's regular events. We hope to facilitate communication and planning between all of these groups.

EBIO Graduate Representative

EBIO's graduate representative is a graduate student who liaises between the graduate students and faculty. Graduate students vote for the graduate representative who serves for an academic year. The graduate representative is able to attend faculty meetings and bring up any concerns that EBIO's graduate students have expressed.  

Faculty hiring

When the department hires new faculty members, they all vote on hiring decisions in a closed faculty meeting (the grad rep is absent).  The faculty does, however, solicit graduate student input throughout the process.  First, a graduate student is invited to serve on the search committee.  The graduate students vote for this position.  Second, graduate students are invited to all job talks given by candidates, and each candidate has lunch with the graduate students on the day of their talk.  Graduate students are also given online access to the applications of the candidates who make the shortlist (except for letters of recommendation, which are confidential).  Lastly, the graduate student on the search committee solicits feedback on the candidates from the graduate students and presents the results of this feedback to the faculty before voting.

Town hall meetings

Once or twice a year, the department Chair and Associate Chair of the Graduate Committee hold town hall meetings with the graduate students.  All students are invited, and these meetings aim to discuss departmental issues and give the students a forum to voice concerns to the Chair and Associate Chair.  These meetings are also facilitated by the Grad rep, who can set agenda items in advance based on feedback from graduate students. These meetings differ from the monthly GSA meetings, which consist of students only, with no faculty present.


Relationship with Faculty Mentor​

The relationship between a graduate student and their mentor can set the tone for a graduate school experience.  If you plan to stay in academia, this relationship will ideally last for the rest of your career.  Below, we have included some resources to help you make the most of this relationship.  In addition to these resources, we encourage you to talk with your peers, particularly more senior graduate students, about how to build positive and healthy mentee/mentor relationships, what is ok for you to expect and ask for, and how to address issues when they arise.

EBIO Mentoring Policy

Best Practices in Graduate Mentoring in EBIO - (draft document)

The role of the advisor is diverse and may include several areas of guidance, advising, and supervision.  The advisor is also a role model for students, helping them learn norms in academic behavior and performance.

Advisors develop their own mentoring style based on experience, which determines what works best.  In addition, it is important to recognize each student is different and that the style of mentoring will vary. Student's needs may change over time, with adjustments in advising facilitating student progress to reflect the increasing responsibilities of the graduate student.  Students should recognize that their capacity should increase across graduate school and that an important role of their advisor is to push them to help them build their abilities in order to meet their goals.

Start early in the mentoring process and establish the norms for communication, expectations, and requirements.  This can be an important part of interviewing new graduate students, benefiting both faculty and students.  Determine the best ways for the advisor and student to communicate with each other and how frequently they will meet.  Discuss what the expectations of the advisor for the student are in terms of performance (e.g. chapter/ manuscript preparation), and what the student expects from the advisor in terms of assistance and advice (e.g. help with thesis topic, reading the literature) in making progress toward their degree.  It can be helpful to regularly revisit expectations of one another as student needs change over time. Review together the requirements for obtaining the degree, including coursework, exams, teaching, and documents (thesis, dissertation) (see EBIO Graduate Regulations for reference). Establish a strategy for setting goals, evaluating progress, and identifying challenges on a regular basis (e.g., monthly, once/semester).

Both advisors and students should understand their rights and responsibilities, as outlined in the Professional Rights and Duties of Faculty Members (http://www.colorado.edu/bfa/sites/default/files/attached-files/PRDJanuary16_2013.pdf) and the Graduate Student Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.

Best Practices: how to enhance mentoring and the graduate student experience:

Graduate students are encouraged to:

Faculty mentors are encouraged to:

Meet with faculty advisors during their first semester to:

* Discuss how often and in what manner they will communicate to share progress and concerns; these practices of communication should be revisited as often as needed.  Regular meetings with your faculty advisor are strongly encouraged.

* Review the requirements of the degree and determine a timeline for meeting those requirements

* Identify effective strategies for regular communication so that the student can receive feedback and direction as needed

* Provide graduate students with ways to directly and honestly communicate their concerns and needs for assistance while also providing encouragement and constructive feedback on student progress.

* Explain the support network available to the student and their role in the student's education (e.g., labmates, post-docs, committee members, EBIO staff)

* Understand the student's long-term goals and incorporate appropriate training opportunities into the student's education plan (e.g., teaching, research, outreach)

Determine the expectations of their advisor and committee for the formulation of a research project, execution of the work, and final presentation to the advisory committee (final plan presented at the comprehensive exam for Ph.D. students and third-semester exam for MA students).

Share with students their expectations of student progress and the steps needed to successfully execute a thesis or dissertation, teach effectively, and participate in appropriate outreach activities.  Provide students with an indication of research support you can provide and your expectations for the student for receipt of that support.

Express their career goals to their advisor and committee on a regular basis to solicit advice about the best way to achieve those goals (opportunities to solicit advice from committee members are available during the first and third-semester committee meetings).

Assist students in their intellectual development and establishing and achieving their career goals by discussing possible career tracks, suggesting appropriate courses, encouraging students to read the research literature regularly, enhancing their writing and speaking skills, and attending meetings and seminars.  Be aware that student goals should supersede faculty goals for the student.

Determine the timeline for completing their degree and discuss their progress toward this goal with their advisor on a regular basis (at least once/semester is recommended), emphasizing possible bottlenecks and areas where help may be most needed.

Work with the student to establish reasonable goals for completing milestones that need to be achieved for them to complete their degrees.  Help the student overcome possible impediments to meeting goals the advisor and committee set forth.  Be clear about your expectations for lead times to receive drafts of documents for comments and letters of recommendation.


Facilitate networking and professional development opportunities for the student.


Worst Practices (things to avoid doing)

Asking students personal questions that don't relate to their work or performance as a graduate student.

Remaining silent when inappropriate behavior is observed (may be governed by the University's policy on discrimination and harassment: http://www.colorado.edu/policies/discrimination-and-harassment-policy-an...)

Using unreasonable threats in order to get students to complete assignments or goals.

Placing a student in the middle of a dispute, including disputes between faculty members or between other members of the lab group.

Pressuring students to do things they are uncomfortable doing that are not required as part of their education. These could include personal favors or work unrelated to university-related teaching or research.

Encouraging unhealthy behavior (e.g., excessive drinking, lack of sleep, work-life imbalance).


Resources Available for Assistance


Faculty evaluations for tenure

 When a faculty member comes up for tenure, their graduate students may be asked to write feedback letters for the faculty member's mentorship. 


Changing Principal advisors

There is no official policy on changing advisors in EBIO.  Ideally, students and advisors have determined their compatibility prior to the student's arrival.  However, due to a variety of factors such as a change in a student's research interests or personal differences between the advisor and the student that cannot be overcome, students may seek to switch labs.  These switches need to be done with careful communication among all parties involved. A student's ability to switch labs depends on many things, including but not limited to the availability of advisors in the student's research area and the willingness of faculty to have additional students in their lab, which could potentially compromise their ability to recruit new students.  If you are considering changing labs, it is highly recommended that you speak with the Graduate Chair, a member of the Graduate Committee, or the Departmental Chair.  This discussion will be held in strict confidentiality. It is important to remember that graduate students in EBIO must have a major advisor, and if you leave a lab, you must find a new advisor within one semester or petition the Graduate Committee for more time, citing the reasons for the delay in finding a new advisor.  Failure to find a new advisor within the time permitted by the Graduate Committee may result in the student being dismissed from the graduate program.



The internal departmental grievance process of the graduate program in EBIO can be found here:  http://www.colorado.edu/ebio/graduate/resources

The Associate Chair for Graduate Studies handles grievances for graduate students in EBIO. Grievances include but are not limited to, conflicts with advisors, faculty members, other students, or any other members of the department or issues with department policies or norms.  For issues particular to discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct, please see below.  Grievances may also be brought to the Chair of the department.   Generally, the faculty members in these positions have an open-door policy and have handled issues confidentially.  This may vary by individual, so check with the current faculty members in these positions regarding their policies.

Academic grievances that are not resolved in this manner may be brought to the Graduate School. 

For more information, see: 

Reporting and Assistance for Sexual Misconduct: http://www.colorado.edu/institutionalequity/file-report/guidelines-filing-complaint  

Discrimination and Harassment Policy and Procedures: http://www.colorado.edu/policies/discrimination-and-harassment-policy-and-procedures


Ramaley Resources

Office Space, Mailboxes, and Copies  

  • Offices:  Most EBIO graduate students have office space in Ramaley. Others are housed in CIRES, SEEC, or MCOL. If you are placed in an office shared with graduate students from other labs, the office policy is generally to forbid meetings with undergraduate students to take place in this office (to protect the quiet workspace of other graduate students).  Check with your new office-mates and any posted documents regarding the policies of your office.

  • Mailboxes: Located on the first floor of Ramaley next to the main office (N118). All EBIO graduate students (and faculty and staff) have a mailbox here. According to EBIO policy, you may not have students drop off assignments to this mailbox, as the mail room is off-limits to undergraduates.

  • Copies: If you are TAing or teaching, you can make copies in the EBIO office (N122 ) and in the copy room (N114). You will be given a copy code specific to your course by the Faculty/academic support & Building proctor staff person (see list of staff members).  Printing for research purposes can be done in your lab or the grad student computer lab in the bullpen (see below).  Printing multiple copies for courses should also be done on the department copy machines and never in the bullpen.

  • Computer lab:  EBIO has 4-5 desktop computers in the "bullpen."   All graduate students can acquire a key to this computer lab from the Building proctor.  For the security of these computers and the graduate student offices beyond this computer lab, the door to the bullpen is to remain locked and closed at all times.  Please be respectful of the graduate students who have offices there and work quietly when using the computer lab.

  • Meeting rooms: Ramaley has three rooms that can be reserved for meetings.  This includes meetings of student groups or committees, lab meetings, and meetings or exams with your committee.  These rooms are N240, C388, and N191.  To reserve any of these rooms, email the Building Proctor. 

  • Keys: Keys to offices, labs, etc., can be requested through the Building Proctor.  A request will be sent to Access Services (located under the Folsom Field Stadium, Gate 8, Room 1B11; enter from the East side and follow signs to the office).  Be sure to bring your BuffOne card when you pick up your keys. Access Services website:  http://www.colorado.edu/fm/services/access

  • Card Access:  After-hours access is crucial since buildings on campus (including Ramaley) are generally closed on weekends and in the evening. For Ramaley, contact the building proctor and provide them with your name and student ID (at a minimum) when requesting access.  You can also request access for undergraduate research assistants if they need to perform research tasks on evenings or weekends. For other campus buildings, contact the building proctor of that building for after-hours access.  


Mailing address:  (use for ordering supplies or anything mail you want to be delivered to the department)

​University of Colorado EBIO

1900 Pleasant St.

Ramaley N122, Campus Box 334

Boulder, CO 80309


Loading zone and parking on campus for work

  • Loading zone:  Near the northwest corner of Ramaley, there are five parking spots.  The spot closest to the building is reserved as a loading zone to be used to load research supplies in and out of the building.  You can only park here for 30-minute increments.  Do not park in any of the other spots, which are reserved for service vehicles.  The university is very strict about its parking policy and graduate students generally are held responsible for paying their own campus parking tickets, to contest a parking ticket, please see below.

  • Metered parking:  There are several areas with metered spots that are close to Ramaley, including along University and along 18th. Be sure to pay the meters and observe all time limits.

  • Transportation services: Campus parking is aggressively patrolled by Transportation services.  To contest a parking ticket, you can appeal here:  http://www.colorado.edu/pts/citations/how-appeal-citation


Borrowing Equipment

  • Projectors:  Some of the meeting rooms (C388 and N191) do not have projectors installed.  To borrow a projector for a meeting or class, sign one out in the notebook in N122 and retrieve it from the black metal cabinet.  Each projector should have all the power cords necessary.

  • IT equipment:  See the IT section for equipment that may be borrowed.

Department resources

  • Greenhouses

    • EBIO maintains several greenhouses for research use and housing a teaching plant collection.  Greenhouses are located on the roof of Ramaley, next to Macky Auditorium, and on 30th Street near East Campus and are available for graduate students to use for a fee.

    • EBIO Greenhouse website

    • See the Resources tab for Greenhouse policies, the application form for greenhouse space for research, and information about greenhouse user fees.

    • See the Contacts tab for Greenhouse staff.



The EBIO Sharepoint contains important documents and information about Travel, Accounting Resources, Teaching Resources, as well as general Graduate Resources. To access the EBIO Sharepoint, you will need a CU Identikey.


Grants and Fellowships


  • EBIO research grant and summer fellowship. The department awards funding for research to all graduate students and summer fellowships to Ph.D. students who have advanced to candidacy.

    • The Graduate Coordinator sends out forms each year

    • Applicants for these grants and fellowships are required to have applied to a funding source outside of the university at least once before applying for the EBIO grant.  Applying for an NSF GRFP is one way to meet this requirement. This does not apply to first-year students.

  • Visit the Grants & Fellowships page, which includes deadlines for EBIO grants and links to other granting sources at CU and nationally. 

    • Keep in mind that this list isn't exhaustive in any category and that other significant funding sources exist.  It's up to you to search far and wide for the awards that might apply to you. 
    • EBIO perpetually funnels grant and scholarship information to students via email, so keep an eye on your inbox for upcoming competitions and awards.  

Graduate School

  • Graduate School Grants

    The Graduate school awards several small research grants, travel grants, and Dissertation completion fellowships (for students writing dissertations).  The travel grants are non-competitive and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.  Graduate students may receive these small travel grants twice during their grad careers.   

  • United Government of Graduate Students Travel Grants

    Students can apply for competitive travel grants up to $300.  Students can receive these only once.​


Award spending

While conducting your research, you will likely need to buy supplies or pay travel expenses from funding awarded to you or your advisor.  Every award is assigned a speedtype, a number the university uses to keep track of a particular "bucket" of money.  Be aware that multiple awards may be assigned the same speedtype, which provides an additional challenge for EBIO's accounting technician to keep track of spending and balances.  As such, you need to keep track of your own award balances.  Information on the methods below can be found on the EBIO SharePoint drive.  Sign in (directions here) and then look under the Accounting header.​

The department's Sharepoint site is developing into a communication hub for procedures, archives, and department-specific policies. Financial guides, forms, and some secure documents are also stored on our Sharepoint site.

There are several ways to access the department's SharePoint site:

  1. Direct URL: https://o365coloradoedu.sharepoint.com/sites/ebio/

  2. From the EBIO website: http://www.colorado.edu/ebio/research/department-resources 

To log into the Office 365 and Sharepoint, use your campus identikey@colorado.edu


There are four ways to purchase supplies from an award. 

  1. Acquire a Procurement card and/or a travel card for purchasing from a speedtype. See EBIO's P-Card guide here.

    1. Pro: You do not have to spend money out of your own pocket on most purchases you make with your award funding.

    2. Note: If you obtain a card, you are responsible for full compliance with CU-procurement policy, including ensuring that all purchases are tax-exempt and allowable and turning in documentation forms and receipts for every purchase in a timely manner.  

    3. Download the SAP Concur App to immediately take pictures of receipts and associated expenses within the card. This will make the expense report more easily after shopping or traveling.

  2. Become a marketplace shopper (or request purchases from the marketplace shopper in your lab) to purchase from a speedtype. See EBIO's Marketplace guide here

    1. Pros:  You can log on to see special CU pricing negotiated by the University, which can be cheaper than what is available otherwise, and no taxes are assessed.

    2. Notes: Shipping costs are not always accurately calculated at the time of purchase online, and shipping cannot be expedited. Also, online training is required to gain "Marketplace shopper" access. See the Marketplace guide linked above. 

  3. Use your personal credit card to purchase supplies and request a reimbursement. See EBIO's Personal Reimbursement guide here. When you have turned in your receipts and documentation, you will be reimbursed in a timely manner.

    1. Pros:  No special training required, Amazon often has comparable pricing and faster shipping than Marketplace, All shipping costs are apparent.

    2. Cons:  Some supplies (particularly chemical reagents) are hard to find outside of the Marketplace and cost significantly more.

  4. Purchase supplies on campus (Chemstores or MCDB store). See EBIO's "On Campus Purchasing" guide here

    1. Pros: Purchase directly from your award, convenience of buying in person on campus rather than online

    2. Cons: Often more expensive than buying online, limited stock available

    3. Chemstores website (Map of locations and inventory [This is a good place to buy Liquid Nitrogen or Dry Ice])


Expiration Dates:  Awards also generally come with expiration dates.  You must spend all of the available funds by this date, or they will no longer be available. 


Awards as Income:  Some small agencies (and some larger ones such as National Geographic) will fund researchers directly by checks made out to the researcher.  These organizations generally report these funds to the IRS as income (despite stipulating that you can only use the funds for research purposes).  While we cannot provide tax advice for legal purposes, you can contact the IRS about reporting these funds as work-related expenses. 


Travel policies and procedures​

You may travel for conferences or research trips.  For any travel paid for by a grant administered by CU, there are policies that need to be followed, including pre-approvals and flight-purchasing procedures. See EBIO's Travel/Travel Card guide. READ THE TRAVEL POLICY BEFORE BOOKING ANY TRAVEL! You can also find information at the travel link above regarding acquiring and using a CU Travel Card.



Many grad students get financial support through working as a TA. For more information about TA pay and teaching appointments, see details in section 18. Financial Resources, Campus Funding Sources


  • Center for Teaching and Learning (formerly Graduate Teacher Program, GTP)  

    • The Graduate Teacher Program is a division of the Graduate School that works with graduate students from all departments in all schools and colleges on the Boulder campus. They offer comprehensive college teacher training, support research skill development, and provide academic and nonacademic career preparation opportunities through conferences, workshops, and individual consultation. Some of their most popular events are their Fall Intensive and Spring Conference, as well as teaching and professional development seminars that are held on an almost daily basis during the semesters.  

    • The GTP offers a variety of teaching and professional development certificates that students can earn while they are enrolled in a graduate program. While these certificates are not officially earned through credits or recognized by other institutions, many academics and professionals are familiar with these certificates and claim that they hold weight when hiring a candidate for a job. See the GTP website (http://www.colorado.edu/gtp/) for more information on these certificates and the other services that the GTP offers.  

    • Each department also has a Lead Graduate Teacher (GTP Lead). Leads are graduate student instructors who have a strong interest in teaching at the college or university level, have had three or more years of teaching experience, and have maintained a minimum score of 3.0 or better on their FCQs. They are hired as Administrative Interns and paid by the Graduate Teacher Program (different than a Lead TA for a course, though the same person may hold both roles). Leads serve as liaisons between the GTP and their home departments and assist with teaching assistant preparation in their home departments. Basically, this person has gone through extensive teacher training and is meant as a resource for you regarding all things GTP (including videotaping your classes to fulfill certificate requirements, leading workshops, giving you teaching advice, helping you navigate the GTP website, etc.). Please contact your Lead whenever you feel necessary and keep an eye out for GTP-related emails.

  • Center for Stem Learning

    • The mission of the Center for STEM Learning (CSL) is to improve science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education at the University of Colorado Boulder and to serve as a state, national, and international resource for such efforts.  Their website provides info on events, teaching resources, and more.

    • The CSL also runs a seminar series on Discipline-Based Education Research (DBER), which is research that focuses on teaching practices and measures learning outcomes.  DBER Seminar Series info

  • EBIO Courses on teaching. The following courses have been offered in EBIO:

    • Best Practices in Science Education

  1. Instructor: Nichole Barger and Jennifer Knight

      • Pedagogy (cross-listed with Environmental Studies and Geography departments)

Instructor: GTPs from EBIO and the other two departments

  • Gender and sexuality center

    • http://www.colorado.edu/gsc/

    • This center can help you to learn to create a welcoming and inclusive classroom environment for all, including how to discuss personal pronouns.

  • Disability Services

    • The office of Disability Services on campus can provide assistance to your students who may benefit from it. This office addresses disabilities of all kinds. They can also provide you, as a teacher, with information and advice on how best to accommodate students as well as on how to be proactive about making your course content and course materials accessible for all people.

    • Your students may make you aware of any special accommodations that they require and will often present you with an accommodation form from the office of Disability Services.  Find more information here on how to provide the best environment for those students.

    • Information on Universal Design and how to request a consultation can be found here.  

Helping a student in need

  • Concerns About a Student  

    • Students will sometimes behave in a way that causes concern. In these instances, there are resources available to assist you in guiding the student towards the proper help. 

    • The University has a Student of Concern Team (SOCT) to provide intervention for students that are struggling.  SOCT website

    • If you would like to discuss concerns about a CU student that cannot wait until business hours call the Counseling and Psychiatric Services emergency line at 303-492-2277 24/7.  Students in need can also call this emergency help number to speak to a therapist.

  • Reporting issues with students (and keeping yourself safe)

  • Victim's Assistance

    • The Office of Victim's Assistance can help students (or teachers) cope with trauma.  You can refer your students to their office or seek their help in supporting your students. Know that students can talk to this office confidentially.  http://www.colorado.edu/ova/


Teaching Requirements

EBIO PhD students are required to teach 2 semesters at some point before graduating. Masters students have no teaching requirements. Consult the EBIO Graduate Regulations for more details.


Faculty Course Questionnaires (FCQs) 

  • Every term, students on the Boulder campus evaluate each of their courses and instructors using a questionnaire called the Faculty Course Questionnaire (FCQ). The FCQ program is managed within the Office of Data Analytics (ODA) at CU Boulder.

  • FCQs are monitored by faculty, grad committees, and administrators

  • When your FCQs are returned to you, look at them closely as soon as possible. Sometimes the FCQ office makes a mistake, such as asking students to evaluate the Lab Coordinator or the Lecturer on the FCQ assigned to your lab or recitation. 

  • FCQs can be used to support various awards on campus (such as the UGGS Top TA/GPTI Award).

  • Some academic employers will request your FCQs or other teaching evaluations when you apply. 

  • You may view FCQ results at: https://www.colorado.edu/fcq/boulder-fcq-results 

EBIO events, groups, and committees


  • EBIO's colloquium is the social heart of the department.  Every Friday there is a talk given by either an invited speaker (Professors or researchers from other institutions) or an exit talk.  Exit talks are given by EBIO PhD students who are completing their degree and are a great chance to see what research other students have done for their dissertations.  Both types of colloquia are followed by a reception where food and beverages are provided by the lab hosting the speaker (or the lab of the PhD student).  Receptions provide opportunities to network with professors and other graduate students.

  • Colloquium attendance is mandatory for first-year students. 

  • The colloquium schedule is available here:  http://www.colorado.edu/ebio/events/seminar-series

  • Because alcohol is served at the receptions, university policy requires that they be invitation-only events.  As such, you can only bring people from outside of the department who have been put onto the invitation list.  If your guest is under 21, please let the manager of the invitation list know. Keep an eye out for invitation emails and respond to the sender if you want to add someone to the invitation list.

  • Tips servers

    • In order to comply with campus alcohol policy, all alcohol at Colloquium must be served by trained bartenders.  Graduate students in the department volunteer to receive this free training and sign up to serve alcohol at receptions.  Keep an eye out for emails to sign up to receive TIPS training and help to keep this important department social event alive. 

  • Colloquium committee

    • The colloquium committee is the only official department committee that is made entirely of graduate students (with the exception of the committee's faculty liaison).  This means that the colloquium series is entirely run by graduate students.  This committee chooses which speakers to invite each year and works to keep the seminar running.

  • Hosting speakers

    • Each lab has the yearly opportunity to nominate speakers to Colloquium.  This can be a chance for graduate students to meet professors that they may want to collaborate with, work with in the future as a post-doc, or just learn about their research in person.  If your lab's speaker is chosen by the committee, your lab will be responsible for communicating with this person, arranging their transportation around town and from the airport, and taking them out to meals.  There are detailed guidelines in place regarding how to be a host.  Please review these guidelines and remind your PI about them so that colloquium can run smoothly. 

  • Speaker lunches

    • The day of the speaker's talk (Friday), lunch will be provided in Ramaley for the speaker and all graduate students.  This lunch provides graduate students the opportunity to talk with the invited speaker.  Please only attend if you can stay for the full 50 minutes so that we can show respect to the speakers.  

Lunch & Learn 

  • Lunch & Learn talks are informal presentations or discussions given once a week during the lunch hour (attendants bring their own lunches, hence the name).    They are organized by graduate student volunteers, who send out reminders and keep the schedule. 

  • These weekly presentations open to everyone in the department (including undergrad students!), and can include, but are not limited to:

    •  Getting feedback on your thesis research ideas (e.g., for beginning grad students)

    • Introducing yourself to the department by discussing your previous research (e.g., for new postdocs)

    • Teaching others a skill you've learned by giving a workshop 

    • Hosting discussions on academia and professional skills/development

    • Sharing photographs or experiences from the field

    • Artistic exhibitions and musical performances

  • We also welcome non-EBIO presenters, so if you know of anyone in other departments on campus or other scientific institutions in Boulder, or will be hosting any visiting researchers, feel free to pass along the invitation!

  • For attendees, Lunch & Learn is a great opportunity to eat lunch away from your desk, learn something new, earn one class credit (Seminar in Population Biology on myCUinfo), and better get to know what our excellent department is up to.

Spring symposium

             The Spring Symposium is a departmental conference held every spring that gives graduate students, post docs, and outstanding undergraduates a chance to present their research in a low-stress venue.



  • The Guild of Rocky Mountain Ecologists and Evolutionary Biologists (GREEBS) is a very informal mini-conference that takes place every fall in the Rockies.  Every few years it is hosted by CU at the Mountain Research Station.  In previous years, it has also been hosted by Colorado State University at the Pingree Park research station and at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL) in Gothic, Colorado.  This is a fun and informal way to present to and to get to know biologists from neighboring universities.  Attendees generally stay in dorms or cabins and past conferences have included live bluegrass music, local beers, and lots of flannel shirts.  

Reading groups

  • There is a constantly-changing set of groups that meet to discuss papers on particular topics.  These groups vary in how academic or social they are.

Outreach groups

  • There are several student groups focused on educating the public.  Programs range from events at the CU Natural History Museum for kids to trainings for high school science teachers. See here for a list of those groups.

EBIO emailing and list-servs

  • There is an official EBIO graduate student list serve as well as a faculty one.  These list-servs are managed by EBIO's IT manger.  If you are not receiving these emails, contact the IT manager.  If you would like to post to these lists, you can also email this person to forward a message.  The EBIO graduate student list also includes the Graduate Coordinator.

  • The Bugs List is EBIO's unofficial graduate student email list.  This list is managed by a graduate student volunteer and participation in this list-serve is voluntary.  The Bugs List is generally used for things like asking to borrow research equipment, looking for housing, and inviting the department to parties.  This list does not include you unless you sign up for it and no faculty or staff are included.

    • The list manager will email the official grad student list each fall.  To join, reply to their email.


University of Colorado Graduate School

CU organization structure

         Because CU is a state school, there is a Board of Regents who are voted upon by the people of Colorado and are at the top of the power structure of the University.  See here for a layout of the organization and administration of the University:  http://www.cu.edu/oaa/faculty-affairs/faculty-handbook/faculty-handbook-organization-and-administration-university


Grad student voice at CU

  • United Government of Graduate Students (UGGS)

    • UGGS is the primary advocacy group for graduate and professional students on the CU Boulder campus.

    • The most proximate venue for EBIO graduate students to get involved in student representation is through UGGS. EBIO graduate students may volunteer to be the EBIO representative to UGGS, and there may be more than one. Once a representative, you may run for office within UGGS. One such position, Co-Senator, also places you within CUSG (see below). UGGS pays officers approximately $100/month, depending on the position. UGGS puts on dozens of graduate student specific activities, workshops, seminars, talks, and other events throughout the year. You do not have to be a member of UGGS to attend the bi-weekly meetings, at which you may voice concerns or bring up issues you believe other graduate students should know about.

    • See: http://www.colorado.edu/uggs/about-uggs

  • CU Student Government (CUSG)

    • CUSG controls the largest budget of any student government in the country. Multiple opportunities exist to not only serve as an elected representative on Legislative Council (where you are paid hourly), but to also be employed by CUSG on staff. You do not have to be a member of CUSG to attend the weekly meetings, at which you may voice concerns or bring up issues you believe other students should know about.

    • See: http://cusg.colorado.edu/


Registration and Policies

Visit the university's resource page for new graduate students: http://www.colorado.edu/admissions/graduate/admitted-students

Graduate School policies: https://www.colorado.edu/graduateschool/graduate-school-policies-procedures


Keep in mind that you have a Bill of Rights and Responsibilities as a graduate student here at CU, negotiated by the United Government of Graduate Students in 2003-2004:  http://www.colorado.edu/uggs/sites/default/files/attached-files/Graduate Student Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.pdf


Registration Deadlines  

The deadline to add a class on-line is generally about 10 days after the start of the semester. After that, you will need to obtain the instructor's permission and ask EBIO staff to register you. See the Registrar's Registration/Academic Calendar


Registering for Dissertation/Thesis Units 

Each semester, you must email the EBIO office with your advisor and the number of dissertation/thesis units you intend to take.  Please see the graduate school rules for requirements for dissertation distribution credits. 


Definitions of Full Time MS and PhD Students  

For purposes of deciding full-time registration status, a student must meet one of the following criteria, according to the Graduate School:  


Master's Students 

  • one who is carrying a minimum of 5 credits of graduate level course work  OR

  • 8 credits of combined undergraduate and graduate coursework  OR

  • at least 1 master's thesis hour OR

  • at least 1 hour of "Master's Candidate for Degree"  OR


Doctoral students 

  • one who is carrying a minimum of 5 credits of graduate level course work prior to passing the comprehensive exam  OR

  • 8 credits of combined undergraduate and graduate course work prior to passing the comprehensive exam   OR

  • at least one doctoral dissertation credit prior to passing the comprehensive exam    OR

  • a minimum of 5 dissertation hours after passing the comprehensive exam (if a student is off campus and not using CU facilities, s/he may register for 3 dissertation credits) 


Leave of Absence

If you need to take some time off from graduate school, you must apply for a leave of absence:  http://www.colorado.edu/registrar/students/withdraw-cu/leave-of-absence 

EBIO's Graduate Coordinator is a good person to talk to if you have questions about registration or policies.


Financial Information​

Tuition and Fees  

  • See the Bursar's website for an explanation of tuition and various fees for the current academic year: https://www.colorado.edu/bursar/costs/mandatory-student-fees 

  • Mandatory fees are charged per semester based on your degree and the number of credit hours in which you enroll. You will also be charged course and program fees unique to your course of study and other fees such as health insurance, recreation center fees, and transportation fees. 

  • For an explanation of the student fees explicitly, see: https://www.colorado.edu/bursar-campus-resources/tuition-remission

  • Note that first year students are not required to pay their fees by the first due date.  There is no financial penalty as long as fees are paid by the second due date (i.e., after first year students with TAs and RAs are paid).  


Campus Funding Sources   

  • There are four major funding sources available to graduate students on campus, described below.

  • Graduate Teaching Assistant (TA)

    • TAs are the most common form of financial support. They can be 25% full time equivalent (FTE) (typically one class, 10hrs/week), 33% FTE (one class, some grading), or 50% FTE (typically two classes, 20hrs/week). TA responsibilities range greatly from teaching labs, leading recitations and discussion sections, serving as a grader for lectures (and sometimes lecturing), and managing online content. Pay differs based on degree (PhD vs. master's) and department. Generally, contracts are for one semester. These positions pay for full tuition remission (in or out of state) as well as 70 percent of the BuffGold Health Insurance Plan.  Student fees are the responsibility of the student and are not covered by the TA support.  In EBIO, it is not uncommon for greater than 50% of our graduate students to be employed as TAs.  Most of the TA positions in the department are 50%.

  • Graduate Part-Time Instructor (GPTI)

    • In order to be a GPTI you need a Master's degree or to be a PhD candidate. Pay tends to be higher than a TA position, and contracts can run anywhere from one semester to two years. As a GPTI you are the "instructor of record," which means you are in full command of the class you are teaching. From syllabus design to final grade entry, it's all you, which means that this appointment is likely to be more work than a TA appointment, though is generally also 50% FTE.  Like TAships, these positions pay for full tuition remission (in or out of state) as well as 70 percent of the BuffGold Health Insurance Plan.   These are rare in EBIO.

  • Graduate Research Assistant (RA)

    • RAs are the second most common form of financial support at the Uni-versity. These positions can sometimes pay for full tuition remission (in or out of state) as well as 70 percent of the BuffGold Health Insurance Plan, though some RA positions do not and are hourly. There is a stipend attached to RAs that offer tuition and health benefits, and pay differs based on degree as well as the specific funding source.  RAs may be offered by your advisor, other professors around campus, and centers and institutes.

  • Tuition Remission rules

    • The number of credits allowed for tuition-remission depends on the %FTE of the appointment. 

    • Audited and continuing education courses are not covered by tuition remission.  Students taking these courses will be charged the full costs of these courses (which is less than the cost of a regular course).

      See rules here:  http://www.colorado.edu/controller/2016/07/30/tuition-remission


Rules for multiple funding sources


Pay Logistics   

  • Getting Paid

    • The quickest and most efficient way to receive your pay is through direct deposit, a process in which CU directly deposits your paycheck into your bank account. You can apply for this at mycuinfo.colorado.edu (CU Resources Tab → Employee Information → Direct Deposit). 

    • Be sure that you have updated your address in both the STUDENT and EMPLOYEE sections of mycuinfo.colorado.edu.


  • Semester pay schedule

Your pay schedule should be in your offer letter.  TA, RA, and GPTI positions generally pay on the last business day of the month, except June.  June is paid on the 1st business day of July, which is never later than the 3rdof July.  Just this year, CU began paying students for half a month in August and half a month in May.  Previously, you didn't get a paycheck until the end of September.  There were other issues as well, but this changed pay schedule has fixed that.


  • Summer pay schedule

    • Summer hourly students are paid bi-weekly.  Students have retirement funds withdrawn from their paycheck (along with typical state and federal taxes) if they are not enrolled in classes over the summer. This retirement account is managed by a company called TIAA-CREF which will send you information in the mail about your retirement account.

    • If you are a summer hourly employee, you will need to enter your hours bi-weekly online through MyLeave in MyCUInfo. Instructions here:  https://www.cu.edu/doc/sbs-my-leave-setting-preferences-submitting-timepdf-1

    • Students employed as a summer RA get paid a monthly and summer TAs get paid on a contract basis.  Talk to the Graduate Coordinator for details about that.


  • Make sure to look at your paperwork and pay stubs (available electronically at mycuinfo.colorado.edu), and always ask your administrators about any discrepancies between what you think you are owed and what you have been paid. 


Internship and Summer Work Opportunities

  • In order to get a summer student hourly opportunity, you are responsible for contacting professors on your own to find out who may need help with a project and whether you are qualified to provide that help. The department will NOT do this for you.  It is suggested that you begin contacting professors well in advance of summer--two months early is not too early!

  • You can also search for jobs (on and off campus) under the Student Employment tab of the Financial Aid section of your profile on MyCUInfo. 

  • Some hourly work opportunities (especially as a tutor) may also be available through the Writing Center at the Program for Writing and Rhetoric:    
    http://www.colorado.edu/pwr/index.html), the Student Academic Success Center (http://www.colorado.edu/sasc/tutoring/become-tutor), and the Athletic Department (http://www.cubuffs.com/sports/2008/7/11/1513899.aspx). 

  • Students may also seek internships on their own (many of which are volunteer/unpaid) from organizations around the Boulder/Denver area. This area has no shortage of excellent governmental, non-profit, and other environmentally-related agencies and businesses that may need the help of an accountable and educated graduate student (especially if it's for free). See here for government labs in Boulder.

  • The Department has a few summer TA positions available every summer.  These are applied for in the spring.


CU Money Sense  


CU Financial aid

Graduate students are eligible to apply for financial aid through the university. 


  • You should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student aid (FAFSA) http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ to be eligible for CU, state, and national funding.


Establishing In-state residency

  • EBIO requires graduate students to establish in-state residency during their first year in the program.  Students beginning at CU this fall should complete their petitions by summer.  Information, residency petitions, and deadlines can be found here:  

  • A few notes about eligibility: 

    • You must obtain CO driver's license within 30 days if employed (TA, RA, GPTI, off campus job, etc.) or 120 days if not employed (See more info here re: moving to CO[Office13] )

    • You must register vehicle in CO within 90 days if employed or 180 days if not employed

    • You must file taxes as a Colorado resident (may file partial year return the first year).  Must use Colorado address on taxes (not parents' out of state address or the application will be rejected).

    • You must indicate intent to remain in CO after graduation (Question #D15 – do not say you will leave CO after graduation or the application will be rejected).

    • Do not put application in a notebook, plastic sleeves, binder, fancy box or tie a bow around it!

    • You may redact your Social Security Number and the numbers on your tax return. 

    • HELPFUL HINTS:   Staff at the registrar's office are not always willing to answer any questions, and you may be required to attend an information session in order to speak with a representative. Ask them EARLY if you are unsure about anything!   The most important thing to remember is that you MUST (per Colorado law) obtain a Colorado driver's license and vehicle registration, if you have a car, within 30 days of moving here.  If you can, go to the DMV before classes begin! 



Enrollment Requirements

CU Boulder requires health insurance coverage. All graduate students enrolled in one credit or more will be automatically enrolled in the Student Gold Health Insurance Plan unless the Wardenburg Campus Care Plan is selected or all coverage is waived by the deadline (generally in September).  You may waive coverage on MyCUInfo if you are on your parent's plan (until you are 26 years old) or a spouse's plan or have your own insurance. More info about this requirement and the current deadline date can be found here:  http://www.colorado.edu/health/insurance/health-insurance

Moreover, If you are employed as a TA, RA, or GPTI, a portion of your health insurance premiums will be covered as part of your stipend.  To determine how much, consult your offer letter.


Health Insurance Options

CU offers two policies: the Student Gold Health Insurance Plan and the Campus Care Plan. Summer coverage is included in the spring payment on both plans. Both plans also offer separate summer coverage, which may be necessary to purchase if you turn 26 in the spring and are dropped from your parent's plan. A dental discount plan is now included with graduate students' Student Gold Health Insurance Plan. Vision and club sports options are available at additional cost.  More info on the current plan offerings and costs:

1. Gold Plan 

Out-of-State Coverage
The GOLD Student Health Insurance Plan provides out-of-state coverage for general medical services anywhere in the United States from in-network providers, and services are subject to the $500 deductible and copays.

International Coverage

International travel for non-academic purposes is not covered under CU Boulder's Gold Plan, regardless of whether you are an international or national student. Please consider getting extra coverage through private travel insurance.

If you are traveling for academic purposes, there is coverage for emergency/urgent care services when traveling over 100 miles from home (place of residence) or outside your home country. The international coverage for academic purposes mostly follows the out-of-network coverage (unless otherwise specified*), meaning that coverage is not full and will require upfront costs to be paid first. As of Spring 2024, our out-of-network out-of-pocket maximum is $10,000, meaning an accident can put a student under financial stress. If the field portion of your research is done internationally, talk to your advisor about possibly purchasing travel insurance to complement CU Boulder's Gold Plan. During International travel for academic purposes (conferences, fieldwork, etc.), have the following information on hand:

  • Emergency Services
    • Includes natural disaster evacuation, medical repatriation, emergency return home, etc., through Academic Emergency Services; see attached pdf.
    • Emergency Room Facility and Emergency Room Doctor Services are covered as in-network*. They would be subject to a $150 copay and 20% coinsurance after paying a $500 deductible.
    • Urgent care visits are subject to a $75 copay and 50% co-insurance after paying the $1000 deductible.
  • General medical care would also be subject to the $1,000 deductible, 50% coinsurance, and copays.
  • Students need to contact Academic Emergency Services for assistance with medical services while out of the country.  Please see this attached Anthem Academic Emergency Services PDF for additional details about services while out of the country.  At the bottom of the PDF is an insurance ID card for use while traveling. A full list of benefits can be found here.

2. Campus care plan


Grad student emergency funds


Wardenburg Health Center (and what is available there)

  • The health center is located on campus at 1900 Wardenburg Drive.  Their hours can be found on their homepage, but are generally weekday business hours.  http://www.colorado.edu/health/

  • Medical Clinic

    • The Medical Clinic staffs primary care doctors that you can see for any general health concerns. 

    • Other benefits:

  • Sexual and Reproductive Health

    • This branch of Wardenburg provides care to women and trans patients.

  • Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS)

    • This office at Wardenburg (and C4C) is a multidisciplinary university clinic including staff from the fields of social work, nursing, psychology, psychiatry and counseling. 

    • They provide counseling to students on campus and offer providers with a range of experiences and styles.

    • They also offer groups and workshops related to women, graduate students, academic skills, thesis writing, relaxation and wellness, consultation and outreach, and alcohol and other drugs.

    • Other Services include:  

      • Same day Crisis Care evaluations 

      • Individual, couples, and group psychotherapy 

      • Consultation to students and the general University community 

      • Psychiatric evaluation and medication management 

      • Prescription assistance for those without funds

      • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) screening, Learning Disability Assessment and General Psychological Testing 

      • Substance abuse evaluation, treatment, and psycho-educational diversion programs

      • Eating disorders evaluation and treatment 

      • Treatment and follow-up for CU students who have been hospitalized 

      • Referrals to community providers 

      • Facilitated withdrawal from the University for mental health reasons 

      • Recommendations for retroactive withdrawals for mental health reasons 

        • As of 2017, students with the Gold Plan can receive 26 personal sessions/insurance year for free.  All other students can receive 6 sessions for free and other care on a fee basis.

        • Graduate school is mentally and emotionally taxing for everyone.  This office has been a valuable tool for many EBIO graduate students. 

        • https://www.colorado.edu/counseling/

  • Physical Therapy and Integrative Care

  • Pharmacy

  • Nutrition Services

    • Wardenburg staffs registered dieticians who can help you with anything from eating disorders to vegetarian meal-planning, meal-planning on a budget, or dealing with GI problems.  This service has traditionally been covered by the Gold Plan.


Disability Accommodations

CU Boulder is committed to supporting graduate students with disabilities to ensure reasonable accommodations are provided throughout all aspects of the graduate program, including both for employment related needs (including TAs and RAs) and student related needs. Two on-campus offices assist with accommodations at CU Boulder: 1) the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance provides support for employee, applicant, and visitor related-needs and 2) the Disability Services Office provides support for student related-needs. 


Office of Institutional Equity Compliance (employment accommodations)

E-mail:  adacoordinator@colorado.edu 

Phone number:  (303) 492-9725

Fax number: (303) 492-5005



Disability Services (student accommodations)

E-mail:  dsinfo@colorado.edu

Phone number:  303-492-8671

Fax number: 303-492-5601



Victim's Assistance & Sexual Misconduct​


Gender and Sexuality Center

  • The Gender and Sexuality Center provides information dissemination and referral; educational, cultural, and social programming; advocacy and support for the LGBTQIA community at the University of Colorado-Boulder.


Research Approvals​


Transportation, Car rental, and Parking​  ​​​

  • ​​General Campus transportation

  • By Bike

    • Boulder is a fun and relatively safe place to bike

    • When riding on campus, bike in established bike lanes where possible and be aware of pedestrians.

      • You are not permitted to lock bikes to any railings on campus; only bike racks.

      • Bike theft does happen on campus.  Use a lock and never leave your bike on campus for an extended period of time.

    • CU Boulder Bike Program

  • Public Transit

    • RTD (or Regional Transportation District - Denver) is the public transit system that operates within both Boulder and Denver.  This means that your bus pass (which you pay for as part of your student fees) allows you to ride for free throughout Boulder, from Boulder to Denver, throughout Denver, and even to the airport.  Both buses and light-rail lines are included. 

      • To use your bus pass, tap your card on the card reader inside the door as you enter the bus and then show your pass to the driver so that she can see your picture on the card.

      • Check bus schedules here:  http://www.rtd-denver.com/

      • Mobile apps are available http://www.rtd-denver.com/MobileTools.shtml, and the bus options are generally included in Google maps

    • Buff Bus

      • CU has a separate bus system with limited routes to and from campus and to east campus. Find info on routes and schedules here.

        • To ride these buses, simply hop on!

        • Be aware that these buses do not run during campus holidays or closures.

  • CU NightRide

    • This service of CUSG (i.e., your student fees) provides free rides from campus to anywhere in Boulder, as well as around the CU Boulder campus.

  • Parking

  • Car Share

    • For temporary car needs, Boulder has a local car-sharing non-profit, eGO Car Share.

  • Car Rentals

    • CU uses private car rental companies for all rentals for employees for work purposes.

    • http://www.colorado.edu/pts/university-vehicles/rental-vehicles

    • If you are under 25 you must take a Defensive Driving course. If you drive a 15 passenger van (as a TA for a course, for example) you must take a course specific for that. This includes a live driving test. The examiner may do unexpected things in the van, such as tilt your rear-view mirror 90 degrees to simulate driving with a van full of people.


Eating on campus

Meal Plans


Other Dining

  • Anyone can dine at the University Memorial Center (UMC) and the Center for Community (C4C) without a meal plan.  The UMC is a la carte and you can pay with credit card.  The C4C contains both a la carte as well as dining hall options.  To dine at the all-you-can eat dining hall, pre-load your Buff One Card with "campus cash." 

  • Coffee shops are scattered throughout campus including in:

    • Norlin Library

    • Engineering Building

    • ATLAS

    • Porter Biosciences

  • Multiple dining options exist in the University Hill neighborhood next to campus


Institutes and the Natural History Museum and associations with EBIO​

    • ​​​Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR)

      • This Institute houses researchers from several departments at CU, including EBIO.  Many of these labs are located in the Sustainability, Energy, and Environment Complex (SEEC) on the east campus.

      • https://instaar.colorado.edu/

    • CU Mountain Research Station

      • Located just 24 miles from campus but up in the mountains at 9500 ft, this research station is run through INSTAAR.  Many EBIO students have conducted their graduate research at this station

      • http://www.colorado.edu/mrs/

    • Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences (CIRES)

      • This institute is a collaboration between CU and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and houses researchers from several departments at CU.

      • Some EBIO labs are also part of CIRES and are located in this building.

      • http://cires.colorado.edu/

    • Museum of Natural History

      • This CU Museum is located on campus and provides opportunities for outreach, a biology-themed study lounge, and the following collections for research use:

        • Anthropology

        • Diatoms

        • Herbarium

        • Entomology

        • Paleontology

        • Invertebrates

        • Vertebrates

      • General website:  http://www.colorado.edu/cumuseum/

      • Collections website:  http://www.colorado.edu/cumuseum/research-collections

        • These collections can be used for identification of specimens, to collect data on the collection specimens for projects, and to deposit voucher specimens for your field research projects.

      • Several faculty in EBIO have joint appointments with the museum, where they serve as the curator of a particular collection.  These faculty also accept graduate students through the Museum and Field Studies masters' program.


Resources on Campus​

Outreach and Community Engagement


Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S)

  • The Department of Environmental Health and Safety at the University of Colorado Boulder works with the campus community as well as local, state, and federal agencies to ensure that all environmental health and safety hazards are appropriately addressed. Through training and consultation with campus personnel and local officials, the department commits itself to the safety of the university campus and the surrounding Boulder community.

    • https://ehs.colorado.edu/

      • If you work with any hazardous lab materials, you will be required to complete hazardous waste training, administered by this department.  You may also contribute to your lab by checking any Satellite Accumulation Areas (SAAs) containing hazardous chemicals. 

      • This department can also be a valuable resource when determining how to safely conduct lab work or dispose of hazardous materials.  They are also the ones to call about any accidental spills of hazardous materials. 


Green labs

  • The Green labs program is working to reduce the environmental impact of research at CU.  They are great resources for helping you to improve environmental efforts in your lab by increasing recycling or minimizing resource use.  They also provide incentives for purchasing energy-efficient equipment and promote equipment sharing.


Career services

  • Career services has some resources tailored to graduate students



Program for Writing and Rhetoric (PWR)


School of Education

  • It is possible for EBIO students to take teaching courses in the Education department.  This department is also involved in STEM outreach initiatives.




Art Museum


Theater and Dance


ATLAS (an institute for technology, art, and innovation)


CU Events

  • There are events happening all over campus.  See a campus-wide calendar here:  http://www.colorado.edu/events/
    • One of the biggest events on campus is the yearly Conference on World Affairs:  http://www.colorado.edu/cwa/  which is a free event bringing speakers from around the world together to debate and discuss a variety of issues, and even tell stories.



Boulder, Colorado

Boulder Government


Colorado Government

  • https://www.colorado.gov/
    • The Colorado government website contains links with information on the state legislature and Governor.


Moving to Colorado

Drivers license and car registration requirements

  • You MUST (per Colorado law) obtain a Colorado driver's license and vehicle registration, if you have a car, within 30 days of moving here.  This is especially important when applying for In-State Tuition during your first year.  


  • Going to the DMV and Driver's License Center

    • The Driver's License Center and the DMV are NOT the same place.  

    • Locations: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=1PQlBindfaGsFo51NKvjYwMlVMAk&ll=39.012534948152364,-106.18308118906248&z=7

    • If you are a new Colorado resident and you need to transfer your license, permit or ID card from another state, you must go to a driver's license office. You will need to present and hand over your current license, permit, or ID, present proof of your current Colorado address, and you will have to purchase a new Colorado license. In some cases, additional identification may be required.

    • To register a car in Colorado, you must go to a DMV office.

    • For more information on transferring your license, registration, permit or ID card, please visit the Colorado DMV's website. (https://www.colorado.gov/dmv)  

  • Address Changes 



            Housing in Boulder can be expensive and costs are on the rise.  Some students choose to live in a nearby town and bike or bus-commute to campus. In Boulder, some neighborhoods that have a high concentration of cheaper housing and are popular with graduate students include Baseline sub (also known as East Aurora), East Boulder (also known as East Foothills), and Martin Acres (Boulder neighborhood map), though graduate students have found reasonable housing all over Boulder.  University Hill has a high undergraduate population.  There is a high rate of lease turnover on August 1 and it is not uncommon for people to sign leases as early as February or March. 



Public land types and how to conduct research there

City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP)

  • https://bouldercolorado.gov/osmp

  • Many of the parks in the city (including Chautauqua) are managed by this organization.  Collections of any kind are prohibited without a permit.

    • Map of OSMP land (see link to 'OSMP Property Map' on right panel)

    • Permits can be acquired to conduct research, but OSMP can be strict about how much manipulation they allow.

Boulder County Open space

National Forest service

  • There are 11 National Forest and 2 National Grasslands in Colorado, including nearby Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forest. 

    • Permits can be acquired to conduct research on national forest lands, including on wilderness land, though the permitting process is more rigorous for these areas.  Expect to have some negotiations with the Forest Service regarding the details on any project to be conducted in a wilderness area.

      • Ample time should be allowed for all permitting processes, but especially for the Forest Service as they are chronically under-staffed. 

      • For any research near Boulder in the Arapaho Roosevelt NF, contact the Boulder Ranger District Office

      • For other forests and areas, contact the local ranger district office about permitting.

National Parks

​​​Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

  • Though only a small amount of land in Boulder County is managed by the BLM, they manage large tracts throughout the state, particularly in western Colorado.

National Labs and organizations in Boulder and nearby

Nearby Universities

Boulder events

Tips for saving money in Boulder


         Avalon Ballroom

         Kakes dance studio

         Dancing at St. Julien hotel

  • Art

         Studio Arts Boulder (including Boulder Pottery lab)

         Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art

         Tinker Art Studio

         Art classes offered through Boulder Parks and Rec

  • Competitive Sports

         Grass Roots Ultimate

         City of Boulder Sports Leagues

         CU Intramurals

  • Races



         Triathlons in Colorado

         There are so many races in Boulder that no source is comprehensive.  Ask folks and search online!​​​​