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Animal Behavior Society
Animal Behavior Society

Working towards a better understanding of animal behavior

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PhD positions available
Grad Positions
Posted Mar 11
The Ward Lab at Ball State University is recruiting bright and talented PhD students to begin in Fall 2020. Broadly, research in our lab seeks to understand the proximate and ultimate factors that control variation in behavior. Topics of current study include (i) the mechanisms and evolution of animal communication systems, (ii) the development of behavior, and (iii) ecological and evolutionary effects of human-mediated environmental change at the individual and population levels. Students may pursue research in one of these areas or propose an alternative area of research interest.  

The lab is associated with a well-equipped aquatic facility and we work primarily with stream fishes in a controlled laboratory setting. However, other model systems could be better suited to some research questions, and research involving other animal groups is possible. In summer 2021, the lab will be moving into the newly constructed Foundational Sciences Building at Ball State University ( This state-of-the-art research facility will boast a large, modern aquatics unit and custom-designed lab and testing spaces.
Student funding is available through a variety of sources, including teaching assistantships. The Department of Biology at Ball State is a collaborative and dynamic research environment with more than 30 faculty members and ~50 MSc and PhD graduate students. Ball State University is located in Muncie, Indiana, on an attractive campus 45 miles northeast of Indianapolis. To learn more about admissions requirements and processes, applicants should visit the university graduate admissions webpage (

Interested prospective students should contact Dr. Jessica Ward at Please include (i) a letter of motivation, including a 1-page statement of your research interests and relevant technical skills and experience, (ii) a CV, (iii) unofficial transcripts, (iv) contact information for 3 references, and (v) a scientific writing sample. A working knowledge of statistics, familiarity with statistical packages, and/or the previous completion of an MSc degree is highly preferred.

Ball State University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer that is strongly and actively committed to diversity within its community. Women, minorities, individuals with disabilities and protected veterans are strongly encouraged to apply. All qualified applicants will receive equal consideration without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, protected veteran status or any other legally protected status.

For more information, please contact

Dr. Jessica Ward
Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
Ball State University