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Application Procedures

Admission to the graduate programs in Geography is granted to college graduates with superior academic records whose interests align with those of faculty in the department. An undergraduate Geography major is not required and students with degrees in social, physical and behavioral sciences or from the humanities are encouraged to apply. However, incoming graduate students who do not have a bachelor’s degree in Geography must demonstrate through remedial coursework or other preparation that they have acquired basic competencies in human geography, physical geography, statistics and cartography.


Prospective students must submit the following materials to the Graduate College at:



Numerous items will be requested as part of the online application, including:

  1. Personal, biographical information (including citizenship, residency, etc.);
  2. Official transcripts from each higher education institution attended;
  3. SUSPENDED UNTIL AUGUST 2023: Results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The department has no minimum required score for admission but does use scores to rank/assess applicants to make admission and funding decisions,
  4. International students must submit TOEFL or IELTS scores (see International Student Requirements for more information); and
  5. Payment of application fee ($50 domestic, $75 international).

In addition, other documents must be uploaded by the student and/or his/her references:

  1. Current resume or curriculum vitae (CV);
  2. Names and email addresses of three references who will be automatically contacted by the application system to provide letters of recommendation. These letters should come from persons familiar with your academic abilities and prospects (at least two letters should be from university professors) and appear on professional letterhead or electronic facsimile;
  3. Letter of application that states your academic and vocational background and interests as they relate to the specialties of departmental faculty, and identification of possible advisors. PhD applicants are encouraged to provide an overview of their theses, whether completed or still in progress; and
  4. Writing sample, which is used to gauge students’ current writing skills and hence prospects of success, and which must be solely written by the applicant:
    1. MS students should submit a recent term paper or paper completed as part of a capstone course.  
    2. PhD students should submit a recent term paper from a graduate course or seminar, or a summary of their thesis.
    3. If applicants do not have such samples on hand, applicants can write an essay in response to one of these prompts instead.

Note: Applicants to the PhD program must have earned a master’s degree before matriculating.


Applications are accepted throughout the year with the following deadlines: July 1 for the fall semester, November 1 for the spring semester and April 1 for the summer term. However, students wishing to be considered for a teaching or research assistantship should submit all materials to the Graduate College by February 1 to receive full consideration for academic year support starting in August. It should be noted that admission decisions are made continuously, in most cases within two weeks of the department receiving all application materials. Decisions on academic year (August-May) assistantship awards are initially made in February, but can also be made at other times when position become available.

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