Admission and funding are primarily designed for students to begin in the Fall semester (students are infrequently admitted for the Spring semester). Review of applications begin on December 31 for the Fall semester. We continue to accept Fall semester applications until February 1, but applicants are advised to submit their materials as close to December 31 as possible because reviewing for funding will begin at that time. A second round of consideration may take place later in spring.  Funding appointments typically coincide with the start of each academic semester.

Prior to applying for admission, we strongly recommend that you identify the faculty member whose research interests most closely align with your own, and contact them directly.  Through this process you can learn more about research opportunities in your area, and your potential faculty advisor can learn more about you and your interests.

To apply to the graduate program, follow the instructions on the Graduate Admissions Office website to complete an online application. You will also need to supply the following supporting documents:

  • A Statement of Purpose essay describing your research interests and plans for undertaking a graduate degree in our department (the requirements for this essay can be found in the section below)
  • The Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences has dropped our GRE requirement
  • TOEFL, IELTS, or DuoLingo scores for applicants who are from a non-English speaking country and who do not have a undergraduate or graduate degree from a university in a country listed at
  • Three letters of recommendation (uploaded directly by the referees)
  • Official copies of academic records
  • The Supplemental Graduate Application Form and the Application for Graduate Awards Form (available once the application has been submitted)

Please note that all of these documents should be submitted online after you have submitted the online application form to the Graduate College. Once you have applied, instructions will be emailed to you explaining how to digitally submit your supporting documents.

If you have any questions about the admissions process, please contact us via e-mail to our departmental office or Director of Graduate Studies.

Statement of Purpose Essay

A Statement of Purpose essay (approximately two pages) describing your research interests and plans for undertaking a graduate degree in our department is required to apply.

Your essay should address:

  1. Your background and experience (both inside and outside of academia), including any personal traits, unique attributes, or skills/strengths that you think make you a strong candidate for graduate study.
  2. Your expected field of study. You do not need to propose a specific research question or study, but be as specific as possible about the type of research that you would be interested in conducting. You should also identify a faculty mentor who can advise you on this research.
  3. Your goals and objectives in obtaining a graduate degree. What are your career goals, and how do you anticipate that a graduate degree will advance your career?
  4. Your interest in the Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences. Why are you interested in joining our department, and how do you anticipate that joining our department will help you achieve your long-term goals?