Geography Grad Students

Applying to our resident graduate program

Our graduate program is focused on specialization and independent scholarship that is built on a foundation of geographic knowledge and training. Admission to our program is competitive, and we look for high-quality students who meet our standards for test scores, have strong recommendation letters, and can connect with our faculty and their research interests.

Prospective students are encouraged to reach out to those faculty with whom they might be interested in working to begin a conversation about the possibility of graduate work in the program, before submitting an application.

You should identify areas of specialization that you will want to work on as you complete your graduate work and identify them in your application materials. As you prepare your application, there are some important dates to keep mind.

Deadlines and Funding

First, there are a limited number of university and college-wide fellowships. To be considered for a fellowship your application is due by: November 20, 2017.  (Applications received after December 1 are still eligible for department funding.)

To be considered for departmental-level funding, your application is due no later than: December 15, 2017 by 5:00 p.m. eastern standard time.

Students in the M.S. program are funded for two years. Students who enter the Ph.D. program typically are funded for four years, depending on steady and satisfactory progress towards their degree.

For more information please read about Penn State graduate assistantships and other department funding for graduate students.

If you have questions about the application process, please contact the department at or 814-865-3434.

Academic Eligibility and English Proficiency

  • Official GRE score report: Please request ETS to electronically submit to: PSU institution code 2660 and Geography department code 2203.
  • GRE requirement: A combined verbal / quantitative reasoning GRE score of at least 310 is required for admission. A score of at least 3.0 on analytical writing is required for admission.
  • Official TOEFL score report: Please submit official TOEFL scores to PSU institution code 2660, Geography department code 2203, and TOEFL code 70.
  • TOEFL requirement: A combined TOEFL score of 90 total with a 19 on the speaking section on the Internet-based (iBT); or 6.5 on the IELTS test is required for admission. Those who have an undergraduate degree from a U.S. institution are exempt from these tests.
  • GPA score: There is no official GPA score requirement, however, as a guideline, successful applicants typically have a Jr/Sr GPA greater than 3.3/4.0

The Graduate School confirms eligibility for admission of all graduate degree applicants, while programs select and recommend applicants for offers of admission.

Students in Grass