Who Should Apply:

The Department admits students to our doctoral program who have already completed a Masters degree and well-qualified students who have only completed a bachelor’s degree. In all cases, admitted students are required to either possess or shall develop a strong foundation in the discipline of Geography. Ph.D. applicants must have a GPA of at least 3.3 and must provide a clear statement of goals and experience. Admission to the graduate program is not limited to students with a Geography-first degree. Those with a good GPA in degrees in related disciplines such as environmental, physical or biological science, anthropology, economics, history and social science are encouraged to apply but may be required to undertake additional background study not for credit. Some knowledge of data processing and statistics is necessary for all applicants. Ph.D. applicants' programs must draw on the research strengths of existing faculty members.


Requirements for the Ph.D. Program in Geographical Sciences: 

  • Statement of Purpose: Why you're choosing UMD and the Department, who you'd like to work with in our program.
  • Unofficial Transcript(s) (the UMD Graduate School will ask you to send your official transcripts if you are offered admission).
  • Letters of Recommendation (3)
  • CV/Resume
  • TOEFL/IELTS/PTE (international graduate students): TOEFL, IBT 96 overall, 26 in reading, 24 in listening and writing, 22 in speaking; IELTS, 7 in overall, listening, reading, and writing and 6.5 in speaking. The University’s institutional score reporting code for the TOEFL is 5814. Click here for more information on the UMD English Requirements.
  • Publications/Presentations (submitted to the Upload Requirements section of the application)
  • Writing Sample (uploaded to the Upload Requirements section of the application)

Closing date for the PhD application is December 15, 2022. Applications are reviewed from January to April for Fall entry; there is no Spring entry. Prospective Ph.D. students can start their applications here.


International Applicants:

The Department welcomes applications from international students. The University of Maryland's International Students Scholar Services group offers useful guides and contact information for international applicants. International applicants who are offered teaching assistantships must also pass an International Teaching Assistant Oral Evaluation by the University's Maryland English Institute (MEI). 


Contacting Faculty:

You will need a sponsor from the Department faculty for admission. Select and contact a tenured or tenure track faculty member with interests that parallel your own. Plan to make an appointment for an interview in person or via Skype with at least one if you can.


For more information on the Ph.D. Program: Rachel Haber, Assistant Academic Director, rberndts [at] umd.edu.