Who Should Apply:

The Department admits students to our doctoral program who have already completed a master's 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)
  • Contacting Faculty: You will need a sponsor from the Department faculty for admission. You must 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. This is required as part of your application. 

Closing date for the PhD application is December 12, 2024. 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). 


Diversity Fellowships:

The Department of Geographical Sciences offers several fellowships that provide supplemental financial support for Ph.D. students. Click on the tabs below to learn about each fellowship and how to apply.

The College of Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSOS) values diversity and inclusion and believes science and science teams benefit from diverse groups of faculty and trainees who bring diverse interests, perspectives, interpretations of, and solutions to human problems. Therefore, BSOS offers recruitment fellowships designed to enhance the diversity of our doctoral student population. The diversity recruitment supplements (DRS) are intended to supplement a fellowship, assistantship, or other funding to an admitted student. The DRS can support summer funding, funding in other ways that might be useful for the success of the student. If admitted, your advisor will nominate you for the DRS.

The College of Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSOS) values diversity and inclusion and believes science and science teams benefit from diverse groups of faculty and trainees who bring diverse interests, perspectives, interpretations of, and solutions to human problems. Therefore, BSOS offers recruitment fellowships designed to enhance the diversity of our doctoral student population. 

Applicants must be U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents.

Students who wish to be considered must email diversity and inclusion essays to Leila De Floriani deflo [at] umd.edu the application deadline.

Students awarded Fellowships in Support of Diversity and Inclusion will receive supplemental financial support. The amount, type of support, and timing of the disbursement of the
support will be determined by the training department with the students' experiences, training goals, and departmental resources taken into consideration. However, the supplemental support is generally no less than a total of $10,000 over the course of the doctoral training period. This funding will be in addition to the base funding offered by the department. Students will also be recognized as BSOS Dean's Diversity and Inclusion Doctoral Scholars.

Diversity and Inclusion Essay:
First, the diversity and inclusion essay must detail how one or more of the following criteria applies to the applicant. Second, the applicant must respond to the essay prompt (below).

  1. First generation college student.
  2. Member of a group historically underrepresented in the behavioral and social sciences (African American, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, Mexican American, Puerto Rican, or other Hispanic. Permanent Residents whose ethnicities corresponds to one or more of these groups also meet this criteria).
  3. Person with a disability as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act. Qualified individuals with disabilities are those who, with reasonable accommodation for their disability, are capable of entering a research career after appropriate experience and training.
  4. Person who identifies as a member of the LGBTQ community.
  5. Any individual whose career will relate to, or emphasize sociocultural diversity and inclusion, serving diverse communities, or advancing/promoting/increasing diversity in behavioral and social sciences or STEM through research, teaching, mentoring, and/or service.

Diversity and Inclusion Essay Prompt:

Please describe either your interest in addressing issues related to sociocultural diversity and inclusion, your commitment to serving diverse communities, or your interest in advancing/promoting/increasing diversity in the behavioral and social sciences or STEM through your research, teaching, mentoring, and/or service. Please be sure to also describe your past and ongoing experiences in these areas, as well as your plans for using your doctoral training and your career to promote better social science and excellence through diversity and inclusion.

Formatting Instructions - Page Limit – 1 page. Times New Roman 12 font, 1-inch margins or 550 words

In accordance with our core values, mission, and desire to create a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable campus environment, UMD’s President’s Fellowship is aimed at recruiting outstanding doctoral students. The goal is to increase doctoral program diversity by recruiting top  doctoral students based on their demonstrated contributions to program diversity.

President’s Fellowships are multi-year enhancement awards to be added to full assistantship. The President’s Fellowship enhancement award may total up to $40,000 per student over the duration of the award. 

The Department of Geographical Sciences submits nominees to the Graduate School, and the Graduate School reviews and awards fellowships.

Eligibility: Candidates must be incoming Ph.D. students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The fellowship will support students with exceptional qualifications and clear promise for outstanding performance in doctoral study and would contribute to program diversity and increase representation in programs where minorities are underrepresented. 

Current GEOG President’s Fellows:

Tavis Mansfield (Fall 2022 Cohort)

Robyn Gausman-Burnett (Fall 2023 Cohort)

For more information on the Ph.D. Program contact Dr. Leila De Floriani, Graduate Director (deflo [at] umd.edu), and Ms. Jannitta Graham, Fall 2024 PhD Coordinator (jgraham7 [at] umd.edu)