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Key Information

  • "International Applicants" are foreign students; they are not US Citizens or Permanent Residents.
  • New for 2021- GREs are no longer required by the Department of Geography with any graduate application. 
  • The application submission deadline is December 1. Unofficial transcripts are uploaded as part of your application.  Reference letters must be received by DECEMBER 1. Please notify those writing your reference letters in advance of the December 1 submission deadline for your application. Please be aware that as you are completing your application, you can send a request to your letter writers to upload their letters as soon as you enter their name and information.  We strongly encouraage you to take advantage of this feature.
  • Early applications are strongly advised.
  • We do not have a regular Spring admission. You can begin the admissions process on August 1 of the year prior to the fall semester that you want to start your graduate program. Allow at least 3 months after the application deadline to receive notification about your application status.
  • Include your Financial Statement Form.
  • Applications are completed on-line. 
  • You must complete all parts of the application. 
  • You will be asked to designate up to 4 potential primary faculty advisors as part of your application. You will list them in your order of preference (i.e. the faculty member you would most like as your advisor should be listed first).   You should contact them by email to discuss your research interests.
  • Have 3 reference letters uploaded as part of your on-line application.
  • Upload 1 unofficial copy of your transcript as part of the online application - see below for details.
  • The TOEFL exam is REQUIRED by the University. Have the results sent to the University of Colorado-Boulder by our December 1 deadline.
  • Pay application fee online.
  • Let us know immediately if your email address changes; we use it to communicate with you.

Apply Online

Graduate Admissions

Transcripts and other supporting materials required by your department should be sent directly to the following:

For standard international mail or mail within the US, including USPS Priority and Express:

Office of Admissions/International
University of Colorado at Boulder
3100 Marine St  Suite A122
65 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0065 USA
For Overnight/Express mail (DHL, FEDEX, UPS) send to:
Office of Admissions/International
University of Colorado Boulder
3100 Marine Street - 65 UCB
Bldg RL3 Suite A122
Boulder, CO 80303-1058  USA

Requirements for International Graduate Student Applications

1. Grades

Certification of first-class standing or the equivalent of at least a “B” average in all examinations.

2. English Proficiency

Certification of adequate command of spoken and written English to insure that the student can satisfactorily pursue his studies at a U.S. university. A score of at least  75 (internet based) on the TOEFL examination will be required or a score of 6.0 on the IELTS examination.  For additional information on the English proficiency requirement, please visit the University of Colorado Admissions website.

3. Adequate Funds

Certification from a financial institution or sponsor that adequate funds are available to meet all your expenses for the entire period of your residence at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The estimated expenses for a non-resident student to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder are listed on the required “Financial Statement” form for each academic year. The figure includes room and board, tuition and fees. Summer tuition, transportation and incidental costs should be added to this. 

4. Application Fee

We follow the policy of the Office of Admission in not waiving the application fee for international applicants. Please pay the application fee as part of the online application. The Office of Admission will only begin processing applications when it has received the application fee. It will not allow students to temporarily waive the fee until the student is enrolled. 

Complete Your Application

Must Contain the Following:

(all of these application materials are part of the on-line application).

1) Application fee: $80 USD, nonrefundable.

You will be able to pay the application fee on-line as part of the application process.

2) Application for Graduate Admission

The criminal history question on the application MUST be answered. Failure to answer this question will STOP ALL PROCESSING of your application. If you answer yes or if you leave it blank, you must complete the additional steps you will find as part of the on-line application process.

Pay special attention to your Statement of Intent (or Statement of Purpose). It is important to write a careful one to three page statement on what your research interests are, why you have chosen this particular program, and what you hope to do afterwards.

You will be asked to designate up to 4 potential primary faculty advisors as part of your application. You should contact them by email to discuss your research interests. Your application will not be considered if you do not identify at least one faculty member. This is not your committee, but rather faculty with whom you would like to work, whom you will list in your order of preference (i.e. the faculty member you would most like as your advisor should be listed first). This is in the "Question" section of the on-line application. 

Here is a list of subplans for the Department of Geography. Please indicate your desired area of specialty/subplan:

Biogeography, Cartography, Climatology, Cultural Geography, Development, Environment and Society, GIS, Geomorphology, Hydrology, Medical Geography, Political Ecology, Political Geography, Population-Migration, Remote Sensing, Urban Geography

3) Financial Statement

Please Note: The Department of Geography will review your application and make a decision about admitting you to our program even if you do not submit this form. However if you are admitted and not offered funding (or full funding), you will need to complete and submit this form, along with proof of funding from another source, in order to finalize your admission. Even if the Geography Department admits you, the International Admissions Office will not be able to issue you an immigration document unless you've submitted the financial statement, accompanied by proof of an adequate source of funding.

Please also note that our departmental funding is very limited. We assume that all applicants are interested in available departmental funding. However, because funding is so limited, the Department will not be able to provide you with enough guaranteed funding to meet the University requirement that you must show you already have adequate funding (Financial Statement section) to study in the US. 

4) Recommendations

Three (3) recommendations are required. Request professors and/or other professionals familiar with your research potential to upload their recommendation letter. Use the procedures that are part of the on-line application process.   Please ask your recommenders to have their letter ready by December 1.

You may see instructions on other parts of the CU website (such as the Graduate School page) directing you to send in four (4) recommendations. These are general instructions that apply to all departments on campus since some departments do require four (4) recommendation letters. The Department of Geography only requires three (3) recommendation letters.

5) Upload One Unofficial Transcript

All applicants must submit one “unofficial” copy of  the transcript for each school attended. A minimum of 2.75 GPA on a 4.0 system is required by the Graduate School for regular admission. Equivalent standing, e.g., an upper second-class degree in the British system, is required of foreign students. The Department minimum GPA is 3.0.

Graduate School Instructions: For review and decision purposes you are required to upload an unofficial copy of your transcript(s) in the online application. We require one copy of the scanned transcript from each undergraduate and graduate institution that you attended. This includes community colleges, summer sessions, and extension programs. While credits from one institution may appear on the transcript of a second institution, unofficial transcripts must be submitted from each institution, regardless of the length of attendance, and whether or not courses were completed. Failure to list and submit transcripts from all institutions previously attended is considered to be a violation of academic ethics and may result in the cancellation of your admission or dismissal from the university.

Official transcripts are only required after recommendation for admission. 

Instructions for Uploading Unofficial Transcripts to Your Application


A TOEFL or IELTS test is REQUIRED by the University for all international applicants and until the University has this proof of English proficiency, it will not be possible to issue the necessary immigration documents. The minimum required TOEFL score for an internet based test is 75. IELTS scores should be 6.0 or better. Request that the testing agency submit your scores directly to the Office of Admissions. The CU Boulder college code for TOEFL is 4841.

Applicants who satisfy specific criteria - for example, if English is your native language - are not reqired to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. For additional information on the English proficiency requirement, please visit the University of Colorado Admissions website.

No application will be considered complete without all of the above-listed materials.  December 1 is your deadline to submit your application and the deadline for receipt of all application materials for Fall admissions.

Inform us if your address changes

We use email whenever possible to communicate with applicants, so it is vital for the Geography department to have your current email address. It is also important that we have your most current mailing address too. It is the applicant’s responsibility to update your on-line application with any address and also email the department with address changes. Please keep us informed of changes so we can reach you if needed.