Geography Request for Information
Please let us know if you would like more information about our program by filling out this Request for Information form.

See our webpages for Domestic or International Applicants.

Early applications are strongly advised.

  • New for 2020 - GREs will NOT be required for applicants who submit their application by December 1, 2020, who intend to start their graduate program in Fall 2021. 
  • GRE – We generally look for 153 and above in Verbal Reasoning and 144 and above in Quantitative Reasoning.  The Analytical Writing score should be 3.0 and above.
  • TOEFL (test required by University for international applicants).  International applicants are required to have the following score -  Internet based test – 75 
  • GPA – No specific score – this is one of the components that is reviewed 

  • For both Domestic and International applicants: All application materials including letters of recommendation must be submitted by December 1st.
  • All applications are reviewed in January. If accepted, the student would start classes in the fall of the same year. 

No – many students do not have a formal undergraduate degree in Geography or a background in Geography. You can still apply. You do need to have the kind of knowledge presented in freshman level physical geography and freshman level human geography when you start your graduate classes. This knowledge will allow you to fully participate in the required classes, GEOG 5152, History and Theory of Geography and GEOG 5161, Research Design in Geography. You can get this knowledge any way you choose: Take a class, audit a class, read a textbook on your own, etc. This preparation should be done prior to starting your graduate classes.

No one part of the application is more important than the others. Each faculty member reviews the applications that identify him/her as a potential primary advisor. The admissions committee (3-4 faculty members) also read and review each application. Incomplete applications will delay the review process and may be considered inadequate for admission.

Absolutely! This is an essential part of the application process. Please feel free to contact faculty by phone, email, or schedule a visit to campus. We strongly recommend first contacting faculty be email. If you decide to visit campus, email the faculty member first and set up an appointment to be sure they will be available during your visit. Be sure to include in your email that you are interested in applying to the Geography Department and your area of research interest. You can ensure your compatibility with a the geography faculty by visiting the faculty profiles section of the department website.

You will be asked to designate up to 3 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 interestsSpeaking with faculty, will help them to your application.

Your application essay is a very important part of your application, particularly if you are coming from a different discipline or have been away from the academic world for a number of years. The essay allows you to: 1) articulate your reasons for pursuing graduate training in terms of your career plans; 2) highlight how your professional experience or academic background provides you with a foundation for graduate school in Geography; 3) demonstrate that you have considered carefully the CU geography program and are aware of how your research interests match faculty expertise; and 4) provide a sense of the areas or topics in which you are interested in pursuing training and research. If you are applying for the MA degree, it is expected that you can articulate the subfield(s) of geography in which you would like to work, while mentioning one or more topics within this subfield that you plan to make the focus of your work. If you are applying for the Ph.D., it is expected that you will articulate in broad terms one or more research topics that could serve as the focus of your program.

Please remember that graduate admissions essays are usually considerably different from their undergraduate counterparts. Graduate training is preparation for a career in academics, scientific research, business, or government service. Your essay needs to articulate how graduate study fits into your plans and that your previous education and experience provide evidence that you will succeed in in graduate school. 

Our PhD graduates are placed in a variety of fields both in and outside of academia. According to data collected by the CU-Boulder Graduate School, 43% of our PhD graduates are working as College or University educators. The remainder of our PhD graduates work in the following fields: Medical Science Research, Architectural and Engineering, Software Developers, Conservation Scientists, Editors, Management Positions in both for- and not-for-profit businesses, and Chief Executives. Skill sets include: Research, Teaching, Writing, GIS, Management, Public Speaking, and Data Analysis.

Apart from academic employment, our MA and Ph.D. graduates pursue careers in business, government, and pure and applied research. For information about careers and jobs in Geography see What can I do with a Geography degree?