PhD in Geography

PhD in Geography is an internationally-respected program designed to provide students with the methodological skills and theoretical perspectives necessary for undertaking independent, analytical research. Faculty and students collaborate to investigate critical issues dealing with society, geospatial inquiry, and the physical environment.

Admissions Deadlines

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Applicants from Ghana and Nigeria are now required to complete the WES evaluation for Fall 2023 and forward; WES will provide a report within 7 business days. For admitted students, the Graduate School will issue a Foundation scholarship in the amount of the WES evaluation to students who enroll and are in good academic standing after their first term.  For more information on WES, you can visit:

Fall 2023 – Admissions is now closed.
Spring 2024 – Deadline to apply is October 1.
Fall 2024 – Opens November 1. For priority consideration submit your application by January 19.  Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the deadline of March 1.March 17.

Deadline to submit a GRE Waiver for Spring 2024: September 2

Deadline to submit a GRE Waiver for Fall 2024:
December 15 – for students applying prior to the January 20 priority deadline.
February 16 – for students applying prior to the March 1 deadline. 

Program Requirements

Please click here for program requirements. 

International Admissions

We welcome students from all over the world to join our program!  Please check out the International Admissions page to learn more about applying to FSU as an International student.  

Connecting with Faculty

Students are strongly encouraged to identify and make contact with 1-2 prospective faculty members that would serve as supervisors for the duration of their graduate program. A good research fit between advisor and advisee is the cornerstone of a successful graduate experience, so communications between prospective students and advisors should be initiated before the application deadline. Ph.D. students are unlikely to be admitted if a faculty member does not agree to serve as their advisor. 
– For an overview of Faculty expertise click here.
– For research interest and contact information please click here.
   *Click on each Faculty member’s name for more information.


Full financial support is available for qualified students. Funding is approximately $18,000 per year (fall and spring) plus a 9 hours tuition waiver (with a possibility of summer teaching for an additional $2,500). Students are liable for FSU fees. Funding for students with a master’s degree is for 4 years, and 5 years for students without a master’s degree. Funding is conditional on good scholastic standing and available Departmental resources.


Unofficial Transcripts:

  • Unofficial Transcripts are required for your application to be reviewed. Please submit ALL unofficial transcripts from each College and/or University attended. Unofficial Transcripts must be translated into English for review. *Applications will show as incomplete until official transcripts have been submitted. Applications with incomplete status due to missing official transcripts will still be reviewed. 

Official Transcripts:

  • Official Transcripts are required for Admitted students and must be submitted prior to beginning classes. 

International Transcript Requirements

  • All transcripts/academic records that are not in English must be accompanied by certified English translations. 
  • To be considered “certified,” documents should be true copies that are signed and dated by an educational official familiar with academic records. Any translated record should be literal and not an interpretive translation. Documents signed by a notary or other public official with no educational affiliation will not be accepted. 
  • If the transcript/academic record does not indicate the degree earned and date the degree was awarded, separate proof of degree is required.

GPA & GRE Scores

It is recommended to have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher and GRE scores of at least 144 (Quant) and 153 (Verbal).  Applications from students with lower GPA and GRE scores may also be accepted to the program. GRE Waivers are available for students meeting the criteria (See section below). 

GRE Waivers

Applicants can submit a GRE waiver if they meet at least one of the academic preparation criteria and at least one of the research aptitude criteria. 
I.  Academic Preparation

  1. Upper-division undergraduate GPA of 3.2 (on a 4.0 scale) from a nationally or internationally accredited college or university.
  2. Graduate GPA of 3.2 (on a 4.0 scale) from a nationally or internationally accredited college or university.

IIResearch Aptitude

  1. Undergraduate research-based thesis or independent research project conducted for at least one semester (e.g., FSU UROP program).
  2. Completed research-based graduate degree (i.e., resulting in a thesis or dissertation).
  3. Extensive (at least 4 months) relevant professional research experience related to the applicant’s graduate training goals.
  4. Co-authored research paper published in a peer-reviewed ISI journal.

Documentation: GPAs and Degrees must be documented by students providing unofficial transcripts. To document professional experience, students must provide a resume or CV and the name of at least one professional reference. Theses and publications can be documented with a copy of the manuscript or article.
If an applicant does not meet these criteria but has extenuating circumstances limiting their ability to take the GRE test (e.g., test not readily accessible where they live; medical issues or disability), particularly related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they should contact the Geography Graduate Program Director ( 
All applicants have the option to submit their GRE scores even if they meet these criteria.
GRE Waiver Request Form

Writing Sample

Please upload one sample of academic writing. Appropriate writing samples include:

  • a chapter from a master’s thesis or undergraduate honor’s thesis,
  • a first-author journal article (published, in review, or submitted),
  • or a course paper, ideally from a relevant subject area.

Statement of Purpose (1-2 pages, single-spaced)

Please describe the following:
1.) What research topic(s) would you be interested in exploring through graduate studies? What motivates your interest in exploring this topic and doing a graduate degree in Geography at FSU? Why is this topic important and deserving of scholarly attention? How does this program of study advance your career interests?
2.) What previous experiences have prepared you to succeed as a graduate student and conduct research in this area? You may reference relevant academic, professional, and personal experiences. If relevant, feel free to discuss obstacles or hardships that you had to overcome in order to succeed, and how you surmounted these obstacles.
3) How would the Geography graduate program at FSU support you to conduct this research? Which faculty members could supervise your research? What other faculty in the department have complementary expertise that could support the development of your thinking?

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation. The letters should be from faculty and/or employers familiar with your academic, research, or professional experience.  This may include but is not limited to education, work, volunteer, and/or internship experiences.

English Language Proficiency

Official English Language Proficiency results are required of all international applicants whose native language is not English. Minimum scores required for admission and additional information can be found here.  Applications are unable to be reviewed and will be canceled if the minimum requirements are not met.

  • Exemptions: This requirement can be waived for students who have completed a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree from a U.S. Institution or other Institution where English is the required language of Instruction. Exempt students who receive a teaching assistantship will still be required to take the Speak Exam, unless the citizenship is to a Native English Speaking country. 
  • SPEAK EXAM: The Geography Department requires ALL International students receiving appointments as Teaching Assistants to pass the SPEAK Exam. The Speak Exam evaluates the English-speaking ability of non-native speakers of English and is administered free of charge (First time) at Florida State University.