Apply to the School

SGD has a number of graduate programs.  Links to instructions for specific master’s and graduate certificate programs are directly below, while directions for the M.A. or Ph.D. in Geography are described in detail below this list of links

Apply to the MDP program

Apply to the MS-GIST program

Apply to the GIS Graduate Certificate program

Apply to the Water Policy Graduate Certificate program



The deadline for fall admission is January 5 for both domestic and international applicants. Please note that the SGD deadline supersedes Graduate College deadlines and that there are no spring semester admissions to SGD.  A background in geography or related fields in the natural and social sciences is strongly recommended for the M.A. and Ph.D. programs.  Students are selected on the basis of:

1. Academic background and performance (generally a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0).

2. Professional experience.

3. GRE General Test scores (no required minimum but scores should be above average).

4. Personal statement of intent.

5. Letters of recommendation. (2 letters are required but 3 are recommended)

6. TOEFL (for international students). Either a score of 550 [PB], 79 [IBT], or IELTS [composite score of 7, no subject area below a 6]. To be considered as a TA, a citizen of a non-English-speaking country must demonstrate proficiency in spoken English via examination. This requires a score of at least 26 on the speaking section of the IBT TOEFL.

NOTE: A master's degree is required for admission to Ph.D. program (applicants without master's degrees who are interested in the Ph.D. need to initially apply for the master's degree).

Graduate Progam Questions
Contact Dr. Carl Bauer
ENR2 Building, Room S525
(520) 621-1917

Graduate Application and Curriculum Questions
Contact Elizabeth S. Cordova
ENR2 Building, Room S433
(520) 621-7486


Please make sure to read the information on the Prospective Students page, then complete the UA Graduate College online application.

The application process will require uploading, selecting, or indicating the following:

  1. Official photocopies of your GRE scores*
  2. Official photocopies of your TOEFL scores** (international students only)
  3. Official photocopies of transcripts from ALL universities and colleges attended
  4. Statement of Intent (no more than 3 pages single-spaced)
  5. Top 5 areas of interest within Geography (from a dropdown menu)
  6. Additional interests (fill in, optional)
  7. Region(s) of interest
  8. Faculty members with which you have an interest in working

The online application process will provide instructions for your referees to upload their letters of reference.

All test scores must be sent from ETS.

The GRE and TOEFL Institution Code for the University of Arizona is 4832.

*There is no minimum GRE score required, but scores should be above average.

**The minimum TOEFL score is 550 [PB], 79 [IBT], or IELTS [composite score of 7, no subject area below 6] (requirements


Description of Statement of Intent

The main goal of the graduate admissions process is to select excellent and promising students whose interests and abilities are a good fit with the School’s faculty.  The admissions committee considers a range of information about applicants including college transcripts and GPA, GRE scores, and prior life and work experience.  Letters of recommendation and each applicant’s statement of intent are especially important.

Accordingly, applicants are urged to be as clear and detailed as possible when preparing a statement of intent. Even for those at the beginning of their graduate school career and still exploring possibilities, the letter should indicate how the decision to attend (or continue) graduate school was arrived at (and here pertinent aspects of an individual biography are relevant), goals while in the program, and why the applicant finds UA and SGD particularly appropriate as a place for study. To the extent that applicants can already identify particular faculty members with whom they would like to work, or who share mutual research interests, applicants should indicate these potential relationships in their letter. The SGD website can be helpful in this regard, but personal email and telephone conversations can be valuable to clarify and define shared interests. For applicants with inter- or multi-disciplinary interests, demonstrating a familiarity with other appropriate units and faculty on the UA campus can also be an important part of the rationale for studying here, and should be included in the statement of intent.

Finally, because the statement of intent is used as an indicator of written communication skills and preparation to undertake graduate study, take care in composing it. The Admission Committee is not looking for any particular style, but applicants should strive to make their letter distinctive and interesting, as well as informative.

Still have questions?

For questions about the application process, contact the Program Coordinator Elizabeth S. Cordova .

For additional information about the graduate program, see the information for prospective students or Contact the Director of Graduate Studies Carl Bauer.