Home / FAQs: Geography PhD and MA Programs

FAQs: Geography PhD and MA Programs

Overview of questions

  • Can I enter the Ph.D. program if I do not have a Masters degree?
  • Is there a minimum GRE score for admission to the PhD program?
  • Is there a minimum GRE score for admission to the MA program?
  • What is your GRE exam institutional code number?
  • I am taking the GRE exam later than the December 30 application deadline. Will my application be reviewed?
  • What additional exams are required for non-English speaking students for admission to the PhD and MA programs?
  • I have demonstrated English proficiency. Can the TOEFL or IELTS score requirement be waived?
  • Should I contact a faculty member before I apply?
  • What essays are required as part of the application?
  • Is there a deadline to apply?
  • How does funding work?
  • As an international student, what are my chances of full financial support?
  • Can I start the Ph.D. degree in the Spring semester?
  • Can I complete the PhD degree as a part-time student? Are sufficient night classes available? Could I earn a PhD over several summers of study?
  • Do I need to earn a degree in geography to be admitted?

Can I enter the Ph.D. program if I do not have a Masters degree?

Yes. We encourage all prospective research students to apply for admission to the Ph.D. degree program. Moreover, it is highly unlikely that MA students will be awarded financial aid from ASU.

Is there a minimum GRE score for admission to the PhD program?

No, but competitive applicants have achieved the following scores or higher:

  • Fall 2016 Verbal & Quantitative combined 317, Writing 3.5
  • Fall 2017 Verbal & Quantitative combined 316, Writing 3.5

Is there a minimum GRE score for admission to the MA program?

No, but competitive applicants have achieved the following scores or higher:

  • Fall 2016 Verbal & Quantitative combined 312, Writing 3.5
  • Fall 2017 Verbal & Quantitative combined 311, Writing 3.5

What is your GRE exam institutional code number?

4007

I am taking the GRE exam later than the January 15 application deadline. Will my application be reviewed?

Only complete applications will be reviewed by the admissions committee. Applications will be reviewed when the GRE scores are received.

What additional exams are required for non-English speaking students for admission to the PhD and MA programs?

Students whose native language is not English should submit scores on either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum scores are:

  • TOEFL - 550 (PBT) or 80 (iBT)
  • IELTS - overall band score of 6.5 with no individual band below a 6.0

If you have additional questions related to English proficiency, please see the Graduate Admission English Proficiency page for more detailed information.

I have demonstrated English proficiency. Can the TOEFL or IELTS score requirement be waived?

You could qualify for an exemption from this requirement by one of the following two options:

  1. successfully complete the highest level of Global Launch with grades of B or better
  2. have attended a regionally accredited college/university in the United States and meet one of the following conditions:
    • Earned a bachelor’s degree or higher
    • Completed at least 12 semester hours of graduate coursework with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale or higher
    • Completed at least 90 semester hours of undergraduate coursework with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale or higher

Your application will not be processed without valid proof of English proficiency.

Please refer to the Graduate Admission English Proficiency page for more details.

Should I contact a faculty member before I apply?

Professors welcome e-mail from prospective students. They often take note of the prospective applicant's name and research interest and watch for the full application to be submitted for a full evaluation. A judiciously placed, carefully worded email can pave the way for your admission even if you don't get an immediate personal reply.

What essays are required as part of the application?

As part of the online application, applicants must submit responses to the following questions:

  1. What specialty in geography do you wish to pursue, and why?
  2. Describe the aspects of your education that will enable you to pursue this specialty.
  3. What additional training do you feel you can obtain at Arizona State University to realize your education and career goals?
  4. Please provide other information (for example: research experience or information which might be drawn from your resume) that you feel we should consider in your application for admission.

A generic statement, often sent to multiple universities, does not substitute for responses to these questions that address your reasons for applying to the ASU PhD program in geography

Is there a deadline to apply?

December 15 is the early application deadline.  Applications for the PhD Geography program that are completed by this date will be considered to receive funding to attend our annual Visit Day which we will host in late February, early March.

January 15 is the final deadline to submit your complete application. Applications received after January may be reviewed only if space is available in the program.

What do you mean by a “Complete Application”?

A complete application is an application which has been submitted to ASU and all the documents have been received.  To see a list of documents required click here for PhD’s or here for MA and then then the Apply tab.

How does funding work?

 We consider all applicants for multi-year guaranteed funding packages. This funding is competitive. Most offers are made in March. Funding for doctoral students typically consists of four or five year packages in the form of 20hr/week research or teaching assistantships that include full tuition remission and health insurance.

As an international student, what are my chances of full financial support?

 We consider all applicants for multi-year guaranteed funding packages.

Can I start the Ph.D. degree in the Spring semester?

 Our graduate programs are designed to start in the Fall semester. On rare occasions, we allow exceptional students to start their doctoral studies in the Spring semester. Students entering in the Spring semester are less likely to be offered financial aid from ASU.

Can I complete the PhD degree as a part-time student? Are sufficient night classes available?  Could I earn a PhD over several summers of study?

No. The PhD degree is a multi-year research intensive experience that requires full commitment by all students to their studies.

Do I need to earn a degree in geography to be admitted?

No. We often admit and fund students who have undergraduate (and graduate) degrees in disciplines other then geography.

For additional information

If the information on this page and the other Geography PhD and MA web pages does not answer your questions, please send a note to geoplan.gradprograms@asu.edu. Please include "PhD Geography" or "MA Geography" in the subject line of your e-mail message.