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Students wishing to enter the Ph.D. or the M.S. programs in Geography and Environmental Systems (GES) are encouraged to identify one or two prospective faculty mentors if they are looking to do a Ph.D. or a thesis-based M.S. and contact them to discuss research opportunities in advance of submitting the application.

Students do not need to have majored in Geography or Environmental Science in order to apply to our program. The admissions committee will take previous background into account when recommending any courses that may need to be taken either before starting the program or in the first year of the program.

Applications must meet the minimum standards for admission to the University of Maryland Graduate School, Baltimore. Details of the admissions process can found at the UMBC Graduate School.

Candidates for admission must have earned a bachelor’s degree at an accredited U.S. university or an equivalent degree from a comparable foreign institution, with a minimum GPA of 3.0 overall and 3.3 for the major. All applicants must submit scores for the Graduate Record Examination (Aptitude Test). Scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) must be submitted by applicants whose native language is not English and who do not have a degree from a U.S. postsecondary institution.

Decisions on admission are made by the Department’s Graduate Admissions Committee and are based on the applicant’s transcripts, letters of recommendation, the personal statement of goals and objectives, and GRE scores. All original application documents must be sent as a package directly to the UMBC Graduate School. NOTE: International students must submit their materials earlier than the Department’s deadline of Feb 1. Please see the UMBC Graduate School website for more information.

Financial Assistance

A limited number of graduate assistantships are available through the department and will be awarded on a competitive basis. Externally funded research conducted by the program’s faculty also provides some opportunities for graduate students to be employed on research projects. Most assistantships will be awarded to students who are seeking the Ph.D. degree. Funding decisions will be made separately from admissions decisions and applicants will generally be informed about both admissions and availability of departmental support in the same letter.

In addition to sources controlled by the department, other potential funding opportunities may be found by consulting the links provided below. Some of these will require department and/or university sponsorship after a student has already been admitted to or enrolled in a graduate program; read the details of the individual program and consult with your prospective faculty mentor or mentors to explore these options further.

Click Here to see a list of possible funding sources.