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Programs : Doctoral : Admissions

The application process consists of three (3) steps:

  1. University online application. Deadline: December 15.
  2. Enrollment Services Required Materials received by Graduate Admissions.
    Deadline: January 12.
  3. Department of Geography Required Application and Materials submitted to the Graduate Program Application Portal.
    Deadline: January 12.

Application Requirements

  1. University Online Application.

    All applicants to the program must first fill out an online application on CSU Mentor and pay the required fee by December 15. A SDSU RED ID Number will then be assigned which allows tracking of application status on-line.

  2. Office of Graduate Admissions Requirements – Official test scores and transcripts must be received by January 12.
    1. Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.
    2. GRE (and if applicable, TOEFL) test scores sent directly from ETS.
      (Institution Code: 4682)
      Send to:
      Enrollment Services
      Graduate Admissions Document Processing Unit
      San Diego State University
      San Diego, CA 92182-7416
  3. Geography Program Application – Must be received by January 12.

    Complete the program application at

    Geography Program Application requires the following items:

    • Copies of transcripts from all colleges and universities attended (these do not need to be sent directly from the colleges - photocopies are acceptable)
    • Copies of GRE (and if applicable, TOEFL) test scores. Photocopies are acceptable.
    • A statement of your research interests and professional goals. You should indicate links between your research interests and those of faculty members within the department as well as with other research in the field, where appropriate. You should also provide the name(s) of at least one (and up to three) SDSU Geography faculty members who would be suitable program advisors. You are encouraged to contact potential faculty advisors in advance of application to discuss your research interests and potential fit with their areas of expertise.
    • A current resume or vitae
    • Three letters of recommendation – Applicant must provide names and email addresses for recommenders. Recommenders will be invited to complete the recommendation electronically

Please note: Department applications are electronic and may require you to scan, upload, and/or electronically attach application materials. All required forms will be provided within the electronic application. Please email any additional inquires regarding the application process to

Admission Requirements to the Ph.D. Program in Geography

Applicants for admission to the doctoral program must meet the general requirements for admission to both universities. There are no inflexible requirements for entrance to graduate study in the program, but a strong background in geography or a related field is essential. A master‘s degree is normally a prerequisite, but in unusual circumstances highly qualified candidates can be admitted without the master‘s. Admission requires acceptance by the respective graduate deans and by both departments. Those admitted to the program from non-geography majors may be required to take additional courses during their first year to remove deficiencies in their background. All students entering the program should have completed a lower and upper division statistics course and, as appropriate, mathematics and computer science courses for the specialty chosen. There is no formal foreign language requirement. However, students conducting research in non-English speaking countries may be required to develop appropriate language skills through formal coursework.

Admission Standards

Application Review Process

Applications will be reviewed by the faculties of both departments. In addition to the above mentioned criteria, faculties will consider how the candidate‘s interests coincide with those of the program and with faculty expertise. Before an applicant is admitted to the program, at least one faculty member from each department must indicate an interest in working with the candidate. Normally, applicants are notified about admissions and funding decisions well before the April 15th letter of intent day.

For additional inquiries contact Dr. Fernando Bosco at or write to:
Doctoral Program Advisor
Department of Geography
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA 92182-4493

Phone: 619 594-7187
FAX: 619 594-4938

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The statements found on this page/site are for informational purposes only. While every effort is made to ensure that this information is up to date and accurate, official information can be found in the university publications.