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Programs : Doctoral : Admissions

Application Process for AY 2015-2016

The application process consists of three (3) steps:

  1. University on-line application. Deadline: December 15, 2014.
  2. Enrollment Services Required Materials received by Graduate Admissions.
    Deadline: January 12, 2015.
  3. Department of Geography Required Application and Materials received by Department.
    Deadline: January 12, 2015.

All applicants must submit applications and admissions materials separately to SDSU Enrollment Services and to the Geography Department.

IMPORTANT: The Department of Geography Application will be moving to an on-line system that will replace the current, paper-based one. We expect the on-line system to go live on October 1st, 2014. The instructions below (#3) correspond to the current paper system, but the same materials will be required for the online application. Applicants will upload materials rather than snail-mail them to the department. We will provide the link by October 1st, 2014.

Review procedures will begin mid-January, with admission notification beginning mid-March.

Application Requirements

  1. University admission application through CSU Mentor. Deadline: December 15, 2014.
  2. Enrollment services required materials: Submit the following documents to graduate admissions:
    • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
    • GRE (and if applicable, TOEFL) test scores sent directly from ETS
      (Institution Code: 4682)
    • The above materials must be received by January 12, 2015 and should be sent to:
      Enrollment Services
      Graduate Admissions Document Processing Unit
      San Diego State University
      San Diego, CA 92182-7416
  3. Geography Department Requirements
    • Geography department application
    • 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 geographic interests and professional goals, and the names of SDSU and UCSB Geography faculty who would be suitable program advisors
    • A current resume or vitae
    • Three letters of recommendation with a recommendation form in .pdf, .doc, or .docx format.
    • The above materials must be received by January 12, 2015 and should be sent to:
      Ph.D. Program Administrative Assistant
      Department of Geography
      San Diego State University
      San Diego, CA 92182-4493
      or emailed 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.