Doctoral Admissions

The Department of Geography at San Diego State has quite a large program. The JDP’s average enrollment for an academic year is 25 doctoral students; the incoming class averages 5 new doctoral students each year. In addition, the department enrolls about 50 Masters’ students and roughly 100 undergraduates.

Students seeking entry into the Geography JDP should be highly motivated individuals who seek the special combination of opportunities available through both departments. The joint character of our program offers many advantages, but also creates some logistical adjustments as students must spend one year of the program in residence at UCSB.

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, SDSU and UCSB. Admission also requires acceptance by the respective graduate deans and by both departments. Applicants should have a strong background in geography or a related field. A master‘s degree is normally a prerequisite for admission. 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

  • An undergraduate grade point average of 3.25 or higher for the last 60 semester units taken (90 quarter units), and/or a graduate grade point average of 3.50 or higher is required
  • Foreign students whose preparatory education was not in English should receive a minimum Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 600 paper-based and 100 internet-based. For students taking the IELTS, a minimum score of 7 is required.
  • While typically the GRE general test has been required, there is no GRE score required in this year application cycle (2020/21)

Application Review Process

Applications will be reviewed by the faculties of both departments. In addition to the criteria mentioned above, 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. Piotr Jankowski Send email or write to:

Doctoral Program Adviser
Department of Geography
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA 92182-4493
Phone: 619 594-0640