Applications materials for Fall 2014 will be available starting in October
We are glad that you have chosen to apply to our graduate program. You should find all the information you need for the application process on these pages here and through the University Admissions Office and Graduate School pages. Please review all information carefully. We assume you have reviewed all this information before you contact us with questions.
Deadline for Applications: To be considered for funding please have all application materials to us by January 30th. Applications are still accepted after this time but funding decisions will have been made and so the likelihood of funding decreases significantly. If you apply after April 15, your application will not be reviewed in a timely manner as the Admissions Committee does not meet during the summer. Final deadline for Fall applications: June 15 International students, July 15 domestic students. We only admit students for the Fall semester.
Applications to Graduate School at UF are processed both by the Admissions Office and the Department to which you are applying. The Office of Admissions and Graduate School have sets of requirements for admission. The Department of Geography has its own set of requirements for application materials. Geography has the right to require application materials in addition to those required by the University.
Department of Geography Graduate Application Instructions
What websites should I visit to obtain practical information on programs and to formally apply?
Graduate School: http://gradschool.rgp.ufl.edu
Graduate Admissions: http://gradschool.rgp.ufl.edu/students/application-and-admission.html
Geography Department: http://www.geog.ufl.edu
How do I apply?
Step 1. Navigate to the UF Graduate Admissions page http://gradschool.rgp.ufl.edu/students/application-and-admission.html and follow their instructions being sure to report test scores, etc.
Step 2. Upload there your Statement of Purpose (include information listed below), CV, application for funding, and request your recommendation letters to be sent electronically. Once complete, the Department of Geography will have access to the materials you have uploaded there. Important note: be sure to indicate Geography as your intended major program, and your specialization (e.g., climatology, economic geography, medical geography, remote sensing, etc.). Be sure to also send to the university your test scores (GRE for all students, TOEFL for international students).
Step 3. Email the Graduate Secretary for Geography (firstname.lastname@example.org) indicating that you have applied to the Geography Program, the degree you applied for, the faculty members you have contacted, and that you have paid the application fee. List the universities for which we will receive transcripts and the degree you pursued/completed at each. Attach to this email the following: Geography application checklist and the Departmental EAF.
Step 4. Have your official transcripts sent to BOTH the University and Geography. International students need to have them in their native language and English and will also need to provide separate certification that their degree has been awarded. Only proof of a bachelor's degree is required for admission. However, PhD applicants should send transcripts of their master's degree coursework even if it is in progress so that we can evaluate the coursework you have completed. PhD students will need to submit their FINAL master's transcript (after all masters coursework has been completed) to Geography by the end the first fall semester enrolled at UF. 30 hours of master's work will transfer towards the 90 credits required for the PhD degree.
What are the two mailing addresses for hard-copy materials (transcripts)?
Office of Admissions
201 Criser Hall
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611-4000
Dept. of Geography
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611-7315
Checklist for applying to the Geography department at UF.
When you are preparing your application to our graduate program please be sure that ALL of the following have been completed and submitted. Please copy and paste this checklist into a word processing program and attach it to your email to show us you have completed all necessary steps. Name this file with your lastname, first initial, and checklist (e.g., JonesSchecklist.docx)
UF ID #_______________________________
Applying to _________Masters, or ________ PhD (must already have a or be finishing a Masters degree to apply to the PhD program)
- Application to UF (online) completed and fee paid (please list the faculty member you'd most like to work with as the contact person)
- The Departmental Electronic Application Form (EAF). Fill it out and email it to us (email@example.com) (but not to the University Admissions Office). You should email this as soon as possible, but not until you have your GRE and TOEFL scores, which you must report to us on the EAF. (You will have to send official copies of test scores in addition to self-reporting on the EAF.) Please name your file with last name, first initial, and eaf (e.g., JonesSeaf.docx).
- Statement of purpose (SOP) completed and submitted online to the University. It should be no longer than 500 words to match university requirements and it should include:
- name(s) of faculty you'd like to work with and how your research interests align with their research interests
- subfield of specialization and regional interests
- publications you've authored with a description of your role in the project
- coursework you plan to complete in the Department
- how the work you completed for your previous degree has prepared you for the work you would undertake here
- your plans after obtaining your degree / career aspirations
- GRE’s taken and official copies of scores submitted to admissions office and Geography
- TOEFL taken and official copies of scores submitted to admissions office and Geography (international applicants only)
- Official copies of transcripts have been submitted to UF AND to the department (international students must submit copies in their native language and English as well as official documentation that confers their degree (separate from a statement on the transcript).
- 3 Letters of recommendation have been requested online through UF's online system (you should monitor these to be sure they have been completed by January 30. If not, send out a reminder at least 1 week in advance of the deadline!) We do not need paper copies.
- Application for fellowship or assistantship has been submitted online if you are requesting this type of aid
- Contact has been made with prospective advisors and they have encouraged you to apply (without a potential advisor in the department your application will NOT be considered so contact must be made, in advance, with potential faculty advisors in your areas of interest). Faculty member(s) contacted are: ________________________________________________________________________
Below you will find some additional information regarding frequently asked questions, addresses and available funding opportunities and how to apply for those. Good luck!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the timeline for the decision on my application?
The Admissions Committee meets approximately two weeks after January 30 to make initial rankings of applications for both acceptance and funding (TA and Graduate School Fellowships). Faculty then have two weeks to review applicant files and decide whether to accept applicants. At this point, accepted students are then forwarded to the Office of Admissions where GRE and TOEFL scores are checked, GPAs are calculated and checked, and the receipt of a bachelor's degree is verified. Acceptance letters can only be sent after BOTH the Department AND the admissions office accepts a student - we cannot provide an indication of acceptance until this time. So the earliest possible notification date will be March 1, but will be later if the Office of Admissions has difficulty verifying your transcripts or your Bachelor's degree.
What are the minimum requirements for admission?
The UNIVERSITY requires the following: confirmation of Bachelor's degree, 3.0 undergraduate GPA, GRE verbal score of 320 (old) or 140 (new).
International students also must submit their TOEFL score (if required). Minimum scores that qualify for admission are : IELTS: 6. MELAB: 77. TOEFL (Internet-Based): 80. TOEFL (Paper-Based): 550. Exempted countries: http://graduateschool.ufl.edu/admission/english-exemption-countries. Foreign transcripts must be sent in both the native language and English.
For purposes of evaluating English proficiency for non-US and Puerto Rican applicants, the University MAY exempt students if they submit transcripts showing at least one year of enrollment as a full-time student at a college or university in a country where English is official, within one year before applying to UF. Completion of the UF ELI program is also considered by the university for meeting English proficiency. HOWEVER, Geography REQUIRES test scores to be submitted regardless so that all applicants can be evaluated equally.
Can I be exempt from taking the GRE?
No. Geography requires that ALL applicants submit GRE scores whether international or domestic and regardless of where your previous education was attained or if you completed the UF ELI. Please plan to take this exam well in advance of the application deadline so that your scores can arrive in a timely manner. If you feel your scores are not representative of your abilities, we suggest that you take the exam again as most students improve on their second attempt.
Are there additional requirements for international students besides the TOEFL?
International students must acquire visas and present evidence of financial solvency.
If foreign students wish to be teaching assistants or qualify for the Graduate Student Fellowship, they must also pass the SPEAK test. According to the Graduate catalog: "To be eligible for graduate teaching assistantships, students must score at least 55 on the SPEAK Test or 28 on the Speaking Section of the Internet TOEFL to teach in the classroom, laboratory, or other instructional setting. Those who score 45 to 50 on the SPEAK Test, or 23 to 27 on the Speaking Section of the Internet TOEFL, may teach if they concurrently enroll in EAP 5836 to help their personal interaction and public speaking skills. Those who have scores below these minimums are not eligible to teach."
Do I need a Bachelor’s degree (BA or BSc) in Geography to be admitted?
No. A good percentage of our students come in with a B.A. or an M.A./ M.S. in some other discipline. An applicant from some other field who has very high GRE scores and who has written a convincing statement of intellectual purpose that fits in with our faculty interests is more likely to be admitted than an Geography major with low GREs and an unfocused statement of purpose.
How specific must I be about my research goals when applying?
Your admission is heavily dependent on what you tell as about your intellectual interests and objectives.
- You should have a good idea of who you will be interested in working with, although this may well change once you are in the program. You need to be sure that there are faculty in the department that share your research interests. We REQUIRE applicants to contact these faculty members prior to applying to the program and recommend that you maintain contact throughout the application process.
- You must at least know to which of our currently active subfields you wish to be admitted: Medical Geography, Human Geography (Social Geography, Economic Geography), Natural Resources and Environment, Physical Geography (Climatology, Geomorphology, Hydrology), Remote Sensing and Land Cover Change, GIS. You should indicate this in your application, which will then be judged by the faculty of that subfield.
- You should also have a good idea of the continent and country in which you wish to do your research, although this may change as you realize the full depth of potential locations available within the program. Our regional specialties currently include the Americas, Africa, and Asia.
- You should also give us an idea of some concrete research questions you are interested in pursuing. If you appear vague about these research goals in your application, you may not be admitted.
If I have an Masters in another field, will I still have to get a Geography Masters?
Usually not. Both UF and the Geography Department are flexible in accepting graduate credits from other institutions and other fields of study. If your Masters is deemed by your advisory committee relevant for your PhD studies in Geography, you can get 30 credits of that work transferred to UF so long as that coursework was completed within the past 7 years.
If I do not have a Masters degree, can I enter the PhD program without obtaining one?
No. You must have completed a masters degree before you can begin our PhD program. It is okay to apply to our PhD program while you are in your last year of a masters program so that you will graduate with your masters degree in the spring or summer and begin a PhD degree with us in the fall. Your masters degree does not have to be in Geography. Please use your SOP to tell us why Geography is the best choice for your PhD studies if your previous coursework is primarily from another field.
What determines whether I get admitted?
The department makes the ultimate decision. Assuming that you have a decent undergraduate GPA (above 3.3), there are four steps you can take to enhance the likelihood of getting admitted to our department.
- Get good GREs. The department looks more favorable on applicants with a GRE of 1100+ (old scale) and 300+ (new scale). If you are an international applicant whose native language is not English, we need to see satisfactory TOEFL scores - you cannot be admitted without meeting the minimum scores on this test. If your native language is English and you get substandard GREs, the University may not admit you.
- Write a focused Statement of Purpose. Tell us those aspects of your background that are relevant to a graduate career in Geography and specifically, tell us what research questions interest you, what background you have in those interests, and where you would like to do your research. The SOP is also a vehicle for you to demonstrate your articulate writing skills. Spelling and grammatical mistakes can be the kiss of death. But in your elegance, focus on your specific research interests, not about your generic fascination with the environment, the plight of the oppressed, the beauty of the world or society, or the glories of Geography. Our faculty are most interested in what you hope to do as a graduate student. You must include potential faculty advisor's names in your SOP.
- Relate your interests to the interests of our faculty. Go to the faculty link on the department web page and learn about the research interests of our faculty. No matter how high your GREs or how brilliant your statement of purpose, you will not be admitted unless at least one faculty member agrees to be the chair of your committee at least preliminarily, until you officially choose an actual advisor. Faculty look for students whose research interests match their own. While there is a general committee that votes to “admit” or “not admit”, they do so based on faculty comments from the declared area of specialty, and potential advisor. Applicants whose interests are alien to those of the faculty will not “land” an advisor in the admissions process and will not be admitted.
- Contact faculty before applying. You are required to contact faculty with whom you are interested in working to ascertain whether your research interests are compatible and whether they will be taking on new students. However, do not mistake their encouragement of your application as a signal that you will definitely be accepted.
If I send you my materials in advance, can you tell me if I am likely to be admitted and/or receive financial aid before I officially apply?
No. You must officially apply to the University and department before the admissions committee can review your materials and make a judgment on your application. Please do not ask us to give you an unofficial indication of admission before you actually apply. Admission is through a committee vote and all committee members must be able to read through all application materials before arriving at a consensus. In addition, you must also pass the screening of your credentials by the University's Admissions Office.
Do I have to send a curriculum vitae?
It is not required. Faculty learn about you from your statement of purpose. If you have a CV and wish to send it, by all means upload it when you are applying through the University website.
I have some pieces of writing that I am proud of. Can I send them?
Yes. But please try to keep them reasonably concise. We receive many applications and most faculty have little time for lengthy reading.
How many applicants are there per year, and what percentage gets accepted?
Generally we receive over 60 applications. About 35% are admitted. About 70% of those enroll.
What is the average GRE of those that applied and those that were admitted?
Last year, the average GRE of students that applied to our program under the old scale was: 500 verbal and 730 quantitative. Under the new scale, scores averaged 152 V and 157 Q. Scores in the 1100’s (old scale) or 300+ (new scale) may secure admission (if the statement of purpose interests faculty) but not a fellowship. Last year, scores for admitted students averaged 530 V/760 Q under the old scale, and 155 V/160 Q for the new scale.
What types of financial aid are available?
- Graduate Student Fellowships (GSF). The most attractive forms of financial aid are Graduate Student Fellowships. These awards can only be offered to incoming PhD students. They pay a stipend ($20,000 - $25,000 per year for 4 years) with a tuition waiver. They are controlled by the University, not the Department. For us to propose you for one of these fellowships, you would have to have GREs over 1350 (old scale) or 320 (new scale). The College may authorize us to award GSF funds as top-ups for an incoming PhD student who has accepted a teaching or research assistantship. These additional funds may range $3,000 - $5,000 per year for 4 years.
- Title VI Foreign Language Fellowships. If you are preparing for research in Brazil or Haiti, there are a small number of fellowships available for the study of Portuguese and Haitian Creole. These are handled through the Center for Latin American Studies. http://www.latam.ufl.edu. In addition FLAS awards are also available for African study. To qualify, your statement of purpose must show a genuine commitment to research in one of these languages. (details: http://web.africa.ufl.edu/academic/fellowship.html). European Studies also offers FLAS funding for Catalan, Czech, Hungarian, Italian, modern Greek, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish http://www.ces.ufl.edu/FLAS/index.shtml
- McKnight Doctoral Fellowships. There are fellowships earmarked for African-American applicants. The URL is http://www.fefonline.org/mdfapply/ . Please note that you also need to apply to UF and our department as well as applying to this program.
- Grinter supplements. These are funds that the Department can use to supplement our base assistantship stipend, usually $2,000 - $4,000 per year for 3 years. These funds do not carry a tuition waiver and must be awarded concurrently with an assistantship. Students whose GREs are decent (e.g. in the 1200’s or low 1300’s) but not competitive for the GSF may get a Grinter Supplement.
- Research Assistantships. Some faculty members have research grants which permit them to hire students as research assistants, who will receive tuition waivers along with their stipend. Faculty with such grants will generally allocate them to their own students. You must contact individual faculty members to inquire about the possibility of funding through this avenue - the Graduate Coordinator and Secretary do not maintain a list of faculty with funding. Duration and stipend amounts for RA positions vary by project.
- Teaching Assistantships. The most frequent form of financial aid is the Teaching Assistantship. The recipient works 20 hours a week in exchange for a stipend and a tuition waiver. Because we have about 50 graduate students enrolled in any semester and about 10 assistantships per semester available, these are highly competitive. Generally the stipend is $15,000 total for the Fall and Spring Semester (with a fee waiver for 9 credit hours each semester), with some additional summer funding available (usually for either Summer A or Summer B, around $2000, plus a 6 credit hour fee waiver). Incoming PhD students receiving TA funding will be nominated for GSF top-ups and Grinter Supplements when possible so that your 9-month salary COULD be as high as $20,000.
- Please note - Geography does not have any separate tuition waivers that we can award. All tuition waivers accompany fellowships and assistantships. Please do not ask us for "just" a tuition waiver!
- All students (those that are applying as well as those that are continuing) are encouraged to perform their own thorough search for external funding (e.g., National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation, NASA Fellowships, etc.), even if they currently receive funding from UF. It is possible that if you can provide funding for 2 or 3 years of your studies with us, we may be able to provide funding for one or two additional years.
- The Office of Graduate Minority Programs has several funding opportunities for both incoming AND continuing graduate students. http://graduateschool.ufl.edu/finances-and-funding/ogmp-funding
- Consult UF's Financial Aid office website for Graduate Students: http://www.sfa.ufl.edu/welcome/graduate/
- Current Fellowships Available for Applications: Water Institute: http://waterinstitute.ufl.edu/WIGF/
How do I apply for these types of financial aid?
That depends on the category of aid.
- You yourself apply directly to the Title VI Foreign Language Fellowships and McKnight Doctoral Fellowships at the same time that you apply to the University and the Department. Check out the links given above.
- For University fellowships and Grinter supplements you fill out the Admissions Office request for financial aid, and the department will decide, largely on the basis of your GREs, whether to put you up to compete in the pool of applicants for these grants.
- Teaching assistantships are assigned on a competitive basis based on the existing student body and the incoming students. Masters level students may only teach lab sections (such as GEO2200L: Physical Geography). PhD students may teach lab or lecture sessions and thus have more opportunities for funding.
- Faculty with available research assistantships decide on these. This is another reason to be communicating with faculty in your area of research as it may provide additional funding opportunities for you.
Are there special forms of financial aid for international students?
Geography does not have funds specifically earmarked for international students.
My country will provide me with a living stipend - can your department grant me a tuition waiver only?
No - the department cannot provide waivers for tuition only. If you are offered a fellowship or assistantship, these awards come with tuition waivers, health insurance, and a stipend. If you are not awarded a fellowship or assistantship, you will not receive a tuition waiver from Geography.
How many incoming students receive financial assistance?
This year three quarters of our matriculating students received some form of assistance. Many students that do not receive an initial offer of funding have been funded as research or teaching assistants once they arrive at UF or in later semesters. If you are accepted but do not receive funding, you have the option of deferring your matriculation for up to 1 year so that you may continue your search for funding.
How many students do you anticipate being able to fund this year?
will not know the answer to this question until late January/early
February as the college often does not notify us of awards such as the
Graduate Student Fellowship and Grinter Awards until this time. When
the admissions committee meets in February to review applicants, we
rank them in terms of priority for funding. We may receive notification
that we can offer additional funding after February and in this case we
will refer to our initial ranking from the February meeting. This is
why it is imperative that you submit your application materials before
January 30 - otherwise, you will not be placed on our ranked list.
If you have additional questions not covered here, please contact the Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Corene Matyas firstname.lastname@example.org or the graduate secretary Ms. Desiree Price email@example.com. We are expanding this FAQ document and your questions may give us additional materials to include. Thank you for your interest in our department.