​​​​The Fall 2024 Master's/PhD application deadline has passed (15 December 2023).

Our Professional Science Master's and Online CyberGIS Master's programs have rolling deadlines. Please visit their pages for more information.


  • No application fee waivers for international applicants.

  • No Spring admissions for our research-based MA/MS/PhD.

  • GRE scores are no longer required or considered when evaluating applicants to our graduate degree programs.

Applications to all programs must be submitted electronically via the University of Illinois Graduate College portal. The non-refundable application fee is $70 for U.S. citizens/permanent residents and $90 for international applicants. Specific domestic applicants may qualify for application fee waivers. More info at Graduate College admissions.

Required Application Materials
for on-campus, research-based degree programs

  • Academic Statement of purpose:
    • How has your academic background, including any training, research, or other academic experiences, prepared you for graduate study?
    • What are your intellectual interests and what scholarly questions are you interested in exploring in graduate study?
    • How will our program help you achieve your intellectual and professional goals?
    • Are there any specific Geography & GIS faculty member(s) whose research interests align with your own that you would like to work with?
      • Though not required, we do encourage applicants to contact faculty members directly to share their research interest and inquire about funding opportunities before submitting an application.
  • Personal Statement (max. 250 words each)
    • Please describe any experiences and/or challenges that may have shaped your intellectual and personal development.

    • Provide insight into your potential to contribute to a community of inclusion, belonging, and respect in which scholars with diverse perspectives, abilities, and experiences can learn and collaborate productively and positively.
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation
    Your recommenders should submit their letters electronically through the Graduate College online application system. If recommenders are unable to receive the Slate-generated email (or reminder email) with letter submission link, they can email the letter directly to our Graduate Program Contact Matt Cohn (, who can then upload their letter to your application.
  • Transcript(s) and certification of degree(s)
    Uploaded documents must include your name and the institution name. Include a copy of the transcript legend or university key (back page in most cases) for each institution. Do not mail transcripts or degree certificates to the department.
  • Additional Requirements for International Applicants:
    • English Language test scores
      TOEFL or IELTS scores are required of applicants whose native language is not English, regardless of U.S. citizenship. The Graduate College does allow exemptions for applicants with previous degrees or work experience in the U.S.; or those from a list of specific countries. Please visit the above link for details.
    • International and/or non-native English speaking U.S. residents must meet Graduate College requirements for International Teaching Assistants before the department can offer a teaching assistant (TA) position.
    • Please review the UIUC admission requirements for your home country on the Graduate College website.

Funding for Research-based Master's and PhD students

Submitting an application for admission by the required deadline places you in the candidate pool for departmental funding consideration, in the form of teaching and research assistantships and fellowships. There is no separate application for TA / RA positions.

Highly qualified applicants, especially those from traditionally underrepresented groups, may be nominated for fellowships administered by Geography & GIS and the University of Illinois Graduate College. Assistantships and fellowships and their accompanying tuition waivers provide graduate students with financial resources that help defray the expenses associated with completing their degrees. Funding/admission offers are the same for domestic and international applicants.

Please see the Office of the Registrar website for tuition and fee details.

Our department is committed to encouraging a diverse and supportive environment for every student who pursues a degree in geography. Students from underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply.

Applicants who are recommended for admissions will need to request a copy of their final transcript showing completion of all courses and degree awarded to be sent from their previous institution(s) directly to the Graduate College (do not send transcripts to our department).

After our department sends an admission offer, applicants are referred to the Graduate College for a final check of credentials and academic/financial eligibility. Please review the Graduate College Application Checklist. All admission decisions and requests for further information/documents will be communicated via email to the email address provided in your application.

International applicants may need to submit a Declaration and Certification of Finances to be eligible for visa documents (I-20 or DS-2019) if the value of their tuition waiver and assistantship do not meet the minimum financial requirements set by the Graduate College.

Professional Science Master's in GIS students are not eligible for tuition-waiver generating research/teaching assistantships or fellowships, but are eligible for graduate hourly employment when fulfilling the program's internship requirement.


Additional Questions?

Graduate Program Administrator: Matt Cohn
Director of Graduate Studies (MA, MS, PhD): Dr. Brian Jefferson
Professional Science Master's (PSM in GIS) Advisor: Dr. Michael Minn
Online Master's in CyberGIS & Geospatial Data Science: Dr. Anand Padmanabhan