Applying to our Geography Graduate programs


Applications for Fall 2022 admission
are now open.

(no Spring admissions)
Deadline: December 15, 2021*

*This deadline does not apply to our Professional Science Master's program, which has a rolling application deadline.

All applications must be submitted electronically via the University of Illinois Graduate College portal. The non-refundable application fee is $70 for U.S. citizens and permanent residents and $90 for international applicants. Application fee waivers are only available in very specific cases for domestic applicants. 

International applicants are not eligible for a fee waiver.


Required Application Materials

  • Statement of purpose
    Please mention the graduate program/concentration that interests you the most, your career goals, and the name(s) of the Geography & GIS faculty member(s) with whom you would like to study. We encourage applicants to contact faculty members directly to share their research interest and inquire about funding opportunities before submitting an application.
  • 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 (for International applicants)
      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.
  • Not required: Graduate Records Exam (GRE) scores
    Effective for the Fall 2020 admission cycle, our Admissions Committee will NOT consider GRE scores when evaluating applicants to our graduate degree programs.

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. 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.

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.

Graduate student assistantships and their accompanying tuition waivers provide graduate students with financial resources that help defray the expenses associated with completing their graduate degrees. Please see the Office of the Registrar website for tuition and fees rates.

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.

The University of Illinois is an affirmative action/equal opportunity institution.

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