Graduate Application Overview

Thank you for your interest in applying to one of our graduate degree programs in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences. We look forward to reviewing your completed application during the review cycle for the semester you seek admission.

We do not prescreen application materials to assess whether an applicant will be admitted, so there is no need to email us materials unless we ask for them. All materials must be uploaded into the application system.

Applications are reviewed holistically. The department is looking for applicants with clear research goals (for thesis and dissertation option applicants) and clear career goals for non-thesis-based applicants. The applicant must also reach out to a faculty member whose research best aligns with their goals. The Admissions Committee discusses all complete applications at one time, and the faculty member the applicant has connected with will present the applicant to the committee, so the connection is critical for all applicants.

Be sure to answer ALL questions on the application BEFORE clicking submit. Once you submit your application, you cannot go back to edit your responses or change the requested admission semester. If you are unsure of your answers, you can “save” your application and then go back and edit it. Do not submit if you cannot select the semester you wish to apply to.

The application system for admission during the fall and spring of the following year opens on August 1 annually (i.e. application for fall 2024 opens August 1, 2023, application for spring 2025 opens August 1, 2023).

We do not consider applications for summer semester.

Application Deadlines

Fall Semester Application Deadlines

  • December 10. Deadline for application submission and fee payment (pending submission of additional application materials).
  • December 31. Deadline for receipt of completed application with ALL required materials uploaded for those seeking program funding.
  • February 1. Deadline for receipt of completed application with ALL required materials for those with external or self-funding.

Spring Semester Application Deadline

  • October 1. Deadline for receipt of completed application, application fee payment, and ALL materials uploaded.

Note: Spring Semester applicants are not likely to receive funding support from the program.

Application Fees

In order to be reviewed for admission, the application fee MUST be paid. If you expect someone else to pay your application fee, they must do so before the application deadline.

Application Type

Application Fees

Graduate Domestic


Graduate International


Geography majors:

  • Master of Science (Thesis-based and non-thesis M.S.) = Geography (Masters)
  • Doctor of Social Science (Ph.D.) = Geography (Doctoral)

Additional Resources

If after reviewing the Application Instructions linked below, you still have questions, contact the Academic Program Coordinator. You can also review our program requirements by exploring our most recent Graduate Handbook.

For more information, please contact:

Joni Burns (she, her, Ms.)
Academic Program Coordinator
Geography Building
673 Auditorium Road, Room 116
East Lansing, MI 48824

Phone: 517-355-4650
Fax: 517-432-1671