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Prospective Students

Tremendous opportunities exist for graduate students in the School of Geosciences at USF. We offer six distinct graduate degree programs and four certificate programs in three distinct disciplines, Geology, Geography, and Environmental Science & Policy (ESP).


Teaching and Research Assistantships are available for incoming Doctoral and Master's degree candidates (both in-state and out-of-state). These assistantships cover tuition and provide a stipend for students for the academic year (nine months) depending on student qualifications and the nature of support. Our students travel the world pursuing the highest levels of research, and we provide students with excellent facilities at USF for getting the job done. USF faculty are committed to helping our graduate students progress through the program rapidly so they can move on to successful careers in industry, government, and academia.

Take advantage of this great opportunity to study Geology, Geography, or ESP! Expand a link below for more information.


Admission Requirements for an MS or MA Degree

New graduate students can apply to either the MA in Geography or MS in Environmental Science & Policy programs. Students seeking admission into either program should have a Bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent from an approved college or university. Typically, applicants have degrees in geography, engineering, environmental science, public health, social sciences, or earth science. However, applicants with degrees in other disciplines are also encouraged to apply.

Admission Requirements for a PhD Degree

Incoming doctoral students are required to designate either Geography or Environmental Science & Policy as their area of emphasis (track) in their application for admission. Students seeking admission into either track should have a Master’s degree, or its equivalent, from an approved college or university. Once admitted, students are required to take a minimum of 60 hours prior to obtaining their doctoral Degree. It is possible, however, to enter directly into the PhD program without a Master’s Degree, on a case by case basis. Typically, applicants have degrees in geography, engineering, environmental science, public health, or earth science. However, applicants with degrees in other disciplines are also encouraged to apply. Those students admitted without a degree(s) in one of the disciplines listed above may be required to take selected undergraduate courses as determined by the faculty.

Grade Point Average (GPA), Graduate Record Exam (GRE), Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System IELTS

  • All incoming MA or MS students should have a minimum GPA of 3.0 (on a four point scale) for all academic work prior to admission.
  • All incoming PhD students should have a minimum GPA of 3.2 (on a four point scale) for all academic work prior to admission.
  • The submission of GRE scores is an unconditional requirement. The GRE must be taken and submitted within five years preceding your application.
  • International students are required to take the TOEFL exam (a minimum score of 79 on internet based test (iBT) or equivalent for other forms of the test is required), or the IELTS exam (a minimum score of 6.5 is requred).
  • Send transcripts, GRE scores, TOEFL and/or IELTS scores to the USF Graduate Admissions Office:
    • University of South Florida
    • Office of Admissions
    • 4202 East Fowler Avenue, SVC 1036
    • Tampa, FL 33620-6900
    • Phone: (813) 974-3350 
    • Fax: (813) 974-9689

Additional Submissions

  1. Letter of Intent: This letter should outline your specific academic interests and goals and should also clearly state: (a) your research interests and (b) which faculty member(s) you would like to work with.
  2. 3 Letters of Recommendation: Please arrange to have at least three letters of recommendation submitted prior to the application deadline. You should solicit letters of recommendation from people who are familiar with your academic/work history and performance. At least two letters must come from referees affiliated with an educational institution.
  3. Resume
  4. Writing Sample

Please submit your Letter of Intent, three Letters of Recommendation (an email link will be sent to your references), Resume, and Writing Sample via the USF online application system.

The Application Deadline for Fall semester is February 15

If you are applying for a GA position, please complete and submit a GA application. This form can be uploaded as a part of your online application or forwarded to the Graduate Program Director.

Please contact either the Graduate Director or Academic Program Specialist with any questions regarding the graduate programs in Geosciences:

Graduate Program Director:

Dr. Ruiliang Pu
Office: NES 213

Academic Program Specialist:

Davina St. Catherine
Office: NES 206
Phone: 813-974-9854

For additional information visit the following USF websites:


The geology program's limited funding is available to Fall semester PhD applicants on a competitive basis. Every fall semester applicant is considered for funding.

Department funding is not typically available for Spring semester applicants. Applications will only be accepted if:

  • You are applying to the Professional Science Master's program
  • You will be self-funded throughout your program of study
  • You have made prior arrangements with a geoscience professor who has funds available for your support

Please mention in your Statement of Purpose if any of the above applies to you.

The deadline for Spring admission is October 15.

Degrees offered:

  1. PhD in Geology
  2. MS in Geology
  3. Professional Science Masters in Geology

Admission Requirements

  1. Students seeking admission to either graduate program in Geology should have a Bachelor's degree in Geology (or its equivalent) from a regionally accredited college or university.
  2. Applicants with four-year degrees in other disciplines are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Typically, successful applicants have sufficient background in the natural sciences to pursue graduate studies (e.g. a year of physics with lab, a year of chemistry with lab, a year of biology with lab and Calculus I).
  3. An MS is not a requirement for admission to the PhD program in Geology - interested students may apply to the PhD program with a four-year degree.
  4. All incoming MS or PhD students should have a minimum GPA of 3.0 (on a four point scale) for all academic work prior to admission.
  5. The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required. Successful applicants typically receive verbal and quantitative scores not lower than the 30th percentile.
  6. International applicants must demonstrate proficiency in English and should consult the International Student Services office regarding financial and Visa requirements. Please expand and read the Information for International Applicants at the bottom of the Application Procedures page.
  7. Consult USF's Graduate Admissions office for further details.

Applicants who wish to be considered for department funding (such as a Teaching or Research Assistant position) are strongly encouraged to contact any faculty member(s) who support their research interests.

Please note: typically, doctoral students are more likely to be receive departmental support than MS students.

To apply:

  1. Look for the specialty track that captures your interests most closely (see list below)
  2. Contact the faculty who are associated with your area of interest
  3. Check out the Geology Program's admission/application procedures.
  4. Complete a USF Admissions Application

If you have questions at any point during the process of applying to graduate studies in Geology at USF, please contact the Academic Program Specialist:

Specialty Tracks for Graduate Students in Geology

Graduate School is all about studying great research questions in Geology with in-depth and focused attention. You can assure an auspicious start to your graduate career at USF if you identify your niche in the following Specialty Tracks:


Check out all of the Geoscience research happening at USF.