How to Apply to OSU's
Graduate Program in Geography or Atmospheric Sciences (MA/MS or PhD)
Points of Pride & Placement
The Geography Graduate Program is internationally recognized. Some of our recent graduates are now assistant professors at Texas A&M, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Carleton University and California State University-Long Beach. Other PhD graduates have gone on to post-doctoral positions or visiting professorships at Dartmouth University, the University of Illinois, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), and elsewhere. While the majority of our Ph.D graduates remain in academia, others work in the private sector or in government (e.g., at Nationwide Insurance, the Ohio EPA, the U.S. Census Bureau).
Please visit Our Department for more about Geography at Ohio State, and go to the AAG for more about the discipline of Geography.
For a summary of this process, please refer to the Applicant Checklist
To ensure that you are given full consideration for admission, please submit your completed application by November 30 (international) and December 15 (domestic). A 'completed application' means that you will have finished your online application and submitted to the appropriate offices all of the supporting documents, including:
Please find the on-line application forms at OSU's Graduate Admissions website this site also includes financial information such as the estimated cost of graduate school (more about funding below), and Frequently Asked Questions about the application process.
The Graduate School's on-line application is the first step in the process. For next steps, please refer frequently to the Applicant Checklist.
Keep in mind:
If you are already a Graduate Student at OSU and are interested in transferring into the Department of Geography or applying for a Dual-Degree, we welcome your application. Your application will be considered an 'internal' application, as it will not go through OSU Graduate School Admissions.Despite the fact that you will not be applying through an external application process, your application will face the same standards of evaluation as an external applicant. Please proceed as follows:
Once your file is complete, it is reviewed first by OSU Graduate Admissions then internally by the Geography Department.
Graduate Admissions reviews the file first to ensure that all materials were successfully submitted (e.g., transcripts received, test scores match applicant).
Your file is then passed automatically to the Geography Department. At this stage, the applicant's file is evaluated for:
Academic excellence- Competitive applicants typically have GPAs well above the Graduate School's minimum 3.0 threshold (or foreign equivalent), and GRE scores that are above the 60th percentile in the Verbal and Quantitative sections. Although GPAs and GRE scores are important, we also rely on other criteria, including a strong CV, a focused Statement of Purpose, and exemplary letters of recommendation. We will use this information to assess whether you are competitive for a University Fellowship.
Fit with department-We also evaluate your file in terms of your 'fit' with the program, since a successful graduate career is largely dependent on a good match between graduate student and faculty research interests. We ask ourselves: does this applicant's interest fit our departmental strengths? Is there a faculty member keen to work with this applicant? Is there a faculty member willing to hire the applicant to work on a research project?
The Geography Graduate Studies Committee, in consultation with the department faculty as a whole, typically completes its decisions on graduate admissions by mid-February. We usually accept less than 20% of applicants. By March, you will receive a letter from Graduate Admissions indicating whether or not you have been accepted to our program. For those admitted, your letter will not be able to convey whether or not you have competed successfully for funding, because most funding decisions rely on Ohio's state budget and on OSU Fellowship committee selections, which are typically not disclosed until mid-March or later. Once those disclosures are made, you should receive notification of funding decisions via a letter sent directly from the Geography Department by April at the latest.
Information about estimated costs of a Graduate degree from OSU is provided by the Graduate School. Please note that these estimated costs are conservative. Because costs are high, most accepted graduate students will only join our program if they receive funding, most commonly as a University Fellow, Graduate Teaching Associate, or Graduate Research Associate.
Students who are funded typically receive a monthly stipend, academic tuition and fees, and a subsidy of 85% of the student health insurance premiums during periods of appointment. Typical appointments in geography are:
All inquiries about the application process and the Geography program more generally should be directed to the Graduate Program Coordinator, Colin Kelsey. Mr. Kelsey can be reached via email at Kelsey.email@example.com or by telephone at (614) 292-2514.
Whether you are fresh out of your undergraduate career or coming to Graduate School after a long time in the workforce, it is important to be clear on the 'big point' about graduate degrees.
A Master's degree is designed to have you demonstrate that you are capable of applying the skills you developed as an undergrad to a research problem that you have identified. These skills include problem-solving, writing, critical thinking, and technical proficiencies. Receiving a Master's degree signals that you have not just learned facts and can repeat them, but that you are able to identify a research problem, and demonstrate an ability to address it. This ability cannot be assessed only in the classroom; it must be demonstrated through an independent project that is closely overseen by an advisor and a Master's committee.
The PhD is different. The point of doctoral work is to show not only that you are capable of doing research, but that the research you do will lead in some way to the creation of new knowledge. Now, Master's theses can result in new knowledge. The difference is that new insights are a requirement of the PhD. Moreover, this new knowledge must be rigorously grounded in robust and appropriate empirical and theoretical contexts that aptly demonstrate the broader importance and implications of the research.
Note that many Geography graduate programs in the U.S. structure the MA/MS as a 'stop' en route to a PhD. In this department, however, we view them as distinct endeavors that require different approaches and may be pursued to different ends. As a result, Master's students who are currently in the program and who are interested in doctoral work must submit an internal application for the doctoral program in the fall of the second year. They will then be evaluated alongside all incoming doctoral applicants.