Doctoral Degrees

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What is Geography?

Applicants to the PhD program should hold an MS or MA degree in geography or a related field. PhD students must specialize in one of the research areas where the department has in-depth competence. These include GIScience, urban/economic, cultural, and physical and environmental geography. Doctoral students complete required coursework within the department, including a mastery of at least one computer-based geographic technique (e.g. GIS, remote sensing, or computer cartography), quantitative methods, and a series of graduate seminars. PhD students also complete coursework for a minor outside of geography. Students demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language other than English or an approved computer science technique. Students pass written comprehensive examinations demonstrating a broad mastery of the field and in their area of specialization, and pass an oral defense of their dissertation proposal. Student then complete a dissertation embodying original research.

Freshman Admission Requirements

To apply for our graduate programs, you must complete an Online Application through the UC Graduate School’s website.

The application requires the following documents:

  1. Official transcripts of the student’s academic record of all undergraduate and graduate studies, which must be submitted both online and directly to the department, to the attention of the Geography Graduate Program Director. Applicants must have a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00 or foreign equivalent.
  2. Three letters of recommendation, commenting upon the student’s aptitude and potential for graduate studies and research.
  3. Official GRE scores (verbal ability, quantitative ability, and analytic ability), which need to be sent to the University of Cincinnati (institution code 1833) directly from ETS. The Department of Geography requires minimum score of 300 (verbal + quantitative) or 1080 as regarding to prior scale.
  4. A short essay (no longer than 2 pages in length) that briefly and cogently describes your educational background, past research experience, anticipated research project and topic, and explains your reasons for pursuing a graduate degree in geography at the University of Cincinnati. Your statement of purpose should also name up to two potential mentors from the faculty members with whom you have already been in contact and/or with whom you share research interests.
  5. Curriculum Vitae (CV)/Resume.
  6. Academic/professional writing samples, which are encouraged but not mandatory.

International Student Requirements

Either TOEFL or IELTS scores, which are required for international applicants who do not hold an undergraduate or graduate degree from a university in an English-speaking country. International students whose native language is other than English must provide official copies of TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores. Department of Geography requires minimum score of 88 for internet-based TOEFL test (230 for computer-based test, 570 for paper-based test) for admission. International applicants can find more information here.

Application Deadlines

To be fully considered for financial support, applications should be submitted by January 15. The application deadline for admission is April 15.


The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Quick Facts

Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Geography

Full-Time Program Duration

5 Years


Uptown Campus West

Admission Criteria



Dr. Changjoo Kim, Graduate Program Director
Phone: 513-556-3424
Vesna Kocani, Graduate Program Coordinator