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Admission to the Geography Graduate Program at the University of Kentucky is internationally competitive. We only accept applications for matriculation in the Fall semester and applicants should submit their materials by January 15 2024 to ensure a complete review for admission to the Fall 2024 semester. Applications are accepted after this date BUT later applications may miss key financial aid and admission decisions.  Questions about the application process and the status of applications may be directed to the DGS, Dr. Michael Samers

The first recommendation for anyone interested in joining our graduate program is to review the program web page.  It outlines the kind of research we do and the backgrounds of faculty.  Take a look and see how your interests specifically connect with the work we do here. You are welcome to email specific faculty with whom you would be interested in working with.

Applicants should use the University of Kentucky's online application system. All materials required for the application are as follows and can be submitted via this system. 

  • A statement of goals and objectives (two pages double-spaced, listed as personal statement in the application system) in which you discuss your areas of scholarly interest, research directions you wish to pursue, and how your goals fit in with the Department of Geography. You are not required to have secured an advisor prior to applying but one of the key things we consider is how your specific research interests/goals/project overlaps with our faculty's ability to advise. You can contact faculty directly about potential shared research interests. 
  • A current resume or curriculum vitae.
  • All applicants (including those applying from outside the US) will be considered for assistantships and fellowships.  The application system contains an assistantship interest section that you are required to fill out.  Uploading a blank document (or one that simply says "I am interested in assistantships") is fine.
  • You can submit a writing sample but this is NOT required. (Note: this is listed as writing sample in the application system) If you choose to submit a writing sample, it MUST NOT exceed 25 pages.
  • Three letters of reference from persons who can evaluate your potential for success in our graduate program. We recommend that these letters come from academic sources (professors with whom you have taken classes or worked) rather than work / professional contacts.
  • One transcript from each University attended (you can upload an unofficial copy for the application process, official copies will be required once application decisions are made).
  • GRE scores are NOT required to apply to the Geography graduate program and the admissions committee will not be use them to evaluate admission or funding decisions. Note: the University of Kentucky's online application system will prompt you to answer if you have taken, or will take, the GRE but this does not mean that you must eventually supply GRE scores.
  • Official TOEFL or IELTS scores if your first language is not English. The Graduate School sets policy on who is required to submit TOEFL/IELTS scores (see this overview or procedures and minimum scores required) and may ask for them even if you earned a degree from an institution where the language of instruction was English. This may happen if you are accepted to the program and the DGS can advise you.
  • The Graduate School sets minimums for GPAs (see but in practice successful applicants to Geography generally well exceed these minimums.
  • Application Fee ($65 for domestic applicants and $75 for international applicants). These fees are set by the graduate school and we are unable to waive them.
  • You are required to have completed a Bachelor's degree to begin our M.A. program, and a Masters degree to begin our Ph.D. program. It is fine to apply before you have been awarded your Bachelor's or Master's degree as long as you will complete the degree requirements prior to joining the program. For example, you can apply in January when you expect to receive your degree in May. 
We especially encourage applications from women, students from minority populations and first generation students. The University of Kentucky has several special fellowships for minority graduate students. The DGS or the Graduate School's Office of Recruitment may be contacted for further details.
Applications are reviewed by the Graduate Committee of Department of Geography and makes a recommendation to the Department's Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), who is responsible for admissions decisions. The Graduate Committee does not emphasize one aspect of the application over any other, but takes the entire package under consideration, and is motivated in its decision making by the applicant's potential for success in graduate study in general, and graduate study in our department in particular. 
The department welcomes students with undergraduate concentrations in related fields. In some cases students without an academic background in Geography may be required to complete additional coursework so as to gain appropriate foundational knowledge.
We strongly encourage applicants and prospective applicants to visit the Department and the University of Kentucky to learn more about our graduate program. A visit gives the prospective student a valuable opportunity to see the campus and our facilities and to meet with faculty and graduate students to discuss interests and goals. In addition, a visit is a chance to explore the wonderfully livable city of Lexington and its beautiful Bluegrass surroundings. To schedule a visit, contact the DGS.