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Ph.D. Degree Requirements

College of Graduate Studies Requirements

  • Minimum of 78 credits beyond the Bachelor’s degree, 52 credits must be in courses numbered 500 or above
  • 39 of the 78 credits must be in courses other than 600 level (Doctoral Research and Dissertation)
  • 100 and 200 level courses may not be used
  • 300 level courses may be used only in topic areas supporting the research.

Ph.D. of Geography Requirements

All students must complete the following courses (or have completed equivalent classes in other programs) with grades of “B” or better:

  • GEOG 591, History & Philosophy of Geography
  • GEOG 596 Geography Dept Seminar (1 cr)
  • Two 3-credit geography seminars at the 500 level (to be determined with your committee)

A minor is required in a field outside of Geography, consisting of not less than 12 credits earned in a field related to the individual's interests in Geography.

Ph.D. of Geology

General Ph.D. requirements apply. Admission to the doctoral program is based on the compatibility of the student's research interests with those of the major professor, upon the availability of research support, and the student's academic record and potential. Applicants are expected to have the prerequisites as specified for the M.S. degree with a major in geology. Each research program is developed by the student and the major professor with the advisory committee's approval. Up to 45 credits are permitted in research and dissertation.

Other Requirements for Graduation

Pursuant to the Graduate College guidelines, students should assemble a graduate committee and file a graduate Study Plan (a list of coursework agreed upon by the graduate committee) within their first year in the program. A student’s graduate committee is typically comprised of three faculty from the department and one external member of the U of I graduate faculty.


A committee will evaluate incoming undergraduate background to determine if any additional fundamental courses in either physical or human geography should be taken. This is done on a case-by-case basis to provide breadth in Geography. Students with a B.A. or B.S. degree in Geography as may others with a degree in Geography may already satisfy this requirement.

The plan for deficiencies should be approved by the student’s committee and the department chair. Any coursework required to remove the deficiencies should be taken as early in the student’s program as possible.

Entrance Requirements

Applicants must satisfy these minimum requirements:

  • Masters degree from an accredited institution
  • Acceptable GRE scores (most of our students have a combined verbal/quantitative score of at least 1150 (old scoring method) or 305 (new scoring method))
  • All applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the TOEFL and score better than 550 (paper-based) or 79 (computer-based).

Additionally, admission into the program is dependent on the availability of a geography faculty member to serve as major advisor in the topic area of the student’s research emphasis. Students are encouraged to contact directly those faculty members whose research interests overlap with their own. It is especially important for Ph.D. students to identify faculty members whose research expertise is a good match with their interests.


Department of Earth and Spatial Sciences

Physical Address:
McClure 201

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3021
Moscow ID, 83843-3021

Geography: 208-885-6216
Geology: 208-885-6192