Applying to the Graduate Program

The Department of Geography & Environment offers three graduate degrees:

  • MA Geography
  • MA Geography: Concentration in Resource Management & Environmental Planning
  • MS GIScience

Who should apply?

We welcome applications from individuals who have a baccalaureate degree in any field, or will receive their baccalaureate degree prior to the start of the semester for which they are applying, however each program differs somewhat in requirements for classification.  

MA: An applicant with a GPA of 3.25 or better in a major other than geography who meets the general university requirements as stated in the Bulletin may qualify for admission as a Conditionally Classified graduate student. The applicant will be advanced to Classified status upon completion of prerequisite courses, including lower division courses in physical geography (Geog 101/equivalent), cultural geography (Geog 102/107/equivalent), statistics, GIS and one upper division geography courses, with a grade of "B" or better in each course. Units earned for remedial or prerequisite course work are not applied toward the graduate degree.

MS: For admission to the graduate program, a student must meet the general university requirements as stated in the Bulletin. For classified standing, an applicant must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution with a GPA of 3.25 or better in geography or a related discipline, with emphasis or experience in spatial data analysis and statistics, and have earned a grade of "B" or better in an introductory GIS class such as Geog 603, or equivalent.  Conditionally classified students may be admitted who meet most of the requirements, including an introduction to geographic information science, but need an additional foundation to do graduate geospatial work applied to biophysical or human systems.   

When to apply:

The department accepts applications twice a year, for Fall and Spring admission.

For Fall admission:         Rolling admissions beginning with applications submitted by April 15

For Spring admission:    Apply by November 30

** Spring admission usually but not always available - please contact department **

How to apply: 

Apply via Cal State Apply

Department Application Requirements:

Statement of Purpose, two letters of recommendation (at least one must be academic), and unofficial transcripts.  *Note that GRE scores are no longer required by the Department of Geography & Environment. 

Statement of Purpose:

Your Statement of Purpose essay summarizes your most important past experiences and accomplishments (e.g., degree completion, internships, apprenticeships, jobs and leadership experience) and your preparation for graduate studies. It should explain why you want to go to graduate school, how you’ve prepared for graduate study, your specific academic interests and motivations, and why you’ve chosen to apply to our program (e.g., specific offerings, reputation, resources, faculty.) It’s also your chance to explain any irregularities or concerns that might arise from reviewing your academic record. Your Statement essay should be about 2 pages long, written carefully and proof-read.  


Please contact the department to confirm your intent to enroll and please alert us to any changes in your street address, phone number, or email address.

More Questions?

Contact us:

Department of Geography & Environment Graduate Coordinator

MA Program Advisors

MA RMEP Program Advisors

MS Program Advisors

Department of Geography & Environment Academic Office Coordinator

SFSU Division of Graduate Studies

Division of Graduate Studies