How to Apply

Domestic Applicants (US citizens and current US residents)

  • Complete the online application form.
    • The online application form opens October 1st for the following fall term.
    • The application fee for both domestic and international graduate applications is $75 per application.
  • Personal Statement: A brief statement of purpose (typically 1-2 pages) that addresses your scientific interests, professional goals and how they are tied to your interest in obtaining a degree from the department of Geology and Environmental science. Describe your motivation to get a degree, scientific interests, qualifications, and previous research experience. One of the characteristics we look for in prospective graduate students is the ability to overcome adversity/ perseverance. It is beneficial to share an experience where you faced a serious obstacle or failure and how you dealt with it.  Finally, please describe as specifically as possible the area of research you wish to pursue, and potential faculty advisors. This statement carries significant weight in admissions decisions.
  • Required Writing Sample:  5-10 pages of your own writing, not from a group effort.
  • Official transcripts for all college-level institutions attended (undergraduate and graduate study). All transcripts must be uploaded onto the application website. Include translations if applicable. Copies of transcripts are acceptable initially, but official transcripts are required upon admission. A cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required for admission.
  • Three letters of recommendation. Referees may submit their recommendation letters and Recommendation Cover Form either electronically (instructions are included with the online application), or by e-mail (
  • Applications and all supporting materials must be submitted by January 15th.

International Applicants

  • All of the above plus:
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores, or Duolingo English Test. Submit to the University of Pittsburgh School Code 2927. The minimum TOEFL score of 90 (with at least a score of 22 in all of the four sections of speaking, listening, reading and writing), the required minimum IELTS of 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each of its four sections, or the Duolingo English Test score minimum is 110 or higher.
  • Application fee - $75
  • Applications and all supporting materials must be submitted by January 15th.
  • Upon admission you must take an English Proficiency test, you will be sent the instructions from the Academic Coordinator a month before the term starts to enroll in the test.  You will not be able to register for courses until you complete this testing.  It is highly advised that you take any English courses that are recommended after taking the English Proficiency test, but not required.

Specific questions about the application procedure should be directed to the departmental Academic Coordinator, Abigail Fite at (

Upon acceptance, official transcript(s) and documents with evidence of degree(s) may be mailed to:

University of Pittsburgh
Department of Geology and Environmental Science
Attn: Abigail Fite
200 Space Research Coordination Center
4107 O'Hara Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260-3332