How to Apply

Domestic Applicants (US citizens and current US residents)

  • Complete the online application form. The application fee is waived for U.S. citizens and permanent residents. (In the online form, indicate that you will pay by check, but do not send a check)
    • The online application form opens October 1st for the following fall term.
  • Personal Statement: A brief statement of purpose (typically 1-2 pages) that addresses your specific interests and professional goals in Geology & Environmental Science. Describe your scientific interests, qualifications, and previous research experience. Also 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 (
  • General Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores are optional, but strongly recommended if interested in volcanology and planetary science for the PhD and MS programs in Geology & Environmental Science.  Prospective students should talk with potential faculty advisors for additional information. (no GRE scores are required for the Professional MS in GIS & Remote Sensing). Scores should be no more than five years old.
  • 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) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores. 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) or the required minimum IELTS of 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each of its four sections.
  • Application fee - $50
  • 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, Annemarie Vranesevic 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: Annemarie Vranesevic
200 Space Research Coordination Center
4107 O'Hara Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260-3332