University of Wisconsin–Madison

Frequently Asked Questions

Graduate Program FAQ

We cannot guarantee that we will fully consider applications received after the December 15 deadline. This is true for both admission and for financial aid. Faculty begin reviewing applications very soon after the deadline so it is critical that your application reach us by the deadline in order to be considered.
We'll do our best to consider your application, however it is difficult to consider an incomplete application. We recommend that you take standardized tests (GRE, TOEFL, etc) early enough in the fall to ensure that your scores reach us by early December. Be sure to give your recommenders enough time to submit letters on your behalf and request your transcripts from your previous institutions early enough so that they will reach us. Faculty begin reviewing applications very soon after the deadline, so it is critical that your application be complete to be fairly considered.
If you're interested in arranging a visit, contact the Graduate Program Director. We're happy to meet with you while you're here, arrange for departmental tours and answer any questions you may have. We encourage you to work independently to set up meetings with faculty and students, but are happy to assist in making those arrangements. Each spring, once admissions and funding decisions are made, the department makes special arrangements for admitted applicants to visit in late March or early April. Ask our Graduate Program Director about these visit opportunities.
No, there is no minimum GRE score for admission. However, GRE scores are one of the factors that the faculty consider when making admissions decisions.
The minimum grade point average (GPA) for admission required by the Graduate School is 3.00 (4.00 scale), however, applicants with less than a 3.25 GPA should have particularly impressive letters of recommendation and/or scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
The Gradute School offers a limited number of application fee grants. More information about these grants can be found here.
No. We regularly admit students who have an undergraduate degree in a discipline other then geography.
Admissions and funding decisions are typically made by mid- to late February. You are welcome, at any time, to check on the status of your application by contacting our Graduate Director by email (gradschool[at]geography.wisc.edu) or phone (608-262-3861).
There is no required or standard content for this statement. However, in your statement, you should describe the specific area of interests. If you can, describe the specific research questions you would like to pursue during your graduate studies here. The more specific you are in this statement, the easier it is for us to assess your application. Description of how a long history of family interest in geography impacts you to pursue research in geography IS NOT useful at all. Ask a peer or professor to review your statement for you. Also see FAQs on purpose statements
Yes, in fact, we prefer that you upload your statement as part of your online application.
Yes, you can upload additional materials as part of your application or by sending them either by email or by mail to our Graduate Director. Submitting extra material will give the admissions committee a better picture of who you are and can clear up any questions that they may have. We advise, however, that you be selective with your choices!
No, but you can track the arrival of your application materials online by using the email link you received after you submitted your online application or by logging onto your online application and scrolling to the bottom of the page to find your personal web link.
Professors and current or recent employers make the best referees. It is important that you use at least one person who can testify to your present situation, especially if you have been out of school for some time. You should choose people who can best attest to your capacity for graduate-level work, and, if possible, your facility within the discipline of geography. If you are not sure of the suitability of a potential reference, feel free to consult with the Graduate Director (gradschool[at]geography.wisc.edu). (References will receive a request by email from the Grad School to submit a Letter of Recommendation online.)
We require our Ph.D. students to first obtain a master's degree, although the master's need not be in Geography.
We consider all applicants for multi-year guaranteed funding packages. This funding, however, is not plentiful and it is competitive. Decisions about funding are typically made byl ate February. These funding guarantees (typically 2 years for MS students and 3 years for PhD students) are most commonly in the form of teaching assistantships and are guaranteed at a level such that students are eligible for health insurance and tuition remission.
We adhere to the Council of Graduate Schools' Resolution regarding Graduate Scholars, Fellows, Trainees and Assistants that dictates we cannot ask for a reply to a financial aid offer before April 15. The Resolution is available online here: http://www.cgsnet.org/portals/0/pdf/CGS_Resolution.pdf
Tuition and fee information is handled by the Registrar's Office and can be found online here: http://registrar.wisc.edu/tuition_&_fees.htm
We consider all applicants for multi-year guaranteed funding packages. This funding, however, is not plentiful and it is competitive. Decisions about funding are typically made by mid-March.
We consider all applicants for multi-year guaranteed funding packages. This funding, however, is not plentiful and it is competitive. Decisions about funding are typically made by mid-March.
You will need to complete a "Change of Program" form available online here. In addition, you will need to submit a Statement of Purpose, transcripts and three letters of recommendation. We recommend that you contact the Geography Graduate Director to discuss your situation as it is possible that some materials might be obtained from your current department.