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Application Information

Prospective Graduate Students

We invite you to apply to our graduate program in Earth and Environmental Sciences. The primary considerations in judging applications are strength of applicant’s background in Earth and Environmental Sciences and supporting sciences (mathematics, computational sciences, physics, chemistry, and/or biology) as evidenced by transcript and reference letters, match between proposed area of study with current department research as expressed in a submitted Statement of Purpose, and other prior relevant experience such as undergraduate and previous graduate research described in the Statement of Purpose and reference letters. We no longer require or consider Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. Applicants are encouraged to directly contact faculty in their area(s) of interest prior to applying. Some of the many research opportunities being specifically sought for admission in the 2024 cycle are listed here.


Application Fee Waivers

Prospective students may also request a FreeApp waiver for application fees to the Ph.D. program from the Big Ten Academic Alliance. A FreeApp waiver application received on or before November 15 receives priority, but submissions after November 15 are considered for support.


Application Deadlines

November 30: Application deadline for PhD applicants to be fully considered for  university and college recruitment fellowships.

Michigan State offers highly attractive recruitment fellowships and awards as inducements to incoming students. If you submit your complete application by this deadline, we will be able to consider you for one of these fellowships.

December 31: Application deadline for standard department admission

Please have all your application materials submitted by this deadline to be considered for support (Research and/or Teaching Assistantships) for the upcoming Fall semester. Initial decisions about allocation of financial support will be made early in January. Late applications may be considered for admission with faculty approval. We encourage you to contact the faculty members with whom you are interested in working before submitting your application.


Application Process

All application materials should be submitted through the graduate school application website.


A Complete Application Includes:

  1. A complete MSU application form.
  2. Official transcripts from all previously attended academic institutions. Unofficial transcripts from the Fall semester during which the application is submitted should be e-mailed to the Departmental Graduate Secretary (Elizabeth McElroy) by January 5th.
  3. Official TOEFL scores (for international applicants) sent by ETS directly to MSU Admissions using university code 1465. No department code necessary. A minimum score of 575 (232 computer-based score when acceptable) is required to be considered for admission to our department; a minimum of 600 (250 computer-based score when acceptable) is required for financial aid consideration. IELTS scores are also accepted as a substitute for TOEFL. Requirements can be found here.
  4. Official TSE (Test of Spoken English; part of TOEFL) or SPEAK test score (for international applicants wishing to be considered for a teaching assistantship; minimum score of 50 is required for consideration).
  5. Provide a Statement of Purpose. This statement will serve as your academic statement on the application form and should include clarification on the area(s) of study and the corresponding faculty you are interested in, whether you have been in contact with any faculty, and what your future research/career plans are.
  6. Provide a Personal Statement. In this statement, please discuss your motivation for pursuing a graduate degree. Describe what inspires you, and any challenges or obstacles you have faced in your life, including any that have had an impact on your education, and how you have overcome those challenges. This statement is intended to help us learn more about you as a person, and is not the same thing as the Statement of Purpose, which should focus more specifically on your research interests and career goals.
  7. Three (3) letters of recommendation.

Specific information for prospective students, as well as on-line applications for both domestic and international students are available for your convenience from the MSU Office of Admissions.