Application Procedures

Items Required for Graduate Application Procedure

Each step of the graduate application procedure can be carried out via the online application system. Please review the information on the Graduate School’s Master’s and Doctoral Admission page prior to starting.

Applicants must enter the necessary information and upload the required documents to the online application system. The following items are required for evaluation by the Department, and can be submitted during the online application procedure. Incomplete applications may not be evaluated.

  • Application Form and Questionnaire. Each applicant should complete both the form and questionnaire on the online application system.
  • Fees. A $56 state-required application fee is required for all applicants. Payment can be made with a credit card. These fees cannot be waived and are required before your application will be reviewed.
  • Transcripts. All grade reports, complete and ongoing, for all post-secondary studies. For your application, you will be able to upload unofficial versions of your transcripts. If you are admitted, you will be required to submit an official version of your final degree-bearing transcript.
  • Examination Scores. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) requirement has been waived for this application cycle due to the COVID-19 pandemic. International Students are still required to report their Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores.
  • Reasons for Graduate Study. All applicants must provide a statement outlining their research interests and academic background, their goals for pursing a graduate degree in Geography, and other relevant professional and research experience. This statement should also address how the applicant’s academic background and training has prepared them for graduate research in Geography. The Reasons statement should not exceed two-single sided pages. It is used to determine the appropriateness of UWM’s programs to your educational and professional goals and serves as an example of your ability to express yourself in writing. Your Reasons statement is an essential part of your application, and your file is not complete until we have received it.
  • Letters of Recommendation. You must provide email addresses (official ones preferred) of three individuals to the online application system who will be contacted for letters of recommendation. Alternatively, have the letters sent directly to the Geography Department at the following address:

    Postal Address:
    UWM Department of Geography
    P.O. Box 413
    Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413

    Street Address: (for private couriers)
    UWM Department of Geography
    3210 N. Maryland Ave.
    Suite 410
    Milwaukee, WI 53211-0413

  • Curriculum Vitae (CV). Applicants are required to submit a CV, or academic resume, detailing their academic history and accomplishments, teaching and research experience, and other relevant professional qualifications.
  • Writing Sample. All applicants should submit a writing sample. The writing sample can be a paper written for a class, a thesis chapter, or part of longer piece of writing. It should not exceed 20 pages. Questions about the writing sample should be directed to the Graduate Program Chair.
  • International Applicants: International applicants are encouraged to check with the UWM Center for International Education for additional information and requirements.

    UWM Center for International Education
    Phone: (414) 229-4846

  • Application Status: If you have previously submitted/requested these items, please follow up with your University or our Graduate School Department on the forwarding status of your pending application material at (414) 229-6569 or If you have any other academic questions regarding our Geography Program please contact our Graduate Program Associate Niko Papakis at 414-229-4866 or via email at

Recommended Filing Dates:

Date Additional Information
December 1 December 1st is the due date for all students seeking any forms of financial support from the UWM Graduate School and the Geography Department (e.g., Graduate School Fellowships, and Geography Department Teaching/Project/Research Assistantships).
April 30 Fall Semester Admission WITHOUT funding consideration

Departmental policy is to admit students into degree programs starting in the Fall semester only, because of the inherent disadvantage to students entering the program at other times. Late submission of materials may leave insufficient time for processing the application.

Application Processing

Application Review: Both the Graduate School and the Geography Department will review your application for admission. The Graduate School sets minimum admission requirements for applicants to all programs. Minimum requirements for all applicants are a bachelor’s degree and a 2.75 undergraduate grade point average (4.0 scale). The Geography Department will review your application and make a recommendation on your admission to the Graduate School.

Decision: The Graduate School will make the final decision on your application, based on the Geography Department’s recommendation and Graduate School admission standards. The Graduate School will notify you of an official decision. Any statements about admission (expressed or implied) received from any other source are unofficial and not binding.

Grade Point Average for Admissions Purposes: The Graduate School calculates a grade point average on all work up to the awarding of your bachelor’s degree. As this calculation includes letter grades earned for attempts in repeated coursework, and may include work that your degree-granting institution did not accept in transfer, the admissions GPA may be different from the GPA on your transcripts.

Processing Times: On average, it takes ten weeks for the complete process (from submission of the application to decision). Processing times for individual applications vary widely, however, depending on how promptly a file becomes complete and the time required by each graduate program for its review.

Campus Tour: At any time either before or after the application process, prospective students can participate in a campus tour offered by the Graduate School. For more information, see

Retention of Application Materials: Admission is applicable only for the semester and program indicated in the Graduate School admission letter. If you were admitted but unable to enroll in the semester of admission, you may request, in writing or by e-mail, that the application be reconsidered for a term within a year following your initial admission decision.

The Graduate School will keep your application materials for one year. If you do not enroll within one year of your admission, your application file materials will be discarded. If you are interested in attending after one year, you must complete a new application, pay the application fee, and send us a new set of required materials.