University of Colorado at Boulder



International Applicants

**New for Fall 2012** -

You will be required to identify at least one potential faculty advisor as part of your application.   Your application will not be considered if you do not identify at least one faculty member.   This is not your committee - this is a list of faculty you would like as your advisor in the orfer you would like to work with them.   This will be included in the "Question" section of the on-line application.  Please see below for details.


**NEW BEGINNING FALL 2015 (Updated 6/17/15):

Applications MUST be submitted by December 1.  Upload one copy of an unofficial transcript for EACH school attended - this is a required part of the online application.   Reference letters and GRE/TOEFL scores MUST be received by DECEMBER 15.   Please plan accordingly by ordering GRE scores or taking the GRE test early enough to meet this deadline.    Notify those writing your reference letters in advance of the December 1 submission deadline for your application.  Please be aware that your reference writers will not receive an email asking them to upload  their letters until AFTER YOU SUBMIT your application.  However, because the time between your submission and the deadline for these letters may be minimal if you submit on the due date (i.e. December 1), they should prepare their letters in advance.




Here is a list of subplans if you are asked to provide this information: 

Biogeography, Cartography, Climatology, Cultural Geography, Development, Environment and Society, GIS, Geomorphology, Hydrology, Medical Geography, Political Ecology, Political Geography,  Population-Migration, Remote Sensing, Urban Geography


Key Information

  • "International Applicants"  are foreign students; they are not US Citizens or Permanent Residents.
  • Applications are completed on-line.
  • Complete all parts of  the application.
  • You will be asked to designate up to 4 potential primary faculty advisors as part of your application.  You will list them in your order of preference (i.e. the faculty member you would most like as your advisor should be listed first).   You should contact them by email to discuss your research interests.
  • Include your Financial Statement Form.
  • Have 3 reference letters uploaded as part of your on-line application.
  • Upload 1 unofficial copy of your transcript as part of the online applicaton - see below for details.
  • International applicants are STRONGLY encouraged to take the GRE exams if available.  Have test scores sent to the University of Colorado Boulder.  The GRE college code for CU Boulder is 4841.
  • The TOEFL exam is REQUIRED by the University.  Have the results sent to the University of Colorado-Boulder.
  • Pay application fee online.
  • APPLICATION SUBMISSION DEADLINE IS DECEMBER 1 every year.  You must submit your application by this date.     Your recommenders are contacted by email only after you "submit" your application and pay the application fee.  We expect your recommendation letters and GRE/TOEFL scores to arrive after you submit your application, but they MUST be received by  December 15.   Please be sure to complete and submit  your application by December 1.   Be sure to take any tests early enough so we receive the scores by December 15.  And be sure your reference writers prepare your letter in advance so they can respond to the email request by December 15.
  • Let us know immediately if your email address changes; we use it to communicate with you.


Online Application:

Graduate Admissions

Transcripts and other supporting materials required by your department should be sent directly to:

For standard international mail or mail within the US, including USPS Priority and Express:

Office of Admissions/International
University of Colorado at Boulder
3100 Marine St  Suite A122
65 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0065 USA

For Overnight/Express mail (DHL, FEDEX, UPS) send to:

Office of Admissions/International
University of Colorado Boulder
3100 Marine Street - 65 UCB
Bldg RL3 Suite A122
Boulder, CO 80303-1058  USA

Inform us if your address changes

We use email whenever possible to communicate with applicants, so it is VITAL for the Geography department to have your current email address.  It is also important that we have your most current mailing address too.  It is the applicant’s responsibility to update your on-line application with any mailing address or email address changes and also email the department with any mailing address or email address changes.   Please keep us informed of changes so we can reach you if needed.

If you would like to reveiw a copy of the University of Colorado-Boulder catalog on line or to purchase a copy, please go to the following website

Requirements for International Graduate Student Applications


Certification of first-class standing or the equivalent of at least a “B” average in all examinations.


Certification of adequate command of spoken and written English to insure that the student can satisfactorily pursue his studies at a U.S. university. A score of at least  75 (internet based) on the TOEFL examination will be required or a score of 6.0 on the IELTS examination.


Certification from a financial institution or sponsor that adequate funds are available to meet all your expenses for the entire period of your residence at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The estimated expenses for a non-resident student to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder are listed on the required “Financial Statement” form for each academic year. The figure includes room and board, tuition and fees. Summer tuition, transportation and incidental costs should be added to this. 


We follow the policy of the Office of Admission in not  waiving the application fee for international applicants.  Please pay the application fee as part of the online application.   The Office of Admission will only begin processing applications when it has received the application fee. It will not allow students to temporarily waive the fee until the student is enrolled. 

Complete Your Application, Which Must Contain the Following

(all of these application materials are part of the on-line application).

1) Application fee: $80 USD, nonrefundable.

You will be able to pay the application fee on-line as part of the application process.

2) Application for Graduate Admission

The criminal history question on the application MUST be answered. Failure to answer this question will STOP ALL PROCESSING of your application. If you answer yes or if you leave it blank, you must complete the additional steps you will find as part of the on-line application process.

Pay special attention to your Statement of Intent (or Statement of Purpose).  It is important to write a careful one to three page statement on what your research interests are, why you have chosen this particular program, and what you hope to do afterwards.

Please indicate your "area of specialty" from the list you will see as you complete the online application.  Later on in the process, applications will be sorted into these different "areas."

You will be asked to designate up to 4 potential primary faculty advisors as part of your application (you must include at least one).  You will list them in your order of preference (i.e. the faculty member you would most like as your advisor should be listed first).   You should contact them by email to discuss your research interests.ou will be asked to designate one primary and up to three secondary faculty advisors as part of your application.  You should contact them by email to discuss your research interests

Please note that our departmental funding is very limited.  We assume that all applicants are interested in available departmental funding.  However, because funding is so limited, the Department will not be able to provide you with enough guaranteed funding to meet the University requirement that you must show you already have adequate funding (Financial Statement section)  to study in the US. 

3) Financial Statement

Please Note: The Department of Geography will review your application and make a decision about admitting you to our program even if you do not submit this form.  However if you are admitted and not offered funding (or full funding), you will need to complete and submit this form, along with proof of funding from another source, in order to finalize your admission.  Even if the Geography Department admits you, the International Admissions Office will not be able to issue you an immigration document unless you've submitted the financial statement, accompanied by proof of an adequate source of funding.

4) Recommendations

Three (3) recommendations are required. Request professors and/or other professionals familiar with your research potential to upload their recommendation letter.  Use the procedures that are part of the on-line application process and encourage yoiur reommenders to up=load their letter within a few days of the tmie you submit your application.   Remember yoiu must submit by December 1, so that they ahe time to complete their letters by December 15.

You may see instructions on other parts of the CU website (such as the Graduate School page) directing you to send in four (4) recommendations. These are general instructions that apply to all departments on campus since some departments do require four (4) recommendation letters.  The Department of Geography only requires three (3) recommendation letters.

5) Upload One Unofficial Transcript

All applicants must submit one “unofficial” copy of  the transcript for each school attended.  A minimum of 2.75 GPA on a 4.0 system is required by the Graduate School for regular admission. Equivalent standing, e.g., an upper second-class degree in the British system, is required of foreign students. The Department minimum GPA is 3.0.

Graduate School Instructions:  For review and decision purposes you are required to upload an unofficial copy of your transcript(s) in the online application. We require one copy of the scanned transcript from each undergraduate and graduate institution that you attended. This includes community colleges, summer sessions, and extension programs. While credits from one institution may appear on the transcript of a second institution, unofficial transcripts must be submitted from each institution, regardless of the length of attendance, and whether or not courses were completed.  Failure to list and submit transcripts from all institutions previously attended is considered to be a violation of academic ethics and may result in the cancellation of your admission or dismissal from the university.

ONLY after you are recommended for admission will you need to provide official transcripts. 

Instructions for Uploading Unofficial Transcripts to Your Application


6) GRE

International applicants are STRONGLY encouraged to take the GRE exam if available.  Scores on these exams allow us to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses in the context of information provided by other applicants.  Have test scores sent to the University of Colorado Boulder.  The GRE college code for CU Boulder is 4841.


A TOEFL or IELTS test is REQUIRED by the University for all international applicants and until the University has this proof of English proficiency, it will not be possible to issue the necessary immigration documents.   The minimum required TOEFL score for an internet based test is 75.   IELTS scores should be 6.0 or better.  Request that the testing agency submit your scores directly to the Office of Admissions.  The CU Boulder college code for TOEFL is 4841.
Applicants who satisfy specific criteria - for example, if English is your native language - are not reqired to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores.  For additional information on the English proficiency requirement, please visit the University of Colorado Admissions website:


All materials are due 15 December (Remember-your deadline to submit is December 1)  EARLY APPLICATIONS ARE STRONGLY ADVISED

No application will be considered complete without all of the above-listed materials. December 15 is the deadline for receipt of all application materials for Fall admissions.  We do not have a regular Spring admission.  You can begin the admissions process on August 1 of the year prior to the fall semester that you want to start your graduate program.  Allow at least 3 months after the application deadline to receive notification about your application status.