University of Colorado at Boulder



International Applicants

**New for Fall 2012** -

You will be required to identify at least one faculty advisor as part of your application.   Your application will not be considered if you do not identify at least one faculty member.   This will be included in the "Question" section of the on-line application.

**NEW BEGINNING FALL 2013 (Updated 9/10/13):

Applications MUST be submitted by December 1 and TRANSCRIPTS MUST BE RECEIVED by December 1.   Reference letters and GRE/TOEFL scores MUST be received by DECEMBER 15.   Please plan accordingly by ordering transcripts and notifying those writing your reference letters in advance of the December 1 deadline for your application.  Please be aware that your reference writers will not receive an email asking them to send in 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, 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.
  • Have  1 "official" copy of your transcript from each previous school attended "issued" to the Department of Geography or the University of Colorado-Boulder.  Official Transcripts should be sent directly  to the address listed below.
  • The GRE exam is not required for international applicants, however, you are strongly encouraged to take this exam if it is available to you.   Have the results sent to the University of Colorado-Boulder.
  • The TOEFL exam is REQUIRED by the University.  Have the results sent to the University of Colorado-Boulder.
  • Pay application fee on-line
  • APPLICATION DEADLINE IS DECEMBER 1 every year.  You must submit your application by this date.   We must also receive your transcripts 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 order your transcripts early so we receive them 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: $70 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) One Official Transcript

All applicants must submit one “official” copy of  the transcript for each school attended. The transcript should show all degrees awarded, courses taken, grades, and grade point averages. 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. 

Transcripts are only considered “official” if they are sent directly from one university to another. Please be sure each transcript is “issued to” the Department     of Geography or the University of Colorado-Boulder.   Have transcripts sent to the address above.

Please do not send copies of transcripts issued to/given to a student.  Transcripts issued to a student are not considered official even if they are in a sealed envelope and/or stamped "official."  The transcript should not be in the possession of the student at any time if it is to be considered "official."

However, the University of Colorado does recognize that these requirements may present a problem in some cases.  For example, there are some foreign universities that issue only one original transcript to the student for the student's entire lifetime.  If the transcript requirement presents a problem for you, you may contact the International Admissions Office to discuss your circumstances and for instructions on what to do. You may send an email to: 

6) GRE

The GRE test is not required for foreign students.   All foreign students are strongly encouraged to take the GRE test if possible. A photocopy of your official test results is acceptable if the scores cannot be ordered from ETS.  Have all test scores sent to the University of Colorado at Boulder. 

GRE Institution Code:     4841
GRE Department Code:    2203


A TOEFL or IELTS test is normally required by the University for all international applicants.   The minimum required TOEFL score is:   Internet based test- 75.   IELTS scores should be 6.0 or better.

The following information and table are from the Graduate School Prospective Student web page.  Please review the this web site for complete information:

click on the Apply tab and choose Graduate.

You are not required to submit a score for the TOEFL or IELTS if,

  1. Your native language is English (i.e. you are from one of the countries listed below, or
  2. You have completed at least one year of full-time study at a U.S. institution, or at an institution in a country where English is the native language, at the time you apply, and within two years from your desired admission term.
Minimum IELTS Scores Required
Graduate Programs
All majors 6.0
TOEFL or IELTS Not Required
Australia   Ireland
Belize   New Zealand
Botswana   Nigeria
Canada (except Quebec)   Scotland
Commonwealth Caribbean   Singapore
Ghana   South Africa
Great Britain   Zimbabwe


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.