FAQ: Geographic Information Science, PhD

Can I enter the PhD program if I do not have a master’s degree?

  • Yes. We encourage all prospective research students to apply for admission to the PhD degree program.  

Is the PhD program STEM-designated?

Is the GRE required for admission to the PhD program?

  • The GRE is not required for admission. Applicants may submit scores if desired.

What additional exams are required for non-English speaking students for admission to the PhD program?

  • Competitive applicants achieve an average of 96 on the TOEFL. Please visit Graduate Admission English Proficiency for university requirements and more detailed information on demonstrating English proficiency, including waiver eligibility.

Should I contact a faculty member before I apply?

  • Professors welcome e-mail from prospective students. We strongly recommend that you contact a prospective faculty advisor prior to applying for admission. A judiciously placed, carefully worded email can pave the way for your admission even if you don't get an immediate personal reply. Doctoral program applicants are not admitted without an identified faculty advisor.

Is there a deadline to apply?

  • December 15 is the deadline to submit your complete application. Applications received or completed after this date are not guaranteed to be reviewed.

What do you mean by a “Complete Application”?

  • A complete application includes all of the following items:
    • Graduate Admissions application form
    • Unofficial or official transcripts
    • Official English proficiency scores (if required)
    • Resume or CV
    • Written statement
    • Three (3) letters of recommendation
  •  All items must be received by ASU Graduate Admissions in order for the application to be considered complete.

What types of financial aid do you provide?

  • We consider all applicants for multi-year guaranteed funding packages. This funding is competitive. Funding typically consists of four-year packages in the form of 20hr/week research or teaching assistantships that include full tuition remission and health insurance.

Do I need to submit a separate application to be considered for a financial award?

  • We do not offer need-based financial aid. Rather, we offer merit-based fellowships and research and teaching assistantships. Assistantships typically require twenty hours of work per week and include a full waiver of tuition and most fees. Information on need-based financial aid (grants and loans) is available from Financial Aid.

As an international student, what are my chances of full financial support?

  • We consider all PhD applicants for multi-year guaranteed funding packages.

Can I start the PhD degree in the Spring semester?

  • Our graduate programs are designed to start in the Fall semester. On rare occasions, we allow exceptional students to start their doctoral studies in the Spring semester. Students entering in the Spring semester are less likely to be offered financial support.

Can I complete the PhD degree as a part-time student? Are sufficient night classes available?  Could I earn a PhD over several summers of study?

  • No. The PhD degree is a multi-year research-intensive experience that requires full commitment by all students to their studies.

Do I need an undergraduate degree in geographic information sciences to be admitted?

  • No. Students who have undergraduate (and graduate) degrees in disciplines in related fields such as geography, geology, earth science, computer programming, GIS, environmental science, and geomatics are all welcome to apply.

Is there an option to earn a master’s degree in passing?

  • No, the PhD in geographic information science does not offer a master’s in passing option.

Whom should I ask for letters of recommendation?

  • The primary purpose of the letters of recommendation is to help us to determine your ability to successfully complete the PhD program and your potential to make significant academic contributions. At least two of your letters should be from academic sources. Applicants with extensive professional experience are likely to have their remaining letter from supervisors; applicants with less experience may have all three of their letters from academic sources. Most importantly, your letters should be from references who know you well enough to say specific things about your abilities, accomplishments, and professional potential.