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Applicants are urged to contact faculty members in their field of research interest before applying. Faculty makes the final decisions concerning admission to the program.

Application deadlines for domestic and international students:

All required documents must be received before decisions can be made. 

Fall – February 1st

Spring – August 1st

For more information, see the Graduate Program Handbook for Ph.D. in Earth System Science.

How to Apply

  • Overview

    Applicants must comply with these admission deadlines: to be considered for admission in the fall semester, submit all materials for the application by February 1; to be considered for admission in the spring semester, submit all materials for the application by August 1. Applications received after these dates may still be considered if opportunities in the program are still available. International students are encouraged to submit all their materials well in advance of these deadlines.

  • Admission Requirements

    For admission to the Ph.D. program in Earth Systems Science, an applicant’s record should meet the minimum requirements shown below.

    1. Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree in one or more relevant disciplines of natural science, engineering, or mathematics.

    2. Applicants must have a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 on a 4-point scale (or equivalent) during the last two years of undergraduate study

    3. Applicants must have a minimum combined score on the verbal and quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) 0f 1120. These scores use an older scale; the table at enables conversion between old and new GRE scales.

    4. Applicants whose native language is other than English must demonstrate an adequate level of proficiency in English as a foreign language. A minimum score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) of 80 for the internet-based test (TOEFL iBT) or 550 for the paper-based test (TOEFL PBT) is required. In particular, to be eligible for a Teaching Assistantship, students whose native language is other than English must score at least 26 out of 30 points (minimum for the level designated Good) in the speaking section of the TOEFL iBT. Information on these tests may be obtained from the Educational Testing Service at

    Individuals who do not meet the admission criteria but still desire admission may ask to be considered under the conditions or criteria listed below.

    1. Applicants with GRE scores below 1120 (60th percentile) may be:

    - admitted conditionally to the program with the condition that they retake the GRE within the first two semesters and attain a combined score of at least 1120,


    - recommended for full graduate standing under a Waiver of Admission Standards if they meet the standards for admission to the M.S. program, have already completed an M.S. degree in a related field at an accredited U.S. institution, and have attached to the application letters of recommendation from their faculty advisors at their M.S. institution and from the FIU faculty member sponsoring their application which state their ability to perform Ph.D.-level research.

    2. Applicants to the Ph.D. program with an undergraduate GPA of less than 3.0 may be recommended for full graduate standing under a Waiver of Admission Standards if they have already completed an M.S. degree in a related field at an accredited U.S. institution with a GPA above 3.0, or they may be conditionally admitted to the program with the condition that they maintain a GPA of at least 3.2 in their first 12 credits of formal coursework.

  • Application Instructions

    Submit an official application with supporting documents to the FIU Graduate Admission Office’s online application. The application will not be processed until receipt of the required (non-refundable) application fee of $30. Arrange for official transcripts to be sent to the Graduate Admissions Office from all colleges or universities from which you have taken college courses, whether or not you earned a degree from the institutions. Request that your current name and social security number appear on the transcript. For details of how and where to send supporting documents and payment, see the Graduate Admission Office’s online application. All questions regarding the receipt of your application materials should be referred directly to the Graduate Admissions Office. Please include your application reference number or Panthersoft ID number on all correspondence.

    The following materials must be sent directly to the Department of Earth and Environment:

    • A cover letter listing all contents of the application package. The cover letter should indicate the preferred Ph.D. major (Geosciences, or Natural Resource Science and Management) and if you are requesting an assistantship. Any other relevant information such as receipt of fellowships or scholarships supporting your studies should be included in the cover letter. If you have already applied online, indicate your application reference number or Panthersoft ID number.
    • A curriculum vitae or resume summarizing applicant's previous experience and achievements.
    • A statement of intent, including a brief discussion (not to exceed 2000 words) of educational goals, career projections, and the faculty member(s) who would advise you. Applicant may also include a copy of previously written scientific work.
    • At least three letters of recommendation from former professors, academic advisors, or professional colleagues. Letters should be signed originals on official letterhead. Letters may be sent separately.
    • Photocopies of your transcripts and your test score reports
    • Send these materials directly to:

    Graduate Program Director
    FIU Department of Earth and Environment
    11200 SW 8th Street
    Miami, FL 33199 USA

    Failure to send materials to either the Office of Admissions or the Graduate Program Director will slow the processing of your application and will reduce the probability of admittance to the program.

  • Information for International Students

    In order to obtain a student (F-1 or J-1) visa to study in the United States, the student must, among other things, be able to demonstrate that they have financial support to cover their expenses for the first year (tuition, books and living expenses). This money may be obtained from the student’s own personal finances, a scholarship from the student’s own country, a scholarship from an international agency, or an FIU assistantship or scholarship. Detailed pre-arrival information for new students can be obtained from FIU’s International Student and Scholar Services.  

  • Financial Support

    Most full-time graduate students in the Department of Earth and Environment who are in the Ph.D. program are supported with Teaching Assistantships (TAs) or Research Assistantships (RAs). Assistantships provide a stipend and tuition waiver. The number of assistantships is limited and awarded to new students beginning in the fall semester on a competitive basis. Assistantships require up to 20 hours per week in laboratory instruction, research assistance, or equivalent responsibilities. For the 2014-2015 term, the stipend awarded for Teaching Assistantships is approximately $23,000 (Ph.D.) per year. Stipends supported with Research Assistantships may be higher. Assistantships are described more fully in the Graduate Program Handbook for the Earth Systems Science Ph.D.

    Applicants seeking assistantships should indicate this in their application cover letter. In general, assistantships are only offered to applicants if a faculty member in the department agrees to sponsor them. We therefore request that each applicant seeking an assistantship contact a faculty member in their area of research who will agree to sponsor the application and (if admitted) to serve as the major professor. To be considered for an assistantship beginning in the fall semester, a prospective student must submit a complete application by February 1. To be considered for a Research Assistantship to begin in the spring semester (note that Teaching Assistantships for newly admitted students begin only in the fall semester), a complete application must be submitted by September 1. International students are encouraged to submit all of their materials well in advance of these deadlines.

    In addition to the assistantships described above, there are several other opportunities for financial aid for newly admitted graduate students. Students who obtain these awards enhance their chances of admission by increasing our ability to support them. Information on the main fellowships and other graduate student financial aid opportunities may be found on the webpage of FIU’s University Graduate School. In particular, the programs listed below may be useful to applicants.

  • Presidential Fellowships

    These highly competitive awards are intended to recruit exceptional graduate students to enroll full time in a doctoral degree program at Florida International University. The fellowships provide $30,000 per year for two years with an additional third year as a Teaching Assistant. The first and second years provide funds with no obligation other than to make excellent progress in the degree program. Tuition and health insurance for Presidential Fellows are covered for three years. Students awarded Presidential Fellowships are expected to be strong competitors for Dissertation Year Fellowships in their fourth year. Thus, strong applicants should be confident of receiving four years of support with only one of those years requiring any specific service in exchange for the support. The qualifications for this fellowship may be found at the University Graduate School’s website here. Faculty will apply on your behalf if your qualifications appear to qualify you for an award. The approximate deadline for the next fall semester is Feb. 1.

  • Latin American and Caribbean Graduate Fellowships

    These awards are available to applicants from all countries in the Western Hemisphere except the U.S. and Canada. The award grants the student Florida in-state tuition status while you are enrolled in the FIU graduate program, enhancing our ability to admit and support you with tuition waivers. If you are from an eligible country, you should encourage your prospective advisor to nominate you for this award with the International Student and Scholar Services office immediately. Information on this type of assistantship may be found here.

  • Florida Linkage Institutes

    Graduates of certain foreign universities are eligible for Florida in-state tuition status. To be considered a Florida resident for tuition purposes under the linkage institutes program, prospective students must apply on their own behalf depending on their country of origin. Information on whom to contact in order to apply for this award may be found on the International Student and Scholar Services webpage (near the bottom).

  • McKnight Doctoral Fellowship

    African-American or Hispanic U.S. citizens who apply to FIU’s Ph.D. programs are eligible for this fellowship, which provides full support for doctoral studies (fee waivers plus stipend). Further information and application forms are available on the University Graduate School’s webpage on graduate funding and