How to Apply

Special Admissions Requirements for Doctoral Programs

The GRE General Test is not required. Undergraduate preparation in physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics, as well as in geology is recommended; the Graduate Group welcomes applicants who have majored in these fields, and will consider applicants from any field. The Graduate Group recommends that students who have not taken an undergraduate field-geology course make arrangements to do so before matriculating.

Ph.D. students must pass a preliminary examination showing command of a range of geologic sub-fields, and advanced knowledge of the field of proposed concentration. Before admission to degree candidacy, each student must present an acceptable proposal for thesis research, and pass an oral examination covering that proposal but also extending to a broad range of related knowledge. Ph.D. candidates must sustain a public oral examination on their theses and allied subjects.


Fall 2024 Application Deadline 

The Earth and Environmental Science Ph.D. application will open in early October and close on January 1, 2024. 


Application Personal Statement

In the personal statement, all Ph.D. applications within the Graduate Division of Arts & Sciences should address the following:

Please describe how your background and academic experiences have influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree and led you to apply to Penn. Your essay should detail your specific research interests and intellectual goals within your chosen field. Please provide information about your educational trajectory, intellectual curiosity and academic ambitions. If you have overcome adversity and/or experienced limited access to resources or opportunities in your field of study, please feel free to share how that has affected the course of your education. We are interested in your lived experiences and how your particular perspective might contribute to the inclusive and dynamic learning community that Penn values and strives to create.