Information for Prospective Graduate Students

prospective students


We are pleased that you are interested in pursuing graduate study in our department. At Rutgers, we are confident that you will find a rigorous and welcoming intellectual environment that embraces the interdisciplinary foundations and possibilities of geography. We encourage engagements with issues relating to space, place, and the environment from a broad range of geographic perspectives.

We offer a terminal master's degree (MA/MS) and PhD in geography, and while we sometimes admit students to the PhD program without a master's degree, we generally prefer that applicants have completed some graduate study (although not necessarily in geography) before entering the program. The master's degree program is designed to be completed within two years, and while time to completion varies for PhD students, we recommend students finish in 4–6 years. The program admits students with no prior college- or graduate-level training in geography, but looks for those with an openness to immersion in the rich interdisciplinary questions it opens up. 

Graduate students in our department are advised by members of the graduate faculty, which includes 9 professors on the core geography faculty and an additional 20 professors with primary appointments in other schools and departments at Rutgers.

Graduate students participate in numerous interdisciplinary programs and research centers at Rutgers, including the various area studies centers (African Studies, Chinese Studies, Critical Caribbean Studies, European Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, Latin American Studies, South Asian Studies), the Office of the State Climatologist, the Center for Cultural Analysis, the Center for Historical Analysis, the Institute for Research on Women, the Center for Urban Policy Research, the Center for Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis, and the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights.

As Rutgers is located between New York and Philadelphia, we also encourage students to take advantage of the wealth of resources in the wider region. For example, because Rutgers is a member of the Inter-University Doctoral Consortium (IUDC), geography PhD students are able (beginning in their second year) to register for courses, with permission, at Columbia University (GSAS, Teachers College), the CUNY Graduate Center, Fordham University (GSAS), The New School (Graduate Faculty), New York University (GSAS), Princeton University (The Graduate School), and Stony Brook University.

Geography graduate students are a tight-knit group, forming a strong intellectual community with a tradition of openness, support, and exchange. In addition to research and teaching, graduate students organize events, host speakers, and are active in shaping the intellectual life of the department, in part through the organizational work of the Graduate Geographers Project (GGP). GGP representatives attend faculty meetings, receive support from the Rutgers School of Graduate Studies, and enrich the professional life and ethical commitments of graduate study in the department. 

We welcome you to reach out to graduate program director Professor Laura Schneider (laura.schneider@rutgers.edu) with questions. We also encourage you to contact professors with whom you are interested in studying, as well as current graduate students with whom you share interests and prospective advisors.