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Graduate Applications

If you are considering applying to Geosciences, contacting individual faculty members is highly encouraged: see our faculty page for their e-mail addresses. If possible, a visit to the Department is encouraged, and faculty members will work with you to facilitate this either before or after you apply. Underrepresented minorities and women are particularly encouraged to apply for Graduate Studies in the Department of Geosciences.

Background Needed
Application Procedures 
Graduate Admissions Process 
Deadline and Fees
Financial Aid
Foreign Applicants

The department strives to admit 10-15 new graduate students every year. Our department has a strong emphasis on a multidisciplinary "systems" approach to study the earth, and has links with chemistry, math, physics, biology, and computational science. 

Background Needed

A strong background in the sciences is a prerequisite for admission for the Geosciences Ph.D. We admit students who have majored in such diverse fields as chemistry, physics, math, geology, biology, computer sciences, and engineering. We prefer applicants to have had college-level chemistry and physics, and math up to multivariable calculus. For the environmental track an advanced organic chemistry course is desirable; the solid earth track prefers students who have done math through partial differential equations.

Application Procedures

Official applications go through the Princeton University Graduate Admissions web page. This website directs you to the detailed application procedures.

Graduate Admissions Process

The admissions process will take until March, although you may be able to get unofficial news if you have established a communications link with one of the faculty members. 

The department makes its decision for admission on the basis of the complete application file. Letters of reference, personal statement, resume, and GRE-TOEFL scores all play a role in the final decision. 

There is separate information available for students in the AOS program. The AOS program has an emphasis on physics and applied math, and a rigorous course requirement for the first two years. The Geosciences program is more flexible on courses but is more demanding on the research to be done before the General Exam.

Deadline and Fees

Deadline for all applications: December 31st

Application fees:

  • By December 1st: $70
  • After December 1st and BEFORE December 31st: $90

Financial Aid

In general, graduate students are supported (tuition plus stipend) for at least 4 years through fellowships, project grants awarded to individual faculty members from outside agencies, or through an Assistantship in Instruction. Students who are U.S. citizens are urged to apply for National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, NASA, or Hertz fellowships.  Various funds are also available to support summer studies, fieldwork, and other research away from campus. The average time to obtain a Ph.D. is about 5 years.

Additional Information for Foreign Applicants 

Princeton welcomes students of all nationalities. However, students from non-English-speaking countries must show they are proficient in the English language in order to be admitted. The GRE and TOEFL examinations are a first indication of English proficiency. We often conduct a telephone interview before deciding on admission.

GRE and TOEFL Exam.
 The GRE is a multiple choice exam which tests your verbal, quantitative and analytical abilities. It does not require much work, but it is advisable to go through a few past exams beforehand. See www.gre.org, and try to get one of the books with CDROM to prepare (easily available through the Internet if your bookstore doesn't have them). Ask the US embassy where and when you can take the GRE. If that is past the application deadline, mark the date you plan to take it on the admissions form. In most countries you can do a computerized test, others have only two or three opportunities every year for a written test. For the written tests in particular you must register for the exam some time in advance, and the official score reporting takes up to six weeks. For the TOEFL test, see www.toefl.org.

Contact the faculty member(s) you would like to work with. E-mail addresses are on the website.