Application Process

Applying for Graduate Study in Geography

Thank you for your interest in graduate studies in our Geography Department. We welcome applications from individuals whose M.A. or Ph.D. goals will fit well with the research and teaching expertise of our faculty. Prospective students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with our faculty (see ) and to contact potential advisors to establish mutual understanding of interests. This page is intended to help you understand and navigate the application and admissions processes. Official information is in the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa General and Graduate Catalog, available on-line at:

Guidelines and Process

Applicants to our Department generally have broad preparation in the social and/or physical sciences, high GPAs, and high GRE scores. The minimum requirement for admission to the Master of Arts (M.A.) program is a Bachelor's Degree or its equivalent. The minimum requirement for the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program is a Master of Arts or Master of Science (M.S.). For admission, the Graduate Division requires a minimum 3.00 grade point average (on a 4-point scale). The admissions process is highly competitive. The Department Admissions and Awards Committee reviews your application in its entirety, including your transcripts, standardized test scores, statement of objectives for career goals and specific reasons for interest in the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and looks for strong letters of recommendation from individuals who are familiar with your academic preparation and scholarly potential. Our objective in this process is to assess both your preparation and our ability to advise you.

The Department of Geography only accepts applications for Fall admission. The application deadline is January 15th.

Application Checklist

    Admission to the Geography graduate program involves what seems like two different applications, one for graduate admission to the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa (unclassified status) and another for admission to the Department of Geography.

    Send the following to the Graduate Admissions Office, Spalding Hall Rm 354, 2540 Maile Way, Honolulu, HI 96822.

    1. Graduate Division application forms. These are available on-line at:

    2. Official transcripts from each college or university you have attended.

    3. Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores. The submission codes are 4867 for UH Manoa, and 2203 for the Geography Department. (For information on computer-based exams, call 1-800-473-2255, or go to the website at: or email

    4. Students from non-English speaking countries must submit TOEFL scores if they have not earned a degree from a university in an English speaking country. The minimum score for admission is 560 (paper), 220 (computer), or 61 (internet), and the exam must have been taken within the past two years.

    Send the following to the Geography Department, Admissions and Awards Committee, via email to

    1. Statement of Objectives. This statement should outline your intent in studying in our department, your preparation for those studies, and what you hope to do afterward. No specific form is required.

    2. Applicants for doctoral studies must supply a sample of their research writing. Most typically, this is the M.A. thesis, but a published paper or a seminar paper could be used as well.

    3. Three (3) letters of recommendation sent directly from the referees to the department via post, email or fax. At least two of these should be from academic mentors who can address your academic preparation and competence for graduate studies.

    4. To be considered for a departmental teaching or research assistantship (see below), you should ask your referees to include this Graduate Assistantship Application Form in their assessment.

Financial Support and Scholarships

The department has a limited number of research and teaching assistantships to award. These positions require up to 20 hours of work per week and provide both stipend and tuition support. These are considered scholarships, not financial aid, as they are awarded based on GRE scores, grades, and strength of reference letters rather than on financial need. The current 9-month stipends are $17,496 for M.A. and Ph.D. students. Some assistantships arise from funded faculty research projects and are most suitable for students whose particular backgrounds and interests align with those projects. Advance contact with potential faculty advisors may be helpful in identifying such opportunities. The department usually has a small pool of tuition waiver funds to allocate. The Neil Bowers and Harold Weins accounts have been used to provide irregular support for student travel and reserach expenses.

The East-West Center ( also offers competitive fellowships to applicants from the United States, Asia and Pacific nations who intend to study the region and its linkages at UH. Information on East-West Center support can be found at Please note that the EWC application deadline is considerably earlier than that for UH, around 1 November . Additionally, we have had students supported by the Ford Foundation and FLAS. It is worth looking into these as well. Other sources of financial aid might be located through the University of Hawaii System Financial Aid website and the UHM Financial Aid Office.

Additional Information

If you would like additional information, please email the Department at or telephone (808) 956-8465.