Thanks for your interest in our Master's & Doctoral programs. We host a great group of graduate students, and we’re always looking for more.  The GES faculty is committed to providing outstanding teaching and mentorship, and our graduates have strong records of success. Our curriculum is designed to nurture spatial thinking and to challenge you to think critically about how people understand and interact with their environments. We encourage you to apply for graduate study with us.

The Department of Geography at New Mexico State University (NMSU) and the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of New Mexico (UNM) jointly offer a Doctor of Philosophy in Geography. This program brings together two outstanding institutions and offers a unique opportunity for doctoral study in New Mexico’s diverse and distinctive landscapes.

Students seeking entry into the joint doctoral program should be highly motivated individuals who want to learn mixed-methods geographic research. The joint character of our program offers unique opportunities, but also requires logistical adjustments because students must select a “home” campus where they will be based during their enrollment.  Students can take courses on both campuses, and temporarily relocate between Albuquerque and Las Cruces, and change home campuses if desired, but during the application process potential students must select either NMSU or UNM as their home campus.  


The application deadline to start the Master's program in the Fall semester is February 1.  We do not offer admission to our programs in the Spring semester.  

The application deadline to start the Doctoral program in the Fall semester is January 15You must submit your application only to the intended home institution. However, since this is a joint program, the two departments work together to make admissions decisions. 

All required application documents (i.e. letters of recommendation, transcripts, etc..) are due by the deadlines stated above. Letters of recommendation should be sent to (

If you are interested in taking graduate coursework prior to admission to the program, you can enroll in UNM as non-matriculated graduate student.  This will not guarantee admission to the graduate program, but will give you an opportunity to become familiar with the department and become known to our faculty.  Coursework taken in this way will count toward the degree if you are accepted into and enter the Master's program. You may apply for non-matriculated status through the UNM Office of Graduate Studies ( 

 UNM’s online application will allow you to upload all your necessary documents for application to our programs. Within the application, make sure to click Application instructions to see program specific requirements.

Master's Application Requirements 

You will need to provide:

  1. Official transcripts of all academic institutions attended.
  2. Three letters of recommendation.
  3. Letter of intent, explaining your background, your interest in the program, research areas you would like to work on, and your future plans (typically 2 to 3 pages in length).  The letter of intent should also indicate whether you are seeking a graduate assistantship or any other form of financial assistance, as well as your qualifications relevant to serving as either a Teaching Assistant or a Research Assistant.
  4. Current resume, documenting your academic and professional accomplishments.
  5. Applicants for whom English is not a native language will need to provide current TOEFL scores (TOEFL, IELTS, or other).

GPA and GRE Scores

The Department does not have minimum requirements for GPA and no longer requires GRE scores. However, most applicants we accept have a minimum GPA score of 3.5 and minimum GRE scores of 153 for verbal and 144 for quantitative. Lower scores do not necessarily prevent you from getting accepted and higher scores do not necessarily mean you will get accepted. Scores are important but we look at the entire application when making our decisions.

If you have further questions, please email to

If you have questions about the university admissions process, please visit the UNM Office of Admissions


Doctoral Admission Standards

The admissions standards for the joint doctoral program are comparable to other geography Ph.D. programs. The following standards apply to all applicants:  

  • Applicants must have earned a grade-point average of at least 3.25 in prior graduate work.

Exceptions to these standards may be approved, if there is clear and sufficient justification for an exception.

Application Requirements

You will need to provide:

  1. Official transcripts from all colleges and universities you have attended.
  2. Contact information for three people who will provide a recommendation for you. You do not need to collect letters of recommendation from these people, who will be invited to complete their recommendations electronically.
  3. A letter of intent, usually 2-3 pages long, that describes: 1) your background; 2) your interest in our program; 3) your intended research direction; and 4) your post-graduation career plans. Additionally, in your statement, you should identify your proposed faculty advisor, and your proposed home campus (UNM in Albuquerque, or NMSU in Las Cruces).
  4. A current resume or curriculum vitae.
  5. Applicants for whom English is not a native language will need to provide current TOEFL scores (such as TOEFL, IELTS, or other).

You must submit your application only to the intended home institution.