Application Deadline

Applications for fall admission are due no later than January 15th; Spring and Summer applicants should ONLY submit materials following consultation with the prospective major professor. For spring term admission, applications will be accepted July 1 through December 1. for summer admission, applications will be accepted January 1-April 1. (International applications have a shorter deadline; approximately 75 prior to the start of term in order to allow for visa processing).

Required Tests

Official Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores are required for application. These scores must be received directly from ETS. Minimum verbal score of 150 is generally required to be eligible for a Teaching Assistantship. Scores must be received directly from ETS. For Montana State University, the Institution code is 4488.  Geology Code: 0504, Geography Code: 2203

International Applicants

English proficiency scores with the following minimums: TOEFL (80), IELTS (level 6.5), or PTE (54), are required for applicants who are not U.S. citizens and are not from countries where English is the official language. This requirement is waived if the applicant has earned an undergraduate or graduate degree from an institution in the U.S. or if the student is from a country where the English proficiency score is waived.

Please see our International application process page for a list of countries where the english proficiency score is waived as well as more information on applying as an International student. 

Additional Admission Requirements

For additional required admission documents please see program website or view list of requirements in the graduate application portal. Incomplete applications cannot be considered. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that all application materials including letters, unofficial transcripts and scores are loaded during the application process. Please have official test scores and transcripts sent directly to the university.


We offer Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Earth Sciences with areas of specialization in Geography and Geology. Both areas stress independent thesis research with some supporting course work. All diplomas will say Earth Sciences, regardless of specialization. We strongly recommend that prospective students learn about the research interests of the faculty and contact potential research advisors directly. Admission into the department of Earth Sciences is dominantly in the fall semesters, however requests can be made for spring or summer admission.

Although we are a small department, our expertise spans many subfields of Earth Sciences. Our Geography specialties span settlement geography through bioclimatology to GIS and snow science, while the interests of our Geology faculty range from petrogenesis to paleobiology and from dinosaur taphonomy and stratigraphy to geomorphology. Our greatest faculty strengths are in human geography, surficial geology, dinosaur paleontology and snow science.

Theses produced by successful M.S. and Ph.D. students span these diverse fields. Recent graduates in our graduate program have conducted research in Geology and Geography which have expanded our knowledge of issues from GIS-based assessment of rockslide hazards to exotic species assessment in Grand Teton National park.