Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Newton Horace Winchell School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Frequently Asked Questions and Helpful Hints for Applying

Application deadline is DECEMBER 15 for admission for the fall semester of the following year.

Please note that all application materials should be submitted online via the Online Application System, including letters of recommendation.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What if I miss the December 15 deadline?
    An incomplete file generally places an applicant at a disadvantage, and an applicant may not receive financial aid. If you know that you will not be able to meet the deadline, it is best to contact the Director of Graduate Studies and explain your situation.


  • If I am applying for Spring of the next year, do I have to adhere to the December 15 deadline?
    As the financial aid is decided for an entire academic year, it is in your best interest to adhere to the December 15 deadline.


  • What if I want to work with a faculty member in Duluth?
    Duluth has its own Masters program, and applicants for a Duluth MS apply directly to UM-Duluth.  However Ph.D. candidates who wish to work with a member of the Duluth faculty must apply through the Twin Cities and meet the same requirements.  More information about the Duluth geosciences department is available on their web site.


  • What if I don't know exactly what area of Earth Sciences I want to study?
    • You do not need to know exactly what you want to do for research in graduate school, but you will need to choose one of the formal 'tracks' (hydrogeology, geology, geophysics, biogeology).  When submitting your application, select the 'track' that you feel best fits your ultimate goal.  Through discussion with the prospective advisor, this can be changed upon admittance.   Only one application to the Department of Earth Sciences is needed.
    • Here are some recommended steps to help you think about your possible fields of interest and whether or not they match with what we do here at Minnesota:
      • Communicate with potential faculty advisors in advance to discuss research interests and possibilities. Examine the departmental web pages or other informational materials to read about faculty research interests and determine which faculty member(s) you want to contact. Send them an email telling them about yourself and asking questions about possible graduate research opportunities.
  • When you write your personal statement as part of the formal application, note as specifically as possible the geoscience fields in which you are most interested. We recommend that you also indicate the names of potential faculty advisors in your statement, so that you can be sure that the appropriate faculty members examine your application.