Applying to the Graduate Program


Applicants to the M.S. and Ph.D. programs can focus on one of two research areas:

Financial Support

Funding decisions are made on a separate basis from admission, so it is possible to be admitted, but not funded for graduate study. All applicants who receive unconditional admission are automatically considered for a potential teaching appointment as part of the application process.

Teaching Assistantships include a nine-month stipend of $14,000 for M.S. students and $16,000 for Ph.D. students, and a waiver of full-time university tuition (up to 10 credit hours per semester). The value of the stipend plus university tuition waiver is currently $23,648 each year for MS students and $25,648 for PhD students.  PhD students are also typically offered at least $2750 in additional summer support. Also included for all TAs is an exemption from all instructional and out-of-state fees. Historically, in addition to the stipend and tuition waiver, the University has been able to provide graduate assistant students with a partial health insurance credit of 70% to be applied toward the health insurance plan for graduate assistant students offered through Kent State University.  

As part of the application process for a University Teaching Assistantship, we may conduct phone interviews for any applicants with degrees exclusively from non-English speaking programs or whose native language is not English to determine their suitability for a teaching appointment.

Application Requirements

Unconditional Admission Requirements

Applicants with unconditional admission are eligible to receive departmental funding starting in their first year. All applications are evaluated on a range of admission criteria:

  • Applicants with a U.S. Bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent) as their highest degree should apply to the M.S. program.
  • Applicants with a U.S. thesis-based Master’s degree (or its equivalent) as their highest degree should apply to the Ph.D. program.
  • International applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency as documented by the TOEFL exam. The TOEFL exam is required for any applicants with degrees which are exclusively from non-English speaking programs or whose native language is not English. See below for additional information.
  • Grade point average (GPA) of 3.000 or greater on a 4.000 scale for all degrees or academic work in which the applicant was enrolled. A weighted average GPA will be calculated for all coursework that was conducted at multiple institutions at the same academic level. If the average GPA you earned from your prior institutions was calculated on a different scale, it will be converted to a 4.0 scale by the Division of Graduate Studies or the Office of Global Education as appropriate during the application process.
  • Applicants who are still enrolled at the time of their application are required to submit final official transcripts at the completion of their degree program. Their admission will be conditional on receipt of an official final transcript (Designated "conditional admit transcript" on university correspondence).

Conditional Admission Requirements

Applicants who do not meet the minimum university and/or program requirements may petition in rare circumstances, for conditional admission. There are two categories of conditional admit – "academic conditional admits", which is determined based on GPA and transcript evaluation, and "language-requirement conditional admits" for applicants who do not meet the English Language Requirement. Undergraduate and Graduate GPA is calculated separately on the basis of all coursework at either the undergraduate or graduate level taken at all institutions attended. The Department of Geology generally does not make academic conditional admits for cases where the GPA of an applicant's highest degree is below 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, but will evaluate those files on a case by case basis. Applicants with a graduate degree GPA above 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, but with an undergraduate GPA below 3.0 on a 4.0 scale may be required to petition for academic conditional admission on a case by case basis. The department does not make offers of academic conditional admission for applicants with a GPA below 2.750 on any academic degree. 

Applicants who meet all unconditional admissions requirements with the exception of the university's minimum English language requirement can apply to the University's English as a Second Language (ESL) program at the applicant's expense prior to seeking admission to the Department of Geology. Successful completion of appropriate ESL courses at Kent State can be used to document proof of English proficiency, but does not assure subsequent admission to the Department of Geology, which is determined on a competitive basis.

Conditional admission will depend heavily on various indices of the student’s ability to handle graduate-level work. These may include:

  • A strong GPA in courses relevant to the major
  • Experiences that are clearly indicative of their ability to complete graduate-level work (for example, a strong publication record in a relevant field or relevant employment experience)
  • In the case of a language-based conditional admit, a TOEFL score generally within 10 points of the university or program English Language Admission requirement is needed.

Applicants who receive conditional admission are ineligible to receive university-related funding until the conditions of admission are lifted, which generally requires completing nine credit hours of graduate work with a 3.00 GPA or better in all classes enrolled, or demonstration of mastery of English. Applicants admitted by conditional admission are eligible to compete for departmental funding once they have cleared their conditions of admission, generally by the end of their second semester in the program.  

Application Timeline

All applications must be completed online. Applicants should generally apply for Fall term enrollment. We open the application process for Fall term on July 1 of the year prior to the start of the term. We usually make offers of financial support for incoming students to start their graduate work during the Fall term. Applicants who can provide their own funding are welcome to apply for entry during the Spring term. Students who enter the program using their own funds, satisfy any conditions of admission and remain in good standing can apply for departmental funding during the following Fall term. Please make sure to allow sufficient time for your letters of reference and official transcripts to arrive and be processed prior to the application deadline.

Applications for the Fall term can be started anytime after July 1 of the preceding year. Because of the length of time necessary to process applications from students with international degrees, applicants with non-US degrees should submit application materials by December 15 of the year preceding their intended year of enrollment.

To receive full consideration for financial support, all application materials must be submitted to Kent State University in sufficient time for the Division of Graduate Studies to process and forward the applicant's file to the Department of Geology by January 15 for August admission.

After January 15, applications can still be submitted, however we will have begun the process of evaluating applications and will continue to do so until all funds are allocated for the Fall start date. Applications must be completed online.

All application materials submitted are first evaluated and certified by the Office of Graduate Program Services or the Office of Global Education as appropriate. Please do not send any application materials to the Department of Geology as this will slow the processing of your file. Your application will not be considered complete and released to the Department of Geology until all application materials are received by the Office of Graduate Program Services or the Office of Global Education. An incomplete application will delay the decision process. Begin the application process online at the Online Application System.

Application Materials

A complete application includes all of the following materials as described in steps 1-6 below:

1. Online Kent State University graduate application

Applications for graduate school at Kent State University must be submitted online using the links provided below. The Department of Geology accepts applications for the Masters of Science (M.S.) in Geology and Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Applied Geology. The department requires all applicants for the Ph.D. to hold a US M.S. degree or its equivalent as determined by the Office of Global Education at Kent State University. US Citizens and Permanent Residents of the US should use the "Domestic Applicants" link below. All other applicants should use the "International Applicants" link below. If you have a question regarding which link or program is appropriate for you, please contact the Geology Graduate Coordinator, Dr. David Singer.

2. Statement of Career Goals

All applicants are required to submit a statement of purpose describing their current academic interests, their long-range career goals, and how they feel that admission to the graduate program in geology at Kent State will help them achieve these goals. Please provide your statement of career goals following the instructions provided in the online university application or upload your statement using the online application upload utility link provided in Step 4 below.

3. Three letters of recommendation

These are required as part of the KSU application process. The University will contact your recommenders based on the information that you provide on your online university application, however you may follow up with them to ensure a timely completion for your application. Please do not ask your recommenders to send their letters directly to the Department of Geology as this will slow the processing of your file. Letters should be submitted directly to the Office of Graduate Program Services or the Office of Global Education as appropriate following the instructions that are provided to the recommenders. Applicants should provide their recommenders with the your application I.D. to prevent delays when processing letters of recommendation.

Applicants should provide their recommenders with the recommendation form listed below. Applicants should complete the top part of the form before sending the form to the recommenders. The recommenders may attach a written letter as well. The completed letter of recommendation can be uploaded (by the recommender or the applicant) using the upload utility in step 4 of the application process.

Letter of Recommendation Form (.docx Word format)

4. Online Application Upload Utility for Supporting Documents

(Statement of Career Goals, Letters of Recommendation, Resume or Curriculum Vitae)

Applicants can use the links provided in the online application or this secure form to submit a statement of career goals, letters of recommendation, resume or curriculum vitae or other supporting documents. Letters of recommendation can also be submitted by the recommender using this upload utility. Applicants should provide their recommenders with the their application I.D. to prevent delays when processing letters of recommendation. If you submit documents using this utility, please do not mail them as well. You will receive an email notification when your document(s) have been processed.

Please do not submit official transcripts using this form. All official transcripts must come directly from a previous institution.

5. Official academic transcripts

Kent State University requires official transcripts for any academic programs in which you are enrolled and for all academic degrees that you have completed. All official transcripts should be sent to the Office of Graduate Program Services or the Office of Global Education as appropriate using one of the addresses listed below:

Domestic Applicants (US Citizens and Permanent residents):

Office of Graduate Program Services
Division of Graduate Studies
Kent State University
P.O. Box 5190
Kent, OH 44242-0001

International Applicants:

Office of Global Education
Kent State University
106 Van Campen Hall
625 Loop Road
Kent OH 44242 USA

6. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Scores (for International Applicants only)

The TOEFL or another English proficiency exam (completed within the past two years) is required for any applicants with degrees that are exclusively from non-English speaking programs or whose native language is not English. Foreign applicants who complete their course of study at an institution where the instruction is in English can receive a waiver of the English Language testing requirement under some conditions. Applicants who complete three years of high school or two years of university study from countries that administer classes in English, are also exempted from taking an English proficiency test. 

Please see this page for a list of countries or other circumstances for which a waiver of the English proficiency testing requirement can be granted. 

The University requires official documentation of the following minimum TOEFL or another English proficiency exam score completed within the last two years as proof of English proficiency. The Department of Geology prefers that applicants take the TOEFL internet Based Test (iBT) when available.

Exam Paper Based (pBT)   Internet Based (iBT)    IELTS      MELAB        PTE      Conditional Admission
TOEFL 550   79 6.5 77       58 Yes

An official MELAB score of 77 or greater or an IELTS score of 6.5 or greater are also acceptable documentation of English proficiency. Additional information can be found on the Admissions Office English Language Proficiency Requirements web page. Both the GRE and the TOEFL exams are administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

Information about these exams are available from the ETS website and the University's online application instructions. When taking the exam, please indicate that official scores should be mailed directly to Kent State University by ETS either at the time the exam is taken or by contacting ETS as described on the ETS website. 

The ETS institution and department codes for Kent State University are as follows:

Exam Institution Code
TOEFL 1367


Optional Admission Materials

7. Curriculum Vitae or Resume

Applicants are welcome to provide a curriculum Vitae or Resume, in pdf format, which can be uploaded to the online application during the application process. Look for the section that allows you to upload optional material. The naming convention should be your surname, "MS-GEOL", or "PhD-GEOL" and "CV" or "resume". File names should thus look like: "LastName_MSGEOL_CV.pdf", or "LastName_PhDGEOL_CV.pdf".

8. ETS Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

The Department of Geology no longer requires the GRE score as part of the application, but applicants who have taken the exam can optionally provide their scores to the University if they so desire. 

Contact ETS for more information about the exam or to register if you so desire.

The ETS GRE code for Kent State University is as follows:

Exam Institution Code
GRE 1367