Prospective Students

Welcome to our Prospective Student’s page, where you can find more information about the Earth and Environmental Science (EES) Program admissions process.  Whether you seek admission to the Geography Specialization or the Environmental and Geological Sciences Specialization, this website will answer many of your questions about the application process and provide you with some tips for crafting a successful application dossier.  We are proud of the diverse and innovative interests of our faculty and doctoral students, and we welcome you to explore our website and department blog.  If you live nearby or are visiting New York City, we also invite you to attend our Thursday afternoon Departmental Colloquium and Reception, which begins at 5:30 PM.

If you are considering applying to our program, please read the information below.  If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact Executive Officer Cindi Katz.

Admission to the EES Program is extremely competitive.  The Admissions Committee is made up of ten professors and four doctoral students.  Completed applications—including test scores and letters of reference—are due on December 15 each year.  The Committee considers completed applications throughout January and February, and admitted students are notified of their admissions status from February through mid-April.  We admit an incoming cohort of approximately fourteen students each year.  Every admitted applicant receives a five-year tuition fellowship, and a variety of additional five-year funding packages and other opportunities are available.

Completed applications must include the following:

  • An applicant statement
  • 2-3 letters of reference from current or former professors or others familiar with your work
  • A writing sample
  • Transcripts: undergraduate (and masters, if applicable)
  • Test scores: GRE (and TOEFL, if an international student)

For general information on the application process, please visit the Graduate Center’s Admissions Office website for Admissions Requirements.  For more information on Funding and Fellowships, please visit the Graduate Center’s Office for Institutional Aid.

Transfer Credits

A maximum of 30 acceptable graduate credits taken prior to admission to the EES Doctoral Program may be applied toward the degree provided the courses were completed with a grade of B or higher within an appropriate period preceding the time of application and are equivalent to comparable courses at the City University.  Transfer credits are considered after the student has passed his or her First Doctoral Examination, usually in the second year of study.

Fellowships and Grants

All students admitted to the EES Doctoral Program will receive full tuition fellowships for five years of study.  U.S. citizens and permanent residents are required to establish New York State residency to maintain full tuition coverage in years 2-5. Many students will also receive five-year Graduate Center Fellowships (GCFs) that include stipend/research support of $25,000 annually, or five-year Science Fellowships that include stipend/research support of a minimum of $24,000 annually.  All students whether U.S. citizens or not are eligible for these funding packages. The Graduate Center also offers Magnet Fellowships for a small number of selected students from historically underrepresented groups providing tuition and an annual award of $35,000.  Federal and State financial aid in the form of grants, loans, and work-study are also available for students who qualify.  A variety of other fellowships are offered by the Graduate Center including a limited number of Dissertation Fellowships for advanced doctoral candidates who are completing their dissertations.  Detailed information on these awards and other options for support is available on the Financial Aid webpage.  Students applying for admission are encouraged to apply at the same time for external aid for which they might be eligible, including National Science Foundation and Ford Foundation Fellowships.  Applicants from outside the U.S. should apply for their own government programs where they exist.


Additionally, the Doctoral Students Research Grants (DSRG) Program provides funds (from $500-$2000) annually on a competitive basis that students can use to fund preliminary summer fieldwork or to attend conferences. Other funding is available for travel and research through the EES Program, the Advanced Research Collaborative, and various Centers and Institutes at the Graduate Center.

Overview of the EES Curriculum

Doctoral study is a full-time endeavor.  Our students are discouraged from working outside the opportunities offered within the program while pursuing their doctoral degrees, though exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis on the recommendation of the Program Executive Officer (EO), Deputy EO, and/or the student’s advisor.  In the first and second years of the program, students generally take 3 courses per semester, including several required courses.   All students take The Nature of Scientific Research (EES 704), the Dissertation Proposal Workshop (EES 802), and two semesters of Current Issues in Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES 79901).  Additionally, Geography students are required to take Geographic Thought and Theory (EES 709).  Environmental and Geological Sciences students are required to take Earth Systems I:  Origin and Evolution of Earth and Life (EES 716) and Earth Systems II:  Earth’s Energy Networks (EES 717).  Including these required courses, at least 60 credits of approved graduate courses are required for the degree.

Recent Dissertations

Please see our Alumni page for a list of recent dissertations.

Job Placement

In recent years graduates of the EES Program have been appointed to faculty positions at University of Washington Bothell, Temple University, University of the District of Columbia, Bellevue College, University of Tampa, Portland State University, University of Houston, among others; and Post-Doctoral Fellowships at Dartmouth College, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Lamont-Doherty Research Laboratories at Columbia University, and the Miesel Research Group at Michigan State University; or are employed in a variety of organizations such as ClimateNexus, Winnipeg Arcades Project, Marine Resources Council, Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative, and NOAA.