Contact Us

Department of Geology and Geophysics
1000 E. University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071-2000
Phone: (307) 766-4141
Fax: (307) 766-6679

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Graduate Student Applications

Who should apply

The Department of Geology and Geophysics seeks graduate students who are passionate about advancing the frontiers of knowledge in the Earth and environmental sciences. We believe that our field benefits from a diversity of perspectives, backgrounds, life experience, and scientific approaches and thus welcome and encourage application from all backgrounds, including individuals who are part of underrepresented groups in the sciences and STEM.

How to apply

If you plan on applying, please read this entire page. Here’s a quick summary of what you’ll need to do to complete a free application to one of our graduate programs:

  • fill out the university’s online application form;
  • create and upload a statement of research interests;
  • create and upload a curriculum vitae;
  • provide the names and contact information of three people who will provide letters of recommendation for you;
  • provide unofficial scores of the TOEFL, IELTS, or Doulingo test (international students only); and
  • upload unofficial copies of transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.

In addition, you will be required to submit official test scores and transcripts directly from the granting institution if we make you an offer and you decide to accept it.

There is no application fee

The department will pay the application fee for any student who applies to the MS and PhD degrees in Geology and Geophysics. If you nonetheless encounter an application fee during the process, please contact and let us know. We will resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

Application review process

We begin evaluating applications for fall semester admissions on January 15 each year. If your application is not completed by then, it may not be evaluated. We do not typically grant admissions for the spring or summer semesters.

If your application is short-listed, you may receive an invitation to interview, via Zoom, with the department’s Graduate Admissions Committee. At that time, the department may also invite you for an in-person visit to campus to help give you a sense of what it is like to live and work in Laramie and in our department. 

All short-listed applicants are considered for department support via research assistantships, teachings assistantships, and merit-based scholarships. Virtually all admitted graduate students are supported for the academic year and, in many cases, during the summer term as well. 

Offers for admission are made between late January and April 15 to the email address you provide on your application. If we are not able to offer you a position, you will be informed in an email from the Department Chair by April 15.

Completing a successful graduate school application

Below is guidance on how to navigate the graduate student application process, including advice on contacting faculty members and creating statements of interests and curricula vitae (CVs) that effectively convey the most relevant information about you. There is also information for international students and guidance on securing letters of recommendation.

Before you start, reach out to us!

Before applying, you should explore the latest research opportunities in the department and, crucially, reach out to faculty members who are engaged in research that matches your interests. All of us are on the lookout for inquiries from great students, so please do not hesitate to get in touch. 

Generally, a short, simple email that expresses your interest in a faculty advisor’s research is enough to get a conversation started. Most successful applications start with the student contacting a potential advisor months before the application due date. 

During the application process, you will be required to identify at least one faculty advisor with whom you want to work. If you do not identify a faculty member who is able to advise you will not be admitted. Contacting your prospective advisors in advance is crucial to finding out whether they have funding and are seeking students in the forthcoming admissions cycle. It will also give them a chance to answer your questions about: their latest projects; what it’s like to live and work in Laramie; and any other topics you are curious about. They will have questions for you, as well, and we advise that you prepare by reviewing the guidance on writing a statement of interests (see below). 

Writing an effective statement of interests

You will need to submit a statement of interests during the application process. Your statement should directly address all the points below without spanning more than two 8.5x11-inch pages of single-spaced text with one-inch margins and font size no smaller than 11 pt.

  • We seek evidence that you are passionate about research in your chosen subdiscipline. We also want to know why you think a research-based graduate degree will help you achieve your goals. To provide us with this information, please answer the following questions in your statement: (a) Why are you seeking a graduate degree in Geology and Geophysics at the University of Wyoming? (b) What knowledge and skills do you hope to gain from our graduate program? (c) How will that knowledge and those skills aid in achieving your long-term career goals? 
  • Graduate student research, coursework, and life in general involve a range of challenges. Please describe an instance in which you have shown resilience and/or perseverance in the pursuit of your academic goals or in your personal life and discuss how you have grown as a result.
  • The best researchers are often the ones who stay curious and are willing to question their own and others’ work in the pursuit of great science. Please describe an instance in which you exhibited these qualities while working on an academic or personal activity that you were excited about.
  • [Optional] Please add anything you would like to say in support of your application or anything that puts your application in a broader context that was not addressed in your responses to the points above.

Creating an effective CV

In academia, the preferred mode of communicating one’s professional experience and accomplishments is the CV, a format that highlights credentials in a list that can be several pages long. A resume, in contrast, highlights competencies in a succinct, one-page summary that is specifically tailored to the desired job. Please use the CV format in your graduate school application and be sure to include the following:

  • your education, including degree(s), date(s) received, and institution name(s); 
  • professional experience, including fellowships, readerships, and assistantships, with institution names and date ranges; 
  • scholarly honors including dates (examples include: magna cum laude, Dean’s List, and President’s List);
  • scholarly awards (e.g., GSA travel grant for Rocky Mountain Section Meeting and Outstanding Student Presentation Award at AGU Fall Meeting), including dates and amounts of monetary awards, if any; 
  • peer-reviewed academic publications, including dates, lists of coauthors, and journal names, with volume and page numbers;
  • academic presentations at regional and international conferences, including dates and lists of coauthors; and
  • relevant affiliations with groups you belong or have belonged to (e.g., AGU, GSA, and AAPG), including start and end dates. 

We also encourage you to highlight any relevant special skills, such as fluency in python, ParFlow, or Geochemist’s Workbench, for those pursuing research in Earth systems modeling. Additional examples of relevant special skills include: experience in sample preparation; wilderness medical or leadership training; fluency in a language other than English; experience in fixing or building machinery; and experience in tutoring or mentoring other students or coworkers.

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

The GRE is not required for admission into our graduate program. Any GRE scores included in application materials will be redacted and thus will not be visible to prospective advisors or the graduate admissions committee.

Academic transcripts

During the application process, you will be required to upload unofficial copies of your academic transcripts. Official copies will be needed later, during the enrollment process, if we make you an offer and you decide to accept it.

International applicants

Admission to the University of Wyoming requires one of the approved English language exams for applicants whose native language is not English. However, citizens of, and students who have earned a university-level degree from a school in, one of the following countries may be exempt from providing test results: Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia Dominica, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, Australia, Bermuda, Canada (all provinces except Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United States. If you are not exempt, you may submit scores from TOEFL (minimum score = 540 (76 iBT)); IELTS (minimum score = 6.5); or Duolingo (minimum score = 110). Your scores must be sent directly from the testing agency to be considered official. However, unofficial scores are sufficient to complete an application. Official scores are only necessary if we grant—and you accept—an offer of admission to the program.

Letters of recommendation

Our department requires three letters of recommendation for admission into our graduate program. We recommend that you seek letters from advisors of undergraduate or graduate research; supervisors of internships, academic assistantships, and work study jobs; and instructors of courses you excelled in. If you are having trouble finding a third letter writer, a coach of a sports team or a supervisor of a summer job can often provide useful context and insight on your work ethic and dedication, particularly if they can write about one or more of the special skills you identified in your CV. However, letters from Earth scientists in academia and the industry are generally most informative. We strongly recommend that you contact potential letter writers well in advance of the time you plan to submit your application, to make sure they are willing to provide letters for you. During the online application process, you will be required to identify your letter writers (names and contact information), and, once you click submit, the university’s human resources software will send them an initial note requesting a letter and then will follow up later with reminders.

Program in Ecology

Our department has several faculty members who are affiliated with the Program in Ecology (PiE). Students interested in seeking a PhD through PiE are required to submit a letter of interest to identifying which faculty member they hope to work with, and why they would like to be part of the program. More information is available here (

Hydrologic Science Program

The Hydrologic Science program in Water Resources/Environmental Science & Engineering (WRESE) grants PhDs in Hydrologic Sciences. Several members of the Geology & Geophysics faculty may advise students in Hydrologic Science degrees. Students who are interested in seeking a PhD through the Hydrologic Science Program are encouraged to contact an appropriate member of the Geology & Geophysics/Hydrologic Science Program faculty ( or the Hydrologic Science program ( for more information and guidance regarding applying. Additional information on admissions may be found here:

Application questions?

Please e-mail your potential advisor.

Problems with online application?

Call or email UW Admissions, if you have any questions.

Phone: (307) 766-5160 option 1



University of Wyoming
1000 East University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071

Contact Us

Department of Geology and Geophysics
1000 E. University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071-2000
Phone: (307) 766-4141
Fax: (307) 766-6679

Geology & Geophysics Logo

Find us on Facebook (Link opens a new window) Find us on Twitter (Link opens a new window)