Graduate Admission

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Prospective Graduate Students

The majority of SESE’s admissions are for the fall semester. Spring admissions occur under special circumstances. Graduate admission to SESE consists of the following application dates for full consideration of funding and campus recruitment activities. Applications are encouraged before these dates. Applications received after these dates will still be considered, but generally at a lower priority for funding and visitation:

January 15 of the current year for fall admission
October 1 of the previous year for spring admission

To be eligible for admission to SESE’s graduate program applicants must:

  • have a bachelor’s degree
  • have at least a 3.0 GPA
  • submit general GRE scores; exam must have been taken within last 5 years
  • demonstrate English proficiency via the TOEFL or IELTS, if necessary. More information regarding English proficiency and required scores can be found at

Most applicants will have a degree in an area related to the graduate degree they are seeking, although this is not a requirement. There is not a minimum score requirement for the GRE exams because scores are taken into consideration with the academic record and other materials as a whole. Meeting the minimum criteria does not guarantee admission to the program.

We encourage applicants to our graduate degree programs to contact faculty through electronic mail about potential research opportunities. Our faculty also attend international meetings prior to the application deadline, for instance the December American Geophysical Union (AGU) and the January American Astronomical Society (AAS) meetings. Applicants are encouraged to contact faculty ahead of time to schedule meetings with students, staff, and professors to discuss our programs and current opportunities.

Application Information

All application materials are submitted online via Graduate Admissions electronic application. The application consists of two categories of materials: those required by Graduate Admissions and those required by SESE. The application will provide instructions regarding the required materials which include:

1. Basic application and fee
2. Personal statement/letter of interest 

Uploaded via electronic application

3. Three letters of recommendation 

Students will be asked in the degree portion of the electronic application to provide email addresses for referees. Referees will receive automated requests to fill out SESE’s electronic letter of recommendation form where they can also upload a written letter of support. Once the electronic application has been submitted, students can send reminder emails to referees and edit referee contact info through MYASU. This can be accessed at

4. Official GRE scores

These must be sent directly from ETS to the ASU’s Graduate Admissions. The ASU Institution code is 4007. If a department code is required use 99 for TOEFL and 000 for GRE. Test results should not be sent directly to SESE.) For more information on the GRE please visit For practice tests, please visit

5. Official TOEFL scores

If necessary, these must be sent directly from ETS to the ASU’s Graduate Admissions. The ASU Institution code is 4007. If a department code is required use 99 for TOEFL and 000 for GRE. Test results should not be sent directly to SESE

6. Transcripts from all former institutions

Applicants must have one set of transcripts from every college and university from which you earned a bachelor’s degree or higher sent to ASU. ASU accepts unofficial transcripts as part of the application. This is the only way ASU will accept unofficial transcripts. Emailed transcripts are not acceptable. If you are admitted to the university, you will be required to send official transcripts to the university. For more information about transcripts please visit

7. Academic Record form

Downloadable Academic Record form: Word

This form is intended to highlight the coursework you have taken that is applicable to the degree for which you are applying. It is not a replacement for official transcripts and is required in addition to official transcripts. Applicants should fill out the academic record form as completely as possible. The form should be uploaded to the Academic Record section of the online application. If you are unable to fill out the form electronically, please fill it out by hand, scan it, and upload it to the Academic Record section of the application.

All documents which require hardcopies must be mailed to Graduate Admissions:

If sending by U.S. Mail:
Admission Services Applicant Processing
Arizona State University
PO Box 871004
Tempe, AZ 85287-1004

If sending by FedEx, DHL or UPS:
Arizona State University
Admission Services Applicant Processing
1150 East University Drive, Building C, Room 226
Tempe, AZ 85281

See the Graduate Admissions website for more details regarding application materials.

Additional Application Information

Prior to the application deadline, applicants are strongly encouraged to contact potential faculty advisors to discuss research interests and to explore research opportunities. Networking at an early stage can strongly enhance admission decisions.

Incomplete applications may not be reviewed by the graduate admissions committee. It is important for applicants to turn in all the required materials as early as possible.

Late applications will be accepted although they may not receive the same consideration as those turned in by the deadline.

It is the student’s responsibility to confirm that all materials, including letters of recommendation, have been received by SESE.

Graduate Student Admissions FAQ

How do I submit my application materials?
All application materials for the School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) must be submitted through the Graduate Admissions electronic application .More information regarding the electronic admissions application can be found at:

What materials will be required to submit to be considered for admission?
The Graduate Admissions application will guide students on the appropriate application materials that need to be submitted. These include the application and fee, personal statement (also referred to as letter of intent), three letters of recommendation, official GRE scores, previous coursework form, and official transcripts from all schools previously attended. International students will be required to submit additional documents. For more information, please visit

Who should I have write letters of recommendation for my application?
The most useful letters of recommendation will come from faculty members, instructors, or other individuals who have worked closely with a student and can comment on his/her research and educational potential. Letters from employers are acceptable, if necessary.

Do I have to pay the application fee?
Yes. All fees must be submitted by the student before the Graduate Admissions office will release your application materials for SESE to review.

Is there a special form to complete for financial support via a Graduate Assistantship?
There is no additional paper work to complete for financial support. All admissions applicants are considered for financial support. Generally speaking, most students accepted into our MS program are guaranteed financial support for their first 2 years by means of a Graduate Research or Teaching Assistantship (RA/TA) position. Most PhD students who already have an MS degree are guaranteed financial support for their first 3 years by means of an RA/TA. PhD admits without an MS are typically guaranteed 4 years of RA/TA support. Guaranteed support is contingent upon successful progress and good academic standing by the student.

What is the minimum acceptable GRE score?
The department does not set minimum GRE score requirements but looks at the academic record as a whole. However, your application will be significantly enhanced if you have high GRE scores.

What is the minimum acceptable score for the iBT?
The Minimum iBT score for anyone to be admitted into an ASU graduate program is 80. SESE does not require a higher score. Note that this minimum score is set by the Graduate Admissions Office, and SESE cannot review applications with iBT scores less than 80. See the Graduate Admissions website for more information:

What score on the speaking section of the iBT test do I need to obtain to receive a Teaching Assistantship?
SESE does not currently use the iBT score to determine eligibility for a Graduate Teaching Assistant (TA) position. Admitted international students must complete the spoken English SPEAK test to qualify for a TA assignment, unless the student received a 26 or higher on the speaking portion of the TOEFL. A score of 26 or higher on the speaking portion of the TOEFL provides an exemption from the English SPEAK test. Special English training is provided for students who do not qualify for a TA. More information about the SPEAK test, including the schedule for upcoming exams, can be found at the website:

Do I need to request ETS to send official TOEFL or GRE scores, or can I send a photocopy of my test scores to be evaluated?
You will enter your unofficial results on the Graduate Admissions electronic application. In addition, you will need to have ETS send official scores to the Graduate Admissions office before you can be officially accepted into the ASU Graduate Program. Please do not mail or email photocopies of your test scores.

If I send my application information in an email, can I receive a pre-evaluation to see if I am eligible to apply?
We receive many inquiries and applications; therefore, we are not able to preview your scores to determine your eligibility to apply or make suggestions on your credentials.

How many students will you admit this year?
Admissions are based on the number of TA and RA spots available; however, we typically enroll around 20 to 25 students each fall.

Do you accept applications from students who are transferring from other graduate programs?
Students coming from another graduate program will apply via the standard admissions process. The Office of Graduate Education has restrictions on how many credits students can transfer from previous graduate programs. See the transfer credit portion of the Office of Graduate Education’s policies and procedures guide for more information regarding transfer limitations:

Do I need to send official transcripts to both the Graduate College and SESE?
No. Official transcripts must only be sent to the Graduate Admissions office.

I missed the deadline for application. Can I still apply?
Applications received after the deadline for fall admission may be reviewed and considered; however, we cannot guarantee that the application will receive the same consideration as if it was sent on time. In addition, the applicant may not be eligible for special scholarships or fellowships. International students must consider important dates for the issuance of immigration documents. Please refer to the following website for this information:

Do all supporting documents need to be submitted by the deadline date?
Supporting documents may be submitted after the deadline; however, preference is given to applicants whose files are complete by the application date.

Should I contact individual professors to see if they will consider me for their research group?
Absolutely, yes! SESE has a graduate committee who reviews applications as a group; however, admissions are often based on recommendations by individual faculty members who have been in communication with the applicants. Therefore, students who have made contact with prospective faculty advisors before the admissions process begins may enhance their chances of being admitted.

Where can I find information about the Graduate Admissions application, and how do I contact them if I have a question?
General information on the Graduate Admissions application can be found on their website:

When will a decision be made on my application?
The School of Earth and Space Exploration admissions committee will review applications for fall beginning the previous December. Recommendations for admissions will begin in January and continue through April.

I am an international student, when should I submit the Financial Guarantee Form?
The Financial Guarantee form should be submitted only if you are accepted to a graduate program. The Office of Graduate Education will send information on completing this form with their official admissions notification.

For questions regarding official documents and other Graduate Admissions requirements, see the website:

Please direct your unanswered questions to the SESE Academic Programs Office at