Applied Geosciences Program Admissions

Applied Geosciences Program Admissions

Virtual information session

Program director, Dr. Yvette Bordeaux, hosts a virtual information session for students interested in the Applied Geosciences Program. This session features details about the online degree and our new certificate and individual course-taking options, a discussion around relevant environmental issues, and how the degree prepares students for their next professional move.

If you have a problem viewing this video, you can watch it on YouTube.

Application deadlines

You may apply to begin the online Applied Geosciences Program during the fall or spring terms. Your application portfolio, including all transcripts, must be received by the following deadlines:

Program Term of Entry Deadline How to Apply
Degree Program Fall 2024 July 1, 2024 Start your application via CollegeNet
Spring 2025 December 1, 2024 Start your application via Slate
Certificate and Course-Taking Fall 2024 July 1, 2024 Start your application via Slate
Spring 2025 December 1, 2024 Start your application via Slate


A typical student in the Applied Geosciences Program is a practicing professional with an undergraduate degree in geology, engineering, chemistry, math, environmental science, or the equivalent. Many of our students are established geotechnical or environmental professionals interested in the types of career advancement that require graduate-level credentials and skills, including project management experience and the specialized knowledge needed in order to obtain a Professional Geologist license. However, some of our students have just completed their undergraduate degree and are looking to improve their credentials before entering the field.

Applicants should have a solid foundation in the physical sciences including geology, physics, chemistry, and math. Although no specific prerequisite courses are required of applicants, the most successful students in the program are those who have these courses in their background.

Please note: Due to US government immigration regulations, international students in this online program are not eligible for F-1 or J-1 visas or for Curriculum Practical Training during the program, or Optional Practical Training (OPT) after graduation.

Application requirements

Since all required supporting documents are submitted through the online application system, hardcopy material other than official transcripts or letters of recommendation will not be accepted.* Please urge your recommenders to submit their letters through the online system. Please note that all application materials become the property of the University of Pennsylvania and will not be returned. Remember to retain a personal copy of your application.

*Unsolicited material will not be used for review.

Application materials checklist:

Complete and submit the online application. There is a $75 non-refundable application fee. You may submit your application fee online by credit/debit card.

Submit your current resume, which should highlight your professional, academic, and service experiences and interests. We encourage applications to include all positions held (including recent internships), degree and non-degree coursework completed (including certificates and MOOCs), as well as volunteer or community activities.

Your application will include essays addressing the topic(s) listed below. Responses may be as long or as short as you feel necessary. (Please compile your responses into a single document but keep them as separate essays.)

  • Degree students (3 essays):
    1. Please describe how your professional and academic background has prepared you to enter the online Master of Science in Applied Geosciences program at Penn.
    2. Describe in conceptual terms the curriculum you hope to pursue as an online MSAG student.
    3. How do you expect to apply the expertise you would gain in the online MSAG program?
  • Certificate students (2 essays):
    1. How will this certificate improve your skills and benefit you in your career?
    2. What has been your educational and work path that led you to apply for this certificate?
  • Individual course-takers (1 essay)
    1. How will this course improve your skills and benefit you in your career?

Unofficial transcripts from each post-secondary school you have attended need to be uploaded through the online application system.

Note: If you don’t yet have your transcripts and wish to work on other parts of the application while you wait, you can temporarily bypass the transcript section. To do so, upload something in each transcript slot such as a simple Word document that briefly indicates why the transcript isn’t there (such as “official transcripts have been sent to Penn” or “waiting for unofficial transcripts to arrive”).

Standardized test scores are not required for admission to the online Master of Science in Applied Geosciences. However, you may choose to submit standardized test scores, such as the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), in support of your application. Request that your scores report for the GRE test be forwarded to the College of Liberal and Professional Studies, using ETS institutional code 2986.

A strong command of the English language is necessary for successful study at Penn. Applicants whose native language is not English must submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores to demonstrate English proficiency. Please note that the TOEFL is rarely waived; therefore, we encourage applicants to take the test to avoid delays in completing the application. The minimum TOEFL scores required for admissions consideration are: 100 (iBT), 250 (CBT) or 600 (PBT). The TOEFL must be sent from ETS using the institutional code 2986. To locate a testing site near you or schedule an exam, visit the TOEFL website. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is also accepted and the minimum score for consideration is a 7. You may upload a copy of your IELTS test to the standardized test score section of the application.

Please note, the College of Liberal and Professional Studies is accepting at-home GRE and TOEFL test scores through the 2023-2024 admissions year. Please visit the specific standardized testing websites for exam options in your home country.

Upon review of an applicant's file, the Admissions Committee reserves the right to request TOEFL scores. 

  • Degree applicants are required to submit two letters of recommendation.
  • Certificate students and individual course-takers are required to submit one letter of recommendation.

Letters should come from individuals in a position to evaluate your professional and/or academic work, such as a supervisor or professor, and who know of your desire to study geoscience at the advanced level. Recommendations may be submitted online (preferred) or by mail. For online recommendations, please follow the instructions in the Recommendations section of the online application.

Applicants who have attended a college or university outside the US are required to have a course-by-course credential evaluation (with grade point average and course levels) performed by an outside evaluation service. Credential evaluations will be reviewed by our administrators, and the determination of degree equivalency to US degrees is at the discretion of the College of Liberal and Professional Studies. The following evaluation service is acceptable:

World Education Services Inc. (WES): WES must complete a course-by-course evaluation of all post-secondary credentials. The course-by-course evaluation should include the comparability level of your education and list each of your courses along with the equivalent US marks and credit. Please select the WES basic course-by-course evaluation (with grade point average and course levels) and request that WES send your evaluation to Penn College of Liberal and Professional Studies Admissions. The school can be found by searching the University of Pennsylvania and then selecting College of Liberal and Professional Studies. The evaluation becomes an official academic record and sole property of the University upon its receipt. For additional information about the WES application and their review process, please visit the WES website.

Please note that these services charge a fee for the evaluation.

Penn Book Required Disclosures

System requirements

Confirm all computer technology is up to date and meets system requirements. Review current system requirements for all online students.

The Master of Science in Applied Geosciences degree is offered by the University of Pennsylvania, an institution of higher education authorized to confer degrees and certificates conferring academic credit under applicable laws of the United States. Students who are interested in participating in the program from countries other than the United States are advised that each jurisdiction may have its own laws and regulations governing online educational programs, and some jurisdictions may not recognize course credit or an online degree awarded by the University as satisfying local requirements for professional licensure, employment qualification, or other purposes. Before enrolling in this program, prospective students should investigate their jurisdiction’s treatment of foreign online programs to ensure that participation in this program will meet their objectives.

The Division of Public Safety encourages all present and prospective members of the Penn community to educate themselves about the various types of criminal incidents occurring in the Penn patrol zone. Visit the Clery Act & Crime Reporting website for more information.

The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 requires the University to provide a list of student-related disclosures and policies, as well as information about how to obtain the required information. See the University of Pennsylvania Required Disclosures website for more information.

See additional information about Penn LPS’ accreditation.

A degree for your professional aspirations

A degree for your professional aspirations

See how our curriculum prepares you to accelerate your career.

Applied Geosciences Program information session

Applied Geosciences Program information session

Meet our team and learn about program features, curriculum, the application process, and more.

Applied Geosciences Program Virtual Café

Applied Geosciences Program Virtual Café

Join us on the first Thursday of every month for an online chat, hosted live from noon - 1 p.m.