Applying to Hydrogeology at KU

For detailed instructions on how to apply for admission to the graduate school to study hydrogeology at KU,
please refer to the informational page on the KU Geology website.

To apply to the Graduate program at the University of Kansas, please use the following link:

Apply Now!

Before deciding to apply there are several issues students should consider.

  1. Do the research projects underway at KU match your research interests?
  2. Is there a faculty member I wish to work with?
  3. What is the funding situation?
  4. Are there advantages in getting my application submitted early?
  5. Can I visit the campus?
  6. How are grad students evaluated for admission?

Do the research projects at KU match your interests?

At any time there are several different research projects underway within the hydrogeology group at KU. These projects are summarized on the faculty webpages that can be found by following the links on the "People" page (see top menu). Review the projects in progress and give some thought to the ones that appeal. Have a look at any publications that pertain to your interests, and think about what you might do to further the research. Your ideas may help shape your thesis work. Regardless, this will make a strong positive impression on possible supervisors.


If a suitable research project is identified, the faculty member in charge will be a strong candidate to be your thesis advisor. It is a good idea to make contact with these faculty members and discuss potential involvement, and to become acquainted with the people you would be working with. Having a faculty advocate increases chances of admission and funding, especially if the faculty member has grant money for student support.


Financial support for students at KU is available as research assistantships (GRAs), funded through research grants held by the faculty, or teaching assistantships (GTAs) that are awarded by the Department of Geology. Fellowships (see applying early, below) and various supplementary awards are also available. Support begins at about $18K for 9 months and may be increased with scholarships available within the Department. Funding is awarded for 2 years for M.S. degrees and 4 years for Ph.D. degrees.

All students are evaluated for admission based on criteria related to merit, not available funding. Therefore, qualifying students who can arrange their own support through fellowships or scholarships may be able to take advantage of an offer of admission without financial support, and in this way increase the possibility they can begin their studies at KU. We highly encourage students with outside funding to apply and avail themselves of this opportunity.

Applying early

Applying early may help with funding your time at KU. We have here a full-ride, 4 year Fellowship for doctoral students with leadership potential and an entrepreneurial spirit. The Self Fellowship comes with a development program to prepare students for a leadership role in their careers after graduate school. Early applicants (November) can be evaluated for the Fellowship and guided through the application process. Decisions are made in February, so applications received after January 1 are at a disadvantage. Students interested in this opportunity should visit the Self Fellowship website and review the criteria for selection.

Applying early or even making contact with the faculty early is a great idea in general, since it alerts the faculty an applicant's interest and allows time to explore both research and funding opportunities.

Visit KU

Before deciding on a university for graduate work, it is highly desirable to visit the campus and meet the people. Students identified for admission, with complete applications, are encouraged to talk to faculty about the possibility of a visit to the Lawrence campus at our expense. The Department of Geology will contribute up to $400 toward the expenses of the trip. Additional expenses may be covered by faculty members, pending the availability of funds. If you can't make it in person, you can take a virtual tour of the campus.

How students are evaluated in the admission process

Students are evaluated on the basis of GPAs, GRE scores, and the more subjective criteria such as strength of reference letters, difficulty of courses on the transcripts, the quality of the personal statement, research experience, publications, and demonstrated writing proficiency. Not all applicants are strong in all these areas, but these are the criteria by which they are ranked. The top ranked students are the first to receive offers of admission with funding. 

There are no official minimums for GRE scores, though individual faculty may set personal limits. GPAs are generally expected to be greater than 3.0 to qualify for regular admission, but that is a minimum and most students are expected to exceed this minimum. In unusual cases, highly qualified students with GPAs lower than 3.0 may be admitted on probation, which grants them one term to demonstrate they can complete their graduate courses with a GPA greater than 3.5.

For general information about admission to graduate school:

Yolanda Balderas


Internationally recognized programs
Millions in grants and contracts for research
Generous financial support for students
Research projects that stretch to Antarctica, Greenland, and numerous points in between
Birthplace and home of Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology
A thriving field program that sends undergraduate and graduate students throughout the world
Industry recruiters who visit annually to hire KU Geology's graduating students
A top-ranked hydrogeology program
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
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