The UCSB Department of Geography’s joint PhD program with the Department of Geography at San Diego State University is distinctive in that it brings together two outstanding departments that complement each other. California State Universities do not offer stand-alone doctoral programs. The joint doctoral program thereby provides mutual benefits for two of the strongest research-oriented Geography departments in the US: The program increases SDSU’s attractiveness to their students by permitting them to pursue a doctorate, and, in turn, it allows UCSB to increase its exposure to a more diverse set of gifted students. Students conduct a majority of their studies at SDSU but are required to attend UCSB for one year where they will work more directly with their UCSB faculty advisors and take advantage of class offerings at UCSB that are not present at SDSU. This allows students to draw upon the strengths of two highly rated Geography programs.

To participate in the Joint Doctoral Program, applicants must be accepted by both the UCSB Department of Geography and the SDSU Department of Geography. For a description of and general information about the Joint Doctoral Program, refer to the following website:

Mailing Address

Department of Geography
University of California, Santa Barbara
Ellison Hall, Room 1831
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4060

Degree icon Degrees Offered

Address iconDeadlines
  • Fall Only: May 1, 2023 (by 11:59 PM PST)

Requirements Icon


  • Applicants must apply electronically via the San Diego State University application at by December 15 and complete the UCSB Geography Department program application at by May 1, 2023
  • SDSU will provide the submitted application materials to UCSB
  • Send official TOEFL or IELTS scores to both institutions. UCSB requirements are 600 Paper-Based Test (PBT), 100 Internet-Based Test (IBT) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) Overall Band score of 7 or higher (if applicable)
  • Applicants will submit the UCSB online application once they have been admitted to the program. Consult the Geography Departments at SDSU and UCSB for further, detailed instructions.