We seek excellent, motivated students from a variety of backgrounds. An undergraduate degree and/or professional experience in the earth or planetary sciences is beneficial, but it is not a requirement for graduate admission to our department. We encourage applications from interested students with undergraduate degrees in any of the physical and biological sciences, mathematics, and engineering.

If you would like to join our department as a graduate student, please follow these steps to apply for admission. The deadline for fall admission is December 1.

If the application fee or the Dec. 1 admission deadline present a barrier to applying, please email Shelby Russell at [email protected] for a fee waiver or a request for an extension. An extension request must identify potential advisors to apply by 12/31.

Applications submitted after Dec. 1 are not eligible for the Vivien Thomas Scholars Program. The department is also an AGU Bridge Program partner with applications due March 15. 

Visit Us

You are welcome and encouraged to visit us. Contact specific professors to arrange your trip. Coordinating with the Bromery Seminar, other seminar events, Friday afternoon social hour, and student social activities is a good way to plan when to visit.

If you cannot make it to Baltimore, please contact your potential adviser to see if a Skype/Zoom meeting with relevant individuals could be arranged.

Relocation Funding

We recognize that it can be financially burdensome to relocate to a new city to attend a Ph.D. program. Students who are accepted to Ph.D. programs at JHU can apply to receive a $1,500 need-based grant to offset the costs of relocating to JHU.

These grants provide funding to a portion of incoming students who, without this money, may otherwise not be able to afford to relocate to JHU for their Ph.D. program. This is not a merit-based grant. Applications will be evaluated solely based on financial need.

How to Apply

Though not a requirement, we recommend that you directly contact the department faculty members whose research programs interest you.

You must prepare a graduate student application to Johns Hopkins University.

  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A writing sample. This can be anything you like as long as you wrote it (e.g., a term paper or essay you previously wrote for a course, a statement of purpose you submitted to another graduate program, etc.). We use this to assess your writing ability. There are no word count requirements.
  • Transcripts from all colleges/universities attended
  • GRE scores are not accepted for PhD applications to the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • Answers to the following four required (plus 1 optional) questions:
    1. What are the fields or topics in Earth and planetary sciences that excite you and why? Which faculty members in our department do you see as potentially providing guidance in helping you to pursue Ph.D. studies in these fields? (max 200 words)
    2. What research approaches (i.e. lab, field, modeling, theory), or combination of approaches, are you most interested in applying to your research? (max 200 words)
    3. What are your goals and motivations (personal/professional) in applying to the Ph.D. program and how do you expect coming to the Earth & Planetary Sciences Department at Johns Hopkins will help you achieve these goals? (max 200 words)
    4. What special skills, preparation or experiences do you bring to this program that will help you succeed here? Feel free to consider experiences beyond the academic realm. (max 200 words)
    5. (Optional) If you feel that your academic record and experience are not representative of your abilities and potential in graduate school, please let us know any details you wish to share. (max 200 words)
  • TOEFL or IELTS – JHU code: 5332. Scores of tests taken within the last two years are required for those applicants whose native language is not English. You can receive a waiver if you attended an English-speaking university in one of the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Botswana, Canada (except Quebec), Cayman Islands, Dominica, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Isle of Mann, Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Sudan, St. Helena, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Swaziland, Tanzania, Trinidad-Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, Zambia, Zimbabwe.  If there is another reason you would qualify for a waiver please contact [email protected].
  • Online application and application fee ($75, paid by credit card). Note: the EPS Department will waive the application fee upon request. If the fee presents a barrier to applying, please email Shelby Russell at [email protected] for a fee waiver.

If you experience problems accessing the online application, please contact the Graduate Admissions Office.

For additional information, email Shelby Russell at [email protected]. Indicate in your email whether you are applying as a U.S. student or an international student. Note that the application deadline is January 1 to be considered for matriculation in the fall semester.

Applicants’ files are maintained by the department, and admission decisions are made by departmental faculty committees. Inquiries regarding the status of an application should be made directly to Shelby Russell.