PhD in Geography, Planning, and Design Admissions

The PhD in Geography, Planning, and Design at CU Denver is the only doctoral program in planning, architecture, or landscape architecture in the state of Colorado. Since 1997, the program has trained students to become high-impact faculty members, professionals, and intellectual leaders in fields that address urgent social and environmental issues.

Applicants admitted to the PhD Program must already hold a Master's degree and will normally have completed the requirements for the Master of Architecture, Master of Planning, Master of Landscape Architecture, Master of Geography, or a related program. Students from allied fields are also encouraged to apply, and field specialization and background are open.

Application Information

Admission to the PhD in Geography, Planning, and Design program is competitive and based on merit. We do not admit students directly into research groups; all prospective students go through a single application process. If your background and qualifications are a good fit to the current needs and interests of the program’s faculty, they may accept you with funding from one of their research projects. In your statement of interest, please be sure to describe your research interests and skills, as they will be important for determining whether you receive an offer of admission. GRE scores are not required for admission.

Consistent with the University requirements, applications are evaluated on previous work/life experience, research interests and abilities, prior academic success, and, where applicable, Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores. Applicants whose native language is not English must take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam, or have a graduate degree from a university in the U.S. or another English-speaking country.

For more information, please visit our International Admissions office.

Application Deadline

Fall 2025

Applications Open:
August 1

Applications Close:
December 15 for International Applicants
January 15 for Domestic Applicants

*Please note all application materials including letters of recommendation, domestic transcripts, ECE Evaluations (if applicable), and English language proficiency scores (if applicable) must be received by the deadline.

Application Requirements

  • Online Application
  • Application Fee
  • Three Letters of Recommendation: You will submit the contact information in your application for three instructors or other professionals who can attest to your potential for our PhD program. They will receive an email from CU Denver with a link to upload their letters directly to your application.
  • Examples of previous research and written works
  • Transcript(s):
    • Domestic transcripts: Transcripts from each institution you have attended, except for study abroad courses, should be sent to the following:
      • Electronic Transcripts:
      • Mailing Address:
        College of Architecture and Planning
        University of Colorado Denver
        Campus Box 126
        P.O. Box 173364
        Denver, CO 80217-3364
    • International transcripts: An International Credential Evaluation Report is required for any applicant who attended one or more academic institution(s) located outside the United States. All international credentials from the academic institution(s) located outside the United States will need to be verified for authenticity and evaluated by CU Denver or an external evaluation provider (ECE or WES). If you have questions about international transcript reviews, please contact our International Admissions office at or visit their website for more information: CU Denver International Admissions Office.
      • Applicants for the Fall 2024 term will have the option of choosing: CU Denver to authenticate and evaluate your credentials in-house. ECE or WES to authenticate and provide a credential evaluation report directly to CU Denver. (Applicant will pay the cost of the evaluation fee. 
      • Students who are admitted and enrolled in the program will be required to subsequently submit official college transcripts to the International Admissions office at
  • Statement of Personal and Professional Goals (Statement of Purpose)
  • Scores of Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for non-U.S. residents whose native language is other than English. For more information, please visit our International Admissions office 
  • Students admitted into this program must have completed a Master’s degree before they will be able to begin this program. An official conferred degree transcript is required by the university.

Did You Know?

Nearly all accepted students receive multi-year financial packages that cover some or all tuition and fees and a living stipend. PhD students also have opportunities to teach their own courses or work as research or teaching assistants alongside faculty from the college and across the university.

Current students are funded by grants and contracts from agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the U.S. Forest Service, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, the Babbitt CenterDenver Housing Authority (DHA), the Water Research Foundation, and the Gates Family Foundation.

The doctoral program also provides two additional internal funding opportunities:

  • $5,000 Dissertation Completion Fellowships for candidates in the dissertation phase
  • $1,000 Conference Travel Fellowships for students/candidates presenting papers at national conferences

In-State Tuition is available to Western state residents.

CAP has WICHE-WRGP (Western Regional Graduate Program) status. This means that students who are residents of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming, and the U.S. Pacific Territories and Freely Associated States are granted in-state tuition.

Learn more about WICHE-WRGP for Graduate Students >>


Meet Our PhD Students

Our students come from diverse educational and professional backgrounds, but one thing they have in common is a shared interest in using critical and engaged research to assess the relationship between communities and the built and natural environment. We empower students with both academic and non-academic aspirations to become the next generation of interdisciplinary researchers, scientists, analysts, and decision-makers.

Contact Us!

Want to learn more about our PhD program, have questions about applying, and/or want to visit us on campus? Meet Advising and Admissions team.
Profile Picture Name Contact Information
Jeremy Nemeth

Jeremy Németh PhD

Professor and Director of the PhD in Geography, Planning, and Design

Jodi Stock

Manager of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment
for Graduate Programs

College of Architecture and Planning

CU Denver

CU Denver Building

1250 14th Street


Denver, CO 80202


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