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The Graduate School of Geosciences (GSGS) was founded on 1 January 2014 as one of three graduate schools funded as a part of the Institutional Strategy of the University of Cologne with funding from the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments.

After positive evaluation of the GSGS by Prof Thomas Langer (Vice-Rector for Research and Junior Scholars), Prof Johannes Berg (Bonn-Cologne Graduate School of Physics and Astronomy) and Prof Andreas Speer (a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School for the Humanities Cologne) in June 2015, the Institutional Strategy Steering Committee decided to continue funding the GSGS until the end of the current phase of the Excellence Initiative (Oct 2017).