PhD application requirements

General Information

For information about our program, please contact

How to apply

The Fall 2020 PhD application has closed.

***New this year*** The GRE is not required and will not be reviewed by the UMSI admission committee if submitted to the University of Michigan.

Application deadline

The deadline for applications is December 1 for the following fall term.

Application fee

  • U.S. citizens and permanent residents: $75 (U.S.)
  • International applicants: $90 (U.S.)
  • You should pay this fee via credit card when you apply online. 
  • For information about fee waivers and grants, please see Rackham’s policies here.

Application Checklist

Applicants submit the following items.

Statement of Purpose Essay

Your statement of purpose should use the following format.

 At the beginning of the essay, first state:

Essay should then address the following questions in 4-6 pages (double-spaced) in any order or format:

  • Describe prior research experiences, courses, or projects that have prepared you for doctoral study.
  • Explain in some detail the research area you would like to contribute to:
    • Specify at least one area, discipline, or method that you would like to learn in depth;
    • Describe one other area, discipline, or method that would round out the breadth of your knowledge and why it would be a valuable part of your education.
  • Explain why you identified the potential advisors you did.
  • Give an example of a research project you are excited about: one you have conducted, one you would like to conduct, or one that you have read about.

Personal History Statement

The Rackham Graduate School requires a "Personal History Statement" in addition to the formal Application Essay/Statement of Purpose described above. This statement should convey how your personal background and life experiences, including social, cultural, familial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges, motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree. For this statement, please write a brief (one-half-page to one-page), non-academic statement.


Upload a copy of your resume/CV with the online application.

Transcripts for Rackham

One set of official academic records/transcripts should be mailed by your undergraduate and postgraduate institutions directly to the Rackham Graduate School:

Rackham Graduate School
Attn: Transcripts/U-M ID# (if known) or Date of Birth (mm/dd/yyyy)
915 E. Washington St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1070

Only documents provided by the institution that awarded the degree will be considered official. Academic records certified by notary publics are not official.

Transcripts for UMSI

For your convenience, we offer the ability to upload transcripts within the online application allowing you to expedite the review of your application. This transcript will be considered unofficial. Our admissions committee is able to make a decision based upon your submission of an electronic transcript(s). When submitting transcripts online upload the front and back of the transcript.

Letters of recommendation

Submit three recommendation letters written by faculty members and/or professional colleagues who are in a position to judge your potential for success in the doctoral program, your aptitude for research, and your capacity to make a contribution to your chosen profession. If you were recently a student, faculty members are appropriate. Personal friends and family members are not appropriate recommenders.

Ask your recommenders to submit their letters online. Register your recommenders for online submission when you apply online.

Standardized test scores

***New this year*** The GRE is not required and will not be reviewed by the UMSI admission committee if submitted to the University of Michigan.

Test results for non-native speakers of English

Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency and are required to provide official score reports for the following:

Applicants who have earned or will earn a Bachelor's or Master's degree are exempt from taking an English proficiency examination if one of the following criteria is met:

  • You are a native speaker of English.
  • You completed all of your undergraduate education and earned an undergraduate degree at an institution where all classes are taught exclusively in English.
  • You completed all of your graduate education and earned a graduate degree at an institution where all classes are taught exclusively in English.
  • You are a current U-M student.

Example of not meeting the English Proficiency Exemption criteria:

  • You completed two years of an undergraduate degree program at an overseas institution (Fudan University) where the medium of instruction is a language other than English. You then transferred to an institution (Monash University) where all classes are taught exclusively in English and earned a degree from that institution.

Being a U.S. citizen or a U.S. permanent resident does not automatically exempt an applicant from taking an English proficiency exam; if the applicant’s first language is not English, the applicant must meet the exception above or submit English proficiency exam.

Please review our Frequently Asked Questions page or email us if you have additional questions about our application requirements.