Robotics Admissions Information

Welcome and thank you for your interest in applying to our graduate program!

Admission to the graduate program is determined by the faculty.  The Rackham Graduate School acts as the administrative body overseeing the admissions process. If you are interested in learning more, please fill out our inquiry form.  

If at any point in the application and admissions process you require help or clarification, please contact our graduate coordinator Denise Edmund at  She will help with your inquiry, or direct you to someone who can.

North Campus. Credit: Joseph Xu.

The University of Michigan Robotics Institute aims to bring together students, professors, and researchers from a wide variety of disciplines to work together to forward the field of robotics. Most students are passionate about robotics and excited to combine their unique backgrounds with those of their peers. Those who are most successful generally show a desire to learn the disciplines of robotics outside of their area of expertise and to collaborate.
The Robotics Program at the University of Michigan is growing and each student contributes to the direction of that growth. We are working to nurture an environment where the field of robotics grows through communication and collaboration between research areas and academic departments. As you write your personal statement, I recommend that you reflect on your experiences thus far, consider how they have prepared / motivated you to pursue an advanced degree in robotics, and  why you would like to join the University of Michigan Robotics Institute.

Mia Stevens, PhD Candidate

Master’s vs. PhD

  • Apply to the master’s program if you plan to end your studies at the master’s level.
  • Apply to the Ph.D. program directly if you plan to pursue a Ph.D. (If you do not currently hold a relevant master’s degree, you will earn it during the first two years of the Ph.D. program.)
  • NOTE: PhD applicants that are better suited to the master’s program are automatically given some consideration for the MS program as well.
  • All PhD admissions come with guaranteed funding subject to a student meeting their program deadlines. Funding includes tuition, monthly stipend, and health insurance. This funding can take the form of fellowships, research assistantships (typically to support research with specific faculty members), or teaching assistantships.
  •  Fall 2018 Admissions Statistics (incoming students):
GRE Verbal
GRE Writing

Application deadlines

Graduate applications are accepted for the fall term only. Applications must be complete by the deadline, applications received after the deadline will not be considered. All materials are due as follows:

  • Ph.D. Applicants: December 15th
  • M.S. Applicants: January 15th

Application Requirements

To begin completing an application, go to the Rackham Admissions Page.   On this page you will find detailed information about required application materials and how to submit them.  There will also be a link to fill out the online application.   After you have created an account, review the Rackham Graduate School Application Checklist.  

The items needed in order for your application to be considered complete are:

  1. Graduate Application
  2. Application Fee
  3. GRE Scores
  4. Letters of Recommendation
  5. Transcripts
  6. Academic Statement of Purpose
  7. Personal Statement
  8. Resume/Curriculum Vitae
  9. English Proficiency Test Scores


If you need to determine your residency status, please see the Residency Clarification Guidelines, at the Registrar’s website. 

Note for students applying to more than one degree program:  

You may apply to an additional program after you have completed and submitted the application for one program – you cannot work on two applications at the same time.  You must submit the application, fee, and some required materials including online transcripts, and letters of recommendation for each program separately.  Any materials you upload with the online application must be uploaded with each application separately.  See the Rackham website for additional details.

General Recommendations

In general, our Admissions Committee is most interested in undergraduate and graduate academic performance, GRE scores, research experience, letters of recommendation (we pay particular attention to letters coming from faculty in relevant fields) and the academic statement of purpose.  If you are applying to the Ph.D. program, we recommend that you contact faculty whose research is of interest to you. In addition to the quality of your application, our Admissions Committee takes into account the abilities of our faculty to mentor additional students in their labs. A Ph.D. applicant will only be admitted if there is a match of interest with faculty member(s).

An engineering background is recommended but not required for the Robotics Program. We have found that the lack of an engineering background puts students at a disadvantage during their graduate studies. We request applicants who lack an engineering background to take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), in addition to the already-required GREs. If admitted to the program, we advise those students to also take upper level undergraduate courses to lay the foundation for the graduate courses. The set of undergraduate courses is decided on a case-by-case basis and worked among the student, the PhD advisor (if applicable) and the Graduate Committee.

Admission Decisions 

  • February-March:  Ph.D. admission/financial aid offers are sent via e-mail to applicants.
  • Early-Mid March:  MS admission offers are sent via e-mail to applicants.
  • Late March:  Notifications to applicants who do not receive admission are sent.
  • Final decisions on admission are typically made by April 15.
  • If you are not accepted and you would like to apply for a future term, you must submit a new application.
  • An application fee is required for each new application submission.

Admission Deferrals

  • You may defer your admission for up to one year under the following circumstances: medical emergency, family emergency, delay or denial of a visa, or a natural disaster (earthquake or hurricane).
  • If your circumstances meet these criteria, please prepare a request to defer admission along with an explanation for the request.
  • You may request admission deferral after your admission has been finalized by the Rackham Graduate School.

Policy on transfer credit:

Graduate credits may be transferred to Master’s degree programs only. Generally, up to 6 credits may be transferred, providing they meet program requirements. Please refer to the Rackham Graduate School Transfer of Credit Policy for regulations for transfer of credit into the Master’s degree program.  

Correspondence and Information

If you have questions about applying to our program or about Robotics at U-M in general, please contact:

Denise Edmund – Primary Contact
Robotics Grad Program Coordinator

Additional information on criteria for admissions and degree programs is available on the Rackham Admissions site.