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 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 2019 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

An engineering background is recommended but not required for the Robotics Program, although we have found that the lack of an engineering background puts students at a disadvantage as they begin their graduate studies. In general, our Admissions Committee is most interested in undergraduate and graduate academic performance, GRE scores, research experience, letters of recommendation (with 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).

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.  

Common questions

What undergraduate major do I need to have to apply to your program?
An engineering background is recommended but not required for admission into our program, with many students coming from mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science.

What can I do to to strengthen my application?
In general, our admissions committee is most interested in academic performance, GRE scores, research experience, letters of recommendation, and the academic statement of purpose. 

If I am interested in both the PhD program and master’s program should I apply to both? 
No. If we are not able to admit you to our PhD program, you will automatically be considered for admission into our master’s program.

Do you offer financial aid? 
Please review funding for PhD and master’s students.

What are your application requirements? 
Please review our application requirements.

What are the application deadlines?
The PhD application deadline is December 15, and the master’s application deadline is January 15.


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.