Welcome and thank you for your interest in applying to our graduate program.
While reviewing applications, we never decide based on single data points: we always consider the applicant as a whole. While high test scores can help in consideration, we focus on those we feel would be a good match at Michigan.
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, research experience, letters of recommendation (with particular attention to letters coming from faculty in relevant fields) and the academic statement of purpose.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
To begin completing an 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:
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:
- PhD Applicants: December 1
- MS Applicants: January 15
- Early to mid-March: Ph.D. admission/financial aid offers are sent via e-mail to applicants.
- 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.
Funding & financial aid
Please review funding for PhD and master’s students.
For applications for Fall 2023 and beyond, GRE scores will not be accepted with PhD applications. For applicants to the MS program, submitting GRE scores is optional. MS applicants are welcome to submit GRE scores, but they are not required to do so. Read more on GRE scores.
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.
- 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.
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.
If you need to determine your residency status, please see the Residency Clarification Guidelines, at the Registrar’s website.
Change of program within Rackham
If you are a current Rackham graduate student at the University of Michigan, you may apply to change from one graduate program to another within the Graduate School.
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 PhD program directly if you plan to pursue a PhD (If you do not currently hold a relevant master’s degree, you will earn it during the first two years of the PhD 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.
- Masters students are eligible for the same sources of funding as PhD students, however funding is not guaranteed.
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).
In addition, we hold an invitation-only visit day for PhDs, however:
- we are only able to invite prospective students who live in North America due to travel costs.
- we cannot allow prospective students to pay their own way to attend visit day, but they can arrange a campus visit at any other time.
- it is meant to be a two-way communication experience for both the student to consider Michigan and for us to consider the student.
- visitors will meet with several faculty and will rank them, in order to match with an advisor right when the student starts.
- most PhD offers will come from visit day, while other offers are driven by faculty interest.
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, 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.
How much does it cost to attend and do you offer financial aid?
Please review funding for PhD and master’s students.
How long does it take to complete the MS program?
It typically takes 3-4 (Fall/Winter) semesters to complete the degree but depends on how many credits are taken per term.
Do I need to submit GRE scores?
For applications for Fall 2023 and beyond, GRE scores will not be accepted with PhD applications. Applicants to the MS program are welcome to submit GRE scores but they are not required to do so.
What are the application deadlines?
The PhD application deadline is December 1, and the master’s application deadline is January 15.
If you have questions about applying to our program or about Michigan Robotics in general, please contact:
Robotics Grad Program Coordinator
Additional information on criteria for admissions and degree programs is available on the Rackham Admissions site.