Application FAQ

Dear Applicant,

Below are some frequently asked questions and answers applicants have while completing the application process.  Please let know if your question was not answered.


Q: When do I receive a UMID number?

A: A UMID number will be issued to you via e-mail within 5 business days of completing pages 1-5 of the ApplyWeb application. 


Q: Can my test scores and recommendation letters arrive after the deadline?

A: Yes. We will review your application once everything is complete.


Q: Will you automatically consider me for the masters degree if I am not admitted to the PhD degree?

A: No.


Q: I made a mistake in my submitted materials and I want to update them, how do I do this?

A: Unfortunately you are not able to update your submitted materials yourself.  ONLY recommendation letters if not submitted through the online system will be updated to your file.  Items that will *NOT* be updated:  resumes, CVs, statements of purpose, academic statements and any research papers.  Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate these requests after you submit your application as it will delay the processing of all applications.


Q: What is the minimum TOEFL requirement?

A: On the Internet-Based TOEFL, the minimum score is 84.


Q:  Are GRE scores required?  

A:  GRE scores are not required, but master's applicants are encouraged to submit GRE scores with undergraduate degrees from universities outside North America.


Q: Will my application be rejected if I don’t receive the minimum TOEFL score?

A: No, we consider all components of your application and do not automatically reject applicants based on a single criteria.


Q: How long are my TOEFL good for?

A: The TOEFL score is good for 2 years.


Q: If I have a test score that will expire during the application process, will you still accept it?

A: We will accept all scores as long as they are sent to us officially from the testing source, even if they will expire during the application process. We will not accept photocopies as official test scores.


Q: If my native language is not English, but I am studying at an English speaking university, do I still need to submit a TOEFL score?

A: If your native language is not English and you receive a degree from and English speaking university, then you do not need to submit a TOEFL score.  TOEFL scores cannot be waived.


More information about TOEFL score requirements can be found here:


Q: I don't have TOEFL scores yet, can I send them after I receive them and still submit the application now? 

A: Yes, please submit all of your other materials by the deadline, and let us know your scores as soon as you receive them.


Q: What are the ETS Institution and Department Codes?

A: For the TOEFL: Institution Code 1839 / Department Code 69


Q: Do I need to send transcripts to BOTH the Rackham Graduate School and the department? 

A: The Rackham Graduate School requires official transcripts (or “academic records” as referred to by some international schools) for each Bachelor’s, Master’s, Professional or Doctoral degree earned or in progress. You will need to: 1. Upload them through the application (ApplyWeb) 2. Send an official set directly to Rackham. Click here for information about transcripts:


Q: What should the Statement of Purpose contain and how long should it be?

A: This statement is about your academic and research background, your career goals, and how Michigan’s graduate program will help you meet your career and educational objectives. These are normally 1 - ½ pages single spaced. 


Q: What should the Personal Statement contain and how long should it be?

A: This statement is about your personal journey that has led to your decision to seek a graduate degree. These are normally 1 - ½ pages single spaced.


Q: How many letters of recommendation are required?

A: Three (3) letters of recommendation are required. Please follow up with your recommenders as needed throughout the process for timely submission of their letter.


Q: My recommender is having trouble or cannot submit an electronic recommendation letter, can he/she send a paper copy? 

A: Yes, have them e- mail the paper letter and recommendation form to the Graduate Program Coordinator in the department.


Q: Where can I download MSE Research Area Interest Ranking form for my application?

A: The MSE Research Area Interest Ranking form is included in the online application and is completed during application.


Q: If I fill out the on-line materials, including the application, letters, and statements, do I also need to send paper copies.?

A: No, you need only submit the online materials.


Q: What is the school and department code for your university and department? 

A: The University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School, Code #1839, and the General Department Code #1402


Q: What is the application deadline? 

A: Our application deadline for fall term Ph.D. is December 15, fall term Master’s is January 15. The winter term (beginning in January) deadline is October 15.


Q: Can my TOEFL be waived if I am getting a degree from a U.S. university? 

A: Yes, if you have a degree from an English speaking university, you do not need to submit a TOEFL Score. 


Q: What financial assistance is available? 

A: MSE PhD students are offered continuous support for the duration of their studies, through fellowships, research assistantships, teaching assistantships, or some combination of these.  All types of support provide similar funding with a monthly stipend, plus tuition, fees, and health benefits.  In addition to Department financial aid, applicants are also considered for various Rackham and College of Engineering fellowships, and are encouraged to apply for nationally competitive fellowships available from NSF, NASA, DoD, and other sources.  All support is contingent upon satisfactory progress toward the Ph.D. degree, and the availability of funds.


Q:  Do I need to contact professors before applying?

A:  No, we have a faculty-student selection system if you are admitted that is arranged after enrollment.  


Q: What are my chances of admission? 

A: We receive more than 400 applications, many from highly qualified applicants.  We are able to offer admission to only the very top applicants as funding is limited. 


Q: How many students do you expect to offer admission to for the upcoming term?

A: At this time, we do not know how many students we will make offers to, but expect it to be similar to past years. The numbers of offers are based on many factors, such as available funding, including fellowships, and the current pool of applicants.


Q: How do I know if I’ve submitted everything?

A: Please review the checklist for completing your application here:


Q: When can I expect to hear the status of my application?

A: The Admissions committee will review all applications and begin making decisions around the beginning to end of January and will continue making decisions through April. We will notify you via e-mail when your application is complete.  Please allow several weeks for processing. If you are missing pieces of your application, we will contact you via e-mail about the missing documents. Please contact me at for additional questions.


Renee Hilgendorf

Graduate Program Coordinator

Materials Science and Engineering

University of Michigan