Application FAQ

Dear Applicant,

Below are answers to some questions applicants often 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: Are you requiring GRE scores? 

A: GRE scores are no longer required to be submitted for the Ph.D. program application.

Q: Can I apply directly to Ph.D. from my undergrad, or do I need a master's degree first? 

A: Yes, you can apply directly to the Ph.D. program with only your bachelor's degree.

Q: What is the minimum GPA required to apply? 

A: There is no minimum GPA requirement to apply.  We are generally looking for those who have a 3.5 and above, but we welcome all applications as admission decisions are based on many factors and not a single component.  

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

A: Yes, but as close to the deadline as possible. We will review your application once everything is complete.

Q: Will you automatically consider me for the master's degree program if I am not admitted to the Ph.D. program?

A: No.  A separate application is necessary for admission consideration to the master's program.

Q: Is a master's degree required to apply for the Ph.D. program?

A: No, you may directly apply for the Ph.D. program.

Q: Is there funding available for master's applicants?

A: No.  Unfortunately, offers of funding are not included in offers for master's admissions.  Applicants should see out external funding options on their own.

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

A: Updates to your application cannot be made after submission and additional documents cannot be added to your file after submission.  Please ensure that your application is correct and all documents and information you wish to include is accurate at the time of submission.  

Q: What is the minimum TOEFL requirement?

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

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

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

Q: How long are my TOEFL and GRE scores good for?

A: The TOEFL score is good for 2 years, and the GRE score is good for 5 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 an English-speaking university, then you do not need to submit a TOEFL score.

 More information about TOEFL score requirements can be found here:

Q: I don't have my GRE or 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 your scores can be submitted after the deadline and after you submit your application.  In most circumstances, scores are needed in order to make a final admission decision.  

 Q: What are the ETS Institution and Department Codes?

A: For the GRE: Institution Code 1839 / Department Code 1502. For the TOEFL: Institution Code 1839 / Department Code 68.

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

A: A scanned/electronic .pdf copy of the official transcript should be uploaded with your application and will be used for initial review by our admissions committee.  You will be required to have your official transcript sent to the Rackham Graduate School only if you are recommended for admission. Click here for information about transcripts:

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 1-1½ pages single spaced, but keep it under the 500 word limit.

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 letters by the deadline.

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.

Q: If I fill out the online 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 U-M and department? 

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

Q: When 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: Do you accept winter term Ph.D. applications? 

A: Yes, but admission offers are based on endorsement and admission for specific faculty.  

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: What are my chances of admission? 

A: We receive more than 300 PhD applications and more than 200 master's 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: The number of students admitted in any given term varies.  At this time, we do not know how many students will be admitted, 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 check list 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 end of January and will continue making decisions through April. We will notify you via e-mail when your application is received and 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