FAQs

How can I apply online?

For both PhD and Master’s applications, please apply to UM-Ann Arbor through the Rackham Graduate School.

Step-by-step application instructions are listed here: 

PhD Applications 

MS/MSE Applications

I am interested in the Simultaneous Undergraduate/Graduate Program (SUGS). Where can I find information about it? 

SUGS allows outstanding current U-M students (with GPA 3.5 or above) to receive Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees after completing a minimum of 152 credit hours. Find out more here

Can I get the application fee waived?

(back to top)

Domestic and Permanent Resident applicants are eligible for an application fee waiver. This will automatically apply to your application.

Undocumented or DACA Applicants are also eligible for application fee waivers. https://rackham.umich.edu/admissions/applying/undocumented-dacamented/

There is a $90.00 application fee for international applicants. While very limited, in certain circumstances, International applicants may be eligible for an application fee waiver administered by the Rackham Graduate School. For information about eligibility criteria and instructions for various fee waiver programs, please see https://rackham.umich.edu/admissions/applying/application-fee-and-waivers/.”

Can I have my application evaluated without paying the fee?

We do not start evaluating applications until they are completed and submitted. For fee waiver information and eligibility, please visit the Application Fee and Waivers page on the Rackham Graduate School website

I am an international student. Do I need to have all of my transcripts, diplomas and certificates translated?

Yes, all application materials should be translated into English. For transcripts, diplomas and certificates, we also ask for the original copies to be scanned and submitted electronically together with their translated versions.

Do I need to mail a hard copy of my transcript to the Rackham Graduate School before the application deadline?

No, you do not. When applying online, applicants are required to upload an electronic copy of their official transcript and enter a “self-reported” GPA. Official paper transcripts/documents are only required if a student is admitted, and all such documents must be submitted by the end of the first term of enrollment. 

International applicants will be directed to a third-party website that provides a tool for converting their grades and GPA to a U.S. 4.0 GPA equivalent. (We understand that some schools also convert directly on their official transcripts.)

What counts most when you are evaluating applications?

When evaluating applications, we do a holistic review, where we look at the whole picture and every piece is important. This is why we wait until we have all of your documents before we begin reviewing your application. We recommend you clearly state your academic-related and other strengths/experiences in the statement of purpose and personal statement.

Is GRE required for admission?

We do not require the GRE for the Master’s program, We do not require the GRE for the PhD Fall 2024 admission cycle.

What English language tests are required for admission?

All international students who did not attend a school where English is the primary language of instruction must take the TOEFL, IELTS or other qualified language exam.

What is the minimum TOEFL requirement?

On the paper test, the minimum required score is 570; on the computer-based test, it is 230; and on the internet-based test, it is 84.

I’m an international student, but I am getting a degree from a U.S. institution. Do I need to retake the TOEFL?

No, if you will receive (or already have) a degree from a U.S. institution prior to enrolling at the University of Michigan, you do not need to retake TOEFL or another language exam.

Do I have to mail in my recommendation letters together?

Please do not mail us any documents. All of your documents should be scanned and submitted electronically, including electronic submission of the recommendation letters from your recommenders, who will receive submission links and instructions once you enter their email addresses into the online application system.

Who should write recommendation letters for me?

You can request letters from faculty members who have taught you classes or advised you on research projects. Depending on your situation, a letter from a professional might be appropriate as well. We recommend getting letters from individuals who know you well and can provide us with the best information about how you performed as a student, an employee, a researcher, etc. At least two of your letters should be from faculty. 

I’m thinking about getting a PhD but I’m not sure. Should I apply for the Master’s or PhD program?

The PhD program and the admissions process is more research-focused, and we seek outstanding applicants who will be advised by a faculty member towards getting a PhD degree on a certain dissertation topic. 

To apply to the PhD program, you do not need to have a Master’s degree; you can apply directly from an undergraduate program. This page provides more information about our PhD program and the curriculum, including U-M IOE faculty research areas.

Eligible domestic students from underrepresented groups who are interested in becoming a PhD student but need more coursework and research training will be considered for the Bridge Master’s program which serves as a pathway to the PhD program. The Master’s year for such students is fully funded and they take courses towards preparing for their doctoral studies. Please visit the Building Bridges to the Doctorate page on the Rackham Graduate School website for more information.

The U-M IOE Master’s degree, on the other hand, does not require completing a thesis; it is less research-focused but offers a rich variety of courses for each student on different topics.  Students are able to tailor their coursework around their interests, subject to certain constraints. Please visit the Master’s program requirements page for more information.  

We do have some Master’s students every year interested in pursuing a PhD after they start working on a research project and/or take IOE 590 (Master’s Directed Study) with a faculty member. Such students need to formally apply to the PhD program, and if admitted, certain qualified courses they take during their Master’s study at U-M can be used towards their PhD requirements.

What student groups do you have on campus?

We have many active student organizations and groups at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Check out the student organizations page for more information.

Additionally, there are many student groups and organizations at the Rackham Graduate School and at the University.

I am interested in learning what type of research is being done in U-M IOE? How can I find out more?

You can learn more about current research areas categorized by application area and methodology within the research section of this website. You can also learn more about U-M IOE faculty here by visiting their personal websites.

What should I include in my statement of purpose? 

This is a chance for you to show the admissions committee your academic background/strengths and why you are interested in the program you are applying to. You may want to talk about your academic achievements, research/working/course experiences, your motivation for pursuing a higher degree, your long-term goals as well as your specific areas of interest. For PhD applicants, we suggest that you include the research areas you are interested in and also potential faculty members you would like to have as your advisor. It is okay to include multiple names or areas.

What is a personal statement? 

A personal statement describes who you are and your background (not necessarily academic-related). Some suggested topics for your personal statement are: 

  • Volunteering and/or community service
  • Extra-curricular activities 
  • Leadership activities
  • Educational, cultural, geographic or socio-economic background that may be unique or underrepresented in your area of graduate study 
  • Financial hardship
  • Your history as a first-generation U.S. citizen or first-generation in your family to graduate from a four-year college. 

What about financial aid? 

PhD students

For PhD students, we guarantee four to five years of funding for the fall, winter, and spring/summer terms, providing full tuition coverage, stipend, and health insurance. 

The funding sources can be fellowship, graduate student research assistantship (GSRA) and/or graduate student instructorship (GSI). Further descriptions can be found on Rackham’s Funding for the Ph.D. Degree website. For the summer terms, some PhD students will be supported by their PhD advisors on a graduate student research assistantship while others may seek internships, etc. Summer support will be discussed and arranged between the students and their faculty advisors.

Your health insurance coverage extends through the summer in either case.

Master’s students

For Master’s students, a certain number of Master’s fellowships are provided each year to outstanding in-state and out-of-state domestic applicants who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The fellowships are decided on a competitive basis based on the applicant’s academic excellence and contributions to diversity. There is no separate application for this financial aid. The application for admission serves that purpose.  

All Master’s students can also apply for part-time jobs offered by U-M, or work as graders for some of our courses, to receive hourly stipends (subject to certain maximum work hours limits imposed on full-time students). 

Finally, although such positions are typically assigned to PhD students, some Master’s students may serve as graduate student instructors (GSIs) for some of our courses or as graduate student research assistants (GSRAs) who work with a faculty member on their research project, when/if available. The GSI position is determined based on departmental needs and the student’s qualifications to teach certain subjects, while the GSRA positions are decided by individual faculty members.

For more information about financial aid resources, externally and internally at Michigan Engineering visit this page about funding opportunities. 

When will I hear back the decision about my application? 

Both PhD and Master’s admission decisions are made on a rolling basis. All applicants who receive admission offers from us are expected to confirm their decision to accept or decline the offer no later than April 15. 

Our first round of decisions for both PhD and Master’s admissions is expected to be made in mid-to-late February. Once we hear back from applicants who turn down our 1st-round offers, we will continue making offers to other applicants on the waitlist.

I’ve been offered admission; what do I do now?

Please visit Wolverine Access to indicate your decision. If you accept our offer, you will begin to receive email messages from the Rackham Graduate School, the College of Engineering, and U-M Industrial and Operations Engineering (IOE). Please look for these messages and review them carefully to avoid missing any required tasks or deadlines (which vary based on each particular student and their circumstances). We will contact you about registration deadlines and orientation. Please be sure to meet those deadlines.

What types of jobs do U-M IOE graduates usually get after receiving their degrees?

Many of our PhD students continue in academia and become faculty members at other universities. Some choose to work as research scientists or postdoc fellows in universities, national labs, government agencies, and various firms in industry. Others have joined the private sector, engaging in various activities ranging from consulting to entrepreneurship.  

The jobs that our Master’s students get after graduation vary and cover many types of industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, energy, supply chain, logistics, retailing, transportation and finance. The work that they do involves both data analytics and decision-making.   

We also have some Master’s students every year interested in pursuing a PhD after they start working on a research project and/or take IOE 590 (Master’s Directed Study) with a faculty member. Such students need to formally apply to the PhD program, and if admitted, certain qualified courses they take during their Master’s study at U-M can be used towards their PhD requirements. 

How do I apply for a GSI position?

The process for selecting Graduate Student Instructors (GSI) for the Industrial and Operational Engineering (IOE) department takes place semiannually. If you’re interested in submitting an application, please visit this link during the application period.
Several key factors are taken into account when making GSI placement decisions:

  • The department’s specific needs and requirements.
  • The preferences indicated by both the student and faculty members.
  • The grades that the student has achieved in the course they wish to teach.
  • Whether or not the student has previously served as a GSI, and as a GSI for the particular course.
  • Ensuring a quality learning environment for the enrolled students.

Remember, this is a competitive process, and meeting all the criteria does not guarantee placement. We strive to create an enriching teaching and learning environment.

For more information please visit this link.