Apply / Doctoral Studies
Application and Portfolio Deadline: January 15th annually
Please take the GRE test 6-8 weeks prior in order for test scores to be received by the deadline.
The Urban and Regional Planning Program is part of the Rackham Graduate School, which is the overall administrative unit for Graduate programs. Rackham works in conjunction with 19 schools and colleges to recruit applicants, administer the admissions process, and serve students through the final stages of degree attainment.
Admission to the Urban Regional Planning Ph.D. is normally limited to the fall term. (In exceptional situations, the doctoral admissions committee may also consider applications for admission to start the program in the winter term.) Normally, only four to five new students can be admitted each year. This number represents a small percentage of those applying for admission.
Applicants will normally possess a Master's degree in Planning or a related field (such as Public Policy, Environmental Studies, Geography, Social Work, Architecture, etc.). Applicants with other Master's degrees will be considered, as will exceptionally well-prepared applicants with a Bachelor's degree. There is no foreign language requirement for Doctoral students in Planning. However, work in some areas of specialization and on certain research/dissertation topics may require knowledge of one or more foreign languages (obtained either before or during Doctoral studies).
Non-refundable Application Fee
The fee for United States Citizens and those with permanent resident visa status is $65 (U.S. funds) . The fee for non-U.S. citizens is $75 (U.S. funds). The application fee is paid online, via credit card, before the application is submitted.The application is submitted electronically to the program of study and the Rackham Graduate School.There is no need to follow-up with a paper copy of the application or an additional application fee. Applications received without fees will not be processed.
Submit all of the following materials via the Rackham online application.
- Non-refundable application fee
- Statement of Purpose ∨
- Personal Statement ∨
- Official Transcripts (submit hard copy to Grad School) ∨
- Three Letters of Recommendation ∨
- Examples of Work ∨
- GRE Scores (required) ∨
- TOEFL (required) ∨
Statement of Purpose
This is a vital component of your application. Explain how you arrived at the decision to pursue doctoral studies in urban and regional planning, what you plan to do during the course of your studies, and how you hope to use your doctoral education in planning. In particular, discuss the intellectual and policy challenges that you hope to address in your doctoral studies, outline the methodological skills you plan to pursue, and briefly note any tentative dissertation research topics. (The typical length is 2–4 pages.)
The personal statement should be a concise, well-written statement about how your personal background and life experiences, including social, cultural, familial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges, have motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan. This is not an academic statement of purpose, but a brief (500 word limit) discussion of the personal journey that has led to your decision to seek a graduate degree.
Submitting your transcripts is a two-step process:
- Applicants will scan and upload an official transcript/academic record, that provides the institutional seal and signature of the Registrar or Recorder of Records, into the online application.
- Applicants are also required to submit an official transcript/academic record by mail or as an e-transcript, to Rackham, before the graduate program application deadline.
What transcripts are uploaded into the online application?
Applicants scan and upload a transcript/academic record that provides the institutional seal and signature of the Registrar or Recorder of Records into the online application. Academic records must show course work completed for a Bachelor's, Master's, Professional or Doctorate degrees.
Acceptable transcript/academic records:
- A Bachelor's, Master's, Professional, and Doctorate degree
- A University of Michigan transcript
- Provide the following only if requested by the graduate program: community or junior college, non-degree, or study abroad transcript.
What transcripts are not uploaded into the online application?
Do not scan or upload into the online application:
- Academic records printed from your schools website
- An evaluation provided by a credential service, for example, Educational Credentials Evaluators (ECE) or World Education Services (WES)
What transcripts are mailed or submitted as e-transcripts to Rackham?
Applicants are also required to submit an official transcript/academic record by mail or as an e-transcript, to Rackham, before the graduate program application deadline. Academic records must show course work completed for a Bachelor's, Master's, Professional, or Doctorate degrees.
Mail paper transcripts or submit e-transcripts to Rackham. Acceptable transcript/academic record:
- A Bachelor's, Master's, Professional, and Doctorate degree.
If you are currently enrolled in courses during the Fall semester (or quarter), do not send an updated transcript with grades for these courses after the semester/quarter has ended.
This method saves you time, effort and the expense of mailing the transcript/academic record that is required during the initial processing and review of your application.
An official transcript may be sent electronically by the Registrar or Recorder of Records using the institution's secure electronic submission system to Rackham at firstname.lastname@example.org. The requirements are:
- The name and title of the Registrar must appear on the transcript.
- The transcript /academic record is:
- sent by the Registrar and must be submitted in PDF format.
- presented with an English translation provided by your institution when the institution issues transcripts in the native language.
- not acceptable from a personal e-mail address.
If your Registrar requires a Rackham Graduate School address, use the Mail Option address indicated below.
Below is a partial list of institutions that provide official electronic transcripts:
- Cornell University
- Duke University
- Indiana University
- Michigan State University
- Pennsylvania State University
- Stanford University
- University of Chicago
- University of Illinois
- University of North Carolina-Wilmington
To ensure that Rackham can match your transcripts/academic records with your application, include the Transcripts/Academic Records Submission Form (PDF) when you submit your transcripts/academic records by mail. If you are unable to enclose the form, be sure to include the Attn line on your envelope as indicated below.
Rackham Graduate School
Attn: Transcripts/UMID# (if known) or Date of Birth (mm/dd/yyyy)
915 E. Washington Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1070
What transcripts are not mailed or submitted as e-transcripts to Rackham?
Do not mail or submit as an e-transcript to Rackham:
- A University of Michigan transcript
- A Community or Junior College, a non-degree, or a study abroad transcript
- An evaluation provided by a credential service (e.g. Educational Credentials Evaluators – ECE and World Education Services – WES)
What Academic Credentials are Required from Non-U.S. Institutions?
Review transcripts that are required from institutions located outside of the United States for additional instructions.
Letters of Recommendation
Three (3) letters of recommendation are required and should testify mainly to your academic and professional capacity and promise. Letters should be substantive statements from academics and professionals familiar with your abilities and accomplishments. Electronic submission of recommendations is preferred. You will be prompted to register recommenders using the Rackham online admissions application, enabling recommenders to submit letters of recommendation electronically to Urban Regional Planning.
One or several examples of relevant work by the applicant. Submissions should support the statement of purpose and clearly demonstrate research and writing abilities. These may consist of academic papers (from previous coursework), published articles, and/or a portfolio that are representative of the applicant's work and potential for doctoral studies.
Resume or C.V.
Please submit an up to date résumé or curriculum vitae with your application.
Graduate Record Examination Scores (required)
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Score Report is required of all students. Information about the GRE including test dates and locations can be found at http://www.gre.org. Please have an official score report sent to the University of Michigan at least 6–8 weeks prior to the January 15th deadline. GRE scores must be no older than five years old; recent scores are preferable. There is no minimum GRE score required to apply.
*Institution code GRE: 1839
*Department code GRE: 4402 (City and Regional Planning)
TOEFL Examination (International Students Only)
Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency and are required to submit one official score report. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores are sent electronically from ETS directly to the University of Michigan (institution code: 1839, dept code: 97). Official ECPE, IELTS and MELAB scores must be sent directly to the Rackham Graduate School from the testing agency.
Rackham Graduate School
915 E. Washington St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1070
Information about the TOEFL including test dates and locations can be found at ets.org/toefl. Please contact ETS (ets.org) and have an official score report sent to the University of Michigan at least 4–6 weeks prior to the January 15th deadline. Test scores are valid two years from the test date. Photocopies and/or faxes of English proficiency scores will not be accepted.
The minimum requirement for the TOEFL test is 100 IBT, 250 computer based or 600 paper based. If you have taken the TOEFL exam and not achieved the minimum score you must continue to take the test until you achieve the minimum score to be considered for admission. Taubman College does not admit students that have not met the minimum score.
The Rackham Graduate School's English Proficiency Exemptions
Applicants who have earned or will earn a Bachelor's or Master's degree are exempt from submitting an Official English Proficiency Score if:
- The degree was earned from an institution where the language of instruction is English, exclusively. Verification from the school may be required.
- The degree was earned from a country where the official language is English (United States of America, Australia, and England).