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Ph.D. in Urban Planning

The Ph.D in Urban Planning is part of the Rackham Graduate School, (otherwise know as Rackham) which is a community of scholars, researchers, and students in over 191 graduate programs of study at the University of Michigan.

Important Dates:

Application Deadline: January 15
Intent to Enroll Deadline: April 15

 

Eligibility

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).

Application

Rackham online application

Admissions Eligibility:
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).

The fee for United States Citizens and those with permanent resident visa status is $75 (U.S. funds). The fee for non-U.S. citizens is $90 (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. Applications received without fees will not be processed. For more information please see Application Fee and Application Fee Waivers.

Statement of Purpose/Resume

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.)

Resume

A good curriculum vitae or resume will give us another view of who you are and elaborate your strengths and skills outside of the classroom, showcasing your accomplishments. In addition to your educational experience, student resume should contain professional experiences, other jobs you have held, a list of groups or organizations that you are involved in, programming languages or other computer skills you have, community involvement or volunteer work that you do. Think of your resume as another opportunity to tell us about yourself.

Personal Statement

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.

Portfolio / Examples of Work

Submissions of examples of work should support your statement of purpose and clearly demonstrate research and writing abilities. These may consist of published articles, papers, portfolio or other writing samples. Examples should be uploaded as PDF files with the online application.

Transcripts

Submitting your transcripts is a two-step process:

  1. Applicants will scan and upload an official transcript/academic record that displays the institutional seal and signature of the Registrar or Recorder of Records into the online application.
  2. 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. The official transcript/academic record must be received in an envelope sealed by the issuing institution. For more information please see Transcripts.

Letters of Recommendation

Three 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. For more information please see Letters of Recommendation Submission Options.

Graduate Record Examination Scores 

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required of all applicants. Please have an official score report sent to the University of Michigan (Institution code: 1839, department code 4401) at least 4-5 weeks prior to the deadline. GRE scores are valid for five years. There is no minimum score requirement.

If you have taken the GMAT or LSAT, we can use those scores in place of the GRE. LSAT scores should be listed on the additional information page of the online application. For more information please see Required Tests.
 

English Proficiency / TOEFL / IELTS

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. This exception does not apply if some classes completed were taught in a language other than English. 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).

Being a U.S. citizen or a U.S. permanent resident does not automatically exempt an applicant from taking an English proficiency exam; if the applicant's first language is not English, the applicant must meet the exception above or submit English proficiency exam.

All non-native English speakers must take either the TOEFL, or the IELTS. Scores must be no older than two years old to be valid. Non-native English speakers who have earned their degree from a university, where English is the primary language of instruction, are not required to submit a TOEFL or IELTS. The student must have attended the institution for a minimum of four years, and achieved a 4 year degree from that institution to receive a TOEFL, IELTS waiver. U.S. citizenship does not exempt applicants from taking the test if his/her native language is not English. Students only need to take one of the above listed tests. Taubman College does not admit students that have not met minimum score requirements.

TOEFL Examination (International Applicants Only)

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or Internet Based TOEFL (IBT) is one of the approved English proficiency tests required of all non-native English speakers. Information about the TOEFL/IBT 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 (Institution code 1839, department code 97) at least 6-8 weeks prior to the application deadline. TOEFL/IBT scores must be no older than two years old to be valid. The minimum requirements are: 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 minimum score requirements.

If you are close to the minimum scores outlined above we encourage to retake the exam to meet the minimum requirement. Applicants who have submitted all required materials by the deadline above (including English proficiency exams) are given first consideration for admission, it may make you a less competitive applicant to not have your scores sent in by the deadline.

IELTS Examination (International Students Only)

The International English Language Testing System exam is another English proficiency tool required of all non-native English speakers. Information about the IELTS including test dates and locations can be found at ielts.org. Please have IELTS send an official score report to the University of Michigan. IELTS scores must be no older than 2 years to be valid. The minimum requirement for the IELTS test is 7.0. If you have taken the IELTS exam and have not achieved the minimum score, you must continue to take the test until you reach 7.0 to be considered for admission. Taubman College does not admit students that have not met minimum score requirements. 

I-20 / Visa (International Applicants Only)

Please do not submit financial information at the time of application.

If you are recommended for admission and the Rackham Graduate School approves the admission, you will be notified by Rackham to submit the Affidavit of Financial Support for International Students along with the required financial documentation (i.e., bank statements).

Evaluation and Status of Application

Evaluation

Applications will not be evaluated until all credentials have been received and the application fee has been paid. Applications missing credentials cannot be guaranteed a review by the admissions committee. Eligible applicants are considered for admission on the basis of the following criteria:

  1. Quality and content of all previous academic education
  2. Evidence of professional commitment and direction, including statement of purpose, resume, letters of recommendation, portfolio, etc.
  3. GRE test scores / TOEFL test scores (if applicable)
  4. The number of openings available
  5. The suitability of the program to the applicant's area of interest

Using Wolverine Access

Through your Wolverine Access account you will be able to:

  • Verify the application information you submitted, including, portfolio, test dates and scores, and letter of recommendation that are received.
  • View the transcripts representing a Bachelor's, Master's, Professional, and/or Doctoral degree that are received.
  • Receive admission decision.
  • Update your address, phone number, and e-mail address.

Allow 5 business days, after creating your account, to verify that your application and materials have been received in Wolverine Access.

Checking the Status of Your Application Online

Applicants can verify application data and status online approximately 10 – 15 days after their application is submitted. The admissions office, will send an email to each applicant that include’s the University of Michigan Identification Number (UMID). You will need to use a login ID and password to confirm some personal data before viewing your application status. Student Service staff will try to keep all materials received current. However, please allow sufficient time for processing before contacting the office.

For Applicants Who are Current Students or Employees: Log into Wolverine Access using your existing University of Michigan Uniqname and password, click New and Prospective Student Business.

For Applicants New to the University:

  1. Create a University of Michigan Friend Account:
    Friend Account Request Form. Instructions for creating a U-M Friend Account are available on the Information and Technology Services website.
  2. Log into Wolverine Access:
    After you create your University of Michigan Friend Account visit Wolverine Access and click New and Prospective Student Business. You will be asked to enter the e-mail address and password for your University of Michigan Friend Account. Next you will enter your University of Michigan ID number and birth date.

Please allow 10-15 business days for your application status to update.

Notification of Acceptance

Applicants will be notified of their admission status by late-February or early March. If you are admitted, you will be able to see that you have been recommended for admission by the Urban Planning Program via the online web application status. Notification letters will be sent via email. Any scholarship award decisions made by the Urban Planning Program will be noted in the letter of admission. The next step is for Rackham Graduate School to review, certify, and process the admission recommendation.

Admitted students are invited to Preview Weekend, in late March: Preview Weekend is an opportunity for admitted students to visit Taubman College, meet faculty and students, tour the facilities, campus, and Ann Arbor, and attend Taubman College events. Further details are given in the admission letter.

Residency Classification

Residency Classification Guidelines have been developed to ensure that decisions about whether a student pays in-state or out-of-state tuition are fair and equitable and that applicants for admission or enrolled students who believe they are Michigan residents understand they may be required to complete an Application for Resident Classification and provide additional information to document their residency status. Please see the University of Michigan Residency Classification Guidelines.

I-20 / Visa (International Applicants Only)

Please allow a minimum of 2 -3 weeks from the date your acceptance, for the I-20 or DS-2019 to be prepared and mailed from our office using your preferred delivery service.

Questions

Contact Student Services at TaubmanCollegeAdmissions@umich.edu or 734-763-1275