Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning

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. 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).

/ Apply

The application fee for U.S. citizens and permanent residents is $75, and the fee for international students 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.  For more information please see Application Fee and Application Fee Waivers.

/ Statement of Purpose

This is a vital component of your application. Your Statement of Purpose, helps us see that you can identify an important research question, are in conversation with the larger literature or planning trends, and can propose appropriate methods to collect evidence. Discuss the intellectual and planning challenges you hope to address in your doctoral studies – briefly noting any tentative dissertation research topics; outline methodological approaches you might pursue or skills you plan to build to answer those questions; and highlight any relevant research skills or experience you have that has begun to prepare you to pursue a PhD (but do not spend significant time on what is already in your resume/CV). Explain how you hope to use your doctoral education in planning and why the Urban and Regional Planning Program at Taubman College is the best fit for your career goals. Limited to 1000 words.

/ 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

Submissions of examples of work should support your statement of purpose and clearly demonstrate research and writing abilities. These may consist of published articles, writing samples, portfolios, or other writing samples. Writing samples are most valuable when you are the sole or lead author. Examples should be uploaded as PDF files with the online application.

/ Transcripts

Submitting your transcripts:

Step 1: TO APPLY, submit a scanned copy of your official transcript. Applicants must scan and upload an official transcript/academic record into the ApplyWeb online application. This transcript must display the institutional seal and signature of the Registrar or Recorder of Records.

Step 2: AFTER an offer of admission, submit your official transcript. Admitted students must submit to the Rackham Graduate School an official transcript/academic record, front and back, issued by the Registrar or Records Office for each bachelor’s, master’s, professional, or doctoral degree earned. 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.

/ English Proficiency Requirements

Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency unless they meet one of the criteria for an exemption listed below. Please contact one of the testing agencies shown in the following chart and have an official score report sent to the University of Michigan at least 6-8 weeks prior to the application deadline. The scores must be received from the testing agency no later than the application deadline. Language test scores are valid two years from the test date.  Photocopies and/or faxes of English proficiency scores will not be accepted. Please take note the minimum requirement is: 95 iBT.

Description of Test Assessment Provider Speaking Test Minimum Overall Score Submission of Test Scores
(ITP Plus and TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition)
Educational Testing Service Yes 95 TOEFL scores are sent by ETS electronically to institution code: 1839
Paper/Pencil TOEFL & TWE Educational Testing Service No 600 TOEFL scores are sent by ETS electronically to institution code: 1839
IELTS Cambridge, United Kingdom Academic version 7.0 Official IELTS scores are sent electronically to the Rackham Graduate School.

Taubman College does not admit students who have not met minimum score requirements. If you are close to the minimum scores outlined above we encourage you to retake the exam to meet the minimum requirement. Students who have submitted all required materials (including English proficiency exams) by the application deadline are given first consideration for admission. It may make you a less competitive applicant to not have your scores sent in by the deadline.

Rackham English Proficiency Exemptions

You qualify for an exemption from taking an English proficiency examination if one of the following criteria are met:

  • You are a native speaker of English.
  • You completed all of your undergraduate education and earned an undergraduate degree at an institution where the language of instruction is English only.
  • You completed all of your graduate education and earned a graduate degree at an institution where the language of instruction is English only.
    • If you completed a Master’s degree that was strictly research and no academic classes, that degree does not meet the exemption. This type of Master’s degree is generally awarded at a non-U.S. institution.
  • You are a current U-M student.

Please refer to the related Rackham webpage for additional information.

/ Undocumented and DACAmented Students

Detailed information about Undocumented and DACAmented Students for this degree program can be found on the related Rackham webpage.

/ Application Status and Evaluation

Checking Application Status

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 includes 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, and click New and Prospective Student Business.

For Applicants New to the University: About five business days after you submit your application, you will receive an email confirming that Taubman has downloaded your application from ApplyWeb. This email will direct you to set up your friend account.

  1. Go to the Friend Account Request Form and enter your email address.
  2. You will receive a confirmation email with a link to create your friend account.
  3. For more information, see the Information and Technology Services website.

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


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. IELTS or 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.

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.

/ International Students

I-20 / Visa

Immigration Documents for International Students: 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 Admissions at