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How to Apply


Applications for Fall admission to the American Culture doctoral program are accepted from September to December 1 in the year preceding admission. All material must be received before the application process is closed on December 1.

Early submission is encouraged and may avoid unnecessary delays in processing your application.

Your completed online application and supporting documents (including academic records/transcripts, test scores, and letters of recommendation) should be submitted early enough to arrive two to three weeks prior to the December 1st deadline.

The application process is jointly administered by American Culture and the Horace H. Rackham School for Graduate Studies. Applicants should be familiar with the policies and procedures described on this website before beginning the application. Applicants should also familiarize themselves with Rackham's website for prospective students as well as its admissions site.

Please note that some departmental policies take precedence over Rackham's policies.



The application for admission to the doctoral program on American Culture is completed online through the Rackham Graduate School website. The site is secure and it allows you to save your work and complete the application over time.

You must submit your application and pay the application fee or your application will be considered incomplete.

Academic Statement of Purpose

The academic statement of purpose is an important part of your overall application. This document provides you with an opportunity to summarize your credentials and your interests and to explain how your intellectual interests fit within the research interests of the faculty teaching in the American Culture doctoral program. Statements should be at least 500 words and should not exceed 1000 words.

Applicants should identify three faculty members with whom they are interested in working. Please note that faculty research fields/interests are included in their profiles on our website. Only core faculty members can serve as primary advisors and dissertation chairs for graduate students in the American Culture doctoral program. Students are not encouraged to contact these faculty in advance of admission to the department.

Personal Statement

The personal statement is not the same as the academic statement of purpose and should not repeat content already stated in your academic statement of purpose. Statements should be no more than 500 words.

In your personal statement, please describe how your background and life experiences including cultural, geographical, financial, educational or other opportunities or challenges, motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan.

For example, if you grew up in a community where educational, cultural, or other opportunities were either especially plentiful or especially lacking, you might discuss the impact this had on your development and interests. 

This should be a discussion of the journey that has led to your decision to seek a graduate degree. 

Letters of Recommendation

Three (3) letters of recommendation in support of the student's application must be submitted. These letters are ordinarily from professors at the student's last degree-granting institution. Recommenders must complete their recommendations online. When the applicant registers the recommenders' names in CollegeNet, an email is automatically sent with a link to enter the recommendation online. Applicants should check the status of their recommendations on the CollegeNet website status page. 


A Hardcopy of your Official Transcript(s) do not need to be sent to the Rackham Graduate School unless you have been accepted into our program. An electronic unofficial transcript should be submitted via the online application process.

Writing Sample

Please provide an expository writing sample as part of your application. We would prefer applicants to keep to a 15 page limit.

GRE Scores

GRE scores are not required and will not be considered in the application process.

CV or Résumé

List colleges and universities you have attended plus teaching experience, research, special programs, honors and awards, publications, and any other information you feel is applicable.