Admission season for our doctoral program in Communication and Media is currently in full swing and the department is gearing up to review applications from all of our exceptional prospective students around the globe! Our graduate program coordinator, Amy Eaton, has drawn upon her five years of admissions experience in the department to address a number frequently asked questions so that this year’s applicants will have a better understanding of the seemingly complicated process. Here we’ve listed some of the most commonly asked questions from our applicant pool, along with Amy’s responses:

Do I need a master’s degree in order to be eligible to apply to the program?

The review committee does not require that applicants hold master’s degrees as a condition of acceptance into the program. As long as you have earned a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. college or university accredited by a regional accrediting association, or the equivalent from an international institution, you are eligible to apply! The Rackham Graduate School determines the required academic credentials from non-U.S. institutions. More info for students with an international background can be found here.

How do I apply for student funding during the admissions process?

Five years of full funding is provided to ALL admitted students (domestic and international) making satisfactory progress to the degree; a separate/additional application regarding funding is not needed. “Full funding” encompasses tuition and a stipend for the academic year, and year-round health and dental insurance. Funding is also guaranteed for four summer terms, when students are not enrolled in courses.

If you are recommended for admission to our program, your offer letter will outline your funding package and we will discuss it at our Welcome Weekend event in March.

What are the minimum GPA and GRE requirements for admission to the program?

We do not have a minimum GPA or GRE requirement. The review committee takes all parts of an application into consideration and there is no score which will exclude you from being reviewed and assessed. However, applicants should know that the selection process is very competitive. You are expected to be well-prepared for study at the doctoral-level.

Do all international students need to submit TOEFL scores?

If you are a non-native English speaker, you must demonstrate English proficiency and are required to provide one of following official score reports: IBT TOEFL, Paper/Pencil TOEFL and TWE, or IELTS. Non-native English speakers, regardless of undergraduate or master’s education, must submit English proficiency scores in order to be considered by the admissions review committee.

The department’s policy on submitting TOEFL or IELTS scores differs from that of the Rackham Graduate School, so applicants are often confused about this component of the application package.

How many international students do you plan to admit this year?

We do not have a ‘set’ number of spaces for international or domestic admits. We will review all applicants and admit the best qualified cohort possible.

In recent memory we had a cohort consisting entirely of international students; we’ve also recently had a cohort consisting entirely of domestic students. Most commonly, our cohorts are a mixture of international and domestic students.

I sent in my transcript to the Rackham Graduate School and was sent a confirmation of receipt from the shipping company. Why hasn’t my transcript been marked as “received” on my online applicant profile?

Once you submit your online application, your transcripts will need to be 1) paired with your application package, 2) authenticated, 3) evaluated, and 4) entered into your applicant profile. This process does take some time, especially during November and December when most programs approach their application deadline and Rackham is at its busiest. You can help the Rackham staff by including your UMID whenever possible with any of the materials you submit and by submitting your online application and paying your applicant fee as soon as you are able!

Why should I submit my online application asap?

When you submit your online application and pay your applicant fee, you complete the first step to initiate your applicant profile. One you have an applicant profile on record, we can match any materials you had previously sent (transcripts, GRE scores, TOEFL report, etc.) to your applicant profile and we have a record in which we can input incoming materials.

I think of the process in this way: When you submit the online application, it tells us that you have moved from being a prospective student to an applicant and we should begin working hard to compile your materials for consideration. You might be surprised at the number of prospective students who begin an application but do not submit it.

One of my letter writers says that he/she cannot provide a letter for me anymore, but I’ve already entered this info into my online application and have submitted it. What should I do?

You have options, depending on how far along your letter writer is in the process. Instructions can be found here for those of you who have entered this information into the online application.

If you find that you cannot change this information in your online application because your letter writer is too far along in the process, simply send an email to and we will work with you to in-take a letter from a different recommender.

One of my letter writers has missed the December 1st deadline! What should I do?

First, remind them of the deadline and that the letter must be received asap. Second, send an email to to let us know that it’s on its way. After December 1st, when we know how many applications we will be processing for the Fall 2016 admission, I can provide you a specific deadline date extension.

To help prevent forgotten letters, please check the status of your letters of recommendation prior to the deadline and resend the notification email to your recommenders using the ApplyWeb Activty Page.

If your question was not answered in this blog post and you have a question for Amy, please feel free to email her at or call (734) 615-8974, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.