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Applying for PhD Programs

The Department of Women's and Gender Studies does not require the Graduate Record Exams (GRE).

Minimum Requirements for Admission 

  1. Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science or equivalent from an accredited institution
  2. A distinguished undergraduate record.
  3. For Women’s and Gender Studies and History applicants, evidence that the applicant can satisfy the foreign language requirement in the first two years of the doctoral program. Knowledge of one language other than English is required of students in United States history; for all other students, the requirement is two languages in addition to English.
  4. For Women’s and Gender Studies and English applicants, evidence that the applicant can satisfy the foreign language requirement in the first two years of the doctoral program. The requirement is one language other than English at an advanced level, or two languages other than English at a basic level. Both must be satisfied by coursework or departmental examination. Basic reading ability is equivalent to successfully completing two years of college-level instruction; an advanced level includes literary competence and is equivalent to three years of college-level instruction.
  5. Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency.

Women’s and Gender Studies reviewers look for the following when making their decisions: some Women’s and Gender Studies background and experience in interdisciplinary studies; outstanding grades; strong letters of recommendation; and a fit with the program in terms of a possible mentor(s). For information on our joint departments, please review the appropriate graduate website for English, History, or Psychology.

Applications are submitted to the Women’s and Gender Studies Department, but successful applicants are approved by both Women’s and Gender Studies and the other unit. In the past, we have typically admitted 2–3 students per year in each of the joint PhD programs.

Application Procedures

Applications to the Women’s and Gender Studies PhD Programs are accepted for Fall term admission only. Applicants will be notified of the department's admission decision no later than April 15. All applications and supporting credentials become the property of the University of Michigan.

Women’s and Gender Studies Joint PhD Graduate Application Checklist

Step 1: Complete the Rackham Graduate School online application. Please be sure to select the appropriate program code:

  • Women’s and Gender Studies & English Joint PhD: 02367
  • Women’s and Gender Studies & History Joint PhD: 02369
  • Women’s and Gender Studies & Psychology Joint PhD: 02371

Step 2: Submit the following to:

University of Michigan Graduate Admissions
Rackham Graduate School

  1. One copy of official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended. For more information, visit Rackham.
  2. The online application (includes upload pages for an academic statement of purpose, a personal statement, a curriculum vitae, and a writing sample).
  3. An application fee ($75 for U.S. citizens or permanent residents; $90 for international applicants).
  4. If necessary, TOEFL scores for international students.

Please Note: Do not mail any additional materials to the Women’s and Gender Studies Department, as we will automatically receive your online application materials and have access to your official test scores and transcripts.

More information on the required pieces of the online application:

  • The academic statement of purpose should outline your goals while attending graduate school.
  • A personal statement should describe how your personal background and life experiences, including social, cultural, familial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges, motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan. This is not an academic statement of purpose, but a discussion of the personal journey that has led to your decision to seek a graduate degree.
  • A copy of your resume or CV.
  • A copy of transcripts from each undergraduate and graduate school you have attended should also be uploaded with your application. Please note that uploaded copies of transcripts are considered unofficial, so you will still need to have official copies sent to the Rackham Graduate School if you are extended an admissions offer.
  • Three letters of recommendation should be submitted electronically through the online application system. You can find the letter of recommendation form through the online application.
  • We require the TOEFL for international students. The only exception to the TOEFL is for international students who have studied in the U.S. and/or who have received a degree from an English-speaking university.
  • The writing sample should demonstrate the applicant's research interests and academic capabilities. Ideally, but not necessarily, this means a term paper; an excerpt from a thesis is also acceptable. The average submission is 10-20 pages; all writing samples should be no more than 25 pages.