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PhD Admissions

NOTE: Staff will be out of the office in celebration of Thanksgiving from Wednesday, November 24 at 2:00PM to Monday, November 29 at 8:00AM. The Graduate Services inbox (mes-gradservices@umich.edu) will not be monitored during that time so make sure to submit questions regarding your application by then.

The annual application deadline for the Department of Middle East Studies graduate program is December 1. Applications for each admissions cycle are available from early September to December 1. The Department of Middle East Studies does not offer rolling admissions and considers applicants for Fall enrollment only. Complete applications are reviewed once annually. Late applications will not be considered once the file review begins.

Please email mes-gradservices@umich.edu with your admissions questions. 

Application Process

A complete admissions application to the Department of Middle East Studies for the PhD program must include the following materials:

Academic Statement of Purpose

The Statement of Purpose is the single most important item in the application. The purpose of this essay is to give the faculty a clear idea of a) why the applicant wants to pursue a career in Middle East studies; b) what Middle East questions or problems interest the applicant; c) how the applicant wants to address these questions; d) why the applicant wants to pursue a PhD at the University of Michigan. The applicant's statement should be approximately 2 pages in length.

Academic Records

An applicant for admission to the Department of Middle East Studies is expected to have at least a grade average of B+ in his/her undergraduate course work and some preparation in Middle East studies. Although it is important, the academic record is not the exclusive criterion for admission and other factors in the applicant's academic record are taken into consideration, e.g., a trend towards better grades or outstanding work or experience in the applicant's area of academic interest.

Submitting Transcripts from U.S. Institutions

Upload an electronic version of your official transcripts for each Bachelor's, Master's, Professional, Doctoral degree, completed or in progress, as well as any non-degree and study abroad transcripts, through your application acccount.

If you are recommended for admission, you will receive an email notification from the Rackham Graduate School requesting official transcript(s) for each degree you have received or that are in progress. 

Submitting Transcripts from Non-U.S. Institutions

FALL 2021 UPDATE: Prospective applicants are no longer required to send in their official transcripts to the Rackham Graduate School by the application deadline. Instead, please upload your official transcripts to ApplyWeb at the time of application. If you are offered admission and accept the offer, you will be required to send in your official transcripts at that time.

Review Required Academic Credentials from Non-U.S. Institutions for transcript/academic record requirements by country or region.Upload transcripts through the ApplyWeb application account:

  • Upload transcripts through the ApplyWeb application account:
    • Upload an electronic version of your official transcripts for each Bachelor's, Master's, Professional, Doctoral degree, completed or in progress, as well as any non-degree and study abroad transcripts, through your application acccount.

English Proficiency

Applicants whose native language is not English must submit proof of English proficiency that meets Rackham Graduate School's requirements for admission. For more information on Rackham Graduate School's English proficiency requirements, please visit: http://www.rackham.umich.edu/admissions/tests.

Writing Sample

Students should submit a writing sample (in English) that represents their best academic work. Typically, applicants choose a sample that shows their analytical and research skills in the subject in which they are applying to do graduate work. Samples should be edited to be 10-15 pages long.

In addition to the required English language writing sample, applicants may also submit a writing sample in a language other than English. Submission of a non-English writing sample is optional.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required for a complete application. While the Department prefers letters from faculty or advisors who are familiar with the applicant's potential for graduate study, letters from employers are acceptable. Recommenders are required to submit their recommendations electronically through the Rackham online application. 

Curriculum Vitae 

A recent CV should be uploaded with the Rackham online application. The CV should describe the applicant's education, work experience, research and teaching experience, professional affiliations, volunteer activity and community engagement, honors and awards. The CV should be no more than 4-pages in length. 

Personal Statement 

This statement should be uploaded with the Rackham online application and should address the following: how have background and life experiences, including cultural, geographical, financial, educational or other opportunities or challenges, motivated the applicant to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan? The statement should not exceed 1-page in length. 

Please visit Rackham Graduate School's website for more information on graduate admissions.

Admissions Decisions

Applicants will receive electronic notification via email. Office staff are not authorized to inform applicants of admission decisions over the phone. Applicants extended an offer of admission must communicate their decision to the Department and Rackham Graduate School by April 15.

Note: Applicants to this program are not required to submit GRE scores. GRE scores that are submitted will not be reviewed by the admissions committee.