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Admissions FAQ

General Information

What Type of Program Are you?

We are a PhD ONLY program.

We do not offer Master's degrees. The Accelerated Master's Degree Program described elsewhere on our website is only open to current University of Michigan students completing a Bachelor's degree through the College of LSA. 

We do not offer online classes or distance learning courses. This program requires teaching and research commitments that will rival any 40hrs+ professional position.

Is your Clinical area program APA-accredited? 


Do you offer a Psy D program?


Can you provide me with information about your MSW program?

The Master's in Social Work is offered through the School of Social Work. You may visit their website here

Do you have a counseling psychology program?

No, we offer a Clinical Science Ph.D. program.

Do you have a program in school psychology?

We do not offer a "School Psychology" program at the University of Michigan. The Combined Program in Education and Psychology trains students to conduct research on schooling/educational issues. Some of Michigan's state universities offer school or counseling programs (see question below about "Are there other universities in Michigan...)

Do you offer online courses?

Our Ph.D. program does not include any online or distance learning courses.

Is it possible to attend your program part time?

No, we expect students to attend our program full time.

How long does it take to complete the program?

The program and funding package are structured for students to complete in 5 years. 

Would you mail an application packet for your Ph.D. program in psychology to me?

The best source of information about our Graduate Program is our website. Since everything is now on the web, we no longer print hard copies of application materials. Under the "Program Areas" link, you can see the different areas of our psychology department. If you click on a particular area, you can obtain a description of that program. 

When clicking on the Area's “Faculty” link, you will view the faculty members affiliated with that particular area. If you click on a faculty member’s name, you most often can view their short biography, as well as contact information.  

Can I get a tour of your campus?

We do not provide campus tours for prospective graduate students. Applicants who are admitted to our program or selected for interviews are invited to our Recruitment Weekend activities at the end of February. 

Are there other universities in Michigan offering psychology graduate programs? 

Yes. Click on the school name to go to their website.
Central Michigan UniversityEastern Michigan UniversityMichigan State UniversityUniversity of Detroit MercyWayne State UniversityWestern Michigan University

I am a junior. What can I do to prepare myself for graduate school in psychology?

We cannot speak for other schools, but we regard a broad undergraduate background in the natural, physical, and social sciences as the best preparation for graduate study in psychology. A laboratory course in Experimental Psychology or comparable research methods course and a course in statistical methods are strongly recommended. Bona fide experience in the field or laboratory as a research assistant or an undergraduate project is always an asset. Participation in some sort of research in order to demonstrate a capacity for independent research work to which a faculty member can attest (through letters of recommendation) will greatly enhance your credentials, as would the publication of a research paper.

Application Inquiries

For Questions regarding the Process of Applying:

The Application Procedures and Program Requirements pages on the Psychology website are full of information that helps make applying smoother. 

The "Applying to UM-Ann Arbor" section of Rackham's Admissions website is rich with information about the documents needed, application process, waivers, etc. and Rackham Admissions are the appropriate places to contact for issues with the process.

For Questions about Graduate School in General:

Refer to your current institution's Career Center, as they often have plenty of unused resources to assist students who are considering graduate school. 

The Psychology Department does not have a career advisor for applicants or current graduate students. The Graduate Administrators are knowledgeable about the administrative workings of the Psychology Program but are not the best resources for questions regarding "which career field/grad program should I pursue?"

For Questions about UofM Psychology Faculty and their Research areas:

Faculty research areas and some publications are posted online on our website. Do your homework on a faculty member to show you are genuinely interested before you contact them. Reach out to the specific faculty members and/or the Program Area Chair once you have narrowed down your selection for potential faculty mentor.

What is the application deadline?

December 1st is the annual deadline date for admission. This deadline applies to the receipt of the application and all supporting documents, including 

  • official transcripts
  • letters of recommendation 
  • TOEFL scores (if required)

You should start the application early and register your recommenders on the application so they have ample time to submit their letters by the deadline. 

It is highly recommended that you submit your application at LEAST a few days before the actual deadline, to account for any unforeseen problems that could occur with your electronic submission.

A list of Area Chairs for the is available in the department's About Us section.

What is the average overall GPA?

For students admitted in 2014, the average GPA is 3.72 on a 4-point scale.

How many applicants do you admit?

The number varies by year and area, but usually we admit around 7% of our applicants.

Can you send me an application for financial aid?

Our program provides students with a 5-year, fully funded package, which combines research assistantships and teaching appointments. More information is available at Financial Information. When a student is admitted, the funding package is explained in detail in the award letter.

What information goes to Rackham and what information goes to Psychology Student Academic Affairs?

Information is uploaded into the online application found on the Rackham Website.

Official transcripts need to be sent to Rackham. Mailed-in transcripts also go to Rackham.

It is now required that all applications be submitted online. This includes not only the application but also: letters of recommendation, transcripts, Personal Statement, and Academic Statement of Purpose. International applicants also need to provide TOEFL scores to Rackham. 

Please don't send a paper application with the fee, as it will be returned to you.

I would like to apply to two different areas of Psychology. How should I do this?

Note: On the application, an Area is referred to as a Subplan. If you are interested in two Areas of Psychology, you should list both Areas under the Subplan section of the application. 

We then provide each Area with your application file. Think about which Area you are best suited for, and list that Area as your top choice. On page 11 of the application, you'll be given the opportunity to indicate a second Subplan, but this is entirely optional.  Most applicants will only be applying to one Area.

When are applicants notified of acceptance/rejection?

Applicants are most often notified in February or March. All applicants are notified no later than April 1st.

I applied to the University in the past and would like to re-apply. Do you still have the information from my previous application?

Yes, you would need to complete a new application for admission. You would need to submit new transcripts if you have had a degree conferred since you last submitted a transcript.

What are my chances of being admitted if I re-apply?

If an applicant's credentials are markedly different due to experience gained in the intervening year, the student may wish to re-apply. Such experiences may include the student's participation in a research project which demonstrates a capacity for independent research work, to which faculty can attest through letters of recommendation, the publication of a research paper or other experiences.

Do I need a Master's degree to apply to the program?

No, a student can apply to our program with either a Master's or a Bachelor's degree. Those with Master's are reviewed in the same applicant pool as those with a Bachelor's degree.

Is it necessary to have an undergraduate degree in psychology in order to apply?

No. However, you should have some background in psychology. We regard a broad undergrad background in the natural, physical, and social sciences as the best preparation for graduate study in psychology. A laboratory course in Experimental Psychology or comparable research methods course and a course in statistical methods are strongly recommended. Bona fide experience in the field or laboratory as a research assistant or an undergraduate project is always an asset. Participation in some sort of research in order to demonstrate a capacity for independent research work to which a faculty member can attest (through letters of recommendation) will greatly enhance your credentials, as would the publication of a research paper.

I am in a graduate program at another school. What is the process for applying as a transfer student?

Students currently in a graduate program would have to complete the same application as regular applicants, as we do not accept transfer credits.

I would like to meet with an admissions counselor.

We do not offer admissions counselling at the graduate level. We recommend that you meet with a counselor or mentor at your undergraduate institution to obtain guidance. You are welcome to e-mail one of our Area Chairs for questions that are specific to a particular Program Area.

Which of your programs lead to being a licensed psychologist?

The only area that could lead to licensure as a practicing psychologist who sees clients is the Clinical Science Area. In this case, the student must apply to the state board of licensure wherever they would like to practice.

What are the criteria for being admitted into your program?

There are no specific criteria. The admissions committees (different in each area) look at all of an applicant's qualifications, including GPA, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, personal statement, previous research experience, professional experience, volunteer experience, and other criteria. The way in which this information is weighted varies from area-to-area, from year-to-year, and from admissions committee to admissions committee. There are always applicants who, undoubtedly, could perform well in a graduate program who may be turned away because we have too many applicants for too few spots.


Transcripts: What do I need to provide? 

All applicants must upload a scanned copy, front and back, of their official transcript/academic record issued by the Registrar or Records Office, to the online application, for each bachelor's, masters's, professional, or doctoral degree earned or in progress. This scanned copy of the official transcript will be used for an initial review by our admissions committees. You do not need to send an official copy to the Rackham Graduate School unless an offer of admission is made.

Can you verify that my letters of recomendation have been received?

Department staff are not able to look up the status of your application materials. Applicants are able to monitor their materials using a UM Friend Account. Instructions for accessing your account are found in the Application Checklist

What if I will not have a "complete" transcript by the application deadline?

Those who are currently enrolled in a Bachelors program and will not receive final grades until the end of December or the end of May do not need to provide a current official transcript unless you are offered admission.. It is acceptable and assumed that you are enrolled and finishing your studies.

If you are offered a position in the program it will be contingent on completion of your degree and providing a transcript with all grades and your degree conferred.

What if the deadline has passed and my letters of recommendation have not been received?

The application deadline is December 1. This deadlines applies to letters of recommendation as well as the application itself. Give your recommenders plenty of time to submit their letters. Additionally, there is no advantage to waiting until the last day to submit your application. It is recommended that you send your materials as early as possible to avoid any possible technology issues that could occur..

GRE Inquiries

Is the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) required for application to the Psychology PhD program?

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is NOT required for application to the Psychology PhD program. The Department of Psychology does not review Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores as part of the admissions process.

Letters of Recommendation

Where should the letters of recommendation be sent?

Letters of recommendation are submitted throught the online application by your recommenders. Instructions on how to do this will be available to you as you are completing the application.

Please see Rackham's website regarding Letters of Recommendation for more details.

Is it acceptable to mail letters of recommendation to the Psychology Department?

We strongly recommend that your letters are submitted online. Once you "register your recommenders" through the online application, they will receive an automated email with instructions about how to submit their letters electronically. This streamlines the application process and ensures that your letters will be linked to your application. 

We understand, though, that some recommenders either will not or cannot submit letters electronically; in those cases, we do accept hardcopy letters. All letters received through the mail will be scanned and then uploaded to your application. There is no advantage to submitting hardcopy letters, as reviewers will only see scanned copies.

You MUST use the Recommendation for Admission form found on the Letters of Recommendation website.

One of my recommenders recently informed me that they would not be able to submit by the Dec. 1st deadline. Will this have a negative impact on my application?

The application and the fee payment are the two things that absolutely must be in by the December 1st deadline. While we understand that is somewhat out of your control, it is highly recommended that your credentials arrive as close to the deadline date as possible. 

Because admissions committees will begin the review process shortly after December 1st, you will want your application to be as complete as possible by that date. It is best to apply early and give your recommenders enough time to meet the December 1st deadline. 

Is it acceptable to submit letters of recommendation through my university's Graduate Letter Service?

No. Rackham no longer access letters from any outside service.

I'm having technical issues with the online recommender system:

If a recommender or applicant runs into any technical difficulties, please email:

What does my recommendation request email look like? 

From: University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School  
Date: Fri, Sep 13, 2013 at 10:48 AM
Subject: Please submit your Letter of Recommendation
To: Email of the recommender

Dear Recommender,

Applicant has requested that you submit a letter of recommendation form. This applicant has waived the right to view their recommendation.

Please go to the following web address to access the recommendation system. Returning users will be greeted by their name and asked to log in to their account. New users will be prompted to create an account by choosing a password before proceeding to the recommendation form.

If you experience technical difficulty with the recommendation form, please follow this link to check the frequently asked questions or contact CollegeNET support.

Should you experience any technical difficulties or require assistance, click Report a problem or request help  button.

Thank you!

Rackham Graduate School Admissions

International Inquiries

Do international applicants have to take any English Proficiency test?

International students are required to take the TOEFL. However, if you obtained your undergraduate degree at an English-speaking university, you may qualify for an English Proficiency waiver. Please see Rackham's Tests webpage for further details.

Do international applicants have to complete the University of Michigan Affidavit of Financial Support for International Students?

You only need to submit this form if you are admitted into the program. Rackham will send this form to admitted international students at the time admission is finalized. The letter of financial support you receive from the Department can be used as documentation. Since our Ph.D. program is for 5 years and fully funded, you only need to submit additional documentation if you are bringing dependents with you. Please see Rackham's Immigration Documents webpage for more information.  

What sort of financial assistance is available for international students?

The international students that are admitted into our program are eligible for the same financial package that domestic students receive. No extra forms need to be completed.


English Proficiency Requirement: Tests

Is an English Profiency Exam required for non-native English speakers?

Yes. Test scores are valid for 2 years. Your scores must be received by the December 1st application deadline.

Is it possible for my exam to be waived?

Yes. English Proficiency Exemptions are available for a variety of reasons. Please see Rackham's Tests webpage for a comprehensive explanation of waive criteria.

My test scores expire September 1st. Will my scores be accepted if I apply before then? 

No, your scores are not acceptable. Our application opens September 7th. Therefore, you would be unable to apply prior to the score expiration date. The University does not accept scores in advance.

My test scores expire November 1st. Will my scores be accepted if I apply before then?

Your scores would be considered valid and acceptable in the event that you have fully submitted your application and sent in your scores, prior to the score expiration date. This is acceptable as it falls within our application window and is before our December 1st deadline.


For more information on the English Proficiency requirement, exemptions, and accepted tests and minimum scores, please see Rackham's website.

Have My Transcripts or Recommendation Letters Been Received?

Often we receive messages from applicants who want to verify that their materials are received. Due to the amount of applicants we cannot individually verify if your materials are received.

Here is some useful information to help you monitor when your application is complete:

Follow the directions on the Check Application Status link to set up a UM Friend account.

Please allow 48 hours after you have set up the account for your items to populate.

The closer to the deadline, the more applications are received and additional wait-time for materials to appear online should be expected.

Those who are submitting close-to or exactly on December 1st:

Multiple Rackham programs have a December 1st deadline. Rackham Admissions will do the best they can to get items online as quickly as possible. However, items received between November 28th and December 1st may take additional time to be verified and uploaded into the UM Friend account system.

It is December 2nd-3rd and I still do not see a letter of recommendation in my friend account, what should I do?

This depends on how the letter was submitted:

  • If you have sent the recommender a link, they may still upload their letter and should do so immediately.
  • If you sent a physical letter form, this may already be at the Rackham, but may take a few more days for it to uploaded to UM Friend account. 

We are having technical difficulties with the Online Recommender Prompt:

If the recommender or applicant run into any issues, please email: