How to Apply

DREAM Protest

Applications for Fall admission to the American Culture doctoral program are accepted from August 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.

Statement of Purpose

The 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.

Applicants are encouraged to 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. Both core faculty and faculty associates serve as primary advisors and dissertation chairs for graduate students in the American Culture doctoral program.

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.

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

Letters of recommendation can be submitted in one of two ways: as a part of the online application or via standard mail. The online submission of these letters is preferred.

If you wish to have your recommenders submit their letters through the online application, you will need to follow the steps to certify them within the application. You will provide some basic information about each recommender and the system will send a standardized message to the e-mail address you provide. These letters can be submitted at any stage of your application; it is not necessary or recommended to wait until your application is complete to certify your letter writers. If you plan to use this option, this should be one of the first things you do.

If you prefer to have your references submit their letters to the department via standard mail, this is also acceptable.

Letters should be mailed to:
Graduate Program Coordinator
American Culture
505 S. State Street | 3700 Haven Hall
Ann Arbor MI 48109–1045


Applicants must provide two sets of official final undergraduate and graduate (where applicable) academic records/transcripts, with your degree posted. Official documents must be provided from the institution awarding the degree. The Rackham Graduate School requires that applicants submit one official academic record/transcript from each institution where you have earned or will earn a Bachelor’s, Master's, Professional, and Doctoral degree. All applicants must submit transcripts from all attended institutions to the Department of American Culture in order to be considered for Fall admission.

It is your responsibility to request the release of any such records from the institutions involved.

Rackham Graduate School

Click here for instructions on submitting transcripts to the Rackham Graduate School and here for Rackham's Academic Record/Transcript Submission Form.

The Department of American Culture

Transcripts for the Department of American Culture should be mailed to:
Graduate Program Coordinator
American Culture
505 S. State Street | 3700 Haven Hall
Ann Arbor MI 48109–1045

If you are sending transcripts to the department as part of a larger packet, the documents must arrive sealed in the original envelope in which they were sent to you. Opened transcripts cannot be accepted as official.

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

All applicants are required to submit official GRE scores to the department as a part of their application. Photocopies, faxes or other unofficial copies of the GRE scores are not acceptable. Applicants should schedule their GRE exam sitting far enough in advance to meet the December 1st deadline. This includes leaving time for ETS to grade the exams and deliver the scores to us. When requesting your GRE scores from ETS, please use Institution Code 1839.

We recommend taking the GRE no later than November 1st to ensure that the department receives your score prior to the December 1st deadline.