How to apply

The Rackham Graduate School and the Department of Communication Studies are currently accepting application materials for Fall 2015 admission. The application for admission to the Fall 2015 program will close on December 1, 2014 at 11:59 E.S.T. 

We strongly encourage applicants to read through our prospective student pages on our website to gain a full understand of our application requirements. Below you will find information about the online application, transcripts, academic and personal statements, letters of recommendation, and GRE scores, as well as information for international applicants. Helpful information can also be found within our FAQs.

If you have questions or concerns that are not addressed on our prospective student pages, please contact Amy Eaton, Graduate Program Coordinator, at or 734-764-0420.

The application process is jointly administered by the Department of Communication Studies and the Horace H. Rackham School of 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 Rackham's admissions site.

Please note that some departmental policies take precedence over Rackham's policies. 

All applicants are required to submit the following materials:


The application for admission to the program 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 online application and pay the application fee or your application package will be considered incomplete and will not be evaluated by the admissions review committee. 

Once you submit your online application, you will be able to create a 'friend account' to view the status of your application materials and package. During peak admission periods from mid-November through early-December there may be a 3-8 business day delay for updates to the status of your application materials and package. All 'friend accounts' should reflect accurate status information by December 12th. 

We thank you in advance for your patience as we work to create your completed application package!


Applicants must provide one set of official final undergraduate and graduate (where applicable) academic records/transcripts, with the degree posted, to the Rackham Graduate Scho/ol. Official documents must be provided from the institution awarding the degree. 

  • The Rackham Graduate School requires that you submit official academic records/transcripts from each institution where you have earned or will earn a Bachelor’s, Master's, Professional, and/or Doctoral degree. Instructions for submitting your records/transcripts to the graduate school are provided below.
  • The Department of Communication Studies requests that all applicants upload to your online application unofficial or official academic records/transcripts from each institution where you have earned or will earn a Bachelor’s, Master's, Professional, and/or Doctoral degree. If you are unable to upload all of these unofficial or official records/transcripts to your online application, please contact the graduate program coordinator at for further instructions.

It is your responsibility to request the timely release of any such records/transcripts from your degree granting institutions.

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. 

If you are sending transcripts to the graduate school 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.

Remember, you must submit your records/transcripts from each institution where you have earned or will earn a Bachelor’s, Master's, Professional, and/or Doctoral degree to the Rackham Graduate School.

Statement of Purpose

The Ph.D. Program in Communication Studies at the University of Michigan is focused on a specific set of research initiatives. The statement of purpose is an important part of your overall application as this document provides you with the opportunities to summarize your credentials and interests and to explain how your intellectual interests fit within the research interests of the departmental faculty.

When crafting a statement of purpose, applicants are encouraged to identify faculty with whom they share research interests and to align their work with our research initiatives in the statement of purpose.

There is no length minimum/word limitation for the academic statement of purpose.

Personal Statement

In the personal statement, please address how your background and life experiences (including cultural, geographical, financial, educational or other opportunities or challenges) have 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. The personal statement should be a discussion of the journey that  led to your decision to seek a graduate degree.

Please limit your personal statement to 2 pages or 500 words.

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 your recommenders are to submit their letters through the online application, you will need to follow the steps to certify them within the application. You will provide  basic information about each recommender and the application system will send a standardized message to the email 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 must be received no later than December 1st. Letters should be addressed as follows:

Graduate Program Coordinator
Department of Communication Studies
North Quad
105 S. State Street, Room 5370
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1285

*Your references must also submit this form, along with your letters of recommendation.

GRE Scores

All applicants are required to submit official GRE scores to the University of Michigan as a part of their application. Photocopies, faxes, and scanned copies of your GRE scores are not acceptable. Outdated scores are not valid and, therefore, not acceptable. 

Applicants should schedule their GRE exam sitting far enough in advance to meet the December 1st deadline. This includes allowing time for ETS to grade the exam and deliver the scores to U-M. When requesting your GRE scores from ETS, please use U-M's Institution Code: 1839.

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

Additional Information for International Students

Official English Proficiency Score Reports

Please note that the departmental policy on an applicant's demonstration of English proficiency, found below, differs from Rackham Graduate School requirements. All non-native English speakers must follow the departmental policy regarding demonstration of English proficiency.

All applicants whose native language is not English are required to provide an official score report from one of the exams listed in the table below. Also note in the table below are the department's desired scores for each test, not the required scores for admission.

If you are sending your TOEFL score report from ETS, the Institution Code for the University of Michigan is 1839.

If you are sending your IELTS score report, choose "University of Michigan, Ann Arbor" from the list of available institutions of where to send your scores on the day you sit your test.


overall score is greater than 101 overall score is greater than 599 overall score is greater than 7.0


The department *does not* exempt non-native English speakers who have earned or will earn a bachelor's or master's degree from an institution where English exclusively was or is the language of instruction from submitting Official English Proficiency Score Reports. 

The department *does not* exempt non-native English speakers who have earned or will earn a bachelor's or master's degree from a country where the official language is English from submitting Official English Proficiency Score Reports.

Writing Sample (optional)

In previous years, many prospective students have inquired about submitting a writing sample (e.g., a paper, article, or thesis) to the department as a part of their application package. In response, the department is now providing a space in the online application for you to submit a writing sample, should you choose to do so. Since this is an optional portion of the application package, there are no guidelines regarding the writing sample, with the following exception. The writing sample piece should be the applicant's work, with minimal edits and revision from others incorporated in the submitted copy.

If you are unable to include your writing sample in the online application because of space limitations, please feel free to send it as a pdf attachment to

The department cannot guarantee that your writing sample will be a part of the application review process.