Applying for PhD Programs

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 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 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 Studies reviewers look for the following when making their decisions: some Women’s Studies background and experience in interdisciplinary studies; outstanding grades and GRE scores; strong letters of recommendation; and a fit with the program in terms of a possible mentor(s). For the other unit’s admission requirements and information, please review the appropriate webpage(s) (below):

Applications are submitted to the Women’s Studies Department, but successful applicants are approved by both Women’s 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 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 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 Studies & English Joint PhD: 00193
  • Women’s Studies & History Joint PhD: 01571
  • Women’s Studies & Psychology Joint PhD: 00412

Step 2: Submit the following to:

University of Michigan Graduate Admissions
Rackham Graduate School
915 East Washington
Ann Arbor, MI 48109–1070
  1. One copy of official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended. For more information, visit the Rackham website.
  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. Official GRE scores and, if necessary, TOEFL scores for international students.

Please Note: There is no need to send a second application to the Women’s Studies Department as we will automatically receive the online application materials you submit.

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.
  • Three letters of recommendation should be submitted electronically through the online application system or via snail mail to the Women’s Studies Department. You can find the letter of recommendation form through the online application.
  • GRE General Exam scores, of not more than 5 years old, are required. We require the GRE for U.S. students and both the GRE and 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; these students must still take the GRE but do not need the TOEFL. The Admissions Committee will be unable to consider your application unless we receive these official test scores. GRE Codes: The University of Michigan institution code is 1839 & the Women’s Studies program code is 5199.
  • 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.