Prospective student FAQs

Applying

Q: What admissions materials should I send to the EEB department?

A: You do not need to send any admissions materials directly to the EEB department. All admissions materials should be uploaded via the Rackham on-line admission application, including your recommendation letters and unofficial transcripts. Official transcripts should be sent only to Rackham. More on specific admissions requirements can be found here, and on the Rackham website.

Q: What institution code should I use when submitting application materials?

A: Please use institution code 1839 when submitting all application materials. This is the code for the University of Michigan, which is used by all deparments applying to the Rackahm Graduate School. A separate department code IS NOT necessary.

Q: Am I eligible for a fee waiver?

A: There is a fee waiver available to students applying for the Frontiers Master's program. Please contact eeb.gradcoord@umich.edu to obtain a code to be used when applying.

Q: What pre-requisites are required for application to the EEB Ph.D. program?

A: No set pre-requisite coursework is required for acceptance to the EEB Ph.D. program. Student applications are reviewed on a holistic basis, with overall academic record, research experience and recommendations taken into consideration. However, it is recommended that students applying for admission to the Ph.D. program take the following courses during their undergraduate study: 2 terms of general or inorganic chemistry, & 1 lab 2 terms of organic chemistry & 1 lab, 2 terms of physics or 1 term of physics & 1 lab, 2 terms of analytic geometry or calculu.s

Q: Are there cut-off GRE scores for admission to the Ph.D. program? If there are none, what are the average scores of accepted students?

A: The EEB department does not have minimum requirements for GRE scores. Our faculty are generally more interested in your research experience and letters of recommendation. However, if your GRE scores are substantially low, that may make your application less attractive.
Here are some stats on this year's entering cohort:

  • 8 Ph.D. students
  • Mean GRE scores: Pre-2011 test: 583 verbal, 670 quantitative/Post 2011 test: 157 verbal, 158 quantitative/4.4 analytical
  • Mean GPA: 3.57
  • 50% women, 50% men
  • 12% minority students
  • 12% international students
  • 25% have M.S. degrees

Q: Are some parts of the GRE more important to admissions than other parts, for example, the quantitative section?

A: No portion of the GRE is more important than another; verbal and analytical skills are also critical in scientific endeavors.

Q: Are GRE scores used for anything other than admissions, such as qualifications for fellowships?

A: GRE scores are only looked at for admission.

Q: Can the MCAT be substituted for the GRE?

A: We cannot substitute the MCAT for the GRE. We are really interested in seeing an applicant's ability to think and write critically, as well as his or her math and science foundation.

Q: Should I contact faculty with similar research interests prior to submitting an application?

A: It isn't a requirement to get in touch with faculty before you apply to the program, but we strongly recommend that you to get to know the person you might work with before you apply. Information on faculty fields of interest can be found on specific faculty member's webpages.

Q: Do I need to get a UM ID number to submit my application?

A: You will not be able to access information regarding the status of your application without a UM ID number. Information on obtaining an ID number can be found here.

Q: Is it possible to fill out the recommendation form electronically? I assumed my recommenders would be able to, but it won't allow typing in any fields.

A: You should register your recommenders when filling out the on-line application; then they will be emailed information about how to complete the letter of recommendation and upload it to your application. If your recommenders are not computer-friendly, you always have the option to download the letter of recommendation form and have the recommender fill it out and mail it to the department.

Q: What do I need to score on the TOEFL to be considered for admission?

A: Rackham has a minimum requirement for the internet-based TOEFL of 84 for the combined score. Students who have an overall score lower than 84 cannot be admitted to the Rackham Graduate School and/or any UM graduate programs. EEB has no defined cut-off for TOEFL scores other than the Rackham minimum. Last year's entering international students had an average total TOEFL score of 104.

Q: Can you check to make sure my GRE and TOEFL scores have arrived?

A: In order to check, we need your UM ID number.

Q: Do you need my transcript for my BA translated to English?

A: Please arrange to send both an official transcript, and an official ENGLISH translation of the transcript sent to the Rackham Graduate School. No transcripts should be sent to the department.

Q: On the application web site it states that letters of recommendation with the official Rackham Recommendation Form cover sheet can be submitted online, however I see that the recommendation form requires the applicants signature for waiving right of access. Is my signature required or could I type my name on a digital copy?

A: If you or your recommenders are filling out the recommendation form electronically, you can simply type your name and the date.

Q: Is there a word limit for the academic statement of purpose and personal statement?

A: Rackham requests a 500 word limit for both documents. Note: If you go over this limit that in no way makes your application invalid, but might make the admissions committee impatient; remember, they have many of these to read.

Q: I am having a hard time tracking down information on the personal statement on the Rackham website, can you help at all? I would like to know what exactly the Graduate School/the EEB department is looking for in this statement as opposed to my statement of purpose.

A: How have 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.

Q: When will I hear something about whether I'm being considered for admission?

A: The EEB Admissions Committee begins evaluating applications in mid-December, when applications submitted by the December 1 due date have been processed and imaged by the Rackham Graduate School and made available to the department. Usually, the committee has not completed their review of applications until the last week of January. You may expect to hear something regarding the status of your application after this time.

Funding

Q: What are the components of the Ph.D. funding package?

A: GSI appointments provide the primary means of support for EEB Ph.D. students. GSIs teach small introductory classes, facilitate discussions in small sections connected to large lecture courses and run laboratory sections. The typical GSI has a 50% appointment, working between 16.5 and 20 hours per week during the eight-month academic year. EEB Ph.D. students are expected to teach in the fall and winter terms of their first year, and for four additional terms during their five years of supported study. GSRA appointments provide Ph.D. students with funding support while conducting their own research or assisting others with research relevant to their own academic goals. GSRA appointments are generally provided through an advisor's externally funded grant or contract. Faculty advisors are required to provide each of their Ph.D. students with GSRA appointment funding through one fall, winter, and spring/summer term. Department fellowship support includes a one-term fellowship available during the pre-candidacy period, and a one-term fellowship available after candidacy status has been attained. In addition, five summers of department fellowship funding are guaranteed, so that students can dedicate their summers to their research. Supplemental funding is available to EEB Ph.D. students through a variety of departmental sources including block grant programs and awards, and department-administered scholarships. These are listed on the funding page.

Q: What is the stipend rate for fall and winter terms (the academic year minus summer)?

A: The department fellowship and graduate student research assistant (GSRA) rates are based on the graduate student instructor (GSI) rates. The typical GSI has a 50% appointment, working between 16.5 and 20 hours per week during the eight-month academic year. During the 2012–2013 academic year, the median half-time GSI salary will be $18,233, approximately $9,116.50 per term.

Q: What fees would a graduate student with a stipend have to pay?

A: Tuition waivers are usually credited directly toward student accounts approximately three weeks into the term. Most assistantships do not cover the registration fee, so it is your responsibility to pay the fee by the due date on your bill (to avoid being assessed late fees). Registration fees for the 2012–2013 academic terms are approximately $97.00 per term.

Benefits

Q: Does U-M offer student health insurance? If so, how much does it cost per semester?

A: GradCare is the medical insurance plan available exclusively to GSIs, GSRAs, and benefit-eligible fellowship holders. GradCare is administered by Blue Care Network and the provider network in Ann Arbor includes University Health Service, the University of Michigan Health System, and participating community pediatricians. There are no deductibles to meet before the plan begins and outpatient services are covered with a co-pay. In-patient hospital services are covered in full for medically-necessary conditions. Prescription drug coverage is also provided. With Gradcare, you will never have to pay a contribution for yourself, a spouse, or any children. If you choose other medical insurances, you would have an amount to contribute. For more information, visit the U-M Benefits Office website or GradCare information.

Contact Us

Q: How can I contact the EEB department with questions?

A: Email the Graduate Program staff at eeb.gradcoord@umich.edu. We'll be in touch!