How to Apply

The HILS graduate programs are focused on using information and social science to improve the health of individuals and populations by researching, designing, implementing, and evaluating change and improvement in health systems.

We offer both a 27-credit master’s program, which can be completed as a full-time student in three semesters over 12 months or as a part-time student over a longer period of time, as well as a doctoral program which includes 36 credits of coursework and two years of dissertation research and writing.

Applications for admission to HILS graduate programs need to be made through the Rackham Graduate School. The Rackham website includes a step-by-step guide to the admissions process, an online application, a checklist of required documents, and information about tuition and fees, fellowships and other funding opportunities. Before beginning an application carefully review the information below as well as the Rackham website.

Application Requirements

  • A bachelor’s degree from a U.S. college or university accredited by a regional accrediting association; or an international degree that is equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree from a college or university recognized and approved by the Ministry of Education or Commission responsible for higher education in the country where the degree is earned. (See Required Academic Credentials from Non-U.S. Institutions)
  • Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency. Applicants are required to provide an official score report. Photocopies and/or faxes of English proficiency scores will not be accepted. For more details see Test Scores.
  • Persons holding master’s or doctoral degrees are usually not eligible to apply for study in the field of specialization and level for which they already have a degree. Please see the Rackham Admission and Matriculation Policy for eligibility.
  • At least one course in statistics, preferably at the graduate level for doctoral applicants. Evidence of interest and willingness to engage in computationally intensive activities, such as multiple courses in mathematics or computer science, or evidence of completion of online courses in programming.
  • We anticipate that students may come from a variety of health care and professional experiences including but not limited to health sciences/health professions, information, computing, engineering, behavioral and social sciences and organizational and policy studies, and we will assess different forms of evidence of willingness to engage in the full spectrum of learning systems courses, from data and computationally intensive courses to social science courses.

Application Checklist

The following materials should be submitted by the application deadline.

Application Fee (See Application Fee and Payment)

  • Academic Statement of Purpose
  • Personal Statement
  • Resume/CV
  • Official Transcripts (submitted directly to Rackham)
  • GRE Scores (optional)
  • Letters of Recommendation (3 letters are required)
  • Evidence of English proficiency (TOEFL/IELTS), required if one's native language is not English

Application Materials

HILS PhD Academic Statement of Purpose 

*Please note: the essay prompts for PhD and MS applicants are different.*

First, briefly list:

  • Primary research area or questions. For example, “I am interested in understanding the role of data quality in driving learning health system success” or “I am interested in understanding the role of trust as it relates to data and the improvement of learning health systems.” (1-2 sentences)
  • Potential advisors; you should contact these faculty to introduce yourself and discuss potential fit before completing your Academic Statement of Purpose. (2-3 Learning Health Sciences Primary Faculty)
  • Explain why you identified the potential advisors you did. Please describe the interactions you have had with them.

Then address the following questions in 4-6 pages (double-spaced):

  • Please describe your understanding of learning health systems, and why you are interested in studying the science underlying these;
  • Describe prior research experiences, courses, or projects that have prepared you for doctoral study;
  • Explain in some detail the research areas in which you hope to contribute:
    • Specify at least one area, discipline, or method that you would like to learn in depth;
    • Describe one other area, discipline, or method that would round out the breadth of your knowledge and why it would be a valuable part of your education.
  • Explain why you identified the potential advisors you did. Have you contacted them?

HILS MS Academic Statement of Purpose 

*Please note: the essay prompts for PhD and MS applicants are different.*

First, briefly list:

  • Primary research area or questions (1-2 sentences)
  • Potential advisors; you should contact these faculty to introduce yourself and discuss potential fit before completing your Academic Statement of Purpose. (2-3 Learning Health Sciences Primary Faculty)
  • Explain why you identified the potential advisors you did. Please describe the interactions you have had with them.

Then address the following questions in 4-5 pages (double-spaced):

  • Please describe your understanding of learning health Please describe your understanding of learning health systems, and what interests you about them, noting particularly how you might be interested in using knowledge about learning health systems in practice;
  • Describe prior research experiences, courses, or projects that have prepared you for graduate study, and any experience you have had in clinical practice improvement and/or informatics;
  • Explain in some detail the areas in which you are interested in practicing:
  • Specify at least one clinical area that you would like to learn in depth;
  • Describe another area, discipline, or method that would round out the breadth of your knowledge and why it would be a valuable part of your education.

Transcripts

Two official transcript are required for each Bachelor’s, Master’s, Professional or Doctoral degree earned or in progress. Do not submit transcripts from a community or junior college, non-degree, or study abroad coursework. If you previously attended U-M Ann Arbor, Rackham will access that transcript internally.

One official transcript should be uploaded to the online application and the second submitted directly to Rackham. Please see Transcripts for complete instructions including specific information for submitting Non-U.S. Institution records.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required and must be submitted electronically by your recommenders. As you are completing the online application, you will be given instructions for how to "Register Your Recommenders." Recommenders will then receive an email that will guide them in uploading their letters.

Requesting Letters of Recommendation

An effective recommendation letter should provide an assessment of your potential as a graduate student and/or researcher. It is important that a recommendation letter be written by someone who knows you well academically or is familiar with your professional work.  Recommendation letters provide the admissions committee with information that isn’t found elsewhere in your application.

Tips for Registering Recommenders:

  • You will need each recommender’s name, mailing address, e-mail address, phone number, institution or employer, and title.
  • Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, if you are admitted and decide to enroll, you have access to your education record, including letters of recommendation at U-M.
  • If you select “Yes” to waive your right, you will not have access to the letter of recommendation.
  • If you select “No” to waive your right, then you will have access to the letter of recommendation.
  • Students should note that some recommenders may choose not to prepare a recommendation if these rights have not been waived. You will not be able to change the waiver status once your recommender has logged into their online recommendation account.
  • You may register your recommenders in ApplyWeb before completing your application. In ApplyWeb select “Submit Recommendation Request” to confirm, and proceed with the application at your own pace before the graduate program deadline.

After Registering Your Recommenders:

  • Recommendations can be uploaded before or after you have submitted your application.
  • Check the status of your letters of recommendation or resend the notification e-mail to your recommender using the ApplyWeb Activity Page.
  • If the status is “Not Started” and you need to change your recommender, you will update the name of the recommender and the e-mail address. The other contact information cannot be edited.
  • If the status is “Completed” or “In Progress” you cannot change your recommender, contact the graduate program for an alternative for submitting a recommendation.

Evidence of English proficiency (TOEFL/IELTS)

Applicants (MS and PhD) whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency and are required to provide official score reports for one of the following:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (preferred). Score earned within the past two years of 560 or higher on the paper-based test or 84      or higher on the Internet-based test (iBT). Request the University of Michigan to receive your scores (institution code 1839).
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Minimum score of 6.5.
  • MELAB Minimum score of 80

Please see Rackham English Proficiency Requirements for instructions on how to submit your scores.

Applicants who have earned or will earn a Bachelor's or Master's degree are exempt from taking an English proficiency examination only if one of the following criteria are met:

  • You are a native speaker of English.
  • You completed all of your undergraduate education and earned an undergraduate degree at an institution where the language of instruction is English only.
  • You completed all of your graduate education and earned a graduate degree at an institution where the language of instruction is English only.
    • If you completed a Master’s degree that was strictly research and no academic classes, that degree does not meet the exemption. This type of Master’s degree is generally awarded at a non-U.S. institution.
  • You are a current U-M student.

Being a U.S. citizen or a U.S. permanent resident does not automatically exempt an applicant from taking an English proficiency exam; if the applicant’s first language is not English, the applicant must meet the exception above or submit English proficiency exam.

Additional Information

Non-Candidate for Degree

Many of the courses in the HILS program are open to any enrolled U-M Ann Arbor student with graduate-level standing.  If you are not currently a U-M graduate student and would like to enroll in HILS courses, you may apply online to HILS as a Non-Candidate for Degree.

  • Applications for domestic and permanent resident applicants are due
    • August 1 for fall term
    • November 1 for winter term
  • International applicants: please contact us at HILS-PhD-MS@umich.edu

FAQ’s

Are application fee waivers available?

The Rackham Graduate Schools administers application fee waivers.

Is the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) required?

Neither HILS nor the Rackham Graduate School requires GRE scores for admission.

 

Do you offer online courses?

At this time, HILS does not offer online courses. We are, however, exploring this option for the future.

 

When are applicants notified of acceptance/rejection?

We aim to notify all PhD applicants of admission decisions by March 1.  MS applicants can expect notification 6-8 weeks after the receipt of their application.

 

Can you verify if my transcripts, recommendations letters or test scores have been received?

Applicants are able to monitor their materials using a U-M Friend Account. Instructions for accessing your account may be found in the Rackham Application Checklist.

 

It’s the application deadline and not all of my recommenders have submitted their letters. Will this have a negative impact on my application?

The admissions committee will begin the review process in December for PhD applications and on a rolling basis for MS applications so you will want your application to be as complete as possible by the deadline.

 

Contact Us

For more information about the HILS programs or to ask questions about the application process:

      Email: HILS-PHD-MS@umich.edu

      Phone: 734-615-6129