How to Apply

The HILS-Online graduate program is 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 a hybrid online 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 such as two-three years.

Applications for admission to the HILS-Online program are completed 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. 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.
  • HILS-Online is not currently available for international students.

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

For a PDF version of the Application Checklist, click here.

Application Materials

HILS-Online Academic Statement of Purpose

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 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.

To assist with your Statement of Purpose, we encourage you to check out the following resources: 

Transcripts

Two official transcripts 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 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.

Application deadline to apply

  • Applications for domestic and permanent residents have a preferred deadline of February 1, the final deadline to apply is June 1
  • Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and we aim to notify applicants 6-8 weeks after the receipt of their application

FAQs

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.

When are applicants notified of acceptance/rejection?

We aim to notify applicants 6-8 weeks after the receipt of their application.

Can you verify if my transcripts, recommendation 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  on a rolling basis for MS applications so you will want your application to be as complete as possible by the deadline.

What are the required dates for the in-person portion of the program?

The specific dates haven’t been identified yet, however, it will be at the beginning of each term: fall, winter and spring/summer. Students should expect to spend 2-3 days on campus for each session.

When traveling to Ann Arbor, where should I stay?

Find hotel information on AnnArbor.org

What is the learning cycle project?

Students are required to complete a learning cycle project during the summer of their first year, which includes a 3-credit capstone course (LHS 622), in which they will both critically evaluate their project and learn how to communicate its findings to key stakeholders. The goal is to ensure that students are thoroughly grounded in each phase of the learning cycle, as well as experienced in the iterative nature of the learning cycle through class assignments, projects, and the summer project.

How will learning cycle projects be identified? 

HILS-Online students will work on projects that are local to them. For example, implementation focused projects might involve working with a local health system to identify problems of interest to the local community or health organization. Data science related projects might involve analysis of health data and solutions to health-related problems. Students focusing on policy and ethics may work on field study-based projects related to informed consent. Similar to current practice within the residential HILS MS program, HILS-Online learners will have the opportunity to identify projects, local partners, and University of Michigan faculty experts to support their projects.

As a HILS-Online student, how much interaction will I have with the residential HILS master’s or PhD students?

Students will have the opportunity to interact with other students on a weekly basis at the HILS Seminars as well as in person at the on-campus institutes.

Will courses be synchronous or asynchronous?

Each course will include both synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities. Recorded sessions can be viewed at any time with regularly scheduled synchronous sessions with instructors and other students. Most sessions will occur on a weekday at various times and students should anticipate spending 15-20 hours per week on coursework.

What learning management platform will the program use?

Canvas.

What technical support is provided if I have computer issues?

The Michigan Medicine Health Information Technology and Services (HITS) service desk is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via phone, chat or service portal. In addition, the Information and Technology Services (ITS) at the University of Michigan has information on student computing as well as on adaptive technology.

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