Housing & Transportation

To facilitate your transition to Ann Arbor, we are pleased to provide housing information for prospective or incoming PIBS students. Check out this Google map, which provides information about many apartment complexes around town. Note: These apartments were added because of student suggestions, however, there are many other available apartments around town.

Aerial image of Ann Arbor

Also on this page, you'll find personal statements from PIBS students outlining why each chose to live close to the medical campus (where you will be spending most of your first year taking classes) or live farther away (due to Ann Arbor’s great public transportation).

We understand that transitioning into your first year can be stressful (especially finding housing), so please take advantage of the resources in this section and contact the apartments listed for up-to-date information. Moreover, please take advantage of current students! Contact us through the PIBS social email: pibssocial@umich.edu.

We cannot wait to meet you!

Housing Tips

  • Special rental offers: Many of the rental communities offer leasing specials with reduced rent and/or security deposit. Be sure to inquire about specials, even if they are not explicitly advertised.
  • Energy costs: Know which utilities are covered in your rent, and which ones are not. This can vary from place to place.
  • Do not allow yourself to be pressured into signing a lease before you are ready. Many housing options remain available throughout the summer and even into the school year.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Ann Arbor is usually quite close to the national average.

Review the current cost of living in Ann Arbor or use Sperling's Best Places Cost of Living comparison tool to see how much more or less expensive life in A2 will be.

Michigan blue bus

Getting Around Town

Ann Arbor is a very accessible city by bike or on foot. Many students take advantage of their free bus pass, too. There are options for parking around campus; however, finding a spot for your car may make the other options more appealing. Whatever mode of transportation you choose, Ann Arbor will be your town in no time!


There is no better way to get to know a city than by traversing it one step at a time. Depending on where you live, walking may be the most convenient option for getting to campus.


Ann Arbor is a very bike-friendly town. Students enjoy the freedom of zipping to their destinations and always finding a place to park. Bicycling magazine voted Ann Arbor one of the Top 20 Bike Towns in the United States. # 3 in Best Cycling City, after Boulder, Colorado, and Eugene, Oregon (2006).

Riding the Bus

The U-M campus and city bus system provides a convenient, easy and free way for students to get from one place to another. Visit the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority Web site and the University's Parking & Transportation Services Web site for more details on routes and schedules.


Most students agree that finding a decent parking spot on campus can be a challenge, but for running errands around town, a car can be the best option.


Student Housing Recommendations

Following are first-person accounts from real PIBS students about where they are living or have lived in the Ann Arbor area. These are just a few examples of what types of housing are available to you.

Cailin Wilke
Island Drive Apartments

“I’m a second-year graduate student at the University of Michigan in the Program in Immunology. I and my kitty, Figg, live in a one-bedroom apartment in the Island Drive Apartment complex. The complex is a 10-minute walk (literally, from the time I close my door to the moment I sit down in lab) to the med school campus, where many of the PIBS labs are located. I pay $800 a month for this unfurnished apartment, which includes $775 for rent and $25/month “pet fee.”  This includes heat and water, but I pay for electricity (which can run from $8-30 per month). The washer and dryer in each building are coin-operated, but the pool and small workout center are free.

“Now, this may seem like a LOT of money to spend on rent, but I absolutely wouldn’t want to live anywhere else! I don’t have a car, so the convenience of walking to work every day can’t be beaten. I’m also within walking distance of Kerrytown, Ann Arbor’s older section, and the complex is near both the Arboretum and Island Drive Park on the Huron River. The office personnel at Island Drive are very friendly and professional, and there’s a number you can call at any time of day or night for emergency maintenance. The #2 bus—which travels down Plymouth Road for shopping at Kroger and a bunch of other stores—stops right at the edge of the complex parking lot. Although living at Island Drive does take a bite out of my paycheck, I’m really happy with my apartment, its location, and the amenities that are available to me here.”

Eneida Villanueva
Medical Center Court Apartments
Windemere Park Apartments

“I lived in Medical Center Court for two years and it is located right across the street from the Medical Campus, a 10-minute walk. When I moved, they had specials for $699 for a 1-bedroom apartment, which went up to $741 the following year. Utilities are not included, but they have a “budgeted bill system” called AUM in which you receive bills for heat, water, maintenance and garbage disposal in one bill (electricity was on your own). Honestly, this was convenient because you only have to send one check out but I decided to move because this bill changed from $35 to $70/month. This apartment complex is part of the McKinley Co.; they have awesome staff and the apartments are extremely clean and well kept, but sometimes are a bit pricey. The AUM system has improved though and I believe now is not as high. Other than that, you pay for a great location, the place has free wireless internet for residents, a study room and a fitness center, no pool, and washer/dryer in the basement of each building. It has pretty surroundings and they are pet friendly. I loved the place but got too expensive for me because I wanted to save money to buy a car.

“I’ve been living in Windemere Park Apts. for almost two years now and I absolutely love the place. It is in the northern part of Ann Arbor, close to the US-23 exit and very close to grocery stores, drug stores, restaurants, etc. I have a car, but because parking can be painful and gas prices are crazy, I take the AATA public bus, which is free with a UM ID card, route #2 directly to the Medical Campus (where most labs are), but the bus goes all the way to downtown and stops in many different places. The place is a little expensive if you want to live by yourself (~$850/one bedroom) but I have a housemate and I pay $478 for a first floor two-bedroom apartment with a deck and a great view. What I love about the apartment is that it is huge, it has two bathrooms, washer/dryer in the unit (so no coins necessary!) and each room has a walk-in closet. The pool is beautiful and the fitness center is small, but good enough. It also has a tanning bed. The staff is very sweet and they are great at responding to maintenance calls. I will definitely recommend living here.”

Mario Blanco
Brookside Apartments

“Brookside Apartments has been a great place for me to live. It is close enough to the Medical Center and the rest of campus that I can walk or take my bike whenever the weather is nice. If you prefer public transportation it is right next to Route #2 of the bus line, which runs through some of the grocery stores in town, to campus, and ends near the downtown area. The people that live at Brookside apartments are mostly graduate students, and some families, and so it tends to be a really quiet place. During the summer it is great because there is a brook that runs through the complex adding to the overall tranquility of the place. One of the downsides of living here is that the apartments are generally on the smaller end, so if you have a lot of furniture that you want to accommodate this wouldn’t be the best place for you. Also, there are no washer/dryer units in the apartments, but they do have a coin-operated laundry facility on-site.

“Brookside is the right place for you if you are looking for affordability and distance from the Medical Center. This complex is lacking in some amenities, and so if that is a priority for you this would not be the place.”

Cheryl Jacobs
Condo renter

“As a Rackham Merit Fellow, I had the option of starting my Ph.D. rotation early, and moved to Ann Arbor in mid-June. I thought there would not be many housing opportunities, but I was mistaken. In the end, I elected to rent a condo because it was priced just as much as apartments and was located outside of downtown Ann Arbor. My condo is located adjacent to Ann Arbor’s Briarwood mall and it is only a five-minute drive to the Ann Arbor Transportation Association (AATA) Park ‘N Ride where I ride the 36 daily to work. I do not mind taking the bus since traffic is a nightmare in the mornings and afternoons and parking is very expensive and improbable due to the congestion. The 36 runs very frequently and drops me only 10 minutes from the Medical Campus. Plus, as a University of Michigan student, I ride for free—an added bonus.

“I pay about $600/month for rent and utilities. This may seem a bit expensive for some, but we have a dishwasher and a washer/dryer unit in the condo, which some apartments do not include. I also have a fitness center and pool to enjoy when I am not in the lab. I love living on the south side of Ann Arbor because I am only a two-mile walk from the football stadium, but if I do not want to enjoy the football activities, it is easy enough for me to leave town or enjoy another part of the city. When looking for places to live, keep in mind the commute to work, the location to the stadium, and other things that are important to you.”