Frequently Asked Questions

Admissions FAQs

Application Process

What is the application deadline for PIBS?

PIBS accepts applications from early September to the December 1 deadline every year. Please apply the year before you wish to enter graduate school.

Do you review applications on a rolling basis?

No, PIBS reviewers don't begin evaluating applications until after the December 1 deadline.

Can I get a fee waiver?

Some applicants may be eligible for a waiver. Visit the Rackham Graduate School website for more information on fee waivers and grants. The University of Michigan is a member of the Big Ten Academic Alliance FreeApp. For more information and to request a graduate application fee waiver, please visit their website. Please note that in order to receive the Big Ten Academic Alliance FreeApp (formally known as the CIC FreeApp), you must submit a request to the Big Ten Academic Alliance well in advance of submitting your U-M application.

Academic and Testing Requirements

What is the required GPA?

Although there is no required minimum GPA, entering students have an average GPA of 3.5 (range 2.8-4.0).

What transcripts should I submit?

Applicants that are attending or graduated from a U.S. Institution: Upload an electronic version of your official transcript(s) for each Bachelor’s, Master’s, Professional, or Doctoral degree earned or in progress through your ApplyWeb application account. Do not upload academic records printed from your school’s website or student portal. If you are recommended for admission, the Rackham Graduate School will require official transcript(s). Admitted applicants will receive an email notification when the official transcript(s) are required for submission.

Applicants that are attending or graduated from a Non-U.S. Institution: Review Required Academic Credentials from Non-U.S. Institutions for transcript/academic record requirements by country or region. Submitting transcript/academic records is a two-step process. First, upload an electronic version of your official transcript/academic record for each Bachelor’s, Master’s, Professional, or Doctoral degree earned or in progress through your ApplyWeb application account. Second, send an official transcript(s) to Rackham Graduate School. Please send transcripts for each institution attended at the time of application. See our detailed instructions on how to submit transcripts/academic records to the Rackham Graduate School.

 Do I need to submit GRE scores?

No, PIBS no longer requires the GRE. 

Do I need to take the TOEFL test?

Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency and are required to provide an official score report. TOEFL scores are valid for two years. Rackham Graduate School offers a full explanation of this requirement (including details for exemptions).

What are the required minimum TOEFL scores?

Rackham Graduate School sets and publishes the minimum score requirements for admission consideration for all English proficiency exams, including TOEFL.

What are the institution and department codes?

The U-M Institution code is 1839 for TOEFL scores.
The PIBS department code is 45 for TOEFL scores.

Tips on Preparing Your Application

What should I include in my academic statement of purpose?

This is time to provide evidence of your extensive research experience. Be sure to include:

  • Descriptions of all research experiences. What was the overall goal of your project? What hypothesis did you test and how did you test it? Who did you work and interact with? What were your results? How were they significant and how did they fit into the overall goals of the lab?
  • Have you presented your work at a scientific conference or symposium? Are you a co-author on a scientific abstract or manuscript?
  • How will earning this PhD help you to achieve your goals?
  • Why Michigan and why PIBS? Are there specific PIBS programs or researchers of interest to you?

What should I include in my personal statement?

Let us know what makes you special.

  • 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 U-M?
  • How will you contribute to the diversity of the Michigan student body? Have you been active in organizations or activities that promote diversity? What adversity did you overcome to achieve your academic and personal goals?
  • Is there anything that you want us to know when evaluating your application? For example, were there extenuating circumstances for low grades in a given semester? Do you have special needs?

What should I include in my Resume/CV?

In the required Resume/CV, be sure to include relevant academic and professional experience, research projects and any publications.

From whom should I request letters of recommendation?

At least one of your letters must be from a primary research mentor. Other letters may be from professors, the director of your academic program, or a research supervisor at work. Remember, it is important that your letter writers know you well and speak to your potential in research. Please do not request letters from postdoctoral fellows or graduate students, from non-research-related employment supervisors or from personal/family friends.

Note: Letters of recommendation must also be submitted by the December 1 deadline.

Choosing Faculty and Programs

How and where do I find PIBS faculty and research areas that are of interest to me?

To research our faculty, we encourage you to utilize our faculty search page. On this site, faculty research interests can be searched by topic or their name. You may contact any PIBS faculty listed on our website. You can also research faculty by exploring our 14 Ph.D. degree-granting programs.

How do I apply to one or more of the programs/departments in PIBS?

You can apply to all 14 programs/departments participating in PIBS with one application. On the application, you will be asked to select and rank two of the 14 degree-granting programs for review. You will enter your first choice program on the preliminary page of the application and later enter a second program of interest on the supplemental form.

What if I change my mind about my program choices after I send in my application?

If you would like to change your program choices before applications are reviewed, please email us with your revised choices as soon as possible. Once you have accepted an offer at PIBS, you are free to rotate with and ultimately choose any of our 14 degree-granting programs.

Application and Admissions Statistics

How many students apply to PIBS each year?

During a typical application season we receive more than 1000 applications.

How many students are accepted to PIBS each year?

PIBS class size averages between 70-80 students per year.

How many international students are accepted to PIBS each year?

On average, 10% of our incoming students are non-U.S. citizens.

After Applying

How will I know that my application has been received?

After Rackham has received your application and fee they will send emails confirming receipt of your application and providing you with your U-M ID number. They will also include instructions for checking your status online. For details, see Rackham.

Please note: the PIBS office cannot help you check the status of your application (GRE, transcripts, letters) until you have submitted your application.

When will I know my application has been reviewed?

The PIBS Admissions Committee will review all applications that were submitted by our December 1 deadline. After the committee review, all applicants will be contacted by email with a decision. Applicants may be invited to interview (on campus or via Skype/phone) or declined admission.

When are your interview weekends?

PIBS hosts interview weekends towards the end of January/early February. Invited applicants will be notified as soon as possible.

When will I be notified of admission?

Admissions decisions will be made after all interviews have been completed. Applicants will be contacted via email as soon as possible with information regarding the status of their application.

Academic Accommodations

How does Rackham Graduate School accommodate applications from students with disabilities?

Both Rackham Graduate School and PIBS encourage students with disabilities to apply. Many services exist within the University to assist those with disabilities and help facilitate their success throughout graduate school. For more information on such services, please visit Rackham's Disability Resources page.

Faculty FAQs

Where can I create or update my faculty profile?

Please login to PDEP and navigate to "My Faculty Profile". If you do not have access to this system and think you should, please contact Claire Ofiara at

Where can I view a student's application information?

This information can be found by logging into Xythos. If you do not have access to this system and think you should, please contact Jim Musgrave at