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Ph.D. in Architecture

The Ph.D. in Architecture is part of the Rackham Graduate School, (otherwise known as Rackham) which is a community of scholars, researchers, and students in over 191 graduate programs of study at the University of Michigan.

Important Dates & Information:

Application Deadline: December 15
Intent to Enroll Deadline: April 15



  • A professional degree in architecture, or a Master's degree in any field, accompanied by a Bachelor's degree in architecture or a related field, or other evidence of the applicant's commitment to the discipline of architecture such as a reasonable amount of work experience in architecture
  • Undergraduate grade point average of 3.3 (B+) or better
  • Graduate grade point average of 3.5 or better


Rackham online application

The fee for United States Citizens and those with permanent resident visa status is $75 (U.S. funds). The fee for non-U.S. citizens is $90 (U.S. funds). The application fee is paid online, via credit card, before the application is submitted. The application is submitted electronically to the program of study and the Rackham Graduate School. Applications received without fees will not be processed. For more information please see Application Fee and Application Fee Waivers.


Statement of Purpose/Resume

Two page statement of purpose should describe the research that you anticipate pursuing if admitted to the program including which area of specialization you plan to engage. The ideas should be clearly, well stated, and specific. Describe your qualifications to undertake this research and reference your own or others related work if appropriate.


A good curriculum vitae or resume will give us another view of who you are and elaborate your strengths and skills outside of the classroom, showcasing your accomplishments. In addition to your educational experience, student resume should contain professional experiences, other jobs you have held, a list of groups or organizations that you are involved in, programming languages or other computer skills you have, community involvement or volunteer work that you do. Think of your resume as another opportunity to tell us about yourself.

Personal Statement

The personal statement should be a concise, well-written statement about how your personal background and life experiences, including social, cultural, familial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges, have motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan. This is not an academic statement of purpose, but a brief (500 word limit) discussion of the personal journey that has led to your decision to seek a graduate degree.

Portfolio / Examples of Work

Submissions of examples of work should support your statement of purpose and clearly demonstrate research and writing abilities. These may consist of published articles, papers, portfolio or other writing samples. Examples should be uploaded as PDF files with the online application.


Submitting your transcripts is a two-step process:

  1. Applicants will scan and upload an official transcript/academic record, that provides the institutional seal and signature of the Registrar or Recorder of Records, into the online application.
  2. Applicants are also required to submit an official transcript/academic record by mail or as an e-transcript, to Rackham, before the graduate program application deadline. The official transcript/academic record must be received in an envelope sealed by the issuing institution. For more information please see Transcripts.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required and should testify mainly to your academic and professional capacity and promise. Letters should be substantive statements from academics and professionals familiar with your abilities and accomplishments. For more information please see Letters of Recommendation Submission Options.

Graduate Record Examination Scores (required)

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required. Have an official score report sent to the University of Michigan (Institution code: 1839, department code 4401) at least 4-5 weeks prior to the deadline. GRE scores are valid for five years. There is no minimum score requirement.

If you have taken the GMAT or LSAT, we can use those scores in place of the GRE. LSAT scores should be listed on the additional information page of the online application. For more information please see Required Tests.

English Proficiency / TOEFL / IELTS

Applicants who have earned or will earn a Bachelor's or Master's degree are exempt from submitting an official English proficiency score if:

  • The degree was earned from an institution where the language of instruction is English, exclusively. This exception does not apply if some classes completed were taught in a language other than English. Verification from the school may be required.
  • The degree was earned from a country where the official language is English (United States of America, Australia, and England).

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.

All non-native English speakers must take either the TOEFL, or the IELTS. Scores must be no older than two years old to be valid. Non-native English speakers who have earned their degree from a university, where English is the primary language of instruction, are not required to submit a TOEFL or IELTS. The student must have attended the institution for a minimum of four years, and achieved a 4 year degree from that institution to receive a TOEFL, IELTS waiver. U.S. citizenship does not exempt applicants from taking the test if his/her native language is not English. Students only need to take one of the above listed tests. Taubman College does not admit students that have not met minimum score requirements.

TOEFL Examination (International Applicants Only)

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or Internet Based TOEFL (IBT) is one of the approved English proficiency tests required of all non-native English speakers. Information about the TOEFL/IBT including test dates and locations can be found at ets.org/toefl. Please contact ETS (ets.org) and have an official score report sent to the University of Michigan (Institution code 1839, department code 12) at least 6-8 weeks prior to the application deadline. TOEFL/IBT scores must be no older than two years old to be valid. The minimum requirements are: 100 IBT, 250 computer based, or 600 paper based. If you have taken the TOEFL exam and not achieved the minimum score you must continue to take the test until you achieve the minimum score to be considered for admission. Taubman College does not admit students that have not met minimum score requirements.

If you are close to the minimum scores outlined above we encourage to retake the exam to meet the minimum requirement. Applicants who have submitted all required materials by the deadline above (including English proficiency exams) are given first consideration for admission, it may make you a less competitive applicant to not have your scores sent in by the deadline.

IELTS Examination (International Students Only)

The International English Language Testing System exam is another English proficiency tool required of all non-native English speakers. Information about the IELTS including test dates and locations can be found at ielts.org. Please have IELTS send an official score report to the University of Michigan. IELTS scores must be no older than 2 years to be valid. The minimum requirement for the IELTS test is 7.0. If you have taken the IELTS exam and have not achieved the minimum score, you must continue to take the test until you reach 7.0 to be considered for admission. Taubman College does not admit students that have not met minimum score requirements. 

I-20 / Visa (International Applicants Only)

Please do not submit financial information at the time of application.

If you are recommended for admission and the Rackham Graduate School approves the admission, you will be notified by Rackham to submit the Affidavit of Financial Support for International Students along with the required financial documentation (i.e., bank statements).

Evaluation and Application Status


Applications will not be evaluated until all credentials have been received and the application fee has been paid. Applications missing credentials cannot be guaranteed a review by the admissions committee. Eligible applicants are considered for admission on the basis of the following criteria:

  1. Quality and content of all previous academic education
  2. Evidence of professional commitment and direction, including statement of purpose, resume, and letters of recommendation
  3. GRE test scores / TOEFL test scores (if applicable)
  4. The number of openings available
  5. The suitability of the program to the applicant's area of interest

Checking the Status of Your Application Online

Notifications to Expect

You will receive three e-mails from Rackham after you submit the application.

  • On the day you submit the application you will receive an e-mail which acknowledges the successful submission of your application
  • 3-5 days later the second e-mail will arrive acknowledging that Rackham has received your application.
  • 3-5 days after the second e-mail, the third e-mail will arrive. This e-mail provides your U-M ID#, information on how to use the Wolverine Access system to verify your application information, check the status of your application, update your e-mail address, home address, and telephone number.

After You Receive the Third E-Mail

You will be able to review your application status in Wolverine Access under New & Prospective Student Business.

Logging into Wolverine Access

You will need to use a login ID and password, and confirm some personal data before viewing your application data.

For Applicants Who are Current Students or Employees:

Log into Wolverine Access using your existing University of Michigan Uniqname and password, click New and Prospective Student Business.

For Applicants New to the University:

This is a 2-step process:

  1. Create a University of Michigan Friend Account:

    To request a Friend Account enter your e-mail address into the Friend Account Request Form.

  2. Log into Wolverine Access:

    After you create your University of Michigan Friend Account visit Wolverine Access and click New and Prospective Student Business. You will be asked to enter the e-mail address and password for your University of Michigan Friend Account. Next you will enter your University of Michigan ID number and birth date.

    You should have received your University of Michigan ID number after registering as a Future Graduate Student.

Residency Classification

Residency Classification Guidelines have been developed to ensure that decisions about whether a student pays in-state or out-of-state tuition are fair and equitable and that applicants for admission or enrolled students who believe they are Michigan residents understand they may be required to complete an Application for Resident Classification and provide additional information to document their residency status. Please see the University of Michigan Residency Classification Guidelines.

Notification of Acceptance

Applicants will be notified of their admission status by mid-to-late-February. If you are admitted, you will be able to see that you have been recommended for admission by the Doctoral Studies in Architecture via the online web application status. Notification letters will be e-mailed and sent in the U.S. mail. Any merit aid award decisions made by the Doctoral Studies in Architecture Program will be noted in the letter of admission. The next step is for Rackham Graduate School to review the recommendation of admission, certify and process the admission recommendation.

Students choosing to accept admission must pay a non-refundable $200 enrollment deposit either through an online banking transfer (US based banks only) or via check by April 15th to reserve a space in the program. This deposit will be applied to tuition for the term to which you are admitted.

We abide by the Council of Graduate Schools Resolution Regarding Graduate Scholars, Fellows, Trainees and Assistants. Acceptance of an offer of financial support (such as a graduate scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, or assistantship) for the next academic year by a prospective or enrolled graduate student completes an agreement that both student and graduate school expect to honor.

Wait List

Being placed on the wait list means that the admissions committee is interested in your application but has offered admission to other candidates. If space becomes available, students from the wait list may be offered admission. The wait list is unranked and, if space becomes available, all waitlisted students will be reviewed again for admission. The chances of being admitted from the wait list vary from year to year.

For International Applicants Only

When will I receive my immigration documents?


1. What is the Rackham Graduate School?

The Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies is the overall administrative unit for graduate programs and works in conjunction with 17 schools and colleges to recruit applicants, administer the admissions process, and serves students through the final stages of degree attainment.

2. Can I request a paper application packet?

Taubman College no longer prints paper application materials. We require all of our applicants to use the online application system.

3. When is the application deadline?

The application deadline is December 15th for Fall admission. Students are only admitted at this time each year. The application and supporting materials must be received by December 15th in order to ensure that an applicant receives a full review by the admissions committee.

4. How do I check the status of my application materials?

Applicants can check the status of their application and verify information using the web application status function. Once an applicant submits an application online, s/he will receive email instructions on how to access/view their application status by logging into Wolverine Access.

5. Do you offer a part-time or an online Ph.D.?

No, you must be registered as a full time student studying on campus to receive our funding package. Students are expected to devote full time to their studies and are supported financially to enable them to do so.

6. What can I do to improve my chances of admittance?

Begin planning in advance to present a complete, high quality application. In submitting your application, one of the most important items is a clear concise personal statement outlining your professional, intellectual, and research interests. Prepare for the GRE and/or TOEFL tests and leave yourself enough time for a re-test if you feel you have not done your very best. In this same vein, start well in advance contacting current and previous universities and colleges about submitting grade transcripts and requesting letters of recommendation from faculty. We cannot consider your application without them.

7. When can I expect to receive an admission decision?

The Admissions Committee typically completes final admission decisions by Mid-February. All applicants will receive an official decision letter as soon as the committee has reached a conclusion. A general timeline is as follows:

  • December 15 – Application Deadline
  • January 15 – Applications go to the Admissions Committee for review
  • Mid-February – Admission decisions reached and applicants are notified

8. I have been assigned to a waitlist. What does that mean and how does the waitlist process work?

The waitlist means that we are interested in your application, but have already offered admission to other candidates. If space becomes available, we will admit students from the waitlist in a non-ranked order.

9. How many letters of recommendation letters do I submit?

Three (3) are required and should testify mainly to academic and professional capacity and promise. Letters should be substantive statements from academics and professionals familiar with your abilities and accomplishments. The letter of recommendation form is available from the Rackham website.

10. Can I defer my admission offer?

Applicants may choose to defer their admission for up to 2 years. Scholarship recipients cannot defer a scholarship award.

11. Can I be a Graduate Student Instructor?

Students will be selected for GSI/GSRA positions as part of their funding package depending on the teaching needs of the College.

12. Will I get my application fee back?

No, the application fee is non-refundable.

13. Will you return my portfolio to me?

When you submit a portfolio as part of your application, it becomes property of the University of Michigan. If you would like to have your portfolio returned to you after admission decisions are made please submit a prepaid, self addressed envelope.

14. I am an international student. Am I eligible for funding?

Yes, you are eligible for the funding package described in the funding section of our website.

15. How do I apply for merit-based scholarships?

All applicants are automatically considered for any merit-based scholarships that are available. If you receive a scholarship, you will be notified of the scholarship award in your letter of admission. Because financial resources are limited, we would encourage all applicants to seek outside sources of funding as well. Please apply for any scholarships, fellowships, or grants for which you are eligible.

Contact Student Services at TaubmanCollegeAdmissions@umich.edu or 734-763-1275