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Forms and Policies

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How to use this page: Forms and Policies are organized by degree and are ordered to follow the degree timeline for the typical student. The section labeled Common contains information that is relevant to all graduate students in ME. Please contact the Academic Services Office if you need additional clarification on a policy or if there is any difficulty locating information for a form.


Petitions - Policies & Process
Students have the right to petition any College, Rackham, or Department rule or requirement. The Associate Chair for Graduate Education and/or the Graduate Program Committee make decisions on all submitted petitions in consideration of their charge to uphold the integrity and rigor of our graduate degrees. Any petition that bears on graduation plans should be submitted prior to the term in which a student intends to graduate, so there is time for alternate arrangements to be made if the petition is not approved.
To petition, the Petition for Modification or Waiver of Regulation form is submitted as an email attachment sent to, or dropped off as a hard copy to the ME Academic Services Office (2206 G.G. Brown). Students should always attach supporting documentation (e.g. a course syllabus). The result of the petition will be communicated via email.

In summary, if you are petitioning a Department rule, then the Department will review and make a decision. If you are petitioning a Rackham or College rule, then the Department will review, followed by Rackham or the College, as appropriate. Depending on which parties are involved in the review process, the response time frame can be a few days to a few weeks. The ME ASO will keep you informed via email.

Responsible Conduct of Research Policy
Students who are supported by NSF or NIH funding are responsible for completing the Responsible Conduct of Research and Scholarship program.
Student Initiated Administrative Review (SIAR)
The Student Initiated Administrative Review (SIAR) is the process by which a graduate student submits to the Mechanical Engineering Departmental Administration a request to review a faculty decision or action and thereby officially launching a dispute resolution process. It is strongly recommended that student first attempt an informal resolution. Once the SIAR process has been formally initiated, a panel of Mechanical Engineering faculty and students who are independent of the matter under consideration will be assembled to review the case. The students involved will be elected by the student body for a one year position to serve as a student member of the administrative review resolution panels. All SIARs will be respected as sensitive to the parties involved but cannot be maintained as confidential due to the nature of the resolution process. Any recommendation yielded from an ME review can be reviewed again by CoE and/or Rackham. However, it is necessary that a student never initiates more than one review at a time for the same incident.
If a student chooses not to pursue the SIAR process, or is unsatisfied with the outcome, a student can request a separate review from Rackham by contacting ( or CoE by contacting Angela Farrehi (, 143 Chrysler Center, 647-7106). The recommended steps to resolving disputes are as follows:
  1. Informal resolution attempted with the student's faculty advisor or faculty member
  2. Informal resolution attempted with either the ME graduate chair or department char. If this resolution is not successful, the student proceeds to Step 3 and if that step is also unsuccessful, returns to the ME graduate chair or department chair for final discussion. That discussion will be where the SIAR begins convening a panel of faculty and students (Step 4). The graduate chair or department chair works with the student to complete the document and follows up to make sure the student submits it.
  3. Informal resolution attempted with CoE Resolution Officer Angela Farrehi,, 647-7106.
  4. Formal resolution sought via SIAR process.
  5. If necessary, after or in lieu of SIAR, formal resolution sought with the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education (ADRGE).
  6. If necessary, after or in lieu of SIAR/CoE, formal resolution sought with Rackham Resolution Officer (Darlene Ray-Johnson,, 734-936-1647).
Find out about the Coe Conflict Resolution Policy here.
Find out more about the Rackham Conflict Resolution Policy here.
The SIAR form outlines Step 4 above and follows the flow outlined below. Follow the link for the official policy.

Accommodations for Graduate Students with Disabilities
The University of Michigan is committed to providing an academic and work environment free of discrimination and harassment for all students, faculty and staff, including students with disabilities.  Students with disabilities should have the same access to academic programs, support services, activities, and employment opportunities as other students. Graduate students who hold appointments as GSIs, GSSAs, GSRAs, and temporary hourly employees may need accommodations that include work issues related to their graduate studies.

The University recognizes that cooperation between faculty and campus administration is necessary to insure that reasonable and timely accommodations are arranged for graduate students with qualified disabilities. You play a key role in the successful administration of these procedures.

Effective January 1, 2012, Rackham Graduate School, Services for Students with Disabilities, Office of Institutional Equity, and Academic Human Resources launched a coordinated central administrative process for providing accommodations for graduate students with disabilities, regardless of employment status. Primary objectives of the new administrative procedures are:
  • To improve service to graduate students seeking disability accommodations
  • To streamline the process for making accommodation requests related to a graduate student appointment
  • To make it easier to request an accommodation
  • To provide support to faculty and staff in academic units in facilitating requests for accommodation for graduate students

Procedures for disability accommodation for Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs) and Graduate Student Staff Assistants (GSSAs) are governed by Article XXII of the GEO (Graduate Employees Organization) contract. The new accommodation process described below adheres to the terms and conditions in that article; however, questions about your contractual obligations should be directed to Academic Human Resources (

How to Request Accommodations for Graduate Students with Disabilities
For Academic Accommodations:
Students seeking academic accommodations should register with Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD). SSD arranges reasonable and appropriate academic accommodations for students with disabilities. SSD determines the appropriate services for the student based on the student's specific disability and the academic activities the student pursues while enrolled. For additional information about supporting students needing academic accommodations, please refer to the SSD Faculty Handbook.

For Employment or Appointment Accommodations:
  1. An overview of issues related to disability accommodation procedures for graduate students with GSI, GSSA, GSRA or temporary hourly appointments can be found at: /accommodations_for_graduate_students_with_disabilities/funding_employment_or_appointment_accommodations/
  2. Each school or college within the University has an administrative
    designee who works with faculty and staff to facilitate graduate student access to appropriate reasonable accommodations. The list of designees is available at The administrative designee serves as the case coordinator for disability accommodation requests at the unit level and facilitates informal and formal requests. Contact your administrative designee, for consultation and assistance with disability accommodation requests.
  3. Students may make informal accommodation requests directly to their immediate faculty supervisors, appointing unit faculty or staff, or to the administrative designee. In general, forms are not required for informal requests. If you are directly contacted for an accommodation request, consult with your administrative designee.
  4. Students may make formal requests by completing the Accommodation Request Form, available on the Rackham website; or by contacting either Darlene Ray-Johnson (, the Rackham Accessibility Facilitator, or the administrative designee in the student's school, college or program.
  5. A student's request for accommodation should receive a response in a timely manner.
  6. The University has created a central accommodation fund to help pay for accommodations that cost more than $500 per student. Contact your administrative designee to inquire about procedures to apply for these funds.
  7. Offer letters for graduate student employees should include: a statement that the University complies with the American Disability Act (ADA), contact information for the administrative designee for the employing school or college, and contact information for the designated central office. A sample letter is available from the administrative designee or Rackham Accessibility Facilitator.
Role of Rackham Graduate School in the Accommodation Process
Rackham Graduate School is the designated central office to respond to requests for accommodations related to employment or appointments for graduate students. Darlene Ray-Johnson (, the Rackham Accessibility Facilitator, assists academic units with arranging appropriate reasonable accommodations. Role of the designated central office is as follows:
  • Receive and process accommodation requests
  • Provide consultation to academic units in determining reasonable accommodation requests
  • Administer central accommodation fund
  • Compile annual report of number and disposition of accommodation requests
  • Disability-related information should be treated as medical information and handled under the same strict rules of confidentiality as is other medical information
  • Students are not required to disclose the medical basis for their accommodation to their academic unit
  • Documentation involving accommodation will be kept separate from departmental academic records and personnel files to maintain the privacy of student information
  • Disability-related medical information will be maintained at Services for Students with Disabilities

Master's Degree

Dual Degree Application Form
Students who are interested in getting a dual degree from the University must complete the Dual Degree Application. A student in a Rackham doctoral or master's program must complete at least one term of coursework in good academic standing in a regular Rackham program before requesting admission to a dual degree program. Please review the guidelines thoroughly for this option.
Dual Degree Course Election Form
Students in dual degree programs may double-count a limited number of credit hours toward the requirements of both degrees. To request double counting, a student must complete the Dual Degree Course Election Form no later than one term prior to completing the second degree.

JI-SGUS Course Election Form
Students applying to the UM-SJTU JI-SGUS degree program must fill out the SJTU-SGUS Course Election Form with their admissions application.

Transfer of Credit
The transfer of credit form is available for students who are interested in transferring graduate credits for the Master's Degree. A student must have completed at least 8 credits of graduate level coursework in Rackham, and have at least a B average, before requesting a transfer of credit. Only graduate courses from an external institution can be transferred into graduate courses at the University of Michigan, regardless of the content. Additional information can be found in the Transfer of Credit Guidelines.
In addition to the transfer of credit form, the following supporting documentation is needed in order to have a Request for Transfer of Credit considered:
  1. Provide a syllabus with each course.
  2. Detail your credit transfer request to specific categories of your MSE degree (e.g. Cognate, 5XX level ME course, etc.) on the Master's Degree Audit.
  3. Detail what the equivalent courses at U of M are. Simply write that down on the Master's Degree Audit. Also provide the syllabus for the U of M courses.
  4. Detail the grades or percentile rank earned in the courses on the Master's Degree Audit.
  5. If any of these classes were taken as an undergraduate, Rackham requires that "If the course was taken as an undergraduate, a signed statement from the Senior Auditor or Registrar (from the institution you wish to transfer the credit from) that the course was not used for the undergraduate degree is required. Only courses taken in the junior or senior year can be transferred. If course requirements involved extra work for graduate students, it must be documented that the extra work was completed."
Master's Degree Audit Form
The Master's Degree audit form exists to help students plan coursework for their ME Master's degree.  It does not need to be submitted unless requested by your program adviser.

Doctoral Degree

Rackham's Continuous Enrollment Policy
Once admitted to a PhD program, students will register every fall and winter term until their degree is awarded, unless they are taking an official leave of absence. Students will register in spring or summer terms only when they elect courses, take preliminary examinations, or defend their dissertations. Students must be registered for 8 credits of ME995 during the term of the dissertation defense. Please note: Rackham discontinued the policy for Rackham Fee Totals (RFTs). 
Reinstatement Fee - A PhD student who discontinues enrollment in Spring/Summer 2012 or later and subsequently is reinstated into the same program will be assessed a fee equal to one quarter of the prevailing candidacy tuition rate for each fall and winter semester that the student was not registered, up to a maximum of eight semesters. Students who discontinued their enrollment at any time prior to Spring/Summer 2012 are not subject to this fee. Responsibility for paying the reinstatement fee will be split between the graduate student seeking to re-enroll and the graduate program that agrees to reinstate the student, such that the graduate program will pay at least half of the fee. 
For additional information, please visit Rackham's Continuous Enrollment Policy Overview website.
Active PhD Students Not Registered During Spring/Summer
Active PhD students have year-round eligibility for all University facilities and support services, including: University Library, The Career Center, Center for the Education of Women (CEW), e-mail, printing, International Center, University Housing, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), Services for Students with Disabilities, Spectrum Center, and Parking Services. Active Rackham PhD students who were registered in the prior winter semester will have access to:
University Health Service
  • Have access to the services of the University Health Service (UHS) that are covered by the health service fee (at no additional cost)
  • For more information about the health service fee or coverage, visit the UHS website at:;
Recreational Sports
  • Have access to Recreational Sports facilities (CCRB, IMSB, and NCRB) without payment of membership fees
  • Other fees may apply;
Student Legal Services (SLS)
  • Have access to SLS attorneys for legal advice and assistance in all areas of the law;
  • Other fees may apply.
Additional information can be found in here: PhD Students' Eligibility for Campus Services According to Status.
Leave of Absence
Events may occur that make it necessary for a student pursuing a PhD to interrupt his or her progress toward a degree. Since students in PhD programs are required to be continuously enrolled, they may ask for a temporary leave of absence when certain life events make impossible continued active participation in the degree program. A leave of absence enables a student to not register during a fall or winter term and remain in compliance with the continuous enrollment requirement. A leave will be granted to students for illness or injury, to provide care or assistance for family and dependents, to meet military service obligations, or for other personal reasons.
The official Leave of Absence Policy is maintained by the Rackham Graduate School.  Additional information can be found on the Leave of Absence webpage.
Extramural Study
A student who enrolls at another institution to pursue study relevant to the PhD in a period that overlaps substantially with a University fall or winter term may be eligible for extramural study status (extramural study is not an appropriate status for a student who is engaged in fieldwork or archival research, or who has an internship but is not enrolled in a formal course of study at another institution).
The official Extramural Study Policy is maintained by the Rackham Graduate School. Additional information can be found on the Extramural Study webpage. 
ME Annual Progress Update (APU) Policy
The annual progress update is a formal process to review the research and academic progress of all PhD students. It is intended to be a communication tool for PhD students and research advisors to ensure there is adequate progress toward the degree. Pre-candidate PhD students are required to complete the annual progress update twice, once in the Fall and once in the Winter terms. Candidates are required to complete the update once per year, typically in the Winter term. Access to the APU system will be sent via email from the Academic Services Office.
Student Initiated Degree Program Form
Student Initiated Degree Programs (SIDP) provide students with the opportunity to combine studies from two PhD programs, which will lead to a single PhD citation. For additional information, review the SIDP program requirements. Students who are interested in participating in this program should discuss the opportunity with the graduate chair and research advisor.
RFE Bio-Sketch Form
During registration for the RFE, PhD students are required to submit a Bio-Sketch.
RFE Abstract Policy
During registration for the RFE, PhD students are required to submit an abstract that describes the purpose of the research being examined, key related research, research hypotheses, research methodology, and results to date. The abstract should be formatted with 11 point font, single spacing, one inch margins, and be a maximum of 2 pages. These two pages include citations and bibliography. In addition, a third page should be included that lists the RCC courses that were taken, and how they relate to the research presented in the abstract. This third page should not contain more than a half page of text.
Advancement to Candidacy
If you've met the candidacy requirements, please e-mail the ME ASO to request to be advanced. 
Dissertation Committee Form
The Dissertation Committee form is submitted as an email attachment sent to, or dropped off as a hard copy to the ME ASO office (2206 GG Brown) upon completion of the Dissertation Proposal Exam. Please see Rackham's Quick Reference Chart for guidelines on the composition of dissertation committees.
Nomination for Special Membership on Dissertation Committee Form
The Nomination for Special Membership on Dissertation Committee form is necessary when a member of the Dissertation Committee does not meet the requirements for membership as set forth by Rackham.