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Letters of Recommendation (LOR)

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Letters of recommendation are submitted through the Rackham Graduate School online application.  The letters are typically from a professor at the applicant's most recent institution where their degree was earned. 

Applicants must register ALL recommenders on the online application system in order for an e-mail to be sent to the recommender.  It is very important to spell the recommender's name and e-mail address correctly. Once the application is submitted, revisions are not possible by the applicant, Rackham or the Mechanical Engineering department. 

Number of Letters Required from Applicants for Each Program

  • Doctoral: 3 letters are required (2 of the 3 letters must come from an academic professor).
  • Master: 2 letters are required (1 of 2 letters must come from an academic professor).
  • SUGS and JI-SUGS: 3 letters are required (2 of the 3 letters must come from an academic professor).
  • Non-Candidate for Degree (NCFD):  2 letters are required (both letters must come from an academic professor) 

NOTE:  An academic professor can be an Assistant Professor, Associate Professor or Professor. A Lecturer would not count as a professor since they are not an academic professor as listed above for the two letters.  However, the third letter can come from a Lecturer since anyone can write the third letter.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q:  How are letters of recommendation submitted?

A:  Applicants will enter the names and e-mail addresses of their recommenders on the online application.  Once the names are entered, the recommenders will receive an e-mail with steps on how to set up a recommender account.  They will be able to submit their recommendations electronically.  

Q:  Are letters of recommendation acceptable to be sent from a career center?

A:  Yes. Click the Rackham Graduate School's Letters of Recommendation link for additional information.

Q:  My recommender did not receive an e-mail from the online system. How can he/she receive the message to submit a letter for me?

A:  All applicants can log onto the online application system to resend the e-mail to a recommender. 

Q:  How can I change a recommender I entered on the application system?

A:  Applicants can go on the online application to check the status of a recommender preparing a letter.  Applicants can change a recommender at any time unless the recommender they listed has already started the recommendation.   As long as the recommender has not started the process, the applicant can change a recommender. If the recommender has started the process, then no one can modify the recommender. The applicant can always send a reminder to the recommender to submit the letter.

Q:  Who should write a letter of recommendation for me?

A:  Recommendations must come from individuals who had sufficient opportunity and evidence to assess your academic abilities and potential. In most cases, a faculty member (e.g., Professor, Associate Professor or Assistant Professor) is the most qualified to write a letter.  However, there are instances where a student has been out of school working in industry. In this case, previous or current employers in industry or research can prepare a letter to provide relevant information.  We also accept one letter from a Lecturer at an institution or a manager or foreman from industry.

Q:  Does an academic professor refer to a professor I took a class with or can it be a professor that instructs classes at the University? 

A.  An academic professor would be someone you had a relationship with as an instructor of a class you took, research you worked with or if you were on a team project together. This person would be able to assess your academic abilities and potential and then communicate it in the recommendation letter. The Graduate Admission Committee reads all recommendation letters to gain an understanding of an applicant's abilities in an academic setting.

Q:  How can I edit my recommenders name on the online application?

A:  It is very important to spell the recommender's name and e-mail correctly.  As long as you have not submitted the application yet, any applicant can log back onto the online application to edit the information. Once the application is submitted, no one can modify the content listed on the application (This includes the Rackham Graduate School and Mechanical Engineering department).  For instance, if an applicant changes a recommender on the Letter of Recommendation online application section and has submitted the application, no one can update the new recommender on the online application. The new recommender will receive a message to submit the letter of recommendation but the new person will not be listed on the online application since it was submitted before the change.

Q:  My recommender is experiencing technical difficulty to upload the letter. How can he/she submit the letter online?

A:  We will allow an applicant to notify their recommender to either e-mail or mail the letter of recommendation with cover page to Mechanical Engineering Department. The recommender would need to send us the e-mail with the letter of recommendation and Recommendation Form cover page at me-grad-application@umich.edu. We advise applicants to ask their recommender to include the applicant's full name in the message in order for us to quickly match the item with the applicant's application. Do not send paper recommendation letters to Rackham or this will delay the processing of Mechanical Engineering receiving your letters. 

Q:  When I submitted my online application, I realized that I forgot to enter my recommenders on the online application. I cannot edit the information to add recommenders. Can someone help me?

A:  Unfortunately once the applicant submits the online application no one can modify the content of the application (this includes the Rackham Graduate School and Mechanical Engineering department).  For instance, if an applicant changes a recommender on the Letter of Recommendation online application section and has submitted the application, no one can update the new recommender on the online application.

Q:  Will you accept letters that arrive after the application deadline date?

A:  Yes we will accept letters that arrive after the deadline date.  We understand that a professor my not provide the letter by the deadline.  However, please keep in mind that we still need to receive the missing letter in order to completely review your file.

Q: Can I submit more than 3 letters?

A:  Yes we will.  If an applicant would like to submit more than 3 letters, please follow the process listed above under "My recommender is experiencing technical difficulty to upload the letter."

Q:  I can see that Wolverine Access received my letters of recommendation. However, Mechanical Engineering does not have the letter listed as received on the Applicant Status Page.

A:   We receive numerous applications each term and process them on an individual case.  When we enter new application materials into our database, the changes will be reflected on the Applicant Status Page.  We work on applications daily. However, please keep in mind that we may have a thousand applications to work on and update.  We strongly encourage all applicants to check their Applicant Status Page daily to see when something has been modified.  

Q.  How many recommendation letters do I need and who should I ask to be my recommenders?

A:  The number of recommendation letters depends upon the graduate program you intend to apply to. Letters should be provided by a faculty member or academic professor from the last school attended as a full-time student. If the applicant has been out of school for more than four years and/or working in an industry position, they can substitute who will submit a recommendation. Samples of this could include someone who can share your academic potential for graduate work (e.g. professor in a lab you worked in, foreman, product engineering, manager in industry, etc.).

      • Doctoral Program: 3 letters are required (2 of the 3 letters must come from an academic professor)
      • Master Program:  2 letters are required (1 of the 2 letters must come from an academic professor)
      • SUGS and  JI-SUGS Programs: 3 letters are required (2 of the 3 letters must come from an academic professor)

Q: How should I send my letters of recommendation?

A:  The preferred method to submit letters if through the Rackham online application system.  Please follow the instructions on the Rackham online application to submit the names of your recommenders. The recommenders will receive an e-mail notification that will prompt them to submit their letter directly online.  However, in the event that a recommender is unable to submit a letter on the online application system, please ask that they e-mail or mail it to the below address or e-mail. If the letter is sent to ME, the letter must come from the recommender listed on the online application or it will not be accepted.

University of Michigan Department of Mechanical Engineering
Academic Services Office, 2380 GG Brown
2350 Hayward Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2125
me-grad-application@umich.edu

 

Helpful Links: Letters of Recommendation