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Change of Program Applicants

MSE to Ph.D. – Current U-M Rackham Students Only

Application Requirements

Students must submit the Rackham Application and include the following with their application:

  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Academic Statement of Purpose and Personal Statement
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts: Please provide a copy of your U-M unofficial transcript. You do not need to provide any non U-M transcripts.
  • Application Fee: $10
  • If you have secured a faculty advisor, please email with the advisor’s name. We will follow up with the faculty member to obtain a funding letter.

Note: Change-of-Program applicants must complete their MSE before matriculating to the Ph.D., and will need to complete 6 credits of graduate level coursework beyond the MSE.

Deadlines for Admission:

Fall Admission:

  • December 1st: Priority deadline for fellowship consideration. Confirmed faculty advisor is not required in order to be considered.
  • February 1st: Final deadline. Applications submitted after December 1st will not be considered for fellowship funding and should have a confirmed research advisor with available funding.

Winter Admission:

  • August 1st: Priority deadline for fellowship consideration. Confirmed faculty advisor is not required in order to be considered.
  • October 1st: Final deadline. Applications submitted after August 1st will not be considered for fellowship funding and should have a confirmed research advisor with available funding.

Interested in Change of Program (CoP), but don’t have a faculty advisor yet?

Students who apply by the priority deadline dates (December 1st for fall admission, August 1st for winter admission) will be considered for fellowship funding. Students who apply by these dates do not need to have a confirmed faculty advisor. Students who apply after these dates do need a faculty advisor with available funding in order to be considered for admission. The first step to finding a research advisor is to get involved in research.  Some research opportunities on campus include:

ME 590:

  • ME 590 provides students the opportunity to participate in individual research projects with faculty support and supervision.
  • Students independently search for and enter into a research project with a faculty member over the course of a semester.
  • Requires proposal and report submissions as well as registration in Wolverine Access.

Multi-disciplinary Design Projects (MDPs):

  • Offers students a wide variety of exciting, long-term, team-based projects and partners with research faculty and industry leaders to bridge classroom and professional experiences.
  • Some MDPs are pre-approved to count for ME 590 credit (student must also follow ME 590 process).

Tips for Finding a Research Advisor:

  1. Start Early!
  2. Familiarize yourself with various research groups.
  3. Enroll in classes taught by faculty of interest if possible.
  4. Do well in classes relevant to your research interest!
  5. Talk to other graduate students about their advisors. Share your interests and ask for advice.
  6. Meet with Faculty members.
  7. Make sure both you and the advisor are interested in and excited about the research project.
  8. Questions to ask a potential advisor:
    • What would be your (the student’s) contribution to the problem(s) of interest?
    • What will be the approach to solving these problems?
    • What is the advisor’s current funding situation? (Particularly important for potential Change-of-Program students)
    • Who else will I be working with on this project?

The Ph.D. Program as a Change-of-Program Student:

Course Requirements:  6 graduate-level credits above and beyond the Master’s.  It is possible to have completed these requirements as a Master’s student if you had excess credits.

RCC (Research Core Curriculum): After admission is offered, the Graduate Program Committee will review the courses you have taken after grades are in for the current term and see if you qualify for a waiver from the RCC or if you will need to take additional coursework.  This will be communicated to you via email after admission.

RFE (Research Fundamentals Exam): Master’s students interested in CoP are permitted to take the RFE prior to being accepted to the PhD program if they wish.  You will need to submit a petition expressing your intent to take the RFE (indicate in which term).  Otherwise, CoP students must complete the RFE within two terms of admission to the Ph.D. Program.

RCRS Workshops: All PhD students are required to complete 8 hours of workshops as part of the Responsible Conduct of Research & Scholarship (RCRS).  There are 4 workshops, each 2 hours long. You may register for these as a MSE student if you wish.  More information here.

Other details regarding requirements to advance to candidacy and expectations of Satisfactory Progress in the Ph.D. Program can be found in the Graduate Handbook.

It is possible for CoP students to advance to candidacy in their first term as a Ph.D. student provided they have completed all the requirements to advance to candidacy including the RFE and RCRS requirements.