Admission Guidelines & Planning

Aerospace engineering graduate degrees  are part of Rackham Graduate School. The application process is handled by Rackham. Students are obligated to meet requirements for admissions and degrees set by Rackham Graduate School.

Learn more about AERO’s application process 

Graduate Application Deadlines

Applications will receive the greatest consideration if all elements of the application (including letters of recommendation, test scores, and official transcripts) have been successfully submitted to Rackham by the deadline. Once the application is submitted, it cannot be modified. 

Academic Calendar

Aerospace engineering classes are not offered during U-M’s summer term.

Our primary admissions cycle is for the fall term, which is the term for which most faculty recruit incoming doctoral students. There is a smaller admissions cycle for winter term.

Current and prospective students can view specific term start and end dates through Office of the Registrar’s Academic Calendar.

Fall Term Application Deadline:

PhD deadline: December 15
MSE (including SUGS) deadline: January 15

Winter Term:

PhD and MSE (including SUGS) deadline: October 1

Academic Background of Applicants

Engineering degree

Admission for the Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) program requires the equivalent of a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE) at the University of Michigan.

A master’s degree is not required to apply to the PhD program. Many students who go directly into the PhD program get an embedded MSE along the way. It is not required to do so, however.

Solid undergraduate preparation in mathematics and engineering is essential. Applicants can have a range of undergraduate majors, such as: physics, applied physics, mathematics and any number of engineering disciplines.

We advise applicants without an engineering background to take the mechanical engineering discipline during the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), and to share those scores with the department during the application process.

Scores and grades

Our graduate program is very selective. GPA and GRE scores are very high, and project experience during the undergraduate years is very common.

Recently admitted graduate applicants had a combined GRE score above 320 (verbal + quantitative), a minimum analytical writing score of 4.0, and a GPA over 3.6 on a 4.0 scale The graduate admissions committee does take a holistic view, so grades and/or test scores are not the only factor which determines successful admission. We encourage all interested applicants to apply, and, if your scores are lower than listed above, to address why your scores may be lower and how you’ve addressed the issues causing lower scores.

U-M Master’s Students Applying to the PhD Program

Current U-M master’s students applying to the PhD program must submit a new application for the PhD program by the graduate application deadline. You may have worked with a faculty advisor, who may wish to admit you into their research group as a PhD student. Or, you may not have already established a faculty advising relationship prior to applying for the PhD. Both are accepted. 

U-M master’s with faculty advising & funding commitment

Current U-M master’s students with an AERO faculty’s commitment to advise and fund their doctoral program must complete a new Rackham application, request your faculty member submit an online letter of recommendation stating their commitment to advise and fund your doctoral program (only this single letter of recommendation is necessary) and notify [email protected].

Applicant Notification

The Graduate Admissions Committee notifies applicants of their decision whether to recommend admission as soon as possible. All applicants will receive an email notice with the final admissions decision as soon as possible. Please be aware that there may be months between your application and the admissions decision announcement. Applicants recommended for admission are reviewed by Rackham to confirm admission requirements are met. If approved for admission, the applicant will receive an email from Rackham with their official admissions offer and request for any additional application or visa documents, if necessary.


Rackham Admissions is the U-M office that will prepare immigration documents for international students including the I-20. Please look for emails from Rackham Graduate school and note deadlines. The Rackham admissions team will also be the team reviewing required financial resource statements (FRS). All questions regarding final required documentation should be addressed to the Rackham Admissions Office.

Accept admissions offer

The Department of Aerospace Engineering emails recommendations of admission to applicants. The applicant responds to the offer by emailing the Student Services Manager, Ruthie Freeman.

Rackham reviews AERO’s recommendation for admission and ensures minimum requirements are met.  After Rackham approves admission, an email invites the applicant to respond to the offer in Wolverine Access. This may occur up to a week after AERO’s admissions offer email.

To reserve your place in our graduate program, prospective students must formally respond to the final admissions offer on Wolverine Access.

Visa process

Financial documents

Next Rackham will request the upload of financial documents in Wolverine Access. Do not submit financial information until requested by Rackham. These financial documents may be uploaded in several files.

I-20 status

Rackham will prepare immigration documents (I-20 or DS-2019) using the U.S. Federal Government SEVIS system. You will be able to review your immigration information and track the progress of your immigration document on the “View I-20 or DS-2019 Status” link in Wolverine Access.

See Rackham information on Immigration Documents for International Students


The application review process for our graduate programs is managed by Rackham Graduate School Admissions Office.

X-HALE aircraft