Application Process

The application review process for the Department of Aerospace Engineering (AERO) Master’s of Science in Engineering (MSE) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) graduate programs is managed by Rackham Graduate School Admissions Office and the department’s graduate office. Applicants interact with both offices during their application process.

Find out more about our admissions guidelines. The online application and application materials are submitted to Rackham.

Visit this page for specific information on the Global Aerospace Leadership MEng Program

Application Materials

Online Application


The name used on the application should be your full legal name as it appears on your passport or other legal documents. It is very important to note any other name that appears on prior academic records or test score reports.

UMID Number

An eight-digit UMID (University of Michigan identification) number will be emailed to you within five business days after completing page five of the online application. Please note your UMID number on all your application materials to ensure accurate and timely processing. If you need to submit your application before you receive your UMID number, please note your date of birth and the program’s name (e.g., AERO MSE) on your application materials.

Subplan Selection

Master’s applicants choose one of five fundamental research areas as your subplan. The master’s program is a multidisciplinary program with the opportunity to explore all areas. You are able to take courses regardless of your subplan; your choice will not limit your course selection. In addition, you may change your subplan while you’re working on your master’s degree if you choose to do so.

PhD applicants should explore the research areas and the faculty working in each research areas. On page three of the PhD application, choose one of twenty research areas as your primary subplan. On page nine, indicate your second and third subplan preferences, as well as up to five faculty members with research of interest.

The graduate admissions committee considers the abilities of our faculty to mentor additional PhD students in their research groups. A PhD applicant will only be admitted if there is a match of interest with faculty member(s). You are not required to find a faculty advisor before applying although we recommend that applicants to the PhD program contact faculty whose research is of interest to see if there is a good fit.


For detailed instructions see Rackham Graduate School’s transcript information.

Official transcript upload

All applicants are required to upload a scanned copy of their official transcript, for each bachelor’s, master’s, professional, or doctoral degree earned or in progress, to the online application portal by the application deadline.

  • Note: there is no need to mail official documents to Rackham during the application phase (please refer to Rackham’s updated procedures for more detail). Plan to submit scanned versions of transcripts to apply.

Additional procedures

Non-U.S. institution transcripts:
  • For non-U.S. institutions, official transcripts bear the issuing institution’s seal and the official signature of the Registrar or Recorder of Records.
  • Academic credentials required to be submitted from a non-U.S. institution are specified for each country or region by Rackham. See requirements by country or region for what to submit.
  • Scan both transcripts and any applicable required academic credentials for the country where your institution is located. Upload documents to complete the application.
For all applicants:
  • Official transcripts are not required to be submitted until after a final of admission is made. (Wolverine Access will indicate the transcript as “not received” but this will not affect your application review.)
  • Students who are currently completing a degree at the time of their application to graduate school will receive a conditional admission, and must provide a final, official transcript to Rackham by the end of their first semester at the University of Michigan.

Application Statements and Resume

The academic statement of purpose, personal statement, and curriculum vitae (CV) or resume together give a fuller picture of your interests, motivations, and experiences to the graduate admissions committee.

Academic Statement of Purpose

The academic statement of purpose should be concise, typically no more than two pages. It is a well-written statement about your academic and research background, career goals, and how this graduate program will help you meet your career and educational objectives. You may include information about potential research groups and faculty advisors in this statement.

Personal Statement

The personal statement should answer to this question: how have your background and personal or life experiences, including any cultural, geographical, financial, educational or other opportunities or challenges, motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan?

In this statement, you can note additional information or extenuating circumstances specific to your situation. The statement should be between 500-700 words long.

Resume/Curriculum Vitae

The resume or curriculum vitae is included in your application and should describe your education, work experience, research publications, teaching experience, honors and awards. We recognize that your resume represents a snapshot of your experiences when you submit your application. Although your experiences may change, the application is not updated after it has been submitted.

Letters of Recommendation

A letter of recommendation should be current and written for purpose of the applicant’s program. See Rackham’s letter of recommendation information.

  • Three recommendations are required for the PhD and MSE applications. Two recommendations are required for the SUGS application.
  • At least two of the three recommendations should be from faculty who can speak to your academic and research experience. One recommendation may be from a non-academic reference, such as an employer, especially if you have been out of school for several years.
  • Register your recommenders on the online application, being careful to correctly spell the recommender’s name and email.

Letters of Recommendation FAQs

Answers to common questions regarding academic references
Check out the information below to learn more about the process for submitting reference letters. If anything is unclear, or your questions has not been answered, feel free to contact our Student Services Manager, Ruthie Freeman, for more details.

What if my recommender has not submitted my recommendation yet?

  • Recommenders often need a polite reminder or two in order to submit letters on time.
  • Verify that the emailed invitation was not blocked or filtered into a junk or spam mail folder.
  • Resend the notification email to your recommender using the ApplyWeb Activity Page if necessary.
  • Applicants may change a recommender if they have not started writing their recommendation.

Will you accept recommendations that arrive after the application deadline date?

Yes, we will accept recommendations that arrive after the deadline. However, a missing recommendation needs to be received to completely review the application. Applications missing a recommendation will be at a competitive disadvantage during the evaluation process.

Can my recommendation be emailed?

All recommendations are submitted electronically using the Rackham application portal. If extenuating circumstances require a letter of recommendation to be submitted by other means, please contact Ruthie Freeman in the department’s graduate office. She will contact the recommender to request the letter and recommendation for admission form.

Test Scores

The GRE and TOEFL tests’ reporting code is 1839 (a department code is not required).


GRE scores have been required for the PhD and MSE applications in the past. Those applying for the master’s degree program admission are still required to submit GRE scores, as they will be considered along with other application materials in the admission decision process.

Note that GRE scores up to five years old as of the application deadline may be used.

Applicants to our PhD degree are no longer required to submit GRE scores. PhD applicants are still welcome to do so if they so choose, this information will be considered along with the rest of the application materials. It is not a requirement for anyone applying to the PhD to submit GRE scores in order to be considered for admission.

See academic background of applicants for information about the typical test scores of admitted students.

English Proficiency Test Scores

English proficiency must be shown by applicants whose native language is not English. Proficiency is demonstrated by either an  English proficiency examination or qualifying for an exemption. See Rackham’s English proficiency requirements and exemptions

Track Application Materials

Due to the high volume of applications, the Aerospace Graduate Office does not respond to application status inquiries. Applicants may check the status of their application materials.

Application Tracking FAQs

Answers to common questions regarding application materials

What if my materials have not been received by Rackham?
After allowing for processing time (see above), email Rackham [email protected] with the following details:

  • UMID
  • AERO graduate program (e.g., AERO PhD)
  • Information on your application material (a scanned copy of your ETS report for GRE or TOEFL scores, email receipt from Parchment electronic transcript service if applicable
  • Transcript information (names of school, spelling of your name by the school)

After Admission Decision

  • The AERO graduate admissions committee and Rackham Graduate School will notify the applicant of the admission decision via email. See the Aerospace Engineering Graduate Admissions Decision Timeline.
  • Indicate your decision to accept or decline the offer of admission in Wolverine Access.
  • Deferral of a master’s admission offer may be granted under limited circumstances. If your circumstances meet these criteria, please send your deferral request and the reason for deferral to Ruthie Freeman, Student Services Manager, after your admission has been finalized by Rackham Graduate School.

Apply subsequent term

If an applicant applies again, a new application must be submitted.


Our student services manager is here to help! Send any questions about PhD, SUGS or MSE admissions to Ruthie Freeman. Or reach out with any questions or suggestions related to current students. Ruthie is happy to get you more information, or connect you with your best resource on campus for any inquiry.

Ruthie Freeman
Name: Ruthie Freeman Uniqname: frruth Department: RPM Affiliation: Staff Photo: Somya Bhagwagar/Michigan Engineering, Communications & Marketing