Frequently Asked Questions


What programs are available through the ECE Department?

The Master’s and PhD degrees are offered in the following programs:

  • Applied Electromagnetics & RF Circuits
  • Computer Vision
  • Control Systems
  • Embedded Systems
  • Integrated Circuits & VLSI
  • MEMS & Microsystems
  • Network, Communication, & Information Systems
  • Optics & Photonics
  • Power & Energy
  • Robotics
  • Signal & Image Processing and Machine Learning
  • Solid State & Nanotechnology

I have a B.S. degree and am interested in the Ph.D. program. Should I apply to the M.S. or Ph.D. program?

Applicants who are interested in pursuing a Ph.D. should apply to the Ph.D. program. Ph.D. applicants not admitted to the Ph.D. program are automatically considered for admission to the M.S. program. An applicant admitted to the Ph.D. program (without a relevant Master’s degree from another school), are eligible to receive a Master’s degree while working towards the Ph.D.

Can I apply to more than one program in Rackham?

Yes. You must submit a new application form, new fee, and ALL required credentials, GRE scores, transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc., for each program to which you apply.

Do you have part-time or evening programs?

Our graduate program is intended for day-time students. Occasionally a domestic student may choose a part-time schedule of one course per term.


Do I need to have an undergraduate degree in ECE to apply?

We expect an applicant to have earned a Bachelor’s degree by the time he/she registers into the ECE Program, and possess a strong background in math, physics, computer science, or engineering.

What is the minimum GPA guideline?

Admission typically requires a minimum GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale.

I attended an institution that does not have a 4.0 grading scale.  How do I convert it?

The Rackham Graduate School will evaluate your official transcript and convert it to a 4.0 scale.

What is the minimum GRE guideline?

For the GRE we look for students who score within the upper 50th percentile. While there is not a minimum requirement, on average students have scored at least a 324.

What are the minimum requirements on English language tests for international students?

Applicants who have earned or will earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an institution where the exclusive language of instruction is English are exempt from submitting a TOEFL, MELAB, or IELTS score

Scores are valid for 2 years. 

Minimum test score required:
              Internet-Based TOEFL:  minimum total score of 84
              IELTS:  minimum total score of 6.5
              MELAB:  minimum total score of 80

Application Process

Do you accept applications for all terms?

No. We accept applications for the fall term only.

What is the deadline for the Ph.D. program?

Application materials for the Ph.D. program must be received by December 15th.

What is the deadline for the M.S. program?

Application materials for the M.S. program must be received by January 15th.

What counts most when you are evaluating applications?

When evaluating applications, we look at the whole picture and every piece is important. This is why we wait until we have all required documents before we begin the evaluation process.

What codes do I need for the GRE and TOEFL?

The institution code for both the GRE and the TOEFL is 1839.

Department code is not required.

Can the TOEFL be waived in certain cases for non-native English speakers?

Please refer to the Rackham guidelines for First Time Enrollee Applicants Whose Native Language is Not English.

Is it possible for me to update my application after it has been submitted?

No. Once the application is submitted, it cannot be modified. You should include all relevant information in your application before you submit it.

Will Rackham notify me if they have received my application?

Yes. The Rackham Graduate School will notify you when they have received your application. This lets you know your on-line application has arrived at Rackham and at the program office. It does not mean that it has been processed in the program or that we have received all of the required information.

How can I check the status of my application?

You can verify if your application materials have arrived in your friend account. This account allows you to check your application status.

In the department, we are not usually able to respond immediately to requests for application status. Each application is carefully reviewed. Decisions are made throughout the academic year; therefore it is best to allow us until April 1st before making a status request.

I applied last year. How can I reapply?

You will need to submit a new online application, provide new application materials, and pay the application fee. GRE and TOEFL scores will need to resubmitted only if the scores have expired (2 years for TOEFL, 5 for GRE).

I listed the wrong date of birth on the online application.  How can I revise this?

You must send validation of the correct date of birth by providing a copy of your Driver’s License or Passport.  Scan your document and send it attached to an email to the Rackham Graduate School Admissions Department at: [email protected].  Please provide your University of Michigan Identification Number (UMID) on the copy in order to avoid any delay in processing.

If I am not admitted to the Ph.D. program will my application be considered for the Master’s Program (if I do not already have a Master’s degree from another institution)?

Yes. The Faculty Admission Committee determines this when evaluating an application. There is no need to email us requesting this consideration.

Who do I contact for technical help while applying to Rackham?

If you or your recommenders experience any technical difficulty while apply to Rackham, please refer to the following website for assistance: Rackham — ask a question

Application Materials

How important are the statement of purpose and personal statement?

They are extremely important.  They are critical to both the admissions decision and the awarding of departmental fellowships and Graduate Student Research Assistant (GSRA) positions.

The Statement of Purpose is a statement about your academic research and career goals.

The Personal Statement is a statement about the effects of your life experiences, such as volunteer work, leadership activities, cultural, and educational background, on your decision to pursue a graduate degree.

Do I need to send in my official transcripts before being admitted?

Students will submit an electronic copy of their transcripts at the time they apply. Students will also need to submit official transcripts directly to Rackham Graduate School once recommended for admissions.

Who should write my recommendation letters?

Your letter writers should be people with whom you have worked closely, and who are familiar with your academic work and research potential. We suggest that at least two of the recommendation letters be from academia.

What should I do if my recommender has not received my online invitation to recommend me?

This tends to be a problem with a recommender’s email account set up. The emailed inviation is either blocked or automatically filtered into a junk mail folder. An applicant can check the status of the recommendations, resend a recommendation request, and even change a recommender if the recommendation is not yet started via an applicant’s Personal Activity page. This page may be accessed under the Manage Your Account section of your online application homepage and by clicking on the review Your Activity link. Once the application is submitted, the online application cannot be modified. Please refer to the application instructions for more details.

Do I need to submit an Affidavit of Financial Support or any financial documentation?

You do not need to submit any financial documents at the time of application.  However, if you are offered admission, the Rackham School of Graduate Studies will contact you with a request to provide this financial information at a later date.  Do not send these documents to Rackham until you have been asked to submit them.

Should I submit hard copies of my application materials to the ECE Department?

No. The application materials should be submitted electronically when you are submitting the online application or asking ETS to send us your test report. Official transcripts are required to be sent to the Rackham Graduate School for processing and evaluation. ECE should not receive your official transcripts in the mail.

How can I submit my journal publications or articles?

The publications or articles can be uploaded with the online application at the time of filling in the online application. We ask that you do not mail any hard copies.

Will I be notified if something is missing from my application?

Yes. If something is missing from your file, an email will be sent to you regarding the missing items.

When will I receive my I-20?

The Rackham Graduate School issues I-20’s once the admission process is complete and you have matriculated.  Questions regarding I-20’s should be directed to the Rackham Graduate School Admission Department at: [email protected].  Be sure to include your full name and your UMID.

Financial Aid/Funding

What about financial aid/fellowships?

All Ph.D. applicants are automatically considered for departmental financial aid.  No separate application is required.  

Departmental financial aid is not available for students applying to the Master’s program. For more information regarding department and other sources of financial aid refer to the ECE Departmental Financial Aid page.

How can I apply for a Graduate Student Research Assistantship (GSRA) position with a faculty member?

There is no application for these positions.  Faculty will select students they desire for GSRA positions.

Applicants with an interest in a particular faculty member’s research are encouraged to mention this in the application Statement of Purpose.