Master's FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about the Ford School

We gathered a list of common questions asked by admitted students from our welcome webinars and 1:1 meetings with you. Please reach out to if you have additional questions. This FAQ includes questions on:

  1. Admissions and financial assistance
  2. About the Ford School and Ann Arbor
  3. Coursework and curriculum
  4. Dual Degrees
  5. Ford School faculty and academic advising
  6. Career services
  7. Internships & employment

Admissions and financial assistance

  1. What is the application process to be reconsidered for fellowship assistance? What is the next step with FAFSA applications; how/when will we know how much we are eligible for in federal loans?
    1. Complete the reconsideration form by Friday, April 10, 2020. Between April 16-19 we will reevaluate our fellowship funding, and make any additional funding offers prior to the April 20th deadline.
    2. All need based financial aid funding goes through the Office of Financial Aid, so you need to speak with them on questions regarding federal loans and/or workstudy awards.
  2. If I was not selected for merit-based aid, can I apply to be a teaching assistant or fellow? How does one do this? What if one already has an advanced degree--does this change the calculus for applying?
    1. Graduate student positions, both teaching and research, are posted centrally and are available for all U-M graduate students to apply. The faculty select the graduate student instructor (GSI) for their courses, and look for proficiency in the subject area.
  3. What is tuition per year for out-of-state MPP students? Is it possible to get in-state tuition in the second year? What does health insurance cost for grad students at Michigan?
    1. Current tuition rates can be found here. Please note the 2020-2021 rate will be set by the Regents mid-summer.
    2. The Residency Office determines a student’s residency status. The residency status you begin the program will remain the same for the duration of the program. Generally, a student who moves to Michigan for the sole purpose of attending school will not be granted in-state classification after his/her first year.
    3. The list of available health insurance options for graduate students can be found here.
  4. How do I accept the admissions offer? How much is the deposit?
    1. You will receive an email from Rackham Graduate School, typically within one to two weeks after you receive the initial acceptance email from Ford, with instructions on how to accept your admissions offer. The Ford School does not require an enrollment deposit.
  5. Is it possible to defer enrollment for a year?
    1. You may defer your admissions offer for one year. If you were awarded fellowship funding it will not be deferred and you can reapply for funding with the next applicant pool.
  6. Can the MPP or MPA programs be done part-time?
    1. Both the MPP and MPA are designed to be full-time programs, however, in some circumstances students have pursued the program part-time.
  7. Are there opportunities to apply for funding for summer internships or fellowships that begin post-graduation?
    1. Graduate Career Services has funding available to help students defray some of the basic costs of pursuing an unpaid or low-paid internship. Students may request up to $3,000 from the Ford School unpaid internship fund.

About the Ford School and Ann Arbor

  1. When are we expected to be on campus? When does orientation week start?
    1. Orientation begins the week prior to classes starting at the end of August. Many students chose to move to campus early-mid August.
  2. What is the rough size of each graduating grad school class?
    1. There are approximately 90-100 students in each graduating class.
  3. How do Ford students find housing in Ann Arbor?
    1. There are several student housing resources. The current masters students are also a great resource, and we encourage you to connect with them.

Coursework and curriculum

  1. How should incoming students prepare for coursework before arriving on campus?
    1. The week before orientation, we offer an American Government module and a math camp to give students a refresher on concepts they will see in class.
  2. Can I take courses in other departments outside of the Ford School? How many electives?
    1. Yes. MPP students are required to take a minimum of 4 credits, up to 12, in another department. MPA students may take up to 9 credits outside of the Ford School.
  3. How many electives can we take during our two years?
    1. MPP students can take 25 elective credits, and MPA students have 12 elective credits.
  4. How many students are in a Ford School course, on average?
    1. Some of the large core courses may have 80-85 students in the lecture, but the majority of the seminar and elective courses are between 25 and 40 students. The larger courses typically have two faculty led lectures, and one GSI led discussion section per week, as well as weekly office hours with both the faculty and GSI.
  5. What are some of the textbooks and stats packages we would use in the quantitative courses?
    1. The faculty will send a syllabus for their courses, which will include any textbooks needed. We recommend waiting to purchase course materials until after you have met with the instructor, unless suggested otherwise by the instructor. The Ford School uses the STATA statistics program.
  6. Who should we contact about waiving course requirements?
    1. Waiver exams for both Statistics and Microeconomics are offered during orientation week. Elective courses would be taken in place of any courses waived.
  7. For those of us who already have a quantitative background, can we take more advanced versions of the core classes instead of testing out?
    1. A number of the core quantitative courses have two sections, including one that moves at a faster pace. In addition to the core courses, there are a number of more advanced quantitative courses at the Ford School, as well as in other departments (e.g., economics).
  8. Does the Ford School offer certificate programs?
    1. The Ford School offers a certificate in Science, Technology, and Public Policy (STPP). A full list of certificate programs available can be found here.
  9. Are the opportunities to conduct independent research for credit?
    1. Yes, students are able to work directly with a faculty member through independent study.
  10. Are there opportunities to study internationally? Or engage in Detroit public policy? Who should we contact for more information?
    1. There are several opportunities to study or apply learning abroad, in Detroit, and elsewhere. A good place to start is the Program for Practical Policy Engagement, the International Policy Center, and the Weiser Diplomacy Center.

Dual Degrees

  1. How common is it for MPP students to pursue a dual degree? Can you apply for a dual degree program later, or do you have to sign up for one of those before you start a program?
    1. Roughly one-third of master’s students pursue a dual degree. You have the option to either apply to both programs at the same time, or you can apply to the second program in your first semester at U-M.
  2. Who should we contact about credits for a dual degree program?
    1. The Ford School’s academic advisor and the advisor in the other program will work with you on the requirements for each program.
  3. What academic support is available to students interested in pursuing a PhD after the MPP?
    1. The Ford School faculty are great resources if you have questions about pursuing a PhD. If you are interested in the Ford School’s joint PhD and social science program, our PhD coordinator would be happy to speak with you.

Ford School faculty and academic advising

  1. How accessible are Ford School professors for additional academic support?
    1. The Ford School faculty are incredibly accessible to students, whether a student is interested in talking about a class they are taking, learning more about the research faculty are doing, or professional and career recommendations. Many of the faculty also have joint appointments in other departments and can be a tremendous resource for students.
  2. What type of support do MPP academic advisor(s) provide to students throughout the program? Is each student assigned to an academic or faculty advisor?
    1. We have one master’s academic advisor who works with all MPP and MPA students. Students are not assigned a faculty advisor, but our faculty are more than happy to be a resource to students.
  3. How do students access the quantitative analysis tutors? How many are available and is there an eligibility process?
    1. If the student and/or the faculty feels a student would benefit from additional help, a tutor can be requested through the academic advisor.
  4. What happens at math camp? When is it? Can it be attended remotely?
    1. Math camp is a refresher of quantitative concepts that you will use in the core quantitative courses. It occurs the week before master’s orientation, near the middle of August. This year’s math camp will be August 18-21. As of now, there is not a plan to hold the class remotely, but we will keep students updated if anything changes.

Career services

  1. What additional career support is available to international students (e.g., visas)?
    1. Graduate Career Services collaborates with UM’s International Center on resources for International Students, in addition to meeting with international students one on one for career related guidance, and internship/job opportunities.
  2. What are some of the ways the Career Services Office can help narrow and define opportunities for students who don't have a clear or definite idea of what direction they'd like to take their careers when they enter the Ford School?
    1. Many different ways to explore possible policy pathways. One on one advising, information sessions with employers, career conversations with Ford School alums, leadership conversations with leading policy experts, career workshops to focus on your specific strengths/interests, career exploration trips to Detroit, Washington, DC, plus more.
  3. What does Ford’s current alumni network look like? How do alumni help current students find jobs or internships?
    1. Ford School alumni are actively engaged with the school and working in policy around the US and world. Many alums will actively hire current students for internships and full time jobs, in addition to connecting informally through office hours and career conversations. Take a look at the Ford School Alumni Career Map for examples.

Internships & employment

What do job destinations look like for Ford School graduate programs? What is the geographic distribution? How does it look by sector?

  1. Ford School graduates find employment around the US and world across sectors, for examples check out:


    1. /careers-internships/graduate-students/mpp-internships
    2. /careers-internships/graduate-students/jobs
  • What does the recruiting process look like? Are there on-campus recruiting or career fairs? Does it differ between the public and private sectors?
    1. Yes, the Ford School actively hosts employers on campus for information sessions, interviews, and virtual information sessions (ex: for employers miles away on the West Coast and abroad). Employers will also host resume collections specific to Ford School students for internships and full time jobs.
  • How do students network with employers (i.e. NGOs, public policy think tanks, private sector consulting firms, federal government agencies, etc.?
    1. Variety of ways to network with employers. The Ford School actively hosts employers on campus/virtually for networking opportunities through information sessions, office hours and career conversations. Students also network with alum/employers through career exploration trips to Detroit/DC.