PhD admissions

How to apply to our joint doctoral programs

The Ford School of Public Policy’s joint PhD program offers three degrees: the PhD in public policy and economics, the PhD in public policy and political science, and the PhD in public policy and sociology. Applications for each program are due by December 1.

PhD student getting hooded at commencement

Admissions process summary

  • Students must apply to one of the three degree programs—public policy & economics, public policy & political science, or public policy & sociology—at the time of application.
    • The application requires a program code. Please choose the code associated with the program you will be applying for: public policy & economics (01677), public policy and political science (01679), or public policy and sociology (01681)
    • Level: doctoral
  • Note: Applicants for the joint PhD in public policy & sociology and the joint PhD in public policy and economics are recommended to choose a subplan (field). 
  • The application files for admission by the Ford School PhD admissions committee are then forwarded to the appropriate department admissions committee counterpart for consideration.
  • Key dates are as follows:
    • December 1: Applications are due and the administrative process begins.
    • January 15: Applicants are encouraged to view their online application status. Note: Please do not contact the Joint PhD Program Office regarding application status (including incomplete materials) until January 15.
    • April 15: Applicants who have been recommended for admission must notify the Joint PhD Program Office and the Rackham Graduate School of their decision by April 15. 

Application requirements

All applicants must apply via Rackham Graduate School's online application (CollegeNet), and applicants must submit the following documentation via the online application:

  • Three Letters of Recommendation: Recommenders should submit letters electronically via the online application.
  • Official Transcripts: Please upload an official or unofficial transcript with your online application. Transcripts from non-U.S. institutions (if not in English) must be accompanied by certified English translations.  An official transcript from your undergraduate degree-granting institution must be submitted to Rackham Graduate School only after an offer of admission is made.  Visit this link for more information on submitting official transcripts to Rackham Graduate School.
  • Demonstration of English Proficiency (if applicable): Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency. Further information on Rackham English proficiency exemptions and accepted language tests can be found on Rackham's website
  • Academic Statement of Purpose: The Statement of Purpose describes your skills, achievements, and relevant experience; professional, intellectual, research interests; and career objectives. While there is no specific limit to the statement, most are 500-1,000 words (2-4 pages). 
  • Personal Statement: Tell us about yourself. How have your background and life experiences, including cultural, geographical, financial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges, motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan? Your personal statement should be no more than 500 words. 
  • Writing Sample (20 pages or fewer): A writing sample is required for those applying to the Joint PhD with Political Science or Sociology. It is not required if applying to Economics. 
  • Admissions Conduct Code: For those applying online, complete the Conduct Code electronically via the online application. 
  • Affidavit of Financial Support (international applicants): Send to Rackham only if you have been recommended for admission and plan to matriculate. Do not send unless matriculating at U-M.

Download our PhD brochure

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