Ph.D. FAQs

What’s the difference between Rackham Graduate School and the School of Kinesiology?

The School of Kinesiology is one of the 19 schools and colleges at U-M. Our graduate program is co-administered by the Rackham Graduate School. Rackham oversees the requirements and procedures and certifies the admission recommendation as appropriate.

Should I come visit?

Visiting U-M and the School of Kinesiology is a good idea so that you can get a feel for the faculty and students, as well as the Ann Arbor area. Please set up appointments with faculty you wish to meet before you come to Ann Arbor.

What if I don't have a faculty advisor for my Ph.D. studies?

Unfortunately, we cannot admit you without an advisor. It’s your responsibility to seek out an advisor with whom you wish to conduct research as you pursue your degree here. Spend some time on our website learning about faculty research interests, and then contact the relevant faculty member to see if there is potential to work with him/her during your studies here.

Do you have a GPA or GRE minimum requirement?

We don’t have minimum GPA or GRE scores – we look at all areas of the application equally and holistically. The recommended GRE scores are 155 Verbal, 160 Quantitative and 4.5 Analytical Writing. We also prefer at least a 3.4 GPA. Please keep in mind that your entire application package is taken into consideration.

Do you have minimum requirements for the TOEFL test scores?

Your Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score should be at least 84. We also accept International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores in place of the TOEFL. The minimum IELTS is 6.5. We require a TOEFL or IELTS from all applicants whose native language is not English, regardless of their educational background.

Can I transfer credits toward my doctoral program?

No, you cannot transfer credits into the doctoral program.

How do I view my admissions decision?

You can view application decisions on line by following directions found on the Admissions page on the Rackham website.

Does the University of Michigan offer distance learning for the graduate program?

No, we do not offer distance learning for any of our graduate programs.

Are assistantships available?

Yes, we have Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) assistantships available for doctoral students

How do I go about applying for a Kinesiology GSI Assistantship?

All Ph.D. applicants are considered for our open GSI positions – there is no separate application. The number of open positions we have varies from year to year. Please make sure we have your completed application by December 1 prior to the fall you’ll be beginning your program.

How can I find a place to live?

Previous graduate students have found the University Housing website helpful.

If your question isn't answered on this page, check the Rackham FAQs or email us at

Do you offer application fee waivers?

Based on the following criteria, if you believe you qualify for an application fee waiver, contact In a brief e-mail, provide proof and explain your qualifications for a fee waiver.  Fee waivers are limited and are reviewed on a rolling basis.

Application Fee Waiver Criteria:

1. You have a record of high academic achievement (send unofficial transcript);

AND you must meet one or more of the following:

a) Come from an educational, cultural or geographic background that is underrepresented in a graduate study in your discipline in the United States or at the University of Michigan;

b) Have demonstrated a commitment to diversity in the academic, professional, or civic realm through your work experience, volunteer engagement, or leadership of student or community organizations. By diversity, we mean efforts to reduce social, educational or economic disparities based on race, ethnicity or gender, or to improve race relations in the U.S.;

c) Have experience financial hardship as a result of family economic circumstances;

d) Are a first generation U.S. citizen or first generation in your family to graduate from a four-year college. 

e) Member of one of the following organizations;

  • Gates Millennium Scholars Program (GMS)
  • Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP)
  • Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC)
  • Post-Baccalaureate Research and Education Program (PREP)
  • Public Policy and International Affairs Junior Institute (PPIA)
  • Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE)
  • Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program (McNair)

Please keep in mind race, ethnicity, gender, or national origin may not be used a criteria for requesting an application fee waiver.

  • One fee waiver is allowed per applicant. Additional applications submitted by the applicant will require payment of the application fee.
  • If you pay the application fee and are approved to receive a fee waiver at a later date, the fee cannot be refunded.