What programs does SEAS offer?
Most SEAS students are enrolled in the MS program, which features seven specializations.
All SEAS programs and specializations are interdisciplinary and incorporate natural sciences and social sciences.
What makes SEAS graduate programs unique?
Graduate education at SEAS is highly customizable to each person’s interests and aspirations. All of our faculty and students come from a diverse array of academic, professional, and personal backgrounds. SEAS offers the most interdisciplinary environmental and sustainability education, which utilizes the unique skills and experiences of each individual student.
Does SEAS offer dual degree opportunities?
SEAS offers many formal dual-degree opportunities via our partnerships with the U-M Ross School of Business, the College of Engineering, the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, the School of Public Policy, and Michigan Law School.
SEAS students may also pursue self-initiated dual degrees through the other 18 schools and colleges at Michigan, including in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Public Health, Social Work, and many more.
Are SEAS graduate programs considered academic or professional programs?
SEAS MS and MLA programs are considered professional master’s programs, primarily geared toward equipping students to enter the workforce in their chosen domain.
However, SEAS and the University of Michigan in general are deeply rooted in academic research as the basis for practice, so the intersections of theory, research, and practice are crucial elements of all of our academic programs.
SEAS MS and MLA students may also pursue more research-oriented pathways within their program. This is generally achieved by first establishing relationships with faculty members who can supervise a student’s research work.
The SEAS PhD program is an academic, research-based program intended to train graduates for a career in academia.
Can I enroll in multiple MS program specializations?
Yes! While every MS applicant may submit an application for one specialization, MS students may add additional specializations to their MS degree after their first semester in the program. Because all specializations are a part of the same degree program, enrolling in multiple specializations does not require students to complete more credit hours to graduate.
I am unsure which SEAS program or specialization is the right fit for me - what can I do to figure this out?
If, after reading through our program and specialization offerings, you are still unsure which route would be the best fit for you, please feel welcome to contact a SEAS Admissions Coach via SEAS-Admissions@umich.edu. We would be happy to help you figure out the best path for you.
I do not have an academic or professional background in environment and sustainability - am I eligible to apply for admission to SEAS programs?
Yes, absolutely! Many SEAS students do not have a background specifically in environment and sustainability. What all of our students do have in common is a passion for creating a more sustainable and just world and an idea for how they can utilize the skills and experiences they do have to work towards that goal.
How long does it take to graduate with a SEAS degree?
The SEAS MS program is structured to require two academic years (four semesters) of full-time study.
Dual-degree enrollment will generally require 2.5 to 3.5 years of study, depending on the programs.
The MLA program is a three-year program for most students, but students that have completed a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree may qualify for enrollment in a two-year, non-accredited MLA program.
The PhD program is structured to be completed in five years of study, and funding for PhD students is guaranteed for those five years.
Are SEAS graduate degree programs offered online?
No, all SEAS graduate programs are residential and require in-person coursework.
Can SEAS programs be completed on a part-time basis?
While part-time enrollment is currently possible, we generally advise against it, as the program is structured for full-time enrollment. Additionally, most funding opportunities are not available to part-time students and there are few opportunities to complete courses outside of normal working hours.
What materials do I need to apply?
Our “How to Apply” page provides a description of all materials needed to apply and the deadlines for submission. This page also provides instructions on how to draft and submit these materials.
What essays will I need to write?
The essays you will need to submit are a statement of purpose and a personal statement. Applicants will be prompted to reply to a brief optional essay prompt pertaining to diversity involvement and leadership.
Do I need a transcript and resume?
Applicants will need to provide copies of their unofficial transcripts and a current resume or curriculum vitae (CV).
These documents should be uploaded to the application portal. Your resume should be no more than one page in length, but your CV can be three to five pages in length.
International applicants can convert their grades to a U.S. GPA using the Scholaro GPA Calculator if your institution provides the cumulative average grade (e.g., 88/100, 8.5/10, or 4.6/5.0) on your academic record/transcript. If your institution does not provide the average or you attended more than one institution, calculate your average using the following formula for each institution you attended:
- Add all the numerical results for courses taken during your undergraduate study.
- Divide the sum total number by the number of courses taken. This is your average result.
- Take this average and convert using the Scholaro GPA Calculator.
Do I need letters of recommendation?
All applicants must obtain, via the online application portal, letters of recommendation from three letter writers.
You will register their letter writers via the online application system, which will generate an emailed set of instructions (sent to each letter writer) to upload their letter electronically.
Choose your letter writers wisely! Recommendation letters are one of the best ways for the faculty and staff who review your materials to learn about your strengths and understand how you stand out. Choose recommenders who work in your area of interest and can vouch for your capacity to work on team projects and/or conduct research. Make sure your recommenders feel capable of writing a strong letter for you and give them plenty of time to complete the task (four weeks, if possible).
Please ensure your recommenders submit their letters by the application deadline.
Do I need to submit a writing sample or portfolio?
Only PhD applicants are expected to provide a writing sample. This sample should be about 30+ pages in length and be self-written.
Applicants to the Landscape Architecture program may opt to submit a portfolio to highlight any previous creative design work.
Is the GRE required to apply for any SEAS programs?
No. SEAS does not require nor do we review GRE scores as part of the admissions process. If you have your GRE scores sent to U-M, they will not be visible to the review committee.
Do I need a TOEFL or IELTS score?
Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency via TOEFL or IELTS scores, unless they meet the Rackham Graduate School criteria for an exemption.
TOEFL scores are sent by ETS electronically to institution code: 1839
Is there a fee to apply to SEAS?
Domestic applicants to SEAS graduate programs will not be asked to pay a fee, nor will they have to provide any form of waiver code.
International applicants to SEAS graduate programs will be asked to pay a fee. There are no waiver options.
How does SEAS review applications?
All SEAS applicants are reviewed on a holistic basis. This means that we factor in an applicant’s academic background, professional experience, research experience, and writing skills.
A holistic admissions review also ensures that we take every individual applicant’s unique background and circumstances into consideration, with the knowledge that access to educational and professional opportunities is not distributed equitably across all populations.
We recommend taking a strengths-based approach to your application, highlighting your own unique strengths, experiences, and perspectives, and articulating how these will support you on your graduate school journey.
Are there any coursework prerequisites to apply to SEAS?
None of our programs have any specific coursework prerequisites for admissions consideration. We welcome applicants from all academic backgrounds to apply to SEAS programs.
We do, however, check to make sure that you have a sufficient academic foundation for the topic(s) and method(s) you intend to study at SEAS. For example, we prefer that Ecosystem Science and Management applicants have completed at least some coursework in natural sciences.
Is there a GPA minimum requirement to apply to SEAS?
There is no GPA minimum requirement to apply to SEAS. While we factor in each applicant’s GPA during the application review process, we also understand that GPA is not the sole indicator of academic and professional potential.
If your GPA was significantly and negatively impacted by external factors (i.e. health issues for you or a family member, or any other form of personal crisis), then you are welcome to address this in your application to the extent of your comfort. We guarantee that this information will be confidentially accessible to admissions readers and program staff, and no one else.
What are the deadlines to apply to SEAS graduate programs?
For MS and MLA applications, the priority funding consideration deadline for Fall 2023 admission is December 15, 2023.
The final funding consideration deadline for MS and MLA applications is January 15, 2024. Applications that are submitted after this date will not be considered for funding.
The final deadline for PhD admissions is December 8, 2023.
What is the difference between the priority funding consideration deadline and the final funding consideration deadline for MS/MLA applicants?
Applicants that submit their materials by the priority funding consideration deadline will be considered for all funding packages for which they are eligible. They may also confirm that their application is complete prior to the university closing for winter break.
Applicants that submit their materials by the final funding consideration deadline will be considered for most of the funding packages for which they are eligible.
Both sets of applicants will be reviewed for admission immediately following the January 15 deadline.
We highly encourage all applicants to apply by the December 15 priority funding consideration deadline to maximize their chances of being offered funding as an admitted student to SEAS.
Do I need to contact faculty members prior to applying to the program?
MS and MLA applicants are not expected nor required to contact faculty members before applying to the program. They are, however, welcome to do so if they have specific interest in an individual faculty member’s work and wish to learn more.
It is strongly recommended that PhD applicants contact SEAS faculty members prior to submitting an application. It is important to establish a connection with faculty members to discuss mutual research areas. These interactions are helpful in determining fit with our faculty and SEAS. Faculty research profiles and their contact information can be found here.
Do I need to submit any additional materials to be considered for funding as an admitted student?
Most of our funding decisions are based solely on the contents of an applicant’s application materials. For these awards, no additional materials are necessary for consideration.
Some funding sources, such as the Peace Corps Coverdell Fellowship and the AmeriCorps Education Award, will require additional materials to be submitted with the application.
I am applying for a dual degree program. Do I need to submit two separate applications?
Yes, if you are applying for admission to a dual degree program, you will apply to both programs separately, and they will be reviewed independently of each other by each program.
If you are applying to two Rackham programs (i.e. SEAS MS and the Ford MPP), you will need to submit one application before moving on to the next.
If you are applying to SEAS and a non-Rackham program (i.e. the Ross MBA), then you may have both applications open simultaneously.
If I am applying to a dual degree program, can my letters of recommendation be shared between programs/applications?
We are happy to use the letters of recommendation you received for a different University of Michigan graduate program application as part of your SEAS application. Simply have the program’s admissions office email your letters to SEAS-Admissions@umich.edu, and we will manually attach them to your SEAS application.
Similarly, we will gladly share your letters with another University of Michigan graduate program to be included in your application upon your request.
Do I need a master’s degree to apply to the PhD program?
A master’s degree (completed or in-progress) is not required to apply to the SEAS PhD program. However, admission to our PhD program is highly competitive, and most applicants admitted to our PhD program will have a master’s degree completed before beginning their doctoral studies.
Can I apply to multiple SEAS programs or specializations?
Applicants may only submit one SEAS application per admissions cycle. If you are unsure of which program/specialization to apply to, please contact SEAS-Admissions@umich.edu for support.
Applicants to the PhD program may indicate that they would like to be reviewed for admission to the MS or MLA program if they are not admitted to the PhD program. PhD applicants that select this option will be automatically reviewed for the master’s program/specialization they indicate on their application.
When can I expect to receive an admissions decision?
MS and MLA applicants that apply by the January 15 deadline can expect a decision by late February or early March.
MS and MLA applicants that apply after the January 15 deadline are reviewed on a rolling basis, and we aim to provide decisions within 6 weeks of receiving a completed application. Space in the incoming master’s class is reserved for students who apply by the January 15 deadline. Admissible students who apply after January 15 may be placed on a wait list.
PhD applications undergo an intensive review process through which applicants are notified of their decisions in different stages. We intend to offer admission to our top PhD applicants by the end of February.
Who can I contact if I have questions about the SEAS application process?
SEAS admissions coaches are here to help! If you have any questions about the application process, please feel welcome and encouraged to email SEAS-Admissions@umich.edu.
By what date do I need to notify U-M/SEAS of my enrollment decision?
For most admitted students, the deadline to provide your enrollment decision will be April 15.
Admitted master’s students who applied after the January 15 deadline may be provided with a later deadline for their enrollment decision.
Enrollment decision deadlines will be provided in each admitted student’s letter of admission.
As an admitted student, how can I engage with the SEAS community?
At SEAS, we are fully committed to community development between admitted students, current students, faculty, and staff. We provide a variety of opportunities for admitted students to engage with the community from all over the world.
If public and campus health circumstances permit, we will hold an in-person Admitted Student Visit Day on Friday, March 31. This event will feature a series of community building and networking activities for our admitted master’s students and is the best opportunity for admitted students to see what the school has to offer. SEAS will offer travel expense reimbursements of up to $700 per admitted student.
Because we recognize that traveling to Ann Arbor is not feasible for all admitted students, we will offer a series of virtual events and activities with the same informative and community building goals.
If you would like to connect with a current SEAS student, please feel welcome to email SEAS-Admissions@umich.edu to request to be put in contact with some of our amazing current student representatives.
Can I be provided with an extension to my enrollment decision deadline?
SEAS may offer enrollment decision deadline extensions for certain circumstances. To request a deadline extension, please email SEAS-Admissions@umich.edu.
How will I be notified if I have been offered funding?
Most funding offers made to admitted MS and MLA students are contained in the student’s letter of admission. If you did not receive a funding offer within your letter of admission, then we were unable to offer you funding.
Additional funding offers may be made later in the admissions cycle, typically in the weeks immediately before the April 15 enrollment decision deadline.
Can I defer my admission to a future term?
SEAS will consider requests for a deferral of admission on a case-by-case basis for admitted master’s students.
Deferrals, when granted, will be valid for the following Fall semester.
Funding offers cannot be deferred, but deferred students will be considered for funding for the following admissions cycle.
A deferral of admission can be granted no more than once.
Admitted PhD students are generally ineligible for deferral of admission.
I am an incoming international student - to whom should I send questions about immigration-related items (i.e. I-20s, visas, etc.)?
The Rackham Graduate School handles all immigration-related topics for incoming international SEAS students. If you have any questions about the immigration process as an incoming SEAS student, you should direct them to Rackham via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rackham provides some information about the required materials and deadlines for I-20s and visas on this page.
Please note that SEAS staff are not equipped to respond to immigration-related inquiries, as these must be handled by staff trained specifically on these topics.
What funding opportunities are available for SEAS graduate students?
We provide an overview of the funding opportunities available to SEAS students on this page.
What funding opportunities can I pursue as an applicant or admitted student?
A majority of the funding packages available to admitted and/or incoming master’s students are offered during the admission process. These are generally one-time partial tuition waivers. Applicants who submit their application by our funding consideration deadlines are automatically considered for these awards and do not need to submit anything additional. A separate application is required to be considered for the Transformative Food Systems Fellowship.
All students admitted to the SEAS PhD program are offered a full funding package for five years of study, which includes a tuition waiver, living stipend, and health insurance.
What can I do to maximize my chances to be offered funding as an admitted master’s student?
The best way to maximize your chances of receiving a funding offer as an admitted master’s student is to submit your completed application by the priority funding consideration deadline (December 15).
Because we review admissions application materials as the basis for our funding consideration, it is in your best interest to ensure that you submit the highest quality application you can. This means ensuring that your essays are especially well-written and that your letter of recommendation writers are well-equipped to speak positively about you in great detail.
Upon being admitted to the program, continue to be engaged with the SEAS community, especially with the admissions office and with your assigned faculty advisor. This way, if additional funding becomes available, you will have demonstrated continued interest in the program.
Will I be considered for graduate student assistantship (GSA) positions as an admitted or incoming master’s student?
Admitted SEAS master’s students are not automatically considered for graduate student assistantship (GSA) opportunities. Incoming and current master’s students must pursue these opportunities independently.
It is uncommon for first year master’s students to hold GSA positions. These positions are generally held by second year master’s students and doctoral students.
While incoming students may have the opportunity to pursue a small number of GSA positions, we do not recommend that incoming students plan on being offered such a position.
Only enrolled graduate students may apply for GSA positions.
Where can I view information about graduate tuition and expenses?
We provide tuition rates and expense estimates on this page. Please note that these rates are yearly rates, and include two semesters of tuition (one full academic year).
Tuition rates are updated annually every July.