Graduate Admissions

Thank you for your interest in the Bioinformatics Graduate Program at the University of Michigan!
Please visit the Rackham Graduate School webpages for additional information on applying. Information is also available on how to respond to an offer of admission, plus tips and materials required for international applicants and incoming students.

PhD admissions

For prospective Bioinformatics PhD students, there are two application options; the deadline for both is Dec. 1. 

Application directly to the Bioinformatics PhD Program

If you are certain about pursuing a Bioinformatics PhD, then applications should be submitted directly to the Bioinformatics PhD Program; there are more than 100 diverse affiliated faculty to choose from. Applicants should be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. In addition, applicants with a background in quantitative sciences should consider applying directly. Separately, if you are transferring from another University of Michigan Program or have obtained an established University of Michigan mentor affiliated with the program, a direct application is most appropriate. 

Application through the Program in the Biological Sciences (PIBS).

PIBS is an umbrella program that offers first year PhD students flexibility in exploring opportunities in bioinformatics and thirteen other graduate programs. Through PIBS, students have the opportunity to rotate in, and potentially join the lab of, a faculty mentor in another program; there are more than 500 diverse faculty to select from. PIBS students who list Bioinformatics as their primary choice must complete at least one rotation with a Bioinformatics-affiliated faculty member. After 10 months in PIBS, students then officially join Bioinformatics (or one of the other programs). You can visit the PIBS website for more information.

Information for international applicants

International Bioinformatics PhD applicants should apply through PIBS. The TOEFL exam is required unless Rackham Graduate School waiver requirements have been met. Criteria for English proficiency exemption can be found on the Rackham website. In addition, a list of required credentials from non-U.S. institutions for an application can be found here.

Last note

Please note that reviewing admissions faculty for both PIBS and direct applications are the same. In addition, admitted applicants take the same Bioinformatics specific courses and activities. See below for details on program diversity outreach, application materials, and funding.

Diversity Information for Applicants

The Bioinformatics Graduate Program encourages applications from traditionally underrepresented minorities, students with disabilities, and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. There are numerous funding opportunities and resources on campus to contribute to students overall well-being while pursuing studies. Several resources available to students can be found on the Rackham Graduate School Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion website.

In addition, the Bioinformatics Program regularly has faculty participation at events around the country, such as the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students and SACNAS.

Application Materials

All application materials should be submitted electronically when possible.
Applicants must meet Rackham's Minimum Requirements for Admission.
The online application form can be found on the Rackham Admissions webpages. The application is available in early September through the deadline.  

  1. GPA, minimum 3.2/4.0 (exceptions may be made if deemed appropriate)
  2. Letters of recommendation (3 required)
    Please be aware that submitting only the Rackham Recommendation for Admission Form is insufficient; forms must be accompanied by a letter from the recommender. All letters are due by the application deadline. Without them, applications will not be considered complete or reviewed by the Program Admissions Committee.
  3. Statement of Purpose
    The Statement of Purpose should be a concise, well-written statement about your academic and research background, your career goals, and how Michigan's graduate program will help you meet your career and educational objectives.
  4. Personal Statement
    The Personal Statement should be a concise, well-written statement about how your personal background and life experiences, including social, cultural, familial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges, motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan. This is not an Academic Statement of Purpose, but a discussion of the personal journey that has led to your decision to seek a graduate degree.
  5. Resume/CV
  6. Transcripts
    Please submit transcripts electronically with your online application. 
  7. Submission of the GRE is optional. If you wish to submit scores, the codes you need are:
    - University of Michigan Horace Rackham Graduate School (R1839) 
    There is no Department Code. Rackham Application Program Code (5199)
  8. Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency via the TOEFL exam. Other exams may not be substituted. Rackham Graduate School offers a full explanation of this requirement, including exemption criteria. Please contact Rackham directly (rackadmis@umich.edu) with questions regarding the TOEFL.

Funding Sources

The Bioinformatics Graduate Program will provide tuition, healthcare coverage, and a stipend on a 12-month basis. This level of support will be maintained throughout a student's tenure in the Program, provided s/he remains in good academic standing and makes reasonable progress towards the degree as determined by the Graduate Directors, with faculty input. It is expected that the student will be supported directly by the mentor's laboratory, beginning in the second year. The expected time to degree is typically 5 – 6 years. 

MS admissions

Prospective Master’s students should apply directly to the Bioinformatics Program through the Rackham Graduate School at the University of Michigan.

If you have any questions, contact the Bioinformatics Graduate Program at dcmb-gradbioinfo@med.umich.edu.

The M.S. application deadline is March 1. All materials are due at that time.

The deadline applies to all international and domestic applicants.
Please note that applications submitted early will not be reviewed prior to the deadline. 

Diversity Information for Applicants

The Bioinformatics Graduate Program encourages applications from traditionally underrepresented minorities, students with disabilities, and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. There are funding opportunities and resources both from the program and other campus units to contribute to students overall well-being while pursuing studies. Several resources available to students can be found on the Rackham Graduate School Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion website.

In addition, the Bioinformatics Program regularly has faculty participation at events around the country, such as the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students.

Application Materials

All application materials should be submitted electronically when possible.
Applicants must meet Rackham's Minimum Requirements for Admission.
The online application form can be found on the Rackham Admissions webpages. The application is available in early September through the deadline.

  1. GPA, minimum 3.2/4.0 (exceptions may be made if deemed appropriate)
  2. Letters of recommendation (3 required)
    Please be aware that submitting only the Rackham Recommendation for Admission Form is insufficient; forms must be accompanied by a letter from the recommender. All letters are due by the application deadline. Without them, applications will not be considered complete or reviewed by the Program Admissions Committee.
  3. Statement of Purpose
    The Statement of Purpose should be a concise, well-written statement about your academic and research background, your career goals, and how Michigan's graduate program will help you meet your career and educational objectives.
  4. Personal Statement
    The Personal Statement should be a concise, well-written statement about how your personal background and life experiences, including social, cultural, familial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges, motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan. This is not an Academic Statement of Purpose, but a discussion of the personal journey that has led to your decision to seek a graduate degree.
  5. Resume/CV
  6. Transcripts
    Please submit transcripts electronically with your online application. 
  7. Submission of the GRE is optional. If you wish to submit scores, the codes you need are:
    - University of Michigan Horace Rackham Graduate School (R1839)     
    - There is no Department Code. Rackham Application Program Code (5199)
  8. Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency via the TOEFL exam. Other exams may not be substituted. Rackham Graduate School offers a full explanation of this requirement, including exemption criteria. Please contact Rackham directly (rackadmis@umich.edu) with questions regarding the TOEFL.

Funding Sources

Please be aware that the Bioinformatics Program does not guarantee financial support to Master’s students. There are occasional work opportunities available which may help defray your expenses; however, we cannot guarantee the availability of such opportunities, and most will not cover tuition and living expenses in full.

Sources of Aid on Campus 

PhD/MS dual degree admissions

Ph.D. students who wish to pursue a dual Master’s degree in Bioinformatics must apply August 1 directly to the Bioinformatics Program through the Rackham Graduate School at the University of Michigan. List the upcoming Fall term as your proposed term of enrollment.

If you have any questions, contact the Bioinformatics Graduate Program at dcmb-gradbioinfo@med.umich.edu. All students are encouraged to make an appointment with either a Bioinformatics Master’s Guidance Advisor (Stephen Guest or Alla Karnovsky) or a Bioinformatics Program Director to discuss balancing your curriculum.

Interested students should consult with a Graduate Program Director or a Master’s Advisor before enrolling in classes, as applicants with limited computer programming may be required to take preparatory courses in their first year. Grades obtained in these first-year bioinformatics courses will be considered during evaluation of applicants for suitability for the MS Program.

If a PhD student applies after August 1 of their first year, a written justification of why the student waited before applying is required. Applications from candidate-level PhD students are discouraged, as ability to take additional classes is limited for candidates. 

Application Materials

All application materials are due by the deadline and should be submitted electronically when possible. 

Please note that applications submitted early will not be reviewed prior to the deadline.

The online “add a degree” application form can be found on the Rackham Admissions webpages. The application is available in early September through the deadline. 

The Bioinformatics Graduate Program also requires the following:

  1. GPA, minimum 3.2/4.0 (exceptions may be made if deemed appropriate)
  2. Letters of recommendation (1 required)*
    Submitting only the Rackham Recommendation for Admission Form is insufficient; forms must be accompanied by a letter from your advisor(s).
  3. Statement of Purpose
    The Statement of Purpose should be a concise, well-written statement about your academic and research background, your career goals, and specific to the Bioinformatics Program.
  4. Resume/CV
  5. If beyond your first year of graduate study, a written justification of why the application is delayed. Applicants who have already achieved candidacy are discouraged. 
  6. UM Transcripts*
  7. A simple statement from the PhD Graduate Program Chair indicating that they support the application to the Bioinformatics MS Program* 

*If you are unable to upload any materials statement via the online Rackham application, they may be sent to dcmb-gradbioinfo@med.umich.edu and will be included with your application.

Please be aware that your home unit must support this request. The Bioinformatics Program will not consider applications otherwise, plus an application without home unit endorsement will not be approved by Rackham. 

AMDP admissions

The Accelerated Master’s Degree Program (AMDP) is for current UM undergraduates who wish to also obtain a Master’s in Bioinformatics.

Students must apply in their JUNIOR year; late applications will not be considered. Students in this program start taking Bioinformatics graduate-level courses while they are in their senior year of UM undergraduate study. Students complete both their undergraduate degree and a Bioinformatics Master’s degree within five years of study.

Complete program details can be found on the DCMB program website.

The application deadline is April 1. Students must submit an online Rackham application. Applicants should be in their junior year or approximately 18 months before finishing undergraduate degree requirements.

We highly recommend to contact the program for advising before applying.
Contact Dr. Stephen Guest, Master’s Guidance Advisor, to set up a session. You’ll want to discuss course options, what courses from your undergraduate studies may be transferred or double counted, and other general information about the program. Undergraduates who are pursuing a dual degree are ineligible for the Bioinformatics AMDP.

Accepted students enroll in the Bioinformatics AMDP during the last year of undergraduate study. For the 5th year, AMDP students enroll in Rackham as an M.S. student.

Application Materials

When applying, use Program Code 02161 and Academic Plan Code 4740MS1. 

The Bioinformatics Graduate Program requires the following:

  1. GPA, minimum 3.2/4.0
  2. Letters of recommendation (1 required)
    Please be aware that submitting only the Rackham Recommendation for Admission Form is insufficient; forms must be accompanied by a letter from the recommender. All letters are due by the application deadline. Without them, applications will not be considered complete or reviewed by the Program Admissions Committee.
  3. Statement of Purpose
    The Statement of Purpose should be a concise, well-written statement about your academic and research background, your career goals, and how Michigan's graduate program will help you meet your career and educational objectives.
  4. Personal Statement
    The Personal Statement should be a concise, well-written statement about how your personal background and life experiences, including social, cultural, familial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges, motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan. This is not an Academic Statement of Purpose, but a discussion of the personal journey that has led to your decision to seek a graduate degree.
  5. Proposed Course of Study

This should outline what courses you anticipate taking in the upcoming two years to satisfy both your undergraduate and Bioinformatics MS requirements.

  1. Resume/CV
  2. Current UM Transcripts
    Please submit transcripts electronically with your online application.

Transition From Master's to PhD

The MS program is a terminal degree program. If interested in the Bioinformatics PhD Program, you must submit a new application. For Bioinformatics MS students in good academic standing who have identified a Bioinformatics affiliated faculty mentor, they may apply for admission directly to the Bioinformatics Program for the Winter term. Reviewing faculty take all application components into account and mentors must be prepared to take both academic and financial responsibility. 

Eligibility:  Only current University of Michigan students are eligible. 

Application deadline:  October 1 

Application materials:

The online application form can be found on the Rackham Admissions webpages. The application is available in early September through the deadline.

  1. GPA, minimum 3.2/4.0 (exceptions may be made if deemed appropriate)
  2. Letters of recommendation
    Please be aware that submitting only the Rackham Recommendation for Admission Form is insufficient; forms must be accompanied by a letter from the recommender.

If you wish to include three letters from your original application, only one additional letter is needed. It must be from the faculty member who will serve as your primary mentor. The letter should state clearly that the mentor takes responsibility for your funding upon admission.

Alternately, you may wish to obtain three new letters of recommendation. The Admissions Committee strongly encourages you to include letters from those familiar with your research and coursework obtained while pursuing your Master’s degree. Of these, one must be from the faculty member who will serve as your primary mentor. The letter should state clearly that the mentor takes responsibility for your funding upon admission.

  1. Statement of Purpose
    The Statement of Purpose should be a concise, well-written statement about your academic and research background, your career goals, and how the PhD Program will help you meet your career and educational objectives.
  2. Personal Statement
    The Personal Statement should be a concise, well-written statement about how your personal background and life experiences, including social, cultural, familial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges, motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan. This is not an Academic Statement of Purpose, but a discussion of the personal journey that has led to your decision to seek a graduate degree.
  3. Resume/CV
  4. Transcripts
    Only a current, unofficial UM transcript is necessary. You do not need to re-submit materials included with your Master’s application.
  5. TOEFL
    If the TOEFL was required for your Master’s degree and is still valid, no new exam is required.