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Graduate Admissions

The application deadline is December 1.


The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures offers Ph.D. programs in French, Italian, and Spanish. We encourage applications from students who wish to pursue the study of more than one Romance language and literature. 

Questions? Contact the Graduate Program Coordinator, or visit Rackham Admissions

Application - What You Need

  • Academic Statement of Purpose in English (500 words)*
  • Personal Statement in English (500 words)*
  • Three Letters of Recommendation (online - do not mail) The strongest letters of recommendation typically come from professors who are familiar with your academic work and can speak to your abilities as a scholar. 
  • One piece of writing that reflects your ability to conduct analysis and your ability to use the target language (in Spanish, French, Italian, or English) (approximately 20 pages)
  • All Transcripts and Diplomas (electronic for application; official if admitted)*
  • TOEFL or MELAB Scores (required for non-native speakers)*  You must have a minimum score of 84 on the TOEFL. The minimum scores for other English proficiency exams can be found on the Rackham Graduate School website. 
  • Application Fee ($75 Domestic and $90 International)

*Further information can be found below in Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions



When can I apply? 

Admissions are conducted once per year. Applications open in mid-September and are due on December 18. Students selected for admission begin their studies the following September. 

Can I still apply if I don't have a BA (or MA) in the target language?

Yes! We welcome applications from underrepresented students and non-traditional students, including those with extra-academic experiences such as political, artistic, or entrepreneurial work, and those whose degrees are not in language and literature. (This language is already on the landing page of the grad section of the website). Those who meet the Rackham Graduate School’s minimum requirements for admission are welcome to apply:


Degrees and Transcripts

Do I need to send official paper copies of degrees and transcripts?

When you apply: no, you only need to upload electronic versions to your application.

If you are accepted: yes, official copies are be required by the Rackham Graduate School. Please read HERE for detailed instructions regarding how to submit transcripts.

The Rackham Graduate School Application says that official degrees and transcripts are required. Are you sure I do not need to mail them?

While the Graduate School requests these items at the time of application and it is recommended for students who attended U.S. institutions, we can still review your application without the official paper copies and translations of your degrees and transcripts. Only an electronic copy in your application is required since this can be a costly and complicated process for international students. Please disregard the requirement that official paper copies be mailed and if you are admitted and choose to attend Michigan only then will we require official documents and English translations.

Do I still need to send official documents if I attended a foreign university?

Yes, if you are admitted. We understand that many foreign universities do not provide transcripts and if you are admitted we will help you determine what documentation is needed.



How is the academic statement different from the personal statement?

Academic statement: includes your academic experience to date, reasons for wanting to do graduate work at the University of Michigan, and your eventual career expectations.

Personal statement: describes how your background and life experiences motivated you to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan.

What tips do you have for crafting a strong academic statement?

We encourage you to seek feedback on your statement from several points of view, especially from a professor who knows you well.

A coherent idea for a project (or possible projects) that both identifies a body of materials you will work on and a conceptual approach that will inform your research.
The ability to raise interesting questions about a topic.
A clear sense of the difference between analysis and descriptive work and some feeling for the proper role each might play in the context of your project.
Some anticipation that your project will change through your graduate education and flexibility regarding those changes.
Your background and personal trajectory that led you toward making a life commitment to kinds of work specific to academe.
Awareness of faculty interests and expertise that explain your "fit" within our department.
Explanation of any parts of your dossier that would benefit from being placed in context.
Particularly if your writing sample is older or no longer adequately reflects your capabilities, you might consider talking briefly about what you would change if you were to write it today.


Do’s and Don’ts of Statements

Sample statements

Can I combine my statements into one?

Yes, as long as you address both the academic and personal and you adhere to a 1,000 word limit. If the web form prompts you to add both statements, simply upload your combined statement a second time.



Is the GRE required?

No. We have not found it helpful in our admissions decisions and no longer use it.

Are there any exceptions for the TOEFL?

If you received a degree from an English-speaking institution, you do not need to submit a TOEFL score. Scores are accepted for up to two years after completing an exam. Click HERE for further information regarding the TOEFL and language assessment.