Planning for Graduate School

Applying to graduate school for a masters or doctoral degree demands careful preparation.

Whatever your reasons for considering graduate or professional studies, the resources below will help you plan in advance for finding the right program and becoming a competitive applicant. 

  • Graduate school requires a lot of commitment, time, and money. Graduate school is very focused, so it is important to have a clear idea of what you want to study.

    Take the time to consider your interests and future goals. How will graduate school improve your career outlook and/or help you reach your goals?

    Whether you’re looking to start in a new direction or to rise within your chosen field, UM-Dearborn is ready to help. 

    There are several online resources to begin your research. Some options include:


    Additional sources of great help include:

    • A professional in your field of interest
    • Former professors
    • Professional associations
    • Individual institution web sites


    For details about master and doctoral programs offered at UM-Dearborn, please review a full list of graduate degree programs.

  • The earlier you begin to research the possibilities and potential programs, the better.

    Some considerations for finding the right fit include:

    • Accreditation
    • Admission Standards
    • Cost/Financial Aid
    • Culture
    • Faculty
    • Location
    • Research Opportunities
    • Size
    • State Regulations/Residency Requirements
    • Degrees Offered
    • Career Assistance
    • Reputation/Ranking


    Once you have determined that graduate school is right for you, think about how to begin preparing yourself to be a competitive applicant. 

  • Some graduate programs require specific coursework or experience to prepare for graduate work.  Prerequisite completion can fall into two categories:

    • Prior to applying
    • Concurrent with other courses


    Be sure to reach out to your prospective institutions to plan your best course of action. 

  • Some graduate programs require standardized exams to measure your readiness for graduate work.

    • Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
    • Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)
    • Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
    • Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)


    Plan adequate time to study and prepare for the relevant exam. Always check with the institutions you apply to in order to determine their specific score requirements and deadlines.

    International Students
    Applicants whose native language is not English are often required to demonstrate English language proficiency.

    The following exams are accepted by UM-Dearborn:


    Review our full English language proficiency policy for graduate admission for further details. 

  • Letters of recommendation are required as part of the graduate admissions process to support your application. Recommendations should attest to your character, confirm your academic strengths, and highlight your experiences in your field of choice. Get in touch early so your recommenders have sufficient time to prepare and submit. Preferred recommendation sources may vary by program. 

  • Attending a campus event demonstrates your interest in a graduate program and allows you to receive information, ask questions, and make connections. Consider attending an event to help you determine your next steps.  

  • Starting to think about graduate school while completing your bachelor’s degree can help you establish a strong foundation for relevant skills and knowledge needed for graduate coursework. The following actions are recommended:

    • Make connections with professors in your field of interest
    • Take courses to develop skills in writing and public speaking
    • Get involved and take on leadership roles
    • Begin preparing for standardized exams
    • Get involved in research