University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Top Questions

What are the academics like at your school?


Michigan is ranked in the top 25 universities in the US, top 5 in public universities in the US, and top 10 for their engineering. Michigan is prestigious for their rigorous but intensive academics, and will give you so many opportunities to pursue your dreams.


The academics at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor are extremely challenging. Even if one pursues to take ”easy” courses, a considerable amount of hard work must be put in to obtain a satisfactory grade. What I love about the academics at the university is the challenge it imposes on its students to grossly think outside the box, versus just memorizing and regurgitating what they absorb in the lecture hall or classroom. Because of this, an individual can graduate from Michigan as an independent thinker, which is the true success of a collegiate education.


Academics at the school are horrible. Students are forced to take classes that have no relation to what they are majoring in. The school only wants the students money and cares little about their actual education.




Academics at Michigan are certainly challenging, and can be appropriately summed up with the popular mantra "Work hard, play hard". The student body is full of intelligent people, and although we do party, no student at Michigan will sacrifice their academic performance for their social life. Class size varies depending on what kind of class it is (many introduction-level courses will be large lectures). However, professors are always fairly accessible through their office hours or appointments you can schedule by email. Larger lectures will have a discussion section taught by a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) to go over lecture material in smaller groups. Students at Michigan could be considered competitive, but not between each other - students here compete with themselves, and strive to achieve the best they possibly can. The classes at Michigan provide students with the chance to learn about what they truly have an interest in. There are First-Year Seminars open exclusively to freshmen on a huge variety of topics - during my freshman year I took one called "The Science of Religion". It was a really interesting class, and they're usually quite small so it's a great way to meet people as a freshman!


Many classes are graded on a curve, so yes, students are very competitive. Class participation is basically mandatory in classes with less than 40 students, but never mandatory in classes from 100-500. Students study basically all the time here, but it doesn't mean that you have to! I would say education is geared toward learning for its own sake. We have such a diverse course schedule.


The academics at this school is phenomenal. I know a lot of my professors personally, and find them very friendly and helpful. My favorite class here is animal physiology, but maybe because I love biology very much. Students study a lot here, but it never feels lonely since the libraries are packed and study groups are prevalent. While students are competitive, their personalities do not reflect it, for most people here are friendly and humble. The education at this school is very effective in getting graduates jobs, whether its business or med school etc.


Academics can get pretty tough at UM if you dont stay on top on your stuff. A lot of the classes are in big lecture halls with over 200 students so it will be hard for the professor to get to know you on a personal level. But it is certainly possible to get on a personal level with the professors if you are willing. Also, competition here is nothing like I have seen before. Everyone is competing with each other for that good grade. I am majoring in Neuroscience in the Psychology and Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology department.


Academics are excellent at Michigan. Individual attention from professors can be hard to get at times, unless you proactively seek out one-on-one face time with them during office hours. Studying varies by major. As a liberal arts major, you won't be overloaded by work. As an engineering or business major, you will have a lot more work to do. Most introductory classes are large lecture format, meaning that 1-300 students are in a lecture hall with little participation. These classes usually have an attached discussion section where course concepts are reviewed/discussed. High level classes are generally smaller (15-50 students) and have a lot more individual attention.


Academics are excellent at Michigan. Individual attention from professors can be hard to get at times, unless you proactively seek out one-on-one face time with them during office hours. Studying varies by major. As a liberal arts major, you won't be overloaded by work. As an engineering or business major, you will have a lot more work to do.


Getting involved in your classes is completely in your control at Michigan. I happen to be a very ambitious and outspoken student so teachers tend to know my name very quickly. But this ends up benefiting me, because the professors remember me when they start to do their class participation grades at the end of the semester. This can be a bit more difficult in a large lecture. Odds are that in those cases the professor will not ever learn your name, but that isn't all bad. This way your grade is entirely up to you and another person's opinion of you has no bearing at all on whether or not you get a good grade. Succeeding academically at Michigan is not easy. Every night of the week the libraries are packed with students furiously writing essays or burying their heads in books. This is not to say that Michigan students are all nerds. We just know when it is time to hunker down and get to work. It's a work ethic that is great to be around if you enjoy working hard, which you probably do if you are even considering Michigan. But the best part is that the intellect carries over outside of the classroom and the library. You can easily walk up to an enthusiastic student after class and engage them in a conversation about some answer he/she gave in class. The desire to think creatively does not just turn off once they leave the room. I spent two years as an acting major at this University which is not typical. I transferred into English the fall of my Junior year after deciding that performing was not for me. That should not be a reflection on the department at all, I just decided on a new career path. The english department here is outstanding. Every professor I have had has made it their personal mission to get me to think about literature and writing in a different way. The entire essence of the english department here is collaboration. That might sound odd for a major that focuses on writing essays, but here it is all about learning from others. Most essays I turn in have been critiqued by my peers at least twice before I consider a second draft. That might seem tedious to some, but the end result is a superior essay. In short, the professors will push you to work hard, but the students here relish the opportunity to have their intellect tested.


U of M offers classes ranging from 1-4 credits (it might be different if you're in the school of engineering, nursing, etc.) 4 credit classes usually have lecture twice a week and then discussion once a week. Lecture, depending on the class, usually ranges from 200-500 students, while discussions usually only have about 20 students. I've had a political science lecture where the professor knew everyone's name, but that is pretty uncommon. Sometimes in huge lectures, the professors will know the names of the active participants who sit in the front, but that's about it. The discussion sections are lead by GSIs (graduate student instructors), and they usually clarify things from lecture or go over readings that were homework. For some science and math classes, there is lab instead of discussion. The science courses are usually the most competitive (e.g. bio, orgo, chem, etc.) They are usually the students who study the most - especially the orgo students. I have heard of cases where a student missed class and wasn't able to get a copy of the notes from any other student because they weren't willing to help out a student against whom they are competing. LSA (the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts) has distribution requirements that force students to take classes from every department. Every student has to take four semesters of foreign language, 7 credits of natural science, a quantitative reasoning class, etc. I think this is a good idea, but maybe fewer credits of each category should be required. Sometimes it's difficult for students to complete their major and all the distribution requirements in four years. I'm double majoring in political science and international studies, hoping to eventually become an international human rights lawyer. My favorite class that I've taken is The Politics of Civil Liberties. We studied landmark court cases and looked at the reasoning behind the decisions (e.g. precedent, what was going on politically at the time, etc.) Although I only ended up with an A- in the class, I found it to be very rewarding. In an attempt to slowly but surely get my natural science credits out of the way, I decided to take a 1 credit class called dinosaurs, thinking it would be interesting. It turned out to be the most boring class I've ever taken, and I only got a B+ in it! I rarely spend time with my professors outside of class. If I have a question, I might stop by to see them during their office hours, but that's about the only time.


Michigan's academics are without a doubt top-notch. The professors are all very knowledgeable in their fields and almost every professor I've engaged with has had such rich background of prior experiences. For this reason too, the professors expect a lot of students (=tough academic requirements). It is important to note though that Michigan is comprised of several different schools (Business school, Engineering school, Arts and Sciences College, etc), so the academic situation may slightly vary based on school. Due to the sheer size of the school (25,000 undergraduate students), it is hard in most introductory level classes for professors to know their students' names. Most of these lectures have a weekly discussion section which always has less than 50 students, so those Graduate Student Instructors usually learn every students' name. Also, the more upper level courses are usually smaller so some professors try harder to be more personal with their students. Class participation is very rare in larger lectures, but almost expected in the discussion sections. Because there are so many students, you will find students that study all the time but you can also easily find students that never attend class. I would say though that generally the students on this campus study very often. The majority of students work very hard and take their academics quite seriously. It is definitely not uncommon to overhear students having intellectual conversations around campus. Out of all the schools, I typically hear that the business school students are very competitive. Also, certain departments (such as Economics and Math) curve their exams so those students are usually more competitive. Most students are very willing to help other students and enjoy studying with friends and classmates. I'm an International Studies and Asian Studies double major. The International Studies program is fairly new (just couple of years old), so most of my classes have also been trial ones. The professors have been working to develop a curriculum that proves most effective for the students. The International Studies department should try to improve their career preparation services though, but that should come as it expands. The Asian Studies department is smaller but the professors are excellent. The classes are very intellectually challenging and the professors really want stimulating conversations to really encourage students to think outside the box. All professors hold office hours but students seldom go to them unless an exam is approaching. Most professors LOVE when students come to see them and they certainly try their best to work with you to ensure that you do well in the course. They remember those who come to see them, outside of class. The amount of attention you'll receive from your professors (and how organized the class is) directly correlates to how much your professor has on their agenda for that semester. A frequent complaint about the professors is that they care more about their research than their students/classes. Most of the departments/majors in the College of Arts and Sciences are not geared towards getting a job, but rather learning for its own sake. The specific schools though , such as School of Public Policy, Business School, Engineering School, have more of a focus on getting their students jobs.


Review removed at author request.


The best thing about the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor is the student body. We are diverse not only in culture, but also in personal interests. Everyone is united by their passion for their chosen field, but all fields are so different. The student body is talented in every program – humanities, natural and social sciences, engineering and technology, and fine arts are all exceptional programs here at Michigan. Therefore, the students succeeding in these programs are exceptional as well. However, we are not limited to our own field, but can branch out to other interests through our hundreds of diversified clubs. I would change the location of the union. I wish it was more centralized on campus, it is a little far to walk to for some students. Michigan is a very large school, but I do not think it is too big. Students may have to put in extra effort for a professor to know their name, but the reward is usually worth the fight: attending office hours and asking questions in class often equate with higher grades. A campus this sides provides an endless interest of activities, as well as the mobility to explore other departments before declaring a major. When I tell people I go to the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, people often say, “That’s a great school!” or, “Oh, you’re smart!” This is a well-known school for it’s overall achievements, but few people know of the individual, daily successes of the students and faculty. People also tell me, “That sounds cold!” and to that, I just laugh. The weather can sometimes be undesirable, but I think it gives the campus a little more personality. I spend most of my time in friend’s rooms or apartments, at local restaurants, theatres, or the library. Ann Arbor is the ideal college town. It’s a hub for the arts, resulting in interesting people and delicious restaurants. There are lots of theatrical events, and if you still can’t find something to do, simply walking around downtown is always an adventure. The administration I believe really cares that the students receive an excellent education. Recently, our president convinced President Obama to come here to speak to the student body. A recent controversy on campus was by an organization called Students For Life. This pro-life student group brought large signs and posters in the center of the university with images of aborted fetuses and comparing them to genocide victims. Many students were outraged and disgusted by these posters while others supported their beliefs. There is school pride to the nth degree. Everyone owns many articles of clothing that say “Michigan” on it and will defend our school in any argument. I’ll always remember when President Obama spoke to the student body, especially after waiting nine hours (1 AM to 10 AM) in the freezing cold, sleeping on the sidewalk. I’ll also never forget the feeling after completing my freshman year, when I realized I was well on my way to becoming a mature adult with a legitimate education.



1. Professors of large hundred-student lectures do not learn the names of students; all others do. 2. My favorite class was ENG 225 "The Art of the Personal Essay;" I had an excellent instructor who really knew how to communicate with students at a personal, effective level. My least favorite class was an Environmental Anthro class; the lecturer was very un-engaging; it was easy to mentally check-out of that class. 3. Students study everyday. DUH. 4. Class participation is guaranteed through small discussions that accompany large lectures. 5. I am always impressed by the conversations I hear on the bus. It makes me feel quite pleased to be a part of this school. 6. Students are competitive but not in a malicious way; I've never felt like anybody was overtly trying to beat me down. Everybody wants to be the best. That's legit. 7. I'm currently taking an American Culture class on Critical Theory and Pop Culture; we are comparing/contrasting Radiohead and Celine Dion. I'm taking this class purely out of interest and it is indeed very interesting! 8. I am an International Studies major and Asian Studies minor. The International Studies dept. is still quite new and the coursework is constantly being revised; it is quite exciting to be a part of something so fresh. 9. There are always Office Hours to go to; that is usually to discuss class material. 10. This school's academic requirements seem quite comprehensive and holistic in approach. 11. The School of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts is a liberal arts college; the degree earned provides a strong base to apply for a multitude of graduate programs, business school, law school, med school, etc.


Michigan is a top 25 school, so you should definitely expect to work hard. While students aren't necessarily competitive in most disciplines (except perhaps in the business school), you will definitely work hard. Class Participating and relationships with teachers are definitely common and students love to meet outside of class to discuss what they've learned or other intellectual pursuits, especially through extra-curricular activities. Some of the most unique classes I've taken have been complex systems classes with Scott Page about frameworks to think about life. Watch out for Math classes here- the curves usually are around 50{4a082faed443b016e84c6ea63012b481c58f64867aa2dc62fff66e22ad7dff6c} B- and they can be tough if you don't have a math background. In a lot of disciplines the education you get here, and the career services, prepare you with tools to be able to land a job, but I wouldn't say that's the focus. People at Michigan genuinely have a love of learning.


I think that the academics at Michigan are amazing. All of the professors, even in the largest lecture classes, take the time to get to know their students. Students study a lot, as it is an extremely prestigious university with rigorous academics. Class participation is incredibly common in all types of classes. The professors also take a lot of time outside of class to work with their students and provide any and all extra help that they need or want. There are an extremely wide variety of courses available in all subjects and you can really take a class in anything that you want.


The academics are definitely top notch at UofM. There are a lot of large lectures, but that doesn't mean professors can't learn your name. The key to making connections with professors and GSIs is to go to office hours. Students study quite a bit here, but they have to. The classes are challenging and students like to compete with their peers to be the best. I'm majoring in communication studies and minoring in writing. I'll admit, some of the required classes were a little boring, but once I got into the second semester of my sophomore year, I was able to take more interesting classes such as one about the blogosphere. One of my favorite classes at UofM was Organizational Psychology. The professor was so enthusiastic about the subject, and because of this, I actually wanted to go to class each week. A few of my professors have held coffee talks which has been a great way to get to know them outside of the classroom. I think it's great that these professors are so dedicated to what they do.


My freshman year, I took an English seminar entitled "Beowulf and Hip-Hop: A Four-Beat Tradition". The course focused on the evolution of four-beat poetry, and compared ancient texts to lyrics from Lil' Wayne, Outkast, Biggie, etc. The professor was dedicated to the class and took a genuine interest in his students. Overall, the course was an enlightening experience. This year, I am taking the course "Persuasive Politics". There are no tests, instead we work in small groups and "run" political campaigns. The lectures outline effective campaign strategies, while the discussions allow us to bounce around new ideas with our fellow students. We react to current politics and change course accordingly to promote our campaign. Ultimately, a valuable hands-on lesson in politics. These two courses are unique, but fairly typical of a class at the U of M - interesting and instructive. Students learn how to apply their knowledge to real-world concepts and situations in a way only U of M academics can offer. Michigan's courses prepare students for their careers and guide them toward success.


Yes, lectures here are large and, for some, can be intimidating. In the real world, you have to work hard to stand out, and it's no different here. The biggest advice I would have for incoming students is to go to office hours--professors WANT to get to know you, and they are the greatest resources at the University. If the professors know your name, they are more likely to care about your success; with an academic curriculum with such rigor as Michigan's, your prof knowing you can make a difference. Lastly, if you come here, you better be prepared to challenge yourself, think outside the box, and engage in intellectual argument and discussion--it's a great experience, despite the difficulty.


I think the academic experience varies widely by major. I'm a double major in English and History, so most of my classes are smaller. I have friends in Engineering, on the other hand, whose entire schedule is made up of big lecture classes. Either way, the faculty is great and they are really interested in getting to know the students. I'm in a gen-ed science class right now, and the prof learned all 150 of his students names! that's rare, but it does show the effort made by faculty to connect with their students. GSIs (graduate student instructors) are also really great resources.


Michigan has everything - all majors are different, and you can pick yours based on requirements and class sizes that you like. Students are competitive in the sense that they are dedicated to their work and want to succeed, but are also totally willing to help each other out and often study together. Im in a new major called International Studies with a specialization in Global Environment and Health, and I get a lot of freedom to choose classes that interest me.


Horrible. This school totally failed to provide competent instruction.


Michigan is tough. I didn't necessarily consider Michigan a "reach" for me and was a little shocked with the workload--though I shouldn't have been. As an out of stater I didn't realize that unlike in the Northeast, the best of the best don't go to the Ivies or Duke...they go to Michigan. So far, my professors in English and French have known my name since those classes are kept small. Your GSI's (graduate student instructors) who lead discussion sections will also get to know your name. Granted, if you take advantage of office hours (which I could do a better job of) your lecturers can certainy know your name. My favorite class is actually the research program I'm in called UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program). It involves a twice a month seminar, and I get to work in a Pharmacology lab six hours a week. I'm not a lab rat. I run experiments and compile information that contributes to the ultimate goal of my lab: finding safer treatments for heroin abuse. The fact I can do this as a freshman is really amazing. Students aren't generally too competitive, although pre-med kids can be high strung. If you are coming in intending to do business and did not get in pre-admit you are going to meet a lot of competitive people. Business school applications are submitted at the end of your freshman year. I like to say that at the beginning 50{4a082faed443b016e84c6ea63012b481c58f64867aa2dc62fff66e22ad7dff6c} of freshman come in pre-med and the other 50{4a082faed443b016e84c6ea63012b481c58f64867aa2dc62fff66e22ad7dff6c} are trying to get into the Ross school of business. Econ and Calc are the pre-reqs for the business class so be ready to WORK if you take any of these. The business school is near impossible to get into so these classes will prove quite competitive. Chemistry and Organic Chem can also be pretty competitive. My advice- if you think any tiny little part of you might be interested in business...apply pre-admit when you apply for admission!!! Once accepted into the B-school though, I don't think its quite as competitive. Michigan's requirements suck. We have a "fourth term proficiency requirement" which means unless you place into a higher level you have to take four semesters of language. For people like me who do not enjoy learning languages this is the worst. There are also two writing requirements: freshman and upper level. Your freshman writing requirement will suck. Luckily, upper level can be fulfilled very easily, from a typical composition class to one of the physics lab classes. You can find a class that fulfills upper level writing in almost every department. There is also a race and ethnicity requirement (hint: many people fulfill this in their first two years either through intro to anthropology or intro to women's studies), two quantitative reasoning requirements, natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and math and symbolic analysis. However its not as bad as it sounds. Also know that if you are an engineer these requirements don't apply to you. I haven't really taken any unique classes because I came in pre-med (surprise surprise) and took some really boring stuff. I have enjoyed some of my standard classes like Intro to Statistics and Abnormal Psych. However, some cool classes I'm hoping to take and that my friends have taken and loved include Criminology, Environmental Journalism, Tibetan Buddhism, International Politics and Anthropology of Nutrition. Do yourself a favor, even if you come in with a track in mind take some unique off the beaten path classes. One of the best way to do this is through Freshman seminars which are small and focused on some really cool topics, and some even fulfill your first year writing requirements.


There is a lot of visiting/adjunct faculty, and they always know your name. In some of the larger classes professors dont know your name but in those cases you will have an additional class (a recitation of sorts) with a GSI (Graduate Student Instructor) and they tend to know your name. The art history department offers a variety of very interesting classes that you would be hard pressed to find at any other university. There are lots of clubs and interest groups at the school, some in correlation to academics some not. I would say that I was never really shown how to get a job, and wish more had been required of me as far as taking classes or seminars that are geared towards job searching.


You can become best friends with your professor or simply a number on a page to them - it's completely up to you. Likewise, your class participation might range from complete anonymity in 500-person lectures to intimate class discussions. The Graduate Student Instructors (like TAs) and the professors usually work well together to help the students, making themselves available with extensive office hours and through email. They tend to be very flexible to fit the students' needs. Michigan students are hard working and competitive, though with the help available from instructors and tutoring centers on campus, the workload is definitely manageable.


Freshman and Sophomore yeasr you take a lot of large classes where most likely your professor will not know your name. This really doesn't bother anyone. In the sections your GSI will get to know you pretty well. I feel the GSI's here have too much of a say in your final grade. The student base is very intellectual in class and outside of class. Psych 101 is a great starter class at Michigan.


My favorite classes have been Econ 101, Stats 350, and Bio118. They were my favorite classes because I had amazing professors in each course. I only like the classes here when an intelligent professor is teaching. My largest complaint about Michigan is that there are too many horrible teachers flown in from community colleges around the country. I did not pay to go to an amazing school in order to take classes from GSIs who don't speak english or professors who use an online website as their substitute.


They say they're the best; they're not. The science classes are unfairly geared towards pre-med and the chem department "with 17 years of experience" can't teach to save themselves.


Course diversity is sometimes discouraging and the requirements dont always make sense but the ICP program helps people out.


very challenging, they make you want to give up at times, but if you stick with it you will be such a better person because of it. In the internship I had I really used the work skills I learned from taking challenging class here. Some of the professors don't care about students because they're concerned with research too much but when you get in the higher level classes you won't have that problem.


very challenging, they make you want to give up at times, but if you stick with it you will be such a better person because of it


I won't lie. The academics here at the U are tough. There are really high expectations and the environment can be a little competitive. The key is that the professors here are great. They are often the best and brightest in their respective fields. As a result your learning will extend far beyond the text book. You'll be getting real world advice from people who've done whatever it is you want to do. Professors are great about meeting outside of class (every professor has office hours when they're available to chat). I had a communications class with an Emmy award winning professor. We talked about ethics in journalism. He talked about stories that he actually worked on with regards to the subject matter. Students in class were able to share personal experiences as well from past internships. People in our class met outside to further discuss topics. A lot of us became friends and wound up going out together on the weekends.


Academics here are tough. People work very hard and take school very seriously. Don't mess with someone if they're in the library and have their headphones on.


Since it is a big research university, one of the drawbacks is that a lot of the academics are geared towards research. However, what's great is that you can get an awesome liberal arts education and have the freedom to take classes in many different departments/schools.


Rarely do professors know any more than 5 names in a lecture. My favorite class was psych 211 -Project Outreach-Working with Preschool Children & Psych 306 Group Leading. Least Favorite-World Politics. Both the Professor and GSI spoke in monotone accents making it impossible to decipher + stay awake the majority of the time. Students are quite competative.


I am an Acting Major, so I have great relationships with my professors and classmates. However, in my other classes I barely know my professors.


The academics are highly rigorous.


I'm a psychology major and the classes are very interesting!


As an environmental major, I feel like my major isn't as geared towards getting a job, as say, the business school. A lot of my friends that have already graduated have gotten pretty cool jobs out west, but I am nervous about finding the right job for me and I think I might have to go to grad school. Noone is too competitive in my classes, so I do not get too stressed out-- only during finals and midterms. I am pretty close with two of of my professors, and feel comfortable emailing any of them with questions. Usually they respond with helpful answers.


The English classes at Michigan are great! I hated English in high school but here you are able to pick which class you want to take based on the topic of that section. I took a class on visual communication through writing and symbolism and it was one of my favorite classes I have taken so far! Also, the English classes are so small that you really get to know the teacher and he/she get to know you.


Most professors know your name, but it depends what kind of class setting you chose. I study every day for approx. 3 hours. Class participation is common, but again, it depends on your class. You can find people to have intellectual conversations, but on the most part, no. There are a lot of general requirements that try to ensure that Michigan students are "well-rounded" but are frustrating to take... ie: science/math for a political science major.


-Most -Psych 270 -Stats 350 -A lot -Yes -Sometimes -Yes -History of the 60's -B.B.C.S -Yes, in office hours -They are fine, not too hard to obtain -Haven't figured it out yet


very subjective...depends on your GSI for many classes. group projects are stupid


I have been midly disappointed by the academics here. I feel like Michigan academics asks and expects a lot from the students without giving a lot of direction. It's hard to find out what you are passionate about once at Michigan.


I graduated in three years, because I pushed myself really hard. Students can be really competitive and I count myself among them. I'm now in the school of Social Work and it's completely different than the undergraduate level in terms of who I work with and how much homework there is.


As I get more involved in my major (psychology) and my minor (Spanish), I am realizing what really drives my passion--work for social justice. Getting involved with related classes and student organizations is the best way to develop one's future goals.


the academics are really good, but with such a big school it is easy to get lost in the cracks, so i miss being in MSU's JMC RC