The University of Michigan Ann Arbor (UM), founded in 1817, is the oldest university in Michigan. The Ann Arbor location is the central campus, but there are also branch campuses in Dearborn and Flint as well as numerous learning opportunities offered through the university throughout the state. Over 41,000 students are enrolled at UM in a total of 600 academic programs.
There are more than 500 buildings on the 712-acre UM campus. The Huron River runs through campus, separating the North Campus from the Central and South Campuses. The different areas of campus are connected by UM bus services, which are free for student use.
The university holdings go far beyond the main campus— UM runs the University of Michigan Health System, including two medical campuses. There are also two golf courses, a mansion known as Inglis House, the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, and an office building in southern Ann Arbor. The main golf course is considered one of the finest courses in the nation. UM also owns a 13,000 acre Biosphere Reserve in the lower peninsula of Michigan.
There are 200 undergraduate programs, 100 doctoral degrees, and 90 master’s programs at UM. The undergraduate colleges include: College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; School of Medicine; College of Engineering; School of Law; School of Dentistry; School of Pharmacy; School of Music, Theatre & Dance; School of Nursing; A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture; Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies; Gearld R. Ford School of Public Policy; School of Education; Stephen M. Ross School ofBusiness; School of Natural Resources & Environment; School of Public Health; School of Social Work; School of Information; School of Art & Design; and School of Kinesiology.
Additionally, there are 18 graduate schools. The ones with the largest enrollments include the College of Engineering, Ross School of Business, and the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. Professional degrees include those in medicine, pharmacy, law, dentistry, and public health. The graduate program is considered to be one of the best in the nation.
The UM library system contains 19 libraries and 24 collections, with a grand total of nearly 10 million volumes. The university library system is also home to its own internationally renowned publisher, the University of Michigan Press. The Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library and the Shapiro Undergraduate Library are connected by a skywalk. Furthermore, UM is home to several specialized repositories of information, including the Correlates of War project, a database of scientific knowledge as it pertains to war, and the National Election Studies.
UM is a strongly research-oriented institution. In The 2009-2010 school year the university spent well over a billion dollars on research. The Medical School alone spends nearly half a billion dollars on research a year. To coordinate research at the university with commercial interests, UM has established a technology transfer office. Recently, the technology transfer office orchestrated the purchase of a 170 acre, 30 building landholding from Pfizer. This new holding will be the home of additional research programs.
UM collaborates with Wayne State University and Michigan State University to maintain the university research corridor. All three universities are electronically connected via Michigan LambdaRail (MiLR), which transmits data up to 10,000 times faster than regular high-speed internet connections. This network serves as a research project unto itself, testing optical electronics for use in the commercial market. Some of the other major research areas being explored at UM include wireless integrated microsystems, optics, and reconfigurable manufacturing systems.
The Institute for Social Research (ISR) is one of the oldest and largest institutes for social sciences in the world. It contains the Population Studies Center, the Research Center for Group Dynamics, the Inter-Consortium for Political and Social Research, and many more. ISR is a particularly popular facility for undergraduate students to get involved in original and groundbreaking research which both furthers their educations and fleshes out their resumés.
Three national honor societies, Phi Beta Kappa, Tau Beta Pi, and Phi Kappa Phi all have groups at UM. Students who earn straight A’s for at least two consecutive terms are named James B. Angell Scholars.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Admissions to UM are very competitive. Nearly all admitted students earned a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher, with an average GPA of around 3.70. Roughly 42% of first-year applicants are admitted.
In addition to the usual range of federal and state financial aid available to students in Michigan, UM offers dozens of their own, unique scholarships. Over 75% of students receive financial aid from UM.
Student Financial Aid Details
Students come to UM from all 50 states and over 100 countries around the world. 12% of enrolees are international students, although there is a great deal of difference between undergraduate and graduate percentages—less than 6% of undergraduates are international students, while more than 30% of graduate students fit in that category.
Among undergraduate students, about 65% are European American, 12% are Asian American, 6% are African American, 4% are Latino American, and less than 1% are Native American.
Clubs and Organizations
With over 1,200 student organizations and clubs on campus, virtually every interest is represented. There are three large student activity centers on campus: the Michigan Union, the Michigan League, and Pierpont Commons. Most student groups have their offices at Michigan Union. Fraternities and sororities play a large role in campus life at UM. About 18% of undergraduates participate in Greek life, one of the highest percentages in the nation. Greek life is organized and regulated by four separate councils.
The Michigan Student Assembly (MSA) is the student government for UM. There are also smaller governing bodies in each of the schools and colleges at the university. Graduate students are represented by the Rackham Student Government (RSG).
The university’s marching band, Michigan Marching Band, performs at home football games and some away games. Other popular musical organizations on campus include the University of Michigan Pops Orchestra, the acapella group University of Michigan Friars, and University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club.
There are several popular student publications on campus, including the conservative paper The Michigan Review, the liberal paper Michigan Independent, humorous publications Gargoyle and The Michigan Every Three Weekly, and the main student paper, The Michigan Daily. The Daily is published weekdays during the academic year and weekly throughout the summer. Other publications at UM include the academic journals Michigan Journal of Political Science, Michigan Journal of History, Michigan Journal of Business, Michigan Law Review, and several more. UM also has their own student-run television and radio stations.
Almost 30% of undergraduates live in residence halls on the UM campus. Most upper-classmen and graduate students live off campus. Several of the residence halls contain living/learning communities, in which students studying in the same program live together, perform research together, and generally create small, tight-knit communities within the larger university framework. The housing department also features gender-neutral housing for transgender and gender non-conforming students, substance-free rooms, and facilities for disabled students.
Dining locations include 8 different dining halls, 9 cafes located in residence halls, and several fast food outlets and convenience stores located around the campus. UM makes an effort to support local food, purchasing produce, meat, and more from more than 30 area producers.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The athletic department, known as the Wolverines, belong to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association and the Big Ten Conference. The Wolverines participate in NCAA Division IA. Athletics at UM are very strong overall, with a particularly strong football program. Home games regularly draw crowds of over 110,000 spectators. Their largest rivals are Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Ohio State.Michigan Stadium, where the football team plays, is known as “The Big House”. A fitting name, considering that it is the biggest college football stadium on the globe. The men’s hockey team is also extremely strong, with a record of nine national championships.
For students outside of varsity athletics, there are three separate recreational facilities on campus and a wide range of intramural sports.
UM alumni have won over 130 Olympic medals, 7 Nobel Prizes, 16 MacArthur Foundation awards, 18 Pulitzer Prizes, and 26 Rhodes Scholars positions. Alumni include late US President Gerald Ford, the entire crew of Apollo 15, Google co-founder Larry Page, Lockheed President Willis Hawkins, playwright Arthur Miller, food critic Ruth Reichl, National Book Award winner Keith Waldrop, actor James Earl Jones, jazz guitarist Randy Napoleon, actresses Lucy Liu and Selma Blair, former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, compassion advocate Dr. Jack Kevorkian, and musicians Iggy Pop and Madonna.
Athletic alumni include Heisman Trophy winners Tom Harmon, Desmond Howard, and Charles Woodson; Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps; NHL players Brendan Morrison, Chris Summers, Michael Cammalleri, and Marty Turco; and professional golfer John Schroeder.
Alumni. University of Michigan Ann Arbor. Web. 26 Apr. 2011.
Fiske, Edward B. Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011. Chicago: Sourcebooks, 2010. Print.
Housing. University of Michigan Ann Arbor. Web. 26 Apr. 2011.
Pope, Loren. Looking Beyond the Ivy League: Finding the College That’s Right for You. New York: Penguin. 2007. Print.
Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.