Council of Graduate Schools - Ph.D. Completion Project  
Project Information Project Participants Quantitative Data Promising Practices

Research Partner Profile

University of Michigan

Principal Investigator
Janet A. Weiss
Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
(734) 764-4401

Participating Programs (8)
Classical Art and Archaeology
English and Women's Studies
Macromolecular Science and Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Nuclear Engineering

In Phase I the University of Michigan developed a web-based navigator that facilitates clear identification of doctoral programs steps and processes – tailored to the specific requirements of departments – for each student. The GradTools and Dissertations Checklist system allows students, faculty advisors, departments, and the Rackham Graduate School to monitor the individual’s process, including when milestones are achieved, what requirements must still be met, etc. Other interventions include dissertation writing assistance and an early research experience for underrepresented minorities through the Rackham Summer Institute. In Phase II, Michigan is seeking to expand upon all of the interventions proposed in Phase I, while still focusing on existing policies and practices designed to improve the retention and completion rates of students from underrepresented groups.


  • GradTools and Dissertations Checklist system
  • REA/RSA Fellowships that combine financial support with student involvement in research within the student’s academic department
  • First Year Doctoral Handbook
  • Program Review every four years to examine quality of each graduate program, which allows for the assessment of quality inputs, outcomes, and operational practices.
  • Dissertation Writing Institute
  • Early Research Experience in the Rackham Summer Institute, which is an intensive 8 week experience for recipients of the Rackham Merit Fellow Awards (underrepresented students).
Tools and Templates
Contact Information


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