Degree Program Specializations

School of Business Ph.D. students select from seven specializations available along with a variety of minors. Each specialization permits the student, with the assistance and direction of a major advisor, to tailor a program based on research interests and career goals. The average time needed to complete the degree program is 5 years.

Ph.D. Degree

The Ph.D. degree provides advanced instruction that actively involves the student in research. School of Business doctoral candidates share with their professors the experience of exploring the frontiers of knowledge while acquiring the spirit as well as the methods of productive scholarship. At the time of enrollment, each student is assigned a major advisor to provide program counsel and to channel communication within and between School of Business departments. The mentoring relationship between the major professor and student is one of mutual agreement.

The School of Business offers the Ph.D. with the following specializations:

  • Accounting and Information Systems
  • Actuarial Science, Risk Management and Insurance
  • Finance, Investment, and Banking or Joint Ph.D. in Business (Finance) and Economics
  • Information Systems and Operations and Information Management
  • Management and Human Resources
  • Marketing
  • Real Estate and Urban Land Economics

Prospective students should see the program website for funding information.

Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress

To make progress toward a graduate degree, students must meet the Graduate School Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress in addition to the requirements of the program.

Doctoral Degrees

Ph.D.

Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement

51 credits

Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement

32 credits

Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement

Half of the degree coursework (26 credits out of 51 total credits) must be completed in courses numbered 700 or higher.

Prior Coursework Requirements: Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned ten years or more prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison Undergraduate

No credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the degree.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison University Special

With program approval and payment of the difference in tuition (between special and graduate tuition), students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison special student. Coursework earned ten or more years prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Credits per Term Allowed

12 credits

Program-Specific Courses Required

Contact the program for information on any additional required courses.

Doctoral Minor/Breadth Requirements

Doctoral students must complete a doctoral minor.

Overall Graduate GPA Requirement

3.00

Other Grade Requirements

The Graduate School requires an average grade of B or better in all coursework (300 or above, not including research credits) taken as a graduate student unless conditions for probationary status require higher grades. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester.

Probation Policy

The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.

Advisor

Every graduate student is required to have an advisor. An advisor is a faculty member, or sometimes a committee, from the major department responsible for providing advice regarding graduate studies. An advisor generally serves as the thesis advisor. In many cases, an advisor is assigned to incoming students. Students can be suspended from the Graduate School if they do not have an advisor.

To ensure that students are making satisfactory progress toward a degree, the Graduate School expects them to meet with their advisor on a regular basis.

A committee often accomplishes advising for the students in the early stages of their studies.

Assessment and Examinations

Doctoral students are required to take a comprehensive preliminary/oral examination after they have cleared their record of all Incomplete and Progress grades (other than research and thesis). Deposit of the doctoral dissertation in the Graduate School is required.

Time Constraints

Doctoral degree students who have been absent for ten or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

A candidate for a doctoral degree who fails to take the final oral examination and deposit the dissertation within five years after passing the preliminary examination may by require to take another preliminary examination and to be admitted to candidacy a second time.

Language Requirements

Contact the program for information on any language requirements.

Admission consideration requires a four-year undergraduate degree or the equivalent, in any discipline, from an accredited institution. Work experience is not required. Applicants should have an undergraduate minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale. In addition to academic credentials, test scores, personal achievements, motivation, communication skills (written and oral) and recommendation letters are considered in the admission process at both the master's and doctoral levels.

Please note: The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), taken within five years of the starting term, is required of all applicants to the Wisconsin School of Ph.D. and M.S. programs. Also, all domestic (including Puerto Rico) and international applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A recommended minimum TOEFL score of 106 (New iBT) and 27 Speaking, obtained within two years of the intended starting term, is needed for admission consideration. International applicants who have completed a four-year bachelor's degree in a country where the official language is English may request a waiver of the TOEFL requirement. A master's degree from an English-speaking institution does not qualify for a waiver of the TOEFL, unless you have completed a minimum of 4 years of education (undergrad and graduate) in a country where English is the native language. The school accepts IELTS and Pearson Test of English as substitutes for TOEFL.

Knowledge and Skills

  • Articulates challenges, frontiers and limits with respect to theory, knowledge or practice within the field of study.
  • Creates research, scholarship or performance that makes a substantive contribution within the field of study.
  • Develops a proficiency in statistical analysis relevant to the field of study.
  • Demonstrates breadth within their learning experiences.
  • Communicates complex or ambiguous ideas in a clear and understandable manner.
  • Advances and articulates the value of contributions of the field of study to society.

Professional Conduct

  • Fosters ethical and professional conduct.