wsb-phd

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 School of Business 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.

To learn more about the application and admissions process, visit Ph.D. Admission Requirements

How to Apply

Students interested in business degrees do not apply through the Graduate School application system and should instead refer to the School of Business Admissions page.

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Resources

Prospective students should see the program website for funding information.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements

MODE OF INSTRUCTION

Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions

CURRICULAR REQUIREMENTS

Minimum Credit Requirement 51 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 32 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework (26 credits out of 51 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide.
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
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.
Assessments and Examinations Doctoral students are required to take a comprehensive preliminary examination after they have cleared their record of all Incomplete and Progress grades (other than research and thesis). Some areas have an additional oral component. Deposit of the doctoral dissertation in the Graduate School is required.
Language Requirements There are no curricular language requirements for Business Ph.D. students.
Doctoral Minor/Breadth Requirements A doctoral minor is not required for Business Ph.D. students. Breadth is achieved in other ways; see below.

Required Courses

Business Ph.D. students choose one of seven curricular pathways1 to complete course requirements.  In addition to pathway requirements, all Ph.D. students are required to participate in the Teaching Improvement Program and Graduate Assistant Equity Workshop.

Accounting and Information Systems Pathway 1

Students in our program develop a basic research background in both archival and behavioral empirical research. The program is one of the most balanced programs in the country in terms of support for different research methodologies and topics. Most students ultimately specialize in the research area and methodology that best suits their skills and research interests. Both behavioral (including experimental economics) and archival methods are strongly supported.

Seminar Requirement
ACCT I S 971 Seminar in Accounting Research 212
Economics Requirement6
Economic Theory-Microeconomics Sequence
Applied Microeconomic Theory
Applied Microeconomics
Approved Economics Elective (see list below for possible course options)*
Statistics and Research Methods Requirement7-9
Beginning a Research Career in Business
Students also select two of the following:
Economic Statistics and Econometrics I
Economic Statistics and Econometrics II
Design and Analysis of Psychological Experiments I
Design and Analysis of Psychological Experiments II
Applied Econometric Analysis I
Applied Econometric Analysis II
Breadth Requirement 39
Additional Coursework 415-17
Total Credits51
*Approved Economics Electives
ECON 461 International Macroeconomics3-4
ECON 464 International Trade3-4
ECON 467 International Industrial Organizations3-4
ECON 521 Game Theory and Economic Analysis3-4
ECON/​POP HLTH/​PUB AFFR  548 The Economics of Health Care3-4
ECON 712 Economic Theory-Macroeconomics Sequence3
ECON 713 Economic Theory: Microeconomics Sequence3
ECON 716 Econometric Methods3
ECON 717 Applied Econometrics3
ECON 736 Macroeconomic Policy3
ECON 741 Theory of Public Finance and Fiscal Policy3
ECON 742 Theory of Public Finance and Fiscal Policy3
ECON 751 Survey of Institutional Aspects of Labor Economics3
ECON 761 Industrial Organization Theory3
ECON 762 Empirical Analysis of Industrial Organization and Public Policy3
A A E 722 Machine Learning in Applied Economic Analysis4
A A E 737 Applied Econometric Analysis III3
A A E 741 Advanced Policy Analysis3
A A E 777 Survey and Sample Design in Applied Economics2
A A E 875 Special Topics (Topic: Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming and Data Analytics)1-4
A A E/​ENVIR ST/​POP HLTH/​PUB AFFR  881 Benefit-Cost Analysis3

Actuarial Science, Risk Management, and Insurance Pathway 1

The course sequence for Ph.D. students in actuarial science, risk management, and insurance is customized to fit each student’s unique research interests and background. During your first two years of study, you will work with a Ph.D. faculty advisor to set an appropriate course sequence, consisting of a combination of courses within the Wisconsin School of Business and a set of advanced courses that form a coherent package and enhance your research skills from outside of the Wisconsin School of Business. 

Economic Theory Requirement6
Select one of the following sequences:
Economic Theory-Microeconomics Sequence
and Economic Theory: Microeconomics Sequence
Economic Theory-Macroeconomics Sequence
and Economic Theory; Macroeconomics Sequence
Econometrics Requirement6-8
Select one of the following sequences:
Economic Statistics and Econometrics I
and Economic Statistics and Econometrics II
Theory and Application of Regression and Analysis of Variance I
and Theory and Application of Regression and Analysis of Variance II
Applied Econometric Analysis I
and Applied Econometric Analysis II
Other Requirements
GEN BUS 806 Panel Data Analysis3
GEN BUS 933 Beginning a Research Career in Business1
R M I 920 Seminar in Actuarial Science, Risk Management & Insurance I3
R M I 930 Seminar in Actuarial Science, Risk Management & Insurance II3
Breadth Requirement 26
Additional Coursework 321-23
Total Credits51

Finance Pathway 1

Finance Requirements
FINANCE 920 Theory of Finance 23
FINANCE 970 Seminar- Investments (Ph.D.) 23
FINANCE 971 Seminar-Corporate Finance (Ph.D.) 23
FINANCE 972 Topics Seminar-Finance PhD 23
FINANCE 973 Seminar-Workshop in Finance 38
Econometrics Requirement
ECON 709 Economic Statistics and Econometrics I3-4
ECON 710 Economic Statistics and Econometrics II3-4
Economics Requirement
ECON 711 Economic Theory-Microeconomics Sequence3
ECON 712 Economic Theory-Macroeconomics Sequence3
ECON 713 Economic Theory: Microeconomics Sequence3
ECON 714 Economic Theory; Macroeconomics Sequence3
Breadth Requirement 49
Additional Coursework 52-4
Total Credits51

Management and Human Resources Pathway 1

The management and human resources department offers a slate of foundational Ph.D. seminars across the group’s core areas of research, including human resource management (HR), organizational behavior (OB), organizational theory (OT), entrepreneurship (ENT), and strategy. The seminar offerings vary from year to year. Doctoral students are expected to take all Ph.D. seminars offered by the department, which consists of 17 credits.

Ph.D. Seminars
M H R 871 Seminar-Personnel Management3
M H R 872 Seminar in Organizational Behavior and Design3
M H R 973 Doctoral Research Seminar in Business Strategy3
M H R 975 Doctoral Research Seminar in Management3
M H R 976 Doctoral Research Seminar in Management2
M H R 977 Emerging Entrepreneurship Theory and Research3
Other Requirements
GEN BUS 933 Beginning a Research Career in Business1
Advanced Research Methods and Statistics* (see list below for possible course options)18
Breadth15
Students are required to take an additional 15 credits of coursework, level 700 or higher, from any department. A substantial share of coursework may be undertaken outside of the Wisconsin School of Business. Students take a diverse array of seminars in the economics, sociology, psychology, statistics, and computer science departments, depending on their specific research interests. These may be theory or methods courses.
Total Credits51
  • Preliminary exams are written at the end of the second year. The exam, which takes place over two days, consists of four questions. Two questions cover the student’s primary concentration, one question covers the student’s secondary concentration, and there is one methods question. (The concentrations are human resource management, organizational behavior, or strategy/ENT/OT.)
  • The subsequent two years of study are allocated to developing and defending a dissertation.
*Advanced Research Methods and Statistics
Required coursework in advanced research methods and statistics includes a minimum of 18 credits, consisting of two courses in statistics, two in research methodology, and two depth courses. Courses are selected in consultation with the student’s advisor. Examples of courses that have fulfilled these requirements in the past include:
A A E/​M H R  540 Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Technology3
A A E 636 Applied Econometric Analysis I3
A A E 637 Applied Econometric Analysis II3
A A E 737 Applied Econometric Analysis III3
COMP SCI 838 Topics in Computing1-3
ECON 522 Law and Economics3-4
ECON 700 Mathematics for Economists3
ECON 701 Microeconomics I3
ECON 702 Macroeconomics I3
ECON 704 Econometrics I3
ECON 705 Econometrics II3
ECON 706 Econometrics III3
ECON 708 Microeconomics II3
ECON 709 Economic Statistics and Econometrics I3-4
ECON 710 Economic Statistics and Econometrics II3-4
ECON 711 Economic Theory-Microeconomics Sequence3
ECON 712 Economic Theory-Macroeconomics Sequence3
ECON 717 Applied Econometrics3
ECON 750 Labor Economics3
ECON 751 Survey of Institutional Aspects of Labor Economics3
ECON 873 Seminar-International Economics2-3
ED PSYCH 711 Current Topics in Educational Psychology1-3
ED PSYCH/​COUN PSY/​CURRIC/​ED POL/​ELPA/​RP & SE  719 Introduction to Qualitative Research3
ED PSYCH 760 Statistical Methods Applied to Education I3
ED PSYCH 761 Statistical Methods Applied to Education II3
ED PSYCH 762 Introduction to the Design of Educational Experiments3
ED PSYCH 763 Regression Models in Education3
ED PSYCH/​ELPA  827 Surveys and Other Quantitative Data Collection Strategies3
ED PSYCH 960 Structural Equation Modeling3
ED PSYCH 963 Design & Analysis of Quasi-Experiments for Causal Inference3
ED PSYCH/​ELPA  964 Hierarchical Linear Modeling3
ELPA/​ED PSYCH  827 Surveys and Other Quantitative Data Collection Strategies3
MARKETNG 971 Seminar-Marketing PhD3
MATH/​STAT  431 Introduction to the Theory of Probability3
MATH 521 Analysis I3
POLI SCI 812 Introduction to Statistical Methods in Political Science3
POLI SCI 813 Multivariable Statistical Inference for Political Research3
POLI SCI 818 Maximum Likelihood Estimation3
POLI SCI/​A A E  835 Game Theory and Political Analysis3
POLI SCI 919 Seminar-Advanced Methodology3
PSYCH 610 Design and Analysis of Psychological Experiments I4
PSYCH 710 Design and Analysis of Psychological Experiments II4
PSYCH 711 Current Topics in Psychology2-3
R M I 930 Seminar in Actuarial Science, Risk Management & Insurance II3
SOC/​C&E SOC  360 Statistics for Sociologists I4
SOC/​C&E SOC  361 Statistics for Sociologists II3
SOC 362 Statistics for Sociologists III3
SOC 375 Introduction to Mathematical Sociology3
SOC 632 Sociology of Organizations3-4
SOC/​C&E SOC  652 Sociology of Economic Institutions3
SOC 952 Seminar-Mathematical and Statistical Applications in Sociology3
STAT 849 Theory and Application of Regression and Analysis of Variance I3

Marketing Pathway 1

Seminar Requirement
MARKETNG 971 Seminar-Marketing PhD 26
MARKETNG 972 Seminar-Marketing PhD 26
GEN BUS 933 Beginning a Research Career in Business1
Breadth Requirement* (see list below for possible course options)12-16
Additional Coursework22-26
Students will take additional credits of coursework, decided in consultation with their advisor.
Total Credits51
*Breadth Requirement
Students complete four courses at the graduate level, either inside or outside the School of Business. These courses will form a coherent topic related to the student's specific research interest and will include at least one course in the methods of data collection and at least one in the methods of data analysis. Students will select these courses in consultation with their advisor. Courses that have fulfilled these requirements in the past include:
Methods of Data Collection
ANTHRO 909 Research Methods and Research Design in Cultural Anthropology3
ART HIST/​AFROAMER  801 Historiography, Theory and Methods in Visual Culture3
COM ARTS 762 Communication Research Methods3
COMP SCI 760 Machine Learning3
COMP SCI 766 Computer Vision3
ED PSYCH 762 Introduction to the Design of Educational Experiments3
ED PSYCH 861 Statistical Analysis and Design in Educational Research3
PSYCH 610 Design and Analysis of Psychological Experiments I4
PSYCH 710 Design and Analysis of Psychological Experiments II4
MARKETNG 710 Marketing Research3
MARKETNG 805 Qualitatively-Based Marketing Insights3
MARKETNG 815 Marketing Analytics3
SOC 735 Ethnomethodology & Conversation Analysis3
STAT 771 Statistical Computing3
Methods of Data Analysis
COMP SCI/​I SY E  719 Stochastic Programming3
COMP SCI/​I SY E/​MATH/​STAT  726 Nonlinear Optimization I3
COMP SCI/​E C E  761 Mathematical Foundations of Machine Learning3
COMP SCI/​ED PSYCH/​PSYCH  770 Human-Computer Interaction3
COMP SCI/​E C E/​STAT  861 Theoretical Foundations of Machine Learning3
ECON 700 Mathematics for Economists3
ECON 701 Microeconomics I3
ECON 702 Macroeconomics I3
ECON 704 Econometrics I3
ECON 705 Econometrics II3
ECON 706 Econometrics III3
ECON 708 Microeconomics II3
ECON 709 Economic Statistics and Econometrics I3-4
ECON 710 Economic Statistics and Econometrics II3-4
ECON 711 Economic Theory-Microeconomics Sequence3
ECON 713 Economic Theory: Microeconomics Sequence3
ECON 717 Applied Econometrics3
ECON 761 Industrial Organization Theory3
ECON 762 Empirical Analysis of Industrial Organization and Public Policy3
ECON 809 Topics in Microeconomic Theory1-3
ECON 899 Recent Advances in Economics1-3
ED PSYCH 711 Current Topics in Educational Psychology1-3
ED PSYCH 760 Statistical Methods Applied to Education I3
ED PSYCH 761 Statistical Methods Applied to Education II3
ED PSYCH 763 Regression Models in Education3
ED PSYCH 773 Factor Analysis, Multidimensional Scaling and Cluster Analysis3
ED PSYCH 960 Structural Equation Modeling3
ED PSYCH/​ELPA  964 Hierarchical Linear Modeling3
POLI SCI 818 Maximum Likelihood Estimation3
POLI SCI 919 Seminar-Advanced Methodology3
SOC 952 Seminar-Mathematical and Statistical Applications in Sociology3
STAT 609 Mathematical Statistics I3
STAT 610 Introduction to Statistical Inference4
STAT/​ECON/​GEN BUS  775 Introduction to Bayesian Decision and Control I3
STAT 849 Theory and Application of Regression and Analysis of Variance I3

Operations and Information Management Pathway 1

The Operations and Information Management Pathway is designed to be customized by each student.  Each student will work directly with their advisor to determine the appropriate courses to take to meet all of the requirements listed below.  For a student entering the Ph.D. program with a master's degree in the major area, the required coursework is estimated to take two years.  Students without a relevant master's degree may take an additional semester to complete the required coursework. Before becoming a dissertator, Ph.D. students must both complete 32 credits of coursework and pass a preliminary exam.

Mathematical Foundation 23
Statistical Foundation 33
Economics Foundation 43
Research Methodology
GEN BUS 933 Beginning a Research Career in Business1
Research Electives 512
Breadth Requirement 69
Additional Coursework 720
Total Credits51

Real Estate and Urban Land Economics Pathway 1

The Wisconsin PhD Program in Real Estate and Urban Land Economics prepares individuals for careers in research and teaching at the university level. The program is academically rigorous and highly quantitative, providing a strong foundation in financial and economic theory, as well as in mathematical and statistical techniques. Through a customized program of elective courses and dissertation research, students specialize in a particular area of real estate economics and finance.

Real Estate Courses
REAL EST 870 Advanced Real Estate Finance Theory (Advanced Urban Land Economics)3
REAL EST 875 Advanced Urban Land Economics (Advanced Real Estate Finance Theory)3
REAL EST 978 Research Seminar in Real Estate and Urban Land Economics (Real Estate Workshop) 25
Finance Courses
FINANCE 920 Theory of Finance3
FINANCE 970 Seminar- Investments (Ph.D.)3
or FINANCE 971 Seminar-Corporate Finance (Ph.D.)
or FINANCE 972 Topics Seminar-Finance PhD
Economics Courses
ECON 709 Economic Statistics and Econometrics I3-4
ECON 710 Economic Statistics and Econometrics II3-4
ECON 711 Economic Theory-Microeconomics Sequence3
ECON 712 Economic Theory-Macroeconomics Sequence3
ECON 713 Economic Theory: Microeconomics Sequence3
ECON 714 Economic Theory; Macroeconomics Sequence3
Other Requirement
GEN BUS 933 Beginning a Research Career in Business1
Breadth Requirement 39
Additional Coursework 44-6
Total Credits51
 

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

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.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

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

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.

Probation

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 / COMMITTEE

Every graduate student is required to have an advisor. An advisor is a faculty member, or sometimes a committee, responsible for providing advice regarding graduate studies.  Ph.D. students must find a research advisor and form their committee.  If a committee cannot be formed, the student will be counseled out of the Ph.D. program.

CREDITS PER TERM ALLOWED

15 credits

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 be required to take another preliminary examination and to be admitted to candidacy a second time.

Grievances and Appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

Any student who feels that they have been mistreated by a faculty or staff member has the right to lodge a complaint. Complaints may concern course grades, classroom treatment, program admission, or other issues. To ensure a prompt and fair hearing of any complaint and to protect both the student's rights and the person at whom the complaint is addressed, the grievance procedures below are used in the Wisconsin School of Business.

The person whom the complaint is directed against must be an employee of the School of Business. Any student or potential student may use these procedures unless other campus rules or contracts cover the complaint:

  1. If the student feels comfortable/safe doing so, the student should first talk with the person against whom the grievance is directed. Most issues can be settled at this level. If the complaint is directed against a teaching assistant (TA) and the student is not satisfied after discussion of the grievance with the TA, the next step would be to talk to the TA's supervisor, who is usually the course professor. If the complaint is still not resolved satisfactorily, the student may continue to step 2.
  2. If the complaint involves an academic department, the student should contact the chair of the department. The chair will attempt to resolve the problem informally. If this cannot be done to the student's satisfaction, the student may submit the grievance to the chair in writing. This must be done within 60 calendar days of the alleged unfair treatment.
    1. If the complaint does not involve an academic department, the procedure outlined in Step 4 below should be followed.
  3. On receipt of a written complaint, the chair will refer the matter to a departmental committee, which will obtain a written response from the person at whom the complaint is directed. This response shall be shared with the person filing the grievance. The chair will provide a written decision within 30 days to the student on the action taken by the committee.
  4. If either party is not satisfied with the decision, they have five working days from receipt of the decision to contact the dean's office (at the number below), indicating the intention to appeal. If the complaint does not involve an academic department in the school, the student must contact the dean's office within 60 calendar days of the alleged unfair treatment.
  5. In either case, there will be an attempt to resolve the issue informally by the appropriate associate dean. If this cannot be done, the complaint can be filed in writing with the Office of the Dean. This must be done within 10 working days of the time the appealing party was notified that informal resolution was unsuccessful.
  6. On receipt of such a written complaint, the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer will convene a subcommittee of relevant stakeholders pending the nature of the issue. This subcommittee may ask for additional information from the parties involved and may hold a hearing at which both parties will be asked to speak separately. The subcommittee will then make a written recommendation to the dean of the School of Business who will render a decision. Unless a longer time is negotiated, this written decision shall be made within 20 working days from when the grievance was filed with the Office of the Dean.

Questions about these procedures can be directed to the School of Business, Office of the Dean, 4339 Grainger, 975 University Avenue, 608-262-7867.

State law contains additional provisions regarding discrimination and harassment. Wisconsin Statutes 36.12 reads, in part: "No student may be denied admission to, participation in or the benefits of, or be discriminated against in any service, program, course or facility of the system or its institutions or center because of the student's race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, disability, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status or parental status." In addition, UW–System prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression. Students have the right to file discrimination and harassment complaints with the Office of Compliance, 361 Bascom Hall, 608-265-6018, uwcomplianceoffice@wisc.edu.

The Graduate School has procedures for students wishing to appeal a grievance decision at the school/college level. These policies are described in the Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures: https://grad.wisc.edu/documents/grievances-and-appeals/

Other

Virtually all Ph.D. students in business are funded at a level that guarantees a minimum of five years of the following: Full tuition remission; scholarship funding; a monthly stipend; comprehensive family health insurance plan, travel funding for students presenting at academic conferences.

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

  1. Articulate frontiers, limits and challenges with respect to theory, knowledge and practice within the field of study.
  2. Create research and scholarship that makes a substantive contribution within the field of study or to the practice of the field.
  3. Develop a proficiency in methodology relevant to the field of study.
  4. Articulate complex or ambiguous ideas in a clear and understandable manner to students, colleagues, and society.
  5. Understand and adhere to ethical and professional conduct in a diverse scholarly environment.

Accreditation

AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Accreditation status: Accredited. Next accreditation review: 2021–2022.