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The School of Business Ph.D. program has a rich tradition of training scholars who can both enhance the intellectual understanding of business theory and practice and effectively transmit this knowledge to other scholars, business professionals, and students.

The high scholarly productivity and leadership of the school's 80 faculty members are regularly noted in national rankings. Recent studies of U.S. and worldwide scholarly research productivity rated School of Business faculty among the top graduate business schools in the country. In addition to world-renowned recognition for research, the School of Business faculty bring a variety of real-world experience to the program.

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.

Degree Program Specializations

The School of Business Ph.D. program allows students to select a specialization from one of our seven departments. 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. 

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


Minimum Credit Requirement 51 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 33 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement 26 credits must be graduate-level coursework. Details can be found in the Graduate School’s Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) policy (https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1244).
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement See Named Options for this requirement.
Other Grade Requirements n/a
Assessments and Examinations See Named Options for this requirement.
Language Requirements There are no curricular language requirements for Business Ph.D. students.
Graduate School Breadth Requirement A doctoral minor or graduate/professional certificate is not required; Breadth is achieved in other ways.

Required Courses

Select a Named Option for required coursework.  

Named Options

A named option is a formally documented sub-major within an academic major program. Named options appear on the transcript with degree conferral. Students pursuing the PhD in Business must select one of the following named options:


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.

For more information about the faculty and their research interests, please visit the directory.


AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Accreditation status: Accredited. Next accreditation review: 2026–2027.