The Business: Management and Human Resources, PhD develops scholars in the domain of management.

The program prepares individuals for careers in research and teaching at leading research universities. Our students achieve placements as assistant professors at top research universities.

Student research is supported by faculty in five core areas that include organizational behavior, human resources, organization theory, entrepreneurship and strategy.

Students work closely with faculty members to contribute to significant advancements in the theory and practice of management, as evidenced by our recently published journal articles. Our faculty members are renowned scholars, leaders at the Academy of Management and the Strategic Management Society, and editors in top scholarly journals.


Fall Deadline December 15
Spring Deadline This program does not admit in the spring.
Summer Deadline This program does not admit in the summer.
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Required.
English Proficiency Test 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. The school also accepts IELTS scores with a recommended minimum score of 7.5. The school accepts the Pearson Test of English as a substitute.

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 English Proficiency Test requirement. A master's degree from an English-speaking institution does not qualify for a waiver of the requirement, unless you have completed a minimum of 4 years of education (undergrad and graduate) in a country where English is the native language.

Being a citizen or permanent resident of the United States does not automatically exempt an applicant from the test requirement. The English Proficiency Test requirement may be waived if the applicant has studied full time for eight semesters or more at a college or university where the sole language of instruction is English in a country where English is the primary spoken language. A master's degree alone from an English-speaking institution DOES NOT qualify for a waiver of the test requirement.
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) The GMAT is accepted as an alternative to the GRE.
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

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 PhD and MS programs.

To learn more about the application and admissions process, visit PhD 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.

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

Accelerated: Accelerated programs are offered at a fast pace that condenses the time to completion. Students typically take enough credits aimed at completing the program in a year or two.

Evening/Weekend: ​Courses meet on the UW–Madison campus only in evenings and/or on weekends to accommodate typical business schedules.  Students have the advantages of face-to-face courses with the flexibility to keep work and other life commitments.

Face-to-Face: Courses typically meet during weekdays on the UW-Madison Campus.

Hybrid: These programs combine face-to-face and online learning formats.  Contact the program for more specific information.

Online: These programs are offered 100% online.  Some programs may require an on-campus orientation or residency experience, but the courses will be facilitated in an online format.

Curricular Requirements

Minimum Credit Requirement 51 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 33 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement 26 credits must be graduate-level coursework. Refer to the Graduate School: Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement policy:
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.20 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements n/a
Assessments and Examinations Doctoral students are required to pass a comprehensive preliminary 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.
Language Requirements There are no curricular language requirements for Business PhD students.
Graduate School Breadth Requirement A doctoral minor or graduate/professional certificate is not required; breadth is achieved in other ways.

Required Courses

The management and human resources department offers a slate of foundational PhD 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 PhD seminars offered by the department, which consists of 17 credits.  In addition to the required courses listed below, all PhD students are required to participate in the Teaching Improvement Program and Graduate Assistant Equity Workshop.

PhD 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
Total Credits51


Students are required to take an additional 15 credits of coursework, numbered 700 or higher, from any department.  A substantial share of coursework may be undertaken outside of the 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.  

Preliminary Exams

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 (HR), organizational behavior (OB), or strategy/entrepreneurship (ENT)/organizational theory (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 II4
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 964 Hierarchical Linear Modeling3
MARKETNG 971 Seminar-Marketing PhD, Contemporary Topics in Marketing1-3
MATH/​STAT  431 Introduction to the Theory of Probability3
MATH 521 Analysis I3
POLI SCI 812 Introduction to Statistical Methods in Political Science4
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 II4
SOC 362 Statistics for Sociologists III4
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

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 Credits Earned at Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to transfer 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.

Undergraduate Credits Earned at Other Institutions or UW-Madison

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

Credits Earned as a Professional Student at UW-Madison (Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Veterinary careers)

Refer to the Graduate School: Transfer Credits for Prior Coursework policy.

Credits Earned as a University Special Student at UW–Madison

With program approval students are allowed to transfer no more than 9 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison University Special student. Coursework earned ten or more years prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.


Refer to the Graduate School: Probation policy.

Advisor / Committee

Refer to the Graduate School: Advisor and Graduate School: Committees (Doctoral/Master’s/MFA) policies.

Credits Per Term Allowed

15 credits

Time Limits

Refer to the Graduate School: Time Limits policy.

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 School of Business.

The person against whom the complaint is directed 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, the 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,

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:


Virtually all PhD 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.