The distributed doctoral minor is one option for meeting the Graduate School breadth requirement. Distributed minors are administered by the student’s major program advisor. Specific course requirements for the distributed minor must follow the Graduate School policy.


All Graduate School students must utilize the Graduate Student Portal in MyUW to add, change, or discontinue any doctoral minor. To apply to the distributed minor, log in to MyUW, click on Graduate Student Portal, and then click on Add/Change Programs. Select the information for the distributed minor.


Breadth is a required component of doctoral training at UW–Madison. Given there are multiple paths to breadth, the Graduate School leaves the choice of whether students achieve breadth through a doctoral minor (two options as described below), graduate/professional certificate, or other means up to the specific graduate program.  The specific Breadth Requirement Policy, including information on certificates, is found here:

Minor options are as follows:

Option A (external): Requires a minimum of 9 credits in a minor program (single disciplinary or multi-disciplinary). Fulfillment of this option requires the approval of the minor program.

Option B (distributed): Requires a minimum of 9 credits in one or more programs forming a coherent topic, and can include coursework in the program. Fulfillment of this option requires the approval of the major program.

The Graduate School’s minimum course requirements for the minor include:

  • An average GPA of 3.00 on all minor coursework;
  • Coursework must be graded courses numbered 300 or above; no audits or pass/fail;
  • Maximum 3 credits of independent study (e.g., 699, 799, 899, 999);
  • Research and thesis cannot be used to satisfy the minor (e.g., 790, 890, 990);
  • No more than 5 credits of coursework completed more than 5 years prior to admission to the doctoral program; coursework taken 10 years ago or more may not be used.