Admissions Requirements

Our current PhD students come from many different educational, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds. We accept applications from prospective students from many different backgrounds. To be considered for admissions, applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree, or will have finished a bachelor’s degree by the time they start the PhD program. We also accept applications from international students, the requirements of which we will detail below.

The documents outlined below will need to be submitted prior to our admissions committee reviewing your application. Applications missing any of these documents will be considered incomplete and cannot be reviewed until the missing documents are received.

  • A completed online application form
  • A statement of purpose
  • Two essays responding to the application questions and survey
  • Current GMAT or GRE scores (see details below)
  • Current TOEFL or IELTS scores (for non-native English-speakers. See details below)
  • Three letters of recommendation, preferably from academics
  • Transcripts for all college/university degrees and courses (see details below)
  • A current resume
  • $75 application fee, plus an additional $6 processing fee for international applicants

GMAT and GRE Scores

All applicants are required to take either the GMAT or GRE test prior to submitting their application for the PhD program. Waivers for either test are not available. The admissions committee does not have a preference in which test is taken.  Any GMAT or GRE score must be less than five years old at the time of matriculation (please note that the school year begins in September). As a general rule, applicants are advised to take the test and submit scores no later than mid-January in order to ensure that your application is properly considered. The average GMAT score for admitted PhD students is 700. The average GRE score for admitted PhD students is the 90th percentile (about a 1440 combined score). Below you can find the appropriate school codes in order to submit your official scores to us.

Institution Codes for PhD Programs:

GRE & TOEFL Scores: 1846

GMAT: 79K-2S-02


All PhD applicants whose native language is not English are required to take either the TOEFL or IELTS tests. The admissions committee has no preference as to which test you take. Your TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores must be less than two years old at the time you would begin your studies, more or less September 1. Our "suggested" TOEFL minimum score is 106. Our "suggested" IELTS minimum score is 7.5. The minimums are suggested because some exceptional applicants have been admitted with lower scores, but overall, applicants with scores over these minimums have the best chance of admittance to the program.

Scores submitted must be “officially" sent by ETS to the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  School code: 1846.

Applicants may waive the test requirement if the following condition is met:

  • A minimum of four years (eight full semesters) of bachelor’s or master’s level courses are completed in a country where the official language is English.

The following scenarios do not qualify a candidate for a waiver:

  • Individuals who only receive a master’s degree from an English-speaking institution (less than four years) must submit a valid score.
  • Individuals from countries where English is spoken, although not the primary official language, or individuals who attended a bachelor’s program where some but not all courses are provided in English must submit a valid score.
  • Being a citizen or permanent resident of the United States does not automatically exempt an applicant from the language testing requirement.


In order to apply to the PhD program, we will need photocopies or scanned copies of your official transcripts (including certificates, diplomas, or proof of degrees) along with your application. All applicants must hold at least a bachelor’s degree at the time that they begin the PhD program. We require applicants to report and submit transcripts for all university-level degrees received (e.g. bachelors, masters, PhD).

We do not need official transcripts mailed to our office until you have been admitted to the program. Upon admittance, we will ask that you have your previous academic institutions mail us official, unopened copies of your transcripts. Transcripts submitted must include an official English translation if the degree is from a non-English speaking country. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required for admittance into the program.

When you mail your transcripts, you may have them mailed to the following address:

Ph.D. Programs Office

Wisconsin School of Business

975 University Avenue, Suite 3115

Madison, WI 53706

Application steps

Follow instructions for the self-managed application, ensuring that all pieces that are not completed online are submitted in one mailing prior to the applicable deadlines.

1. Application: Online

2. Record of Residence: Online

3. Application fee: $75 U.S. dollars; international applicants must also pay a $6 international applicant processing fee.  Fees must be paid by credit card.

4. Essay: statement of purpose for graduate study, two essays, and survey. The instructions can be found on the online application.

5. Résumé or Curriculum Vitae (CV)

6. Three academic letters of recommendation: Submitted by your recommenders online, or letters can be prepared on letterhead or stationery and enclosed in an envelope with the recommender's signature across the seal.

7. Official transcripts: Please upload to your online application a copy from each institution attended, including certificate or diploma, proof of degree. Transcripts must include an English translation if the degree is from a non-English speaking country. Please upload transcripts to your online application and--upon admission--also mail official transcripts to our office. MAILING ADDRESS: 


Ph.D. Programs Office

Wisconsin School of Business

975 University Avenue, Suite 3115

Madison, WI 53706


8. GMAT or GRE scores: Official GRE scores ordered from ETS should be sent to code number 1846 and a photocopy of an unofficial or official score report should be included in the application package. GMAT code: 79K-2S-02.

9. International applicants only—English language testing scores: Test scores for TOEFL or IELTS (scores must be less than two years old on the date you begin classes). Scores must be officially sent to our university, code 1846.

10. International applicants only: The International Financial Statement must be complete and accurate. You should wait until you receive an admission decision before submitting the form. Only original, signed copies are accepted.

You may check the status of your application online. Please be aware that there may be some delay between receipt of materials and application status updates. Applications will not be reviewed by the departmental admissions committees until all pieces of the application have been received and the application is coded as complete.