• Choosing a Ph.D. Program
  • Application Process
  • Dissertator Status

How are admission decisions made at the Wisconsin School of Business?

After an application is complete, it will be forwarded to the appropriate departmental committee. Each department offering a Ph.D. has its own committee of faculty members and they review applications independently and by methods determined within that department. Specific criteria and standards of applicant competitiveness vary by department. Decisions of the committees are communicated to the Ph.D. Coordinator, who then posts those decisions to the ApplyYourself website (only the applicant may view the decision). The applicant will receive an email notification that the decision has been posted. Decisions are never given out over the telephone. Any questions about the admissions process should be directed to the Ph.D. Coordinator at phd@bus.wisc.edu

Does UW-Madison offer a part-time or distance learning Ph.D. program?

Because of the intense academic and research commitment, requiring a high degree of interaction with faculty members and other Ph.D. students, only full-time pursuit of the degree in residence on the UW-Madison campus is permitted.

Is the UW-Madison the right choice for my Ph.D. if my primary goal is to prepare for a teaching career or a career in business or industry?

UW-Madison Business Ph.D. graduates are prepared to perform well in the classroom and many are considered exceptional teachers. Likewise, some graduates will choose to pursue research positions in private industry and will find options available to them. However, the primary emphasis of the Ph.D. Program at the UW-Madison is on academic research and preparation for tenure-track positions at the finest research institutions. Most of our students are preparing for this track. Those whose primary interest is not the pursuit of rigorous research culminating in a challenging research–oriented academic position might wish to consider alternative degree programs more in line with their ultimate career interests.

What test scores are required for admission? Is there a minimum score?

Applicants may use Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores. Scores must be less than five years old at the time you begin the program. There are no waivers of the standardized test score requirement. There is no minimum score requirement, but few students scoring lower than the 90th percentile are considered competitive. For the GRE the UW Insitution Code is 1846.

How long will it take to earn a Ph.D. degree at the University of Wisconsin—Madison?

Most students complete the Ph.D. degree in four to five years.

Is work experience necessary for a Ph.D. program at the UW-Madison?

Work experience is not a requirement for Ph.D. study, although it may prove beneficial in strengthening some applicants’ overall credentials. Work experience that may prove meaningful or beneficial in the application process should provide evidence to support the academic⁄research interests and career direction⁄aspirations of the applicant. Evidence of superior academic achievement potential and strong independent research capabilities weigh significantly more than prior work experience.

Is there a minimum grade point average requirement for admission?

The Graduate School of the UW—Madison requires a minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.0. Most of the departmental admission committees of the Wisconsin School of Business are seeking evidence of strong academic potential and therefore will expect significantly better performance than the minimum requirement.

May I transfer into the Ph.D. Program from another university?

A new application is required of all applicants regardless of prior coursework completed. While not officially referring to such applicants as “transfer students”, a student who has satisfactorily completed academic work toward a Ph.D. at another accredited school may not need to complete some comparable coursework in our program. The admitting department will review the work and decide what may or may not be used to satisfy requirements of the program. The student may have to substitute the credits for work taken at another institution with coursework approved by the major department. The time needed to complete the degree is not likely to be shortened by the completion of coursework at another institution.

May I make a campus visit?

Formal campus visits are by invitation of the department to which an applicant is applying. Selective invitations are normally extended after the application is complete and has been reviewed by the departmental admissions committee. However, individuals are welcome to make a visit to Madison and should feel free to stop by Grainger Hall while they are becoming acquainted with the campus. The Campus Information and Visitor Center is an excellent source of information and assistance.

If I am currently enrolled in another UW—Madison graduate program, may I request a "Change or Addition of Major" to enter the Wisconsin School of Business Ph.D. Program?

It is necessary for all applicants to complete the on–line application for the Wisconsin School of Business Ph.D. Program even if they are currently enrolled in another UW graduate degree program. While Wisconsin School of Business graduate degree programs are under the academic jurisdiction of the UW-Madison Graduate School, our admissions process is both separate and independent of that of other Graduate School departments. If you have additional questions about the admissions process, please contact the Ph.D. Coordinator at phd@bus.wisc.edu.

Where do I mail my supplementary application materials?

Ph.D. Programs Office
University of Wisconsin—Madison
Wisconsin School of Business
975 University Avenue, Suite 3115
Madison, WI 53706

How do I check on the status of my online application?

The ApplyYourself website permits you to track your application and allows you to see what is still missing. You may also see decision information when it becomes available. Please be aware that there may be a delay between receipt of materials and the updating of the system to show that application materials are in. Please be patient.

How long does it take to get a decision on my application?

Because each academic department has its own independent admissions committee and the process varies from department to department, there is no predetermined time frame in which you may expect a decision. In general, most decisions are made in February or March and you should expect a decision no later than mid–April.

The deadline has passed. May I still apply?

We may allow late applications with approval of the Ph.D. Coordinator from the department to which you are applying. It is the applicant’s responsibility to get this approval.

I applied last year. Are there special circumstances for reapplication?

Certain supplemental materials may be used from your prior year’s application. You will need to contact the Ph.D. Programs Office at phd@bus.wisc.edu to indicate which materials you would like to resubmit for your current application, as well as include this information in your statement of purpose. Materials that may be reused are official transcripts, letters of recommendation and official test scores if they have not expired. It is required that you reapply via the online application and as part of this process you will need to submit a current resume, statement of purpose and financial aid essays.

Do international applicants have additional test requirements?

International students must submit scores for one of the following assessments: TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE to demonstrate mastery of the English language. The recommended minimum for a competitive application using the internet–based TOEFL (iBT) is a total score of 106. The candidate should have component scores of at least the following: Reading – 26, Listening – 26, Speaking – 27, and Writing – 27. The recommended minimum for a competitive application using the paper-based TOEFL (PBT) is a total score of 620. Scores must be reported directly to the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Score reports mailed by applicants are not considered official. TOEFL WAIVER--individuals who have completed a four-year bachelor's degree in a country where the official language is English may request a TOEFL WAIVER.  A master's degree alone (1 or 2 years) from an English-speaking institution does not qualify for a waiver of the TOEFL. 

What type of visa would I be admitted under as an international student?

For complete and up-to-the minute information regarding international applicants and students, see UW-Madison International Student Services Office (ISS). International students in the Wisconsin School of Business are most frequently admitted under the status of F-1, the full-time student visa category. Such students must carry a full credit load and are not permitted to work off campus, except in the case of approved curricular practical training (CPT).

What type of financial support documentation is required for international students?

The International Financial Statement may be submitted after the student has received an admission offer from the university. Know, however, that we are unable to finalize the admissions process until proof of adequate financial support is on file. Instructions for the student financial statement require specific information that is formally certified. At the time of the application, the form should show your best estimate for financial support. It is not necessary to provide notarized financial documentation. Should you receive an offer of admission, you will also receive an offer of a financial package that covers most expenses, including tuition and medical insurance. If you are admitted and accept the offer of financial support, please ask the Ph.D. Coordinator to place a letter to that effect in your file so that the admissions process may be finalized without further delay.