Wisconsin School of Business Ph.D. students possess a high degree of intellectual curiosity and are very self-motivated. Demonstrated academic credentials are a major consideration in the admission decision, as is the consideration of “fit” with the research interests and goals of the departments. While there is no requirement for specific undergraduate majors, many students have previous degrees in business, economics, or related fields. Many students also possess a previous graduate degree and/or prior work experience, but these are not required. Approximately 60 percent of current students hold a master’s degree.

Applicants to the Ph.D. program at the Wisconsin School of Business may choose from several majors and sub-plans within majors, but all of them have one thing in common: a passion for scholarly research and an ability to become immersed in the creation of knowledge within their academic field of concentration. While there are many career paths for those holding a Ph.D. in business, Wisconsin students are primarily interested in producing original research and providing quality teaching at leading institutions of higher learning. Some others are attracted to non-academic careers that demand highly developed research and analytical skills.

This commitment requires immersion in one’s studies on a full-time basis; it is not possible to work outside of the school while pursuing the Ph.D. Each department admits a cohort of one or more students in the fall semester. These students meet with their advisors and undertake full-time coursework, leading to the preliminary examination which normally completed at the end of the third year of study. Once the student has passed to the status of dissertator, the focus is on producing the dissertation, a major piece of original research.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Wisconsin School of Business's Ph.D. program is to attract and develop the next generation of leading business scholars. Our program is designed to produce scholars who have the capability to enhance our intellectual understanding of business theory and practice and also effectively transmit this knowledge to business scholars, professionals, and students. Our graduates will be well equipped for an academic career at world-class research universities and institutes.