The Wisconsin School of Business PhD admissions committee considers each application and admissions decision holistically.

We are seeking highly qualified applicants who have a clear goal to begin a career dedicated to research at an academic institution. Our admissions committee selects students based on exceptional scholarly capability, a strong commitment to a career in research, and a demonstrated ability to be independently motivated. They also consider the ability to match an applicant’s research interest with a faculty mentor.

While there is not a minimum standard for admission to the Wisconsin School of Business our most successful applicants meet the following criteria:

Academic Preparation

Applicants must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School, including a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. An undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale will be considered for admission. Please see the specific area of study you are interested in applying to for additional academic requirements, as they will vary.


We accept test scores on either the GMAT or GRE. The admissions committee reviews the whole application, so test scores make up just a part of the application. While there is no minimum test score required by each doctoral program, on average our incoming class scores in the 90th percentile range. Only one exam score is required, and it can be either the GMAT or GRE.


Acceptance rate
(Incoming student five-year average, 2015–2019)

TOEFL or IELTS (International Applicants)

Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English language skills. See How to Apply for additional information on the language exam requirements.

Previous Experience

Work experience is not required for admission into our program. Prior involvement with research in an academic setting, work related projects, and publications are a plus.

Our goal is to admit applicants in each class from varying backgrounds and professional experiences in hopes of creating a collaborative community of students dedicated to research and teaching.

Admissions Decisions

Decisions of the departmental admission committee are posted to the online application website, where only the applicant may view the decision. You will receive an email notification when the decision has been posted. Decisions are never communicated over the telephone.

If you are admitted, a financial aid package offer will be communicated with the admission decision.

Each academic department has its own independent admissions committee and admissions process. Most admissions decisions are made in February or March, and you should expect a decision no later than mid-April.