Applicants must meet the minimum application requirements for admission to the Graduate School at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in order to be admitted to the Wisconsin School of Business. These include:
Many successful applicants to the Wisconsin Ph.D. Program in business have a previous master’s degree. However, successful applicants also include recent graduates with undergraduate degrees or doctoral degrees in fields other than business. Most applicants to the Wisconsin Ph.D. Program in accounting do have a Master of Accountancy degree.
Many areas of study have additional requirements beyond those of UW–Madison or the Wisconsin School of Business. In some cases, these requirements can be fulfilled during the student's time in the program.
You do not need to have a research topic when applying to the Wisconsin School of Business. However, having a general research area in mind is highly encouraged. Your dissertation topic will be defined later in the program, after you complete your coursework and pass your preliminary examination.
No. All applicants must complete the online application for the Wisconsin Ph.D. Program in business, even if they are currently enrolled in another UW–Madison graduate degree program. Although the Wisconsin School of Business graduate degree programs are under the academic jurisdiction of the university's Graduate School, our admissions process is both separate from and independent of that of other Graduate School departments. If you are a current UW–Madison graduate student who is interested in applying to the Wisconsin Ph.D. Program in business, please contact the assistant director of Ph.D. and research programs for specific advice relevant to the procedures you should follow.
The University of Wisconsin–Madison does not consider transfer students. A student who has satisfactorily completed academic work toward another Ph.D. program may not be required to complete comparable course work in a degree program, but will have to substitute the credits with coursework approved by the major department. The degree process is not shortened by the completion of coursework at another institution.
Applicants may submit either Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores. The GMAT institution code for Wisconsin School of Business Ph.D. applicants is 79K-2S-02. Official GRE scores ordered from Educational Testing Service (ETS) should be sent to code number 1846.
There is no minimum score requirements for the GMAT or GRE, but students scoring lower than the 90th percentile will typically be less competitive applicants. Average test scores for the current Ph.D. class are detailed in the class profile.
Completion of the Wisconsin Ph.D. Program in business takes an average of five years. Students need to reside in the Madison area for their entire doctoral program.
No. Because of the intensive academic and research commitment, which requires a high degree of interaction with faculty members and other doctoral students, the Wisconsin Ph.D. must be pursued full time while in residence on the campus.
The program is selective and competitive in nature. The average acceptance rate for the five-year period from 2012–2016 is 12 percent.
The Wisconsin School of Business seeks future scholars who will have the capacity to increase intellectual understanding of business theory and practice, and who can effectively transmit this knowledge to fellow business scholars, professionals, and students.
The emphasis of the Wisconsin Ph.D. in business is on academic research and preparation for tenure-track positions at the top research universities in the nation and the world. Although some graduates will find options available to them in private industry, those whose primary interest is a career in business or industry may wish to consider alternative degree programs.
The annual application deadline is December 15. Applications must be complete and submitted no later than December 15 in order to be considered for admission and financial aid.
All parts of the application are submitted online. They include the following:
For additional details about application requirements, see How to Apply.
Each application is considered holistically by the admissions committee, with consideration given to academic background, written essays, standardized test scores, and academic recommendations.
Admission decisions are made by the appropriate independent department admission 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.
Each academic department has its own independent admissions committee and admissions process. Some departments consider all applications in a group only after the December 15 deadline, when all applications are complete; other departments consider applications on a “rolling basis,” or as they are designated complete throughout the admissions season.
There is no predetermined time frame in which you may expect a decision. Most decisions are made in February or March, and you should expect a decision no later than mid-April.
Decisions of each independent department admission committee are posted to the online application website, where only the applicant may view the decision. The applicant will receive an email notification that the decision has been posted. Decisions are never communicated over the telephone. If an applicant is admitted, the offer of a financial package will be communicated with the admission decision.
Once you have established an online account with the Wisconsin School of Business, you may check the status of your application for the Ph.D. program in business online. Please be aware that there may be some delay between receipt of the materials and application status updates.
All applicants to the Wisconsin Ph.D. Program in business are automatically considered for funding packages. Academic departments strive to create the most competitive financial award packages possible each year. In general, all students admitted receive a full funding package. See Financing Your Ph.D. for additional details.
Typically, admitted students will receive full tuition remission, as well as a monthly stipend as compensation for a teaching or project assistant position. Wisconsin Ph.D. students at the Wisconsin School of Business also receive a comprehensive health insurance plan for themselves and their eligible dependents. See Financing Your Ph.D. for additional details.
Academic departments may offer summer teaching, research appointments, or other forms of scholarship support to supplement the academic-year package. In addition, several departments offer funding for research presentations at major conferences.
Yes. Applicants with strong potential for achievement in an academic setting may be awarded scholarships or fellowships as part of their funding packages.
In general, students are guaranteed four academic years of support and may receive additional research or teaching support if needed. Packages may vary from year to year and from department to department. Funding for the student’s fifth year is usually available as long as the student is making progress toward degree completion.
Teaching will be an integral part of your training to become a tenure-track university professor. Teaching expectations and responsibilities vary by academic department. Each doctoral student will serve as the professor in charge for at least one course during their time in the program.
Most students also work as teaching assistants. Duties will vary, and might include helping a faculty member with grading and class preparation, leading discussion sections, and holding office hours to support undergraduate students.
All applicants whose native language is not English or whose four-year undergraduate education was not completed in a country where English is the native language must complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), administered through the Educational Testing Service. The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is also accepted. The test must be taken within two years of the date you begin classes.
Our recommended TOEFL score is 106 on the Internet-based test.
Individuals who have completed a four-year (minimum of eight semesters) bachelor’s degree in a country where the official language is English are not required to submit test scores and may request a waiver on the online application. Individuals who will complete such a degree by June prior to matriculation may also request a waiver of the test requirement.
A master’s degree alone from an English-speaking institution does not qualify for a waiver of the test requirement. Being a citizen or permanent resident of the United States does not automatically exempt an applicant from the test requirement.
After receiving an admission offer, international applicants must provide the Wisconsin School of Business with official documentation (referred to as “official transcripts”) of all courses taken and grades received from each previous undergraduate or postgraduate institution, including proof of degree or diploma. Academic transcripts must have a seal and signature in ink of the registrar, recorder of records, or other authorized official of the institution(s). Documents in another language must be accompanied by official (notarized) English translations.
Applicants should wait until they receive an admission decision before submitting the International Student Financial Statement and documentation. This document is not required as part of the application for the Wisconsin Ph.D. Program in business. Evidence of adequate financial resources for the anticipated duration of the program (including support for any family members who accompany the student to the United States) is required for visa documentation by the federal government. Only original, signed copies are accepted.
As demonstrated by our class profile, the Wisconsin School of Business brings together doctoral students from a wide range of backgrounds, including domestic students, international students, and students from underrepresented populations.
The School is deeply committed to diversity and inclusion, and takes specific steps to extend the culture of inclusion to all, regardless of ethnicity, race, socio-economic status, gender, sexual orientation, and ability. In addition, numerous resources are available on campus, including networking organizations and centers that serve specific student populations.
Yes. We encourage you to explore the resources available from The Ph.D. Project, a network of supporters, sponsors, and universities dedicated to increasing the diversity of business school faculty by recruiting underrepresented minorities to business Ph.D. programs. In addition to being a founding member of this organization, the University of Wisconsin–Madison has a representative on hand to answer your questions at the annual Ph.D. Project Conference in Chicago.
Doctoral studies require a significant commitment of time and energy. Familial support is very important to your success as a graduate student; we recommend that you discuss your goals in detail with any family members who will be affected by your decision to pursue a Ph.D. in business.
Yes. As a doctoral student at the Wisconsin School of Business, you will receive comprehensive health insurance for yourself and immediate family members who live with you. Students tell us that ours is a highly competitive health insurance plan.
Spouses or domestic partners of U.S. citizens may choose to find employment in the Madison area. (International spouses are usually not allowed to work in the United States due to visa restrictions.) Spouses or domestic partners may also wish to pursue educational opportunities such as graduate school. There are abundant opportunities and resources for family members in the greater Madison area.
Formal campus visits are arranged by invitation from a specific academic department. Selective invitations are typically extended after the application is complete and has been reviewed by the departmental admissions committee.
Prospective Ph.D. students who are interested in making an informal visit to campus are welcome to stop by the Wisconsin School of Business. Please contact our assistant director of Ph.D. and research programs in advance if you wish to speak with a Ph.D. Program Office representative while you are in Madison. To learn more about the broader University of Wisconsin–Madison campus or arrange for a tour, contact Campus and Visitor Relations.
To discuss the program in detail, get answers to your questions, and explore whether the Wisconsin Ph.D. Program in business is a good fit for you, we suggest you meet with a program representative at an upcoming recruiting event.
If you would like to hear the student perspective on the Wisconsin Ph.D. Program in business, we encourage you to contact any of our current doctoral students. Our students are happy to share their experiences with others.
3115 Grainger Hall
975 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53706