Lubar Graduate Students
Sanjoy Ghose
PhD Program Director
Lubar Hall N379
(414) 229-4224

Nance Gusavac

Academic Affairs Specialist
Lubar Hall N418
(414) 229-4542
PhD Common Questions

What is the mission of the Ph.D. Program and how does it affect Ph.D. students?

The Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business's Mission Statement states "The doctoral degree program prepares students for research-oriented careers in academic institutions and the private sector". As such, the program is a research-oriented degree, which affects students in the following ways:

  • Your class work at the doctoral level will be theoretical.
  • You will spend much of your time reading journal articles and discussing or writing about abstract concepts.
  • You will be expected to develop competency in research methodologies and statistics.
  • You will be expected to develop effective oral and written communication skills.
  • You will be expected to collaborate with faculty members on research projects.
  • You will be required to develop a research paper by the end of your third semester to be presented at a research seminar or conference, or at a function that includes at least two faculty members from your area.
  • You will be expected to develop and conduct your own independent research.
  • You will be expected to add to your field's knowledge with your dissertation.

Earning a research-oriented Ph.D. degree is very different from any degree you have earned in the past. The classes, papers and exams are only the formal portion of what can be described as a much larger apprenticeship as a scholar. This apprenticeship trains you to be a scholar, but also requires a much higher level of effort and intensity than just taking and passing classes. Much of what you learn will occur out of the class as you attend research presentations, present your own research, have informal discussions with faculty, work with people on research projects and interact with other Ph.D. students. Because you are responsible for developing your own research skills and expertise, there is also a tremendous amount of work you will have to do "off the books". It is expected, for example, that you should read and understand the leading-edge research relevant to your chosen research areas even though this material may never be covered in your formal classes.

Successfully completing the Ph.D. under the apprenticeship model can be very rewarding to your career as a scholar. It will provide the independent research skills you need to keep yourself at the leading edge of scholarship. This will prepare you well for future positions in academia or other research-related jobs. Also, you will develop relationships with your faculty and other Ph.D. students that will last for years to come.

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What are the major and minor areas in the Ph.D. Program?

You must major in either (1) Management Information Systems, (2) Finance, (3) Marketing, (4) Organizations and Strategic Management, or (5) Supply Chain and Operations Management. When applying, your major area of study must be indicated in your reasons statement. You must also choose a minor area of concentration from either inside or outside the School of Business. Inside the School of Business, you may choose one of the above areas as your minor concentration or you can additionally choose from Business Statistics, Taxation or International Business. Outside the School of Business, you may minor in a basic social science discipline such as Economics or Psychology. You should choose a minor area that best helps develop your research expertise. You do not have to choose a minor until you submit a Program of Study, generally during your second semester of study.

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How does the admission process work?

As an applicant, you must submit the following to the UW-Milwaukee Graduate School:

  • A complete application form.
  • One official transcript from each previous undergraduate and graduate institution you have attended.
  • Official scores from either the GMAT or GRE test.
  • Two letters of recommendation indicating why the recommender believes that you could be successful in a highly quantitative, research-oriented doctoral program.
  • A statement of purpose indicating why you want to pursue a Ph.D. at the UW-Milwaukee School of Business and what area within the program you would like as your major area of study.
  • Application fee of $56 (The application fee is $96 if you have attended any schools outside the United States. The extra $40 is to pay for evaluating your transcripts).

The on-line application is available on the UWM Graduate School website. We do not use paper applications.

After all your materials are received and processed by the Graduate School, they are forwarded to the Lubar School of Business. Copies of your application materials will then be given to the faculty members in the major area of the school to which you applied (i.e., Management Information Systems, Finance, Marketing, Supply Chain & Operations Management, or Organizations & Strategic Management). The faculty members in that area appraise your chances of success in the program and forward a recommendation to the Ph.D. Program Committee of the Lubar School of Business. As part of this process, faculty members will contact you directly. If you are within convenient travel distance of Milwaukee, you are strongly encouraged to visit the campus and discuss your interests with the faculty before or after you submit your application. If you live far away from Milwaukee, you are encouraged to e-mail faculty in your proposed major area of study in order to discuss the program.

After the proposed major area faculty have discussed your application, the Ph.D. Program Committee considers their recommendation and then decides whether to admit, deny, or table the application pending further information. The Lubar School of Business will then notify you if your admission is recommended. A Skype or in-person interview is the final step in the process. A positive decision by the Ph.D. Program Committee is then forwarded to the UW-Milwaukee Graduate School, which makes the official offer of admission. If you are denied admission, the UWM Graduate School will send formal notification of this decision.

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Is a GMAT score required to apply?

The official GMAT score is required in order to have your application package reviewed by the Ph.D. Program Committee. GRE scores are also acceptable. There is no waiver of this requirement.

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Is there an application cut-off date?

Applications must be submitted online by January 1 for the following fall semester.  All required application materials must be received in the Lubar School of Business by February 1.  Completed applications are reviewed by the PhD Program Committee in February.  Applicants deemed admissible by the PhD Program Committee will be contacted for an interview (Skype or in-person) prior to a final admission decision.  The Lubar School PhD program only admits new students for Fall semester starts.  We do not consider applications for Spring or Summer admission.

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How long does it take to process applications?All applications are reviewed in February for the following fall.  It is best to submit your application in October or November of the previous year to ensure that all materials are received by the February 1 cut-off date.  Applications that are not complete by February 1 can be deferred to the following year, per applicant request.

Example:  Fall 2015 applications can be submitted as early as Summer 2014, and should be complete by January 1, 2015.  All required materials (transcripts, letters of recommendation, GMAT scores, etc.) must be received by February 1, 2015.  This is a firm deadline.
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Do I have to apply for an assistantship or fellowship?All admitted full-time Ph.D. students are automatically considered for Lubar School teaching or project assistantships, and fellowships. You do not need to submit an application. If you wish to apply for assistantships or fellowships outside of the Lubar School, you will need to follow their application requirements accordingly.

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Are there any special application instructions for international students?

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Graduate School requires that all international students take the TOEFL examination and submit scores with their applications. While these scores are not used by the Lubar School of Business in the admissions process, the Graduate School uses them to determine if international students must take English courses to make up for any English language deficiencies. The applications of international students will not be processed without TOEFL scores. To arrange to take the TOEFL, write to TOEFL/TSE Services, Box 6155, Princeton, NJ, 08541-6155, USA. Or visit the TOEFL Web site:

Also, as noted previously, international students must pay an extra $40 application fee for evaluating their transcripts from schools outside the Unites States. Finally, international students must score a 23 or higher on the speaking portion of the Internet-based (iBT) TOEFL to qualify for financial support as a Teaching Assistant. Please note that teaching assistantships are the primary means of support for PhD students. You are expected to have clear English-speaking communication skills to teach in Lubar School classrooms.

International applicants should contact the UW-Milwaukee International Education Services office of the Center for International Education ( Garland rm. 138) for specific instructions regarding the admission process for international students.

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What are the Ph.D. Program's admission standards?

Admission standards are generally high, and we deny admission to many applicants who are sincere in working to pursue a Ph.D. You will not be admitted if we think you cannot successfully complete the program. Faculty will generally appraise your chances of success in the Ph.D. Program based on your level of success in previous academic work, your standardized test scores and your statement of purpose for entering the program. Last year, the mean GMAT scores of admitted applicants were:

Verbal Score: 74th percentile
Quantitative Score: 92nd percentile
Total GMAT: 708, 91st percentile

Please note that these scores reflect the mean for admitted applicants and not the range. As such, applicants with lower scores may be admitted, especially when they have excellent prior academic records. Conversely, achieving these standardized tests scores does not guarantee admission, especially for applicants with poor academic backgrounds.

While there is no established floor for GMAT or GRE scores, past experience shows that applicants with a composite GMAT score lower than 600 or quantitative scores below the 60th percentile have very little chance of being admitted.

In appraising your previous academic work, faculty will also consider where you received your previous degrees and your GPA (among other things). It is helpful if you received your previous degrees from accredited institutions that emphasize research and where you would have been taught by full-time faculty and exposed to theoretical material. Your GPA is an indicator of success at your previous institutions. Last year, our admitted applicants had the following profile:

Undergraduate Mean GPA: 3.2 (4 point scale)
Graduate Mean GPA: 3.6 (4 point scale)

Again, please note that these GPA scores reflect the mean for admitted applicants and not the range. As noted above, the academic quality of the institutions you attended is important in determining what your grade point average means. Also, in making admissions decisions, faculty often look at the grades you received in specific classes that are relevant to your major (i.e., if you apply to our Ph.D. Program in Finance, our faculty will likely closely examine your grades in past Finance classes).

Lastly, your Ph.D. statement of purpose will also be carefully examined by the faculty making the admissions decision. As noted previously, our Ph.D. Program emphasizes training people as scholars and is research-oriented. If your goals do not match that mission, your chances of admission decrease.

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Can I earn the Ph.D. Degree on a part-time basis?We have found that part-time students generally have more difficulty completing the degree due to the considerable time commitment required for success in the Ph.D. Program. Part-time students also miss out on much of the informal out-of-class interaction with faculty and other Ph.D. students, which enhances academic performance in the program. At this time the Lubar School doctoral program in Management Science does not admit part-time students.
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Can I earn my Lubar School Ph.D. in Management Science online?All Ph.D. courses are held on campus. Ph.D. seminars are held primarily during the day, with a few research methods courses offered at night. There is no formal online component in the program.
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Is financial aid available?

We know that financial aid is important to most full-time students. We currently offer financial aid to all full-time students in the form of graduate assistantships.

The compensation for graduate assistants is shown here on the Graduate School web site. The pay for teaching, research, and project assistants is  shown at that web site. All Teaching Assistants/Research Assistants/Project Assistants on a 33 percentage or greater appointment also receive a full waiver of tuition and have the opportunity to purchase health insurance, although you are still responsible for paying several hundred dollars per semester in segregated fees.

Some full-time students take less than 50 percent appointments due to other obligations and receive proportionately less work and pay. Students dropping below 33 percent appointments do not receive the tuition waiver nor are they eligible for health insurance.

Once appointed, your financial aid as a Teaching, Research, or Project Assistant is subject to the Lubar School's Graduate Assistant Renewal policy, a copy of which is available in the Office of the Dean.

Generally, any Teaching Assistantship you receive will involve undergraduate classes related to your major in the Ph.D. Program. However, occasionally students are asked to be TAs in areas outside their major, based on the needs of the school.

International students must score 23 or above on the Speaking portion of the iBT TOEFL in order to qualify for a Teaching Assistantship. Computer or paper based TOEFL scores cannot be substituted for speaking test scores in applying for a Teaching Assistantship.

You will find information about the TOEFL Academic Speaking Test on the TOEFL web site.

Realizing the tremendous opportunity created for students through graduate assistantships and fellowships, the faculty and administration of the school are committed to trying to increase the number of fellowships and graduate assistantships offered in the future.

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Does the school have any plans for an Executive Ph.D. Program?

Several universities have recently introduced Executive Ph.D. Programs aimed at working adults where students come to class one day per week or for one week every several months over a three or four year period.

At this time, the Lubar School of Business has no plans to develop an Executive Ph.D. Program. Such programs largely focus on training students in the application of knowledge. As a research institution, our mission focuses more on basic research and training future scholars in advanced research skills. It is also unlikely that most research colleges and universities will accept an Executive Ph.D. as a legitimate credential for becoming a tenure-track professor in the future.

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Is your Ph.D. Program right for me?

Ph.D. programs are not for everyone. Also, because our program is research intensive, it will not fit the needs of all people seeking a Ph.D. in Business. You will have a better fit with our program if many or all of the following six statements are true for you:

1) You are comfortable with abstract concepts and theories. Most doctoral level classes revolve around learning and mastering the theory underlying various business disciplines. Because classes focus on mastering theories as opposed to real-world applications, you must be comfortable dealing with abstract concepts.

2) You are willing to make a significant commitment to the Ph.D. Program. Successfully completing the Ph.D. Program requires a tremendous time commitment from students. It cannot be completed in a few hours per week over a number of years. Full-time students should be able to complete the program in four to five years.

3) You work well in unstructured situations. Because a tremendous amount of what you learn in the Ph.D. Program occurs outside the classroom as you work on your own research or research with faculty members, you need to be self-directed and able to work and learn well without the structure of weekly assignments, homework and tests.

4) You have some Math training and aptitude. As part of our Ph.D. Program, you will be expected to learn the methodologies underlying business research. Without a adequate grasp of Math, accomplishing this task becomes more difficult. Incoming students should have at least some understanding of statistics, linear algebra and calculus. Admitted students without this proficiency in Math will be required to take refresher Math courses upon entry to the program.

5) You have research interests similar to the faculty in your department. To complete the program you will need to develop scholarly expertise on a relevant research topic within your chosen discipline. Your mastery of this topic will culminate in your doctoral dissertation. In order to get the appropriate advice and faculty support needed to complete a solid dissertation, you will need to pick a research topic that matches or closely aligns to the research interests of faculty in your area. To find out more about faculty research interests, please see the faculty profiles available on the School of Business web site.

6) You can relocate outside Milwaukee after completing the program. It is the nature of the academic job market that most of our graduates leave Milwaukee after completing the program (please see the list of our graduates on this web site). Because there are just a handful of colleges and universities within driving distance of Milwaukee, you cannot count on receiving a professor's position in the Milwaukee area after you graduate. Like all other universities, with few exceptions, we will not hire our own students upon graduation.

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Do I need a Ph.D. to teach business at a college or university in the United States?

The answer to this question depends on the type of college or university and if you want to teach part time or full time. To teach full-time at an AACSB accredited business school, you will need a Ph.D. Full time faculty at AACSB accredited business schools are expected to continuously renew and improve their knowledge and having a Ph.D. (or other terminal degree such as a JD in the legal field) is seen as important in this process.

However, AACSB accredited schools in the U.S. such as UW-Milwaukee, Marquette, UW-Madison and others do employ people without Ph.D.s on a part-time basis to teach one or two classes a semester as adjunct faculty. Therefore, if you would like to teach but do not believe earning a doctorate fits your personal goals, you should contact the Dean's office of any School of Business for information about adjunct faculty positions.

Small private colleges in the U.S. that are not accredited by the AACSB often employ a much greater number of faculty without Ph.D.s (examples of such schools in the Milwaukee area would be Wisconsin Lutheran College, Cardinal Stritch University or Concordia University). While such colleges and universities often encourage their faculty to pursue a Ph.D. degree, it is not required for full-time employment as a faculty member, although a Master's degree is usually required. Therefore, if you would like to teach full time without having a doctorate, you should contact the smaller private colleges in the area where you are located.

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How long does it take to finish the Ph.D. Program? The amount of time you would take depends on how fast you get through required course work, pass qualifying exams and how your personal research program is developing. We expect PhD students to finish in 4-5 years, which also represents how long you will receive financial support if you are a teaching or project assistant. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee requires that all full-time students in doctoral programs pass their qualifying examinations within three years of first enrolling and graduate within ten years of first enrolling.
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Further questions? If you have further questions about the nature and structure of the program, please e-mail Sanjoy Ghose, Interim Associate Dean of Doctoral Programs & Research  or telephone 414-229-4224. As noted previously, you are encouraged to visit campus and talk with individual faculty in your area of interest if you wish to learn more about the program.