University of Wisconsin–Madison

Applying to the Ph.D. Program (for current MS students)

Master’s students who intend to continue on to the Ph.D. program must apply to the Graduate Admissions Committee by January 5 in the second year of their master’s program by submitting the following materials to the Graduate Program Director/Graduate Studies Committee:

  • statement of interest indicating plans for the Ph.D.
  • letter of support from current (MS) advisor
  • letter of support from prospective PhD advisor (if different)

The Graduate Admissions Committee will evaluate these internal applications in the Spring (typically in February) along with all other applications to decide which of these internal applicants will be admitted to the Ph.D. program.

With admission, students who entered the program with a multi-year funding guarantee will receive the remaining three years of support. Students who entered the program without a multi-year funding guarantee can be admitted into the PhD program with or without 3 years of financial support.

Receipt of guaranteed Ph.D. funding is conditional on successful completion of M.S. requirements (including defense of thesis). If the student fails to complete M.S. requirements by the end of the twelfth week of their fifth M.S. semester, the student’s guaranteed support from the department will be deferred. Guaranteed support will not resume until the academic-year semester that follows the academic-year semester when M.S. requirements are met prior to its twelfth week. Any university support provided to the student during the lapse period will count against contract duration.

If circumstances beyond the control of the student prevent the student from meeting the deadline, an appeal may be made to the Graduate Studies Committee to use one semester of the financial aid allotment from the Ph.D. program to complete the M.S. requirements. In their appeal, the student must clearly explain the circumstances that prevented completion in two years.