How to Apply

To apply to the PhD Health Sciences Program you must apply to the UWM Graduate School.

Pay for School

The PhD in Health Sciences Program is looking for dynamic graduate students to support in our doctoral degree program. There are a number of opportunities for financial assistance during your graduate work.

Teaching Assistantships

Teaching assistants support delivery of undergraduate curriculum at UWM. Appointments begin in mid/late-August and are for one academic year (9 months), renewable and dependent on funding. These part-time graduate assistantship positions provide a modest stipend and an excellent experience working closely with faculty.

Learn more about teaching assistantships at UWM.

Research or Project Assistantships

Research assistantships (RA) or project assistantships (PA) may be available pending individual faculty funding cycles. Only students admitted to Health Sciences Graduate Programs will be considered for a RA or PA appointment.

Please contact the faculty member you are interested in working with to learn more information about available RA or PA positions.

Learn more about research assistantships at UWM.

Contact Us

For specific questions about the PhD Health Sciences Program, please contact the College of Health Sciences Office of Graduate Studies and Research at or (414) 229-5663.

This exciting, interdisciplinary program is designed to meet the critical need for doctoral-prepared faculty and researchers in areas such as communication sciences and disorders, biomedical sciences, kinesiology, health and clinical informatics, occupational therapy and physical therapy.

You’ll work closely with our research faculty in your selected area of concentration and also complete cross-disciplinary and core courses that emphasize an interdisciplinary perspective in health-related education and research. In addition to core courses that will foster your development as a teaching scholar, you’ll choose from courses in areas such as disability and rehabilitation, diagnostic and biomedical sciences, human movement sciences, population health, informatics, and health administration/policy. Your independent research and dissertation will be structured according to your area of specialization.

Why choose us?

  • Only a handful of universities nationwide offer a PhD in health sciences, and UWM offers the only such program in the state.
  • The diversity of our programs, faculty and their research areas will allow you to develop interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary and interprofessional perspectives to broaden your scientific approach.
  • Contribute to cutting-edge research in one of our many laboratories, such as the Rehabilitation Design and Disability (R2D2) Center, Human Performance and Sport Physiology Laboratory, Center for Biomedical Data and Language Processing, Immunology and Disease Pathogenesis Lab, Speech and Language Clinic, and Speech Science Lab, to name a few. Many of our students publish in peer-reviewed journals and present at national and international conferences before graduation.
  • All of our graduates have found employment within their chosen field, going on to a variety of faculty positions, post-doctoral fellowships and industry jobs.

What can you do with a degree in health sciences?

Health specialties instructors are the fastest-growing segment of the postsecondary teaching market, with employment expected to increase 36 percent by 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Our program prepares students for careers at academic institutions but also offers excellent training for research positions outside of higher education. Some of the settings where you might find our graduates include:

  • Two-year colleges
  • Four-year universities
  • Academic medical centers
  • Municipal, state and federal agencies
  • Biotechnology
  • Information technology
  • Biomedical research facilities



The College of Health Sciences welcomes students from other academic areas at UW-Milwaukee, as well as students transferring to UWM from other institutions.

To apply to the UWM Graduate School for graduate studies in health sciences, you must first meet the admission requirements of the UWM Graduate School.

In addition to UWM Graduate School requirements, those applying into the PhD in Health Sciences Program must meet the following minimum requirements:

  1. Submission of scores on the General Test portion of the Graduate Record Examination; test taken within last 5 years.
  2. One of the following:
    • Master’s degree or equivalent in an area that provides foundational academic preparation in the proposed PhD in Health Sciences. Area of Concentration.
    • Bachelor’s degree with exceptional promise, as indicated by research experience/evidence of writing or an undergraduate project, recommendations, GRE scores and undergraduate GPA.
  3. A sample of the applicant’s written work that demonstrates the ability to conduct research and/or the ability to critically analyze the scholarly work of others.
  4. A letter outlining the applicant’s academic and professional background, declaration of area of concentration and major professor, as well as specific research interests and goals for the PhD program. This statement should be submitted to the UWM Graduate School and must be complete and thorough as it provides information that is central to the admission decision. This letter will serve in lieu of the UWM Graduate School’s “Reasons for Graduate Study” statement.
  5. Three (3) letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the applicant’s intellectual achievement and potential. At least 2 of these letters must be from faculty or senior administrators at academic institutions.

For applicants from countries other than the US whose first language is not English, a score of at least 250 on the computer-based (or 600 on the paper-based) Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required. A score of 6.5 on the International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS) examination will be accepted in lieu of the TOEFL.

The PhD Steering Committee will make an admission recommendation and forward it to the appropriate College of Health Sciences departmental Graduate Faculty or Executive Committee and identified major professor. The final admission decision is contingent upon approval by the departmental Graduate Faculty Committee or Executive Committee, the applicant’s major professor and the UWM Graduate School.

Prior to admission, an eligible College of Health Sciences Graduate Faculty member must agree to serve as the applicant’s major professor.

Course of Study

Course of Study


The PhD program requires 72 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree, including no more than 36 credits from a related master’s degree and/or other post-baccalaureate coursework.

A student must complete a minimum of 36 credits at UWM, including dissertation credits.

Precise numbers of credits and actual course requirements will be determined after review of the applicant’s previous coursework.

The student plans an individual program of study in consultation with the major professor and Doctoral Committee that will include a set of core courses, an area of concentration, cross-disciplinary courses, electives and the dissertation.

Students will complete a minimum of 16 credits of core coursework:

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
Total Credits:16
BMS 901Seminar on Philosophical Approaches to Science3
KIN 702Statistical Analysis in the Health Sciences 3
BMS 910Advanced Seminar in Health Sciences 1 (repeated 4 times)
OCCTHPY 900Teaching, Learning & Educational Leadership in the Health Sciences 3
A statistical analysis, qualitative analysis or research methods course approved by the student's Major Professor 3

Area of Emphasis

Courses related to the area of concentration will require students to draw upon the strengths and expertise of the faculty and curriculum in an interdisciplinary and collaborative manner.

The basis of scientific exploration will be premised on the model adapted by the World Health Organization (WHO) which defines 3 levels contributing to the concept of health:

  1. Intact body structures and unimpaired host functions at the molecular, cellular or organ system level.
  2. The ability to participate in activities and roles at the level of the living organism or individual person.
  3. A physical and social environment that influences health at the level of society and populations.

Cross-disciplinary courses in areas, such as disability and rehabilitation, diagnostic and biomedical sciences, human movement sciences, and population health and health administration/policy, will provide a unique framework and understanding for specific health states, outcomes, determinants and environmental influences. Each of these specialties reflects trends and needs in health-related fields, as well as the current expertise among faculty in the College of Health Sciences.

Additional information regarding the course of study can be found on the UWM Graduate School website.

Timeline to Completion

Timeline to Completion

In addition to formal coursework, students are required to successfully complete a preliminary examination, a dissertation proposal and a dissertation defense. The completion of a dissertation, consisting of original research, will be the final step in earning a PhD in Health Sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

It is expected that you will complete all requirements for the degree within 7 years of the date of initial enrollment in the program. Upon successfully passing the preliminary examinations, you must complete all requirements for the degree within 4 years.

Additional information can be found at the UWM Graduate School website.

Faculty & Staff

Faculty & Staff

Major Professors

Anthony A. Azenabor, PhD, CS(ASCP)


  • Postdoc Training Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2001
  • Postdoc Training Immunology Laboratories, University of Waterloo, 2000
  • Postdoc Training Regional Virology and Chlamydiology Laboratories, McMaster University, 1998
  • Postdoc Training Biochemistry, University of Benin, 1996
  • Ph D Pathogenic Microbiology, University of Benin, 1993
  • MS Biochemistry, University of Benin, 1988
  • Fellow of the Institute of Medical Laboratory Sciences Hermatology and Blood Serology, University of Benin, 1985
  • Associate of the Institute of Laboratory Sciences Chemical Pathology, University of Lagos, 1981

Ron A. Cisler, PhD

Professor, Dean

  • Post Doc Addiction/Behavioral Health, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1993
  • Ph D Experimental Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1991
  • MS Experimental Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1987
  • BS Psychology (General), University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, 1984

Jennifer E. Earl-Boehm, PhD, ATC, FNATA

Associate Professor, Athletic Training Education Program Director

  • Ph D Kinesiology, Pennsylvania State University, 2002
  • MS Athletic Training, University of Virginia, 1998
  • BA Sports Medicine, The College of Wooster, 1997

Kyle T. Ebersole, PhD, LAT

Associate Professor, Chair

  • Ph D Exercise Physiology, University of Nebraska, 2000
  • M.P.E Exercise Science, University of Nebraska, 1996
  • BS Kinesiology, University of Illinois-Chicago, 1994

Janis Eells, PhD


  • Postdoctoral Research Associate Department of Pharmacology, Northwestern University, 1986
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate Department of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa, 1983
  • Burroughs-Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow Department of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa, 1982
  • Ph D Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Iowa, 1981
  • MS Pharmacology and Microbiology, Idaho State University, 1976
  • BS Microbiology, Idaho State University 1973

Joyce M. Engel, PhD, OT, FAOTA


  • Ph D Child and Developmental Psychology, University of Kansas, 1988
  • MA Human Development, University of Kansas, 1984
  • BS Occupational Therapy, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1979

  • John J. Heilmann, PhD, CCC-SLP

    Associate Professor

    • Ph D Communicative Disorders, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2006
    • MA Speech-Language Pathology, University of Cincinnnati, 2000
    • BS Speech & Hearing Sciences, University of Cincinnati, 1998

    Mark V. Johnston, PhD, FACRM


    • Ph D Psychology, Claremont Graduate University, 1984
    • Pre-doctoral fellowships, National Science Foundation Graduate Student Fellowship, 1976
    • MA Psychology, California State University, 1975
    • BA Economics, University of Chicago, 1968

    Phyllis M. King, PhD, OT, FAOTA, FASAHP

    Professor, UWM Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

    • Ph D Urban Education/Administrative Leadership, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1995
    • MS Health Services Administration, Cardinal Stritch University, 1988
    • BS Occupational Therapy, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1983

    Shelley Lund, PhD, CCC-SLP

    Associate Professor, CSD Undergraduate Program Coordinator

    • Ph D Communication Disorders, Pennsylvania State University, 2001
    • MA Communication Disorders, University of Minnesota, 1991
    • BA Psychology, University of Michigan, 1989

    Jeri-Anne Lyons, PhD

    Associate Professor, Associate Dean for Academic & Student Affairs

    • Postdoctoral Fellow of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Washington University School of Medicine, Department of Neurology, The John L. Trotter Comprehensive MS Center, 2000
    • Ph D Department of Microbiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, 1997
    • BS Medical Technology, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, 1989

    Barbara B. Meyer, PhD


    • Ph D Health Education, Counseling Psychology, and Human Performance, Michigan State University, 1991
    • MA Health Education, Counseling Psychology, and Human Performance, Michigan State University, 1988
    • BS Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 1986

    Kristian O’Connor, PhD

    Associate Professor

    • Ph D Exercise Science, University of Massachusetts, 2002
    • MS Exercise Science, Arizona State University, 1998
    • BA Physics, Colorado College, 1994

    Timothy Patrick, PhD

    Associate Professor

    • Ph D Medical Informatics, University of Missouri, 1995
    • Ph D Logic/ Philosophy, University of Missouri-Columbia, 1992
    • MS Computer Science, University of Missouri-Columbia, 1990
    • MA Analytic Philosophy, University of Missouri-Columbia, 1982
    • BA Philosophy, University of Missouri-Columbia, 1979

    Paula M. Rhyner, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL, ASHA Fellow


    • Ph D Child Language Development and Disorders/Speech Pathology, Kent State University, 1984
    • MA Speech Pathology, Kent State University, 1977
    • BS Speech Pathology and Audiology, Clarion State College, 1976

    Carol H. Seery, PhD, CCC-SLP

    Associate Professor, Chair

    • Ph D Speech Pathology, University of Washington, 1992
    • MS Speech-Language Pathology, University of Illinois, 1982
    • BS Speech & Hearing Sciences, University of Illinois, 1981

    Bhagwant S. Sindhu, PhD, OTR

    Associate Professor, OT Program Director, OT Program Coordinator

    • Ph D Rehabilitation Science, University of Florida, 2007
    • MS Occupational Therapy, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2002
    • BS Occupational Therapy, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2000
    • BS Occupational Therapy, University of Delhi, 1998

    Brooke A. Slavens, PhD

    Associate Professor

    • NIDRR ARRT Postdoctoral Training Pediatric Mobility, Marquette University, 2010
    • Ph D Biomedical Engineering, Marquette University, 2007
    • MS Biomedical Engineering, Marquette University, 2004
    • BS Biomedical Engineering, University of Iowa, 2001

    Roger O. Smith, PhD, OT, FAOTA, RESNA Fellow


    • Ph D Human Factors and Health Systems Engineering, Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1993
    • MS Occupational Therapy, University of Washington, 1980
    • BA Psychology with a co-major in Communications, Goshen College, 1976

    Virginia Stoffel, PhD, OT, BCMH, FAOTA

    Associate Professor

    • Ph D Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service, Cardinal Stritch University, 2007
    • MS Guidance and Counseling, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1983
    • BA Occupational Therapy, College of St. Catherine, 1977

    Scott J. Strath, PhD, ACSM Fellow


    • Post Doctoral Fellow Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Michigan Medical School, 2003
    • Fellow Physical Activity and Public Health Postgraduate Course on Research Directions and Strategies, University of South Carolina, 2002
    • Post Doctoral Scholar Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, 2001
    • Ph D Exercise Science, Cognate: Nutrition, University of Tennessee, 2001
    • MS Exercise Science, Ball State University, 1998
    • B.Ed. Hons Physical Education, Sheffield Hallam University, 1996

    Ann M. Swartz, PhD, ACSM Fellow

    Professor, Chair

    • Ph D Exercise Physiology, University of Tennessee, 2001
    • MS Exercise Science, Ball State University, 1998
    • BS Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1995

    Kathryn R. Zalewski, PT, MPA, PhD

    Associate Professor, DPT Program Director

    • Ph D Motor Learning, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2001
    • Master of Public Administration Public Administration, University of San Francisco, 1992
    • BS Physical Therapy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1986

    Doctoral Dissertation Committee Members

    Carlynn A. Alt, PT, PhD

    Clinical Associate Professor

    • Ph D Integrative Neuromuscular Physiology, Marquette University, 2006
    • MS Human Kinetics, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1987
    • BS Physical Therapy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1983

    Susan Cashin, PhD

    Clinical Associate Professor, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs

    • Ph D Educational Psychology and Special Education, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, 2000
    • MS Statistics, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, 1994
    • BS Mathematics, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, 1992

    Stephen C. Cobb, PhD, ATC, CSCS

    Associate Professor, Kinesiology Graduate Program Coordinator

    • Ph D Sport Science, Georgia State University, 2005
    • MS Sports Medicine, Georgia State University, 1999
    • BA Sports Medicine, Messiah College 1994

    Wendy E. Huddleston, PT, PhD

    Associate Professor

    • Post-doctoral Fellowship, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, 2006
    • Ph D Cell Biology, Neurobiology & Anatomy, Medical College of Wisconsin, 2005
    • MS Human Kinetics, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1997
    • BS Physical Therapy, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, 1990

    Jay Kapellusch, PhD

    Associate Professor, Chair

    • Ph D Industrial Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2010
    • MS Industrial Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2006
    • BS Industrial Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2001

    Rohit J. Kate, PhD

    Associate Professor

    • Postdoctoral Fellowship Computer Science, University of Texas at Austin, 2010
    • Ph D Computer Science, University of Texas at Austin, 2007
    • MS Computer Science, University of Texas at Austin, 2002
    • B.Tech Computer Science and Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, 2000

    Kevin Keenan, PhD

    Associate Professor

    • Postdoctoral Research Fellow Sibley School of Mechanical and Aeropsace Engineering, Cornell University, 2008
    • Ph D Integrative Physiology, University of Colorado, 2005
    • MS Kinesiology, University of Michigan, 1998
    • BS Kinesiology, University of Michigan, 1992

    Lori A. Klos, PhD, RD

    Associate Professor

    • Ph D Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, 2007
    • Registered Dietitian Dietetics, Loyola University, 2004
    • MS Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2002
    • BS Human Nutrition, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2000

    Victoria A. Moerchen, PT, PhD

    Associate Professor

    • Postdoctoral Scholar Motor Development, University of Michigan, 2003
    • Ph D Motor Behavior and Control, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2002
    • MS Therapeutic Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1994
    • BS Physical Therapy, Northwestern University Medical School, 1987
    • BA Biopsychology, Lawrence University, 1986

    Dean T. Nardelli, PhD

    Associate Professor, BMS Graduate Program Coordinator

    • Post-Doctoral Immunology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin State Labratory of Hygiene, 2009
    • Ph D Pathobiological Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2007
    • MS Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2003
    • BS Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2000

    Hanh Trinh, PhD

    Associate Professor

    • Ph D Health Services Organization and Research, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1994
    • MS Health Care Fiscal Management, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1983
    • MBA Finance and Economics, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, 1978

    Ying-Chih Wang, OTR/L, PhD

    Assistant Professor

    • MS Biotechnology, Johns Hopkins University, 2011
    • Postdoc Sensory Motor Performance, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, 2010
    • Ph D Rehabilitation Science, University of Florida, 2007
    • BS Occupational Therapy, National Taiwan University, 1999

    Min Wu, PhD

    Associate Professor

    • Ph D Biomedical Engineering, University of North Carolina, 2003
    • MS Physics, West Virginia University, 1999
    • MS Physics, Shandong University, 1996
    • BS Physics, Dalian University of Technology, 1993