PhD Requirements

The Graduate School
Doctoral Requirements
Doctoral Toolbox

Requirements *

The PhD degree is comprised of four stages: coursework, prelim preparation and exam, dissertation proposal and defense, and research, writing, and defending of the dissertation. Minimum degree requirement is 33 credits beyond the Master’s degree, at least 27 of which must be earned in residence at UWM. Of the total credits required, 12 credits must be completed in the PhD core courses: 921 Research Methods in Urban Studies, 984 Research Project in Urban Studies, 981 Argument in Urban Studies Scholarship OR 983 Contemporary Urban Social Structure and Change, and the quantitative competency course (History 595, Sociology 760, Education Psychology 624). In addition, students take 6-9 credits in a methodological track they select (see below), and 6-9 credits in a topical specialization they select (see below), and 6 credits in the thesis course (991). Students may enroll for additional thesis credits but no more than 6 credits may be counted toward fulfilling the degree requirements.

Each student is expected to plan a program of study with their major professor in order to gain competence in a field of specialization. Possible areas of specialization are: Community Organizations and Nonprofits, Globalization and International Migration and Development, Housing and Gentrification, Public Policy, Race and Ethnicity, Urban Culture, Movements, and Space, Urban/Metro Economic Development, Urban and Suburban History, Urban Politics and Administration, Urban Poverty and Inequality. Students may develop a research focus in other area concentrations, but must use care as they will need to assemble a committee of five that have similar interests/expertise.

*new curriculum adopted, Fall 2013

PhD Curriculum

33 credits required

PhD Core Courses: (12 credits)

  • UrbStd 921 – Research Methods in Urban Studies, 3 credits
  • UrbStd 984 – Research Project in Urban Studies, 3 credits
  • UrbStd 981 – (Argument in Urban Studies Scholarship, 3 credits)
    OR
    UrbStd 983 – Contemporary Urban Social Structure and Change, 3 credits
  • Quantitative Competency Course: (History 595; Geography 547; Sociology 760; Ed Psych 624)
  • Anticipated Course Schedule

Methodological Track (6-9 credits)

  • Statistical Analysis/Quantitative Research Design (2 course minimum)
    • UrbStd 982 – Advanced Quantitative Analysis, 3 credits
    • Second Elective:
    • Third Elective (possible electives below):
      • Ed Psy 823 – Structural Equation Modeling, 3 credits
      • Ed Psy 825 – Multiple Regression and Multivariate Methods, 3 credits
      • Ed Psy 826 – Analysis of Cross-Classified Categorical Data, 3 credits
      • Ed Psy 832 – Theory of Hierarchical Linear Modeling, 3 credits
      • Sociol 752 – Fundamentals of Survey Methodology, 3 credits
      • Sociol 754 – Questionnaire Design, 3 credits
      • Soc Wrk 963 – Measurement Methods and Related Multivariate Statistics, 3 credits
      • Soc Wrk 964 – Advanced Statistical Methods, 3 credits
  • Geographical Information Systems (2 course minimum)

    ** Students who elect this specialization must take Geog 547 to complete the statistical/quantitative core competency.

    • Geog 525 – Geographic Information Science, 4 credits
    • Geog 625 – Intermediate Geographic Information Science, 4 credits
    • Third Elective (possible electives below):
      • Geog 934 – Seminar: Urban Geography: (Subtitle), 3 credits
      • Geog 960 – Seminar: Geographic Techniques: (Subtitle), 3 credits
  • Historical Methods (2 course minimum)
    • One of the following two courses:
      • UrbStd 971 – Seminar on the History of American Urban Problems, 3 credits
      • UrbStd 980 – Growth of Urban Society, 3 credits
    • One of the following three historical methods courses:
      • Hist 712 – Historiography and Theory of History, 3 credits
      • Hist 713 – Historical Research Methods, 3 credits
      • Hist 715 – Research Methods in Local History, 3 credits
    • Third Elective: One other 700, 800, or 900 level course in the History Department
  • Qualitative Methods (2 course minimum)
    • One of the following two courses:
      Geog 727 – Qualitative Research, 3 credits
      UrbStd 979 – Qualitative Research Methods, 3 cr.
    • Second Elective:
    • Third Elective: (possible electives below)
      • Africol 700 – Foundations and Theories in Africology, 3 credits
      • CurrIns 729 – Qualitative Research and Field Studies in Educational Settings, 3 credits
      • CurrIns 829 – Advanced Qualitative Research Techniques for Education Settings, 3 credits
      • Soc Wrk 952 – Qualitative Research Methods in Social Work, 3 credits
  • Program/Policy Evaluation (2 course minimum)
    • Pol Sci/Pub Adm 769 – Analyzing and Evaluating Public Policies and Programs, 3 credits
    • Second Elective:
    • Third Elective: (possible electives below)
      • Urban Education 842 – Program Planning and Evaluation in Education, 3 credits
      • Social Work 794 – Advanced Research Methods: Evaluating Social Welfare Programs, 3 credits
      • Social Work 750 – Social Welfare Policy Development and Implementation, 3 credits
      • Pol Sci 751 – Seminar in Public Policy Formation, 3 credits
      • Pol Sci 791 – Nonprofit Advocacy and Public Policy, 3 credits
      • Pol Sci 974 – Seminar in Politics and Public Policy, 3 credits
      • Pol Sci 976 – Seminar in Comparative Public Policy: (Subtitled), 3 credits
      • Urb Plan 810 – Planning Policy Analysis, 6 credits
  • Mixed Methods (2 course minimum)

    * Graduate students intending to pursue mixed research methods in their dissertation must file with USP a plan of study created in consultation with their major professor and the program Director.

Topical Specialization (6-9 credits):</h3

Thesis (6 credits minimum)


For information about course assignments and readings, see course syllabi.

Graduate Grievance Procedures

Federal law and UWM policy require programs and departments to have procedures for graduate students to appeal academic decisions such as grades or scholastic standing. These procedures ensure the protection of students’ rights. These pages serve as a reference on procedures for graduate student academic appeals.