PhD Program

To be admitted to the PhD program, a student must have a Master’s degree (or equivalent) and/or show promise of being a successful PhD candidate. The credit requirement for the PhD is 54 credits beyond the Bachelor’s degree, with at least 27 of those credits earned in residence at UWM. For students entering the PhD program with an earned MS degree, no additional formal coursework is required. Students entering the PhD program without an earned MS degree are required to complete the coursework requirements for the Atmospheric Science MS degree as part of their studies. The unique element in the training of a PhD student is the research that they, under the advisement of a major professor, complete for their dissertation. Entering students are encouraged to select a major professor as early as possible.

To achieve dissertator status, students must pass a qualifying examination focusing on three subdisciplines of the atmospheric sciences. A student who fails the exam may retake it provided that the student has not been in the graduate program for more than four years. Every student with or without the Master’s degree must take the written qualifying examination before the start of the third year of study.

After passing the qualifying examination, the student must pass a combined oral doctoral preliminary examination and dissertation proposal hearing to qualify for formal admission to candidacy for the Doctoral degree. The examination seeks to determine the suitability of the proposed research for the PhD dissertation and the student’s potential for performing said research. This exam shall be taken no later than four semesters after passing the written qualifying examination. However, no student will be required to take the exam earlier than their sixth semester of graduate work at UWM. As a final step for the PhD, the candidate must successfully present an oral defense of the dissertation.

General UWM Graduate School requirements for the PhD degree are described in the Academic Catalog. More specific information may be found on the Graduate School’s Doctoral Requirements webpage.

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.