PhD Admissions


An applicant must meet Graduate School Requirements, hold a master’s degree in communication or a related field, and meet these departmental requirements to be considered for admission to the program in regular status:

  • Have a cumulative GPA of at least a 3.33 (B+) in coursework for the master’s degree.
  • Submit letters of recommendation from at least three (3) communication professionals attesting to the student’s capability to perform satisfactorily at the doctoral level (academic references preferred).
  • Submit a writing sample that demonstrates the applicant’s analytical and critical thinking skills.

Applicants lacking the requisite GPA, and those without the Master of Arts/Science in Communication (or an equivalent degree) may be considered for admission on probation, and may be required to complete preparatory coursework.

The Department of Communication’s Doctoral program only admits once a year for the Fall semester. We recommend that you submit all materials to have a completed file by December 1st.


Students who receive the MA in Communication from UWM must reapply to be considered for admission to the PhD program.


The student must meet minimum Graduate School Residence Requirements of one continuous academic year of full-time graduate studies at UWM. This can be satisfied by completing at least 8 graduate credits in each of two consecutive semesters, or 6 or more graduate credits in each of three consecutive semesters, including summer sessions. Residence credit cannot be earned at the master’s level.


You are encouraged to contact the Doctoral Program Director at any point in the application process:

Sara VanderHaagen, Associate Professor
Graduate Program Director
Johnston Hall, Room 227
Department of Communication
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee