All applicants must meet both the minimum Graduate School requirements and the minimum Urban Education Doctoral Program requirements. All program materials must be uploaded to the online application. Below is information on the requirements and the specific materials that must be submitted for consideration of an applicant to both the Graduate School and the UEDP.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

Applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of 2.75. If you have repeated any coursework, the undergraduate GPA calculation includes both attempts in your repeated coursework.

Helpful Hints
If you have grades that do not reflect your potential for a doctoral program, please craft your application packet to reflect your strengths. Ideas include any evidence of or written narratives about the experiences (i.e., prior course work, work experiences, research experiences, community involvement) that can enhance and/or align with doctoral specialization program foci and faculty expertise.

Graduate School Application

Applicants are required to submit the UWM Graduate School online application. The link to the online application can be found at Navigate to Apply Now and click the menu for the School of Education. Then, click Urban Education PhD and choose the link to your intended specialization.


All applicants, including UWM students, must upload an official or unofficial transcript directly in the online application for all work done at higher education/post-secondary institutions. Be sure to check into the cost of an unofficial transcript as this might be more cost effective.

All applicants who are admitted to the Graduate School will be required to submit an official transcript with the degree posted within two weeks of the beginning of their first term of enrollment. Official transcripts are received by the graduate school directly from the issuing institution. UWM students will not have to submit their official, degree-bearing transcripts.

Please provide explanations of grades (if applicable) with your Reasons Statement that showcase experiences gaining skills and knowledge through work, research, or community involvement that align with the doctoral specialization you are applying to.


The program requires 3 letters of recommendation. These letters must be submitted through the application’s electronic recommendation feature by the recommenders themselves. Letters uploaded or sent by the applicant will not be accepted.

Helpful Hints
If possible, please provide your recommenders with a summary of your application materials. Feel free to encourage your recommenders to provide illustrations linking your experiences and abilities with the aims of the doctoral specialization

Reasons Statement

An essential part of your application, the Reasons Statement is used to determine the appropriateness of your educational and professional goals and serves as an example of your ability to express yourself in writing. In the statement:

  • Explain your reasons for pursuing graduate study.
  • Describe specific interests and your background in the field.
  • List any relevant skills or training you have acquired.
  • List relevant academic awards or honors you have received.
  • Curriculum vitae or resume (All UEDP applicants are required to submit a vitae or resume).
Helpful Hints
If possible, please be specific about how your reasons for pursuing graduate study align with the doctoral specialization and faculty expertise by reviewing program and faculty webpages. If available, please include any evidence of or written narratives about your experiences (i.e., prior course work, work experiences, research experiences, community involvement). Feel free to make a connection between how your background, reasons, and experiences can contribute to the UEDP community. If feasible, please mention how your writing sample reflects your background, reasons, experiences, and/or contributions to the UEDP community.

Writing Sample

Applicants must submit a writing sample completed within the last five years. The writing sample must be single authored, at least 1500 words, and must be selected from ONE of the following options:

  • Master’s Thesis
  • Undergraduate Senior Thesis
  • Technical Reports
  • Term Paper
  • Publication
  • Written Description of Project
  • Action Research Project
  • A writing sample or written response showing evidence of analytical and argumentative writing and reasoning. The response should address the following: How would you conceptualize and analyze issues in urban education?

The response to this question must show evidence of appropriate references to a knowledge base. The writing sample must be submitted with your application.

Initial Contact

Please contact the doctoral specialization faculty prior to applying to have an initial conversation or touch point based on program logistics, fit/match, and transparency regarding interview expectations.

International Applicants

If you are an international applicant, please visit the Center for International Education to begin your application process.


A $75 application fee is required of all applicants. If you are applying to a doctoral program and already hold a UWM master’s degree, you do not need to pay the application fee. If you have any questions about your application, please contact the Office of Student Services directly at


The preferred deadline for fall admission is Dec. 1. Having your application materials in by that date will ensure that you are able to apply for all the available forms of financial assistance that are available to you on our campus.

Application materials MUST be submitted by April 1 in order to be admitted for the fall semester. Please note that it is not possible to officially start in the UEDP program in the spring.

For more information on international admissions, please visit the Center for International Education.