The Urban Education Doctoral Program (UEDP) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is an interdepartmental program preparing scholars to study, research, and analyze contemporary educational issues within urban settings.

The program prepares academic researchers and scholar-practitioners to work in a variety of urban settings. This work contributes to the improvement of urban education locally and globally. Students apply and are admitted to specific transcript designated specializations in the program.

Our students are often working professionals, while some are full-time students. Most of them have already earned master’s degrees at the time of application. They include current K-12 school administrators, teachers, higher education professionals such as student affairs staff and advisors, higher education instructors, community leaders, and non-profit administrators.

Our graduates work in a wide range of settings, such as colleges and universities as higher education faculty and administrators; preK – 12 education institutional leaders; curriculum consultants, and in a variety of positions in healthcare, government agencies, and the private sector.

Why choose our program?

  • Our program combines a specialization focus with interdisciplinary coursework, providing students with the broad knowledge base required for working within and understanding complex urban settings.
  • More than 50 faculty members support this high quality, research-intensive degree program. All faculty maintain active research and publication records.
  • Classes are generally offered in the evenings, one day a week, and many are offered online, to serve the many working students in our program. Credits required may vary depending on the master’s credits accepted and the type of specialization.
  • Students can apply for a range of university-wide fellowships, and a number of students are supported by research assistantships funded by faculty grants.

Applicants choose from the following specializations listed below.


Adult, Continuing, and Higher Education Leadership
Required Courses and Other Specialization Details

Adult, Continuing, and Higher Education Leadership (ACHEL) Specialization Guide (PDF)

This specialization is committed to the development of reflective administrative practitioners and leaders of a wide variety of urban organizations. These include post-secondary institutions (e.g. comprehensive colleges and universities, vocational and technical schools, and two-year centers, health care organizations, business and industry organizations, community agencies, religious organizations, and others. Doctoral students receive research-based preparation to fill several roles within these organizations such as Professor and Scholar, Administrative/Manager, Program Planner/Developer, Instructor/Trainer, Consultant, Counselor, and others.

Simone Conceição
Simone C. O. Conceição
Department of Administrative Leadership

Art Education
The Art Education Specialization will not be accepting new applications at this time.

Required Courses and Other Specialization Details

The program is designed to permit students to integrate their particular media and curricular interests in art and art education with theoretical knowledge and educational practices tied to the contexts of urban education and community studies. An art education specialization provides each graduate student with opportunities for growth as an artist, teacher, and researcher through the development of their own arts practices and the study of the social and cultural implications of the arts in society and among learners. The program emphasizes the exploration of media, the development of socially responsive art curricula in urban environments, and research using disciplines of inquiry in the arts and art education.

Curriculum & Instruction
Required Courses and Other Specialization Details

Curriculum & Instruction Specialization Guide (PDF)

The specialization in Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) gives students an opportunity to improve professional experiences with the students they teach, the educational contexts in which they work, and their disciplinary and content knowledge. The Curriculum and Instruction specialization combines theoretical and disciplinary content knowledge, practical experiences and scholarly activities.

The program prepares education professionals to work in such varied settings as schools, colleges and universities, school district central offices, government agencies, community organizations and private consulting. Graduates of the program are prepared for leadership roles as curriculum directors, instructional coordinators, school partnership coordinators, applied researchers, professional development coordinators and professors.

Tracy Posnanski
Tracy Posnanski
Associate Professor
Department of Teaching and Learning

Educational Administration
Required Courses and Other Specialization Details

Educational Administration Specialization Guide (PDF)

The specialization in Educational Administration focuses on the development of educational leaders, particularly for service in urban metropolitan areas. Individuals trained in this program can provide excellence in leadership by nurturing leadership among others in the school community, creating a positive work environment for students, staff, and parents, and lastly contribute to the quality of teaching and learning in the district and within its schools. The curriculum draws from a variety of sources including current research and literature, national and state professional association standards, federal and state governmental guidelines, and the field of practice.

Elise Frattura
Elise Frattura
Department of Administrative Leadership

Exceptional Education
Required Courses and Other Specialization Details

Exceptional Education Specialization Guide (PDF)

Emphasizing collaborative work between students and faculty, the Exceptional Education specialization examines and addresses critical issues in the field within the urban context. Focus areas include: Teacher education, cultural diversity in education, early childhood intervention, assistive technology, curriculum accommodation & collaboration, literacy, transition to young adulthood, deaf education, school reform and special education administration.

In addition to advanced coursework, students participate in research and development projects, curriculum development, co-teaching, and other activities designed to prepare leaders for roles such as college or university professor, curriculum leader, special education administrator, consultant, or project director.

Nancy Rice
Nancy Rice
Associate Professor
Department of Teaching and Learning

Mathematics Education
Required Courses and Other Specialization Details

Mathematics Education Specialization Guide (PDF)

The specialization in Mathematics Education integrates mathematical knowledge for teaching, urban education, research methods, and leadership for mathematics programs. Doctoral students engage in practice-based inquiry on significant issues and developments in mathematics education, including equity and access to high-quality mathematics programs, development of mathematical reasoning and understanding, and high-leverage mathematics teaching practices.

The program prepares education professionals to address critical issues in mathematics education across varied settings and contexts, including colleges and universities, school districts, governmental agencies, and community and private organizations. Graduates are prepared for leadership roles as mathematics education specialists, mathematics professional development providers, applied researchers, professors, and mathematics teacher educators.

DeAnn Huinker
DeAnn Huinker
Department of Teaching & Learning

Multicultural Studies
Required Courses and Other Specialization Details

Multicultural Studies Specialization Guide (PDF)

Multicultural Studies is a fully interdepartmental specialization, offering a unique program of studies with an emphasis on integrating intercultural theory and practice in urban educational and community settings. Enhanced by study in anthropology, history and sociology, students gain depth and breadth in a dynamic specialization that prepares one for the unique challenges of the 21st century.

Aaron Schutz
Aaron Schutz
Department of Educational Policy & Community Studies

Social Foundations of Education
Required Courses and Other Specialization Details

Social Foundations of Education Specialization Guide (PDF)

The Ph.D. in Social Foundations of Education provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the social forces that affect urban schools and communities. This program is designed for individuals who want to look deeply at the challenges facing urban areas in the 21st Century and are willing to explore creative solutions. Students in Social Foundations examine the sociological, historical, philosophical, anthropological, and political dimensions of schools and community change. Social foundations doctoral students may investigate issues and contexts grounded in the core disciplines of the social sciences.

Raquel Farmer-Hinton
Raquel Farmer-Hinton
Associate Professor
Department of Educational Policy & Community Studies


Urban Education Doctoral Program Course Content

  • Introduction to urban education
  • Qualitative and quantitative methods
  • Interdisciplinary doctoral seminars
  • Each specialization has its own additional course requirements

Adult, Continuing, and Higher Education Leadership (ACHEL)

Art Education (The Art Education Specialization will not be accepting new applications at this time).

Curriculum & Instruction

Educational Administration

Exceptional Education

Mathematics Education

Multicultural Studies

Social Foundations of Education

Application Deadlines

Students should apply by December 1st of the year prior to entry, or earlier, if they plan to apply for University-wide fellowships.

Applications completed after the priority deadline will be reviewed on a rolling basis up until April 1. New and Current Student Deadline to Apply for University-wide Fellowships.

January 20: Program Deadline for applying for University-wide Fellowships (Distinguished Graduate Student Fellowship, Distinguished Dissertation Fellowship, Advanced Opportunity Program Fellowship). Visit the Graduate School Fellowship & Award Guidelines webpage for more information.

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.

How to Apply

Applying to Urban Education Doctoral Program
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.

Urban Education Doctoral Program Requirements and Materials

1. Grade Point Average (GPA)

Applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 and a Masters GPA of 3.5. If you have repeated any coursework, the undergraduate GPA calculation includes both attempts in your repeated coursework.

2. Graduate School Application

Applicants are required to submit the UWM Graduate School online application. The link to the online application can be found at graduateschool-apply.uwm.edu. 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.

3. Transcripts

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.

4. Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

Submission of scores on the General Test portion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required. Applications will not be considered complete without GRE scores. An official copy of your GRE scores should be sent to the Graduate School (Institution Code 1473 for the paper-based test). Scores that are more than five years old will not be considered. The GRE must be taken before completing the graduate school application. More information on the GRE can be found on the Educational Testing Service website.

5. Recommendations

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.

6. 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.

7. 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 5-10 page response to the following question: How would you go about determining and evaluating ethical issues in urban education?

The response to this question must show evidence of appropriate references to a knowledge base.

8. Interview

An interview may also be required as part of the admissions process.

9. International Applicants

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

10. Fee/s

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 Graduate Program Admissions Coordinator Allison Hochmuth directly at hochmuth@uwm.edu or email soeinfo@uwm.edu.

11. Deadlines

The preferred deadline for fall admission is December 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.

The Urban Education PhD Application Checklist (PDF) may be a helpful resource. For more information on international admissions, please visit the Center for International Education.

Financial Support

Students admitted into the Urban Education Doctoral Program (UEDP) are eligible to compete for a variety of types of financial aid. Applicants are also eligible to apply, pending acceptance.

Graduate Assistantships
GA positions in the School of Education are limited and competitive. Positions vary greatly and candidates are typically chosen based on their experiences and qualifications as they relate to individual positions. Applications are solicited as positions become available. All graduate assistantships provide a stipend. Appointments of 33% (12-15 hours per week) or higher include tuition remission and some benefits. For information on stipend rates, please see the Graduate School’s Assistantship Stipend Schedules webpage. For more information contact Kerry Korinek in the Office of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at korinek@uwm.edu or (414) 229-5253.
Graduate School Fellowships
UEDP students are also eligible to apply for Graduate School Fellowships. These fellowships provide recipients with a monthly stipend for the academic year, coverage of in-state tuition and remission of out-of-state tuition. For more information the kinds of fellowships available please visit the Graduate School Types of Funding page.
Graduate Student Travel Award
The Graduate School Travel Support program offers partial funding doctoral students for presenting scholarly and creative works at conferences, performances, or exhibitions. Such activities are an important part of the professional development of graduate students, offering opportunities to establish professional networks, contacts for collaborative research, and sources of potential future employment. For more information on eligibility, travel guidelines, and selection processes please visit the Graduate School Types of Funding page.

Graduate Student Travel Support Application

The School of Education offers a variety of scholarship opportunities. Scholarships typically range from $500 to full tuition. For more information including scholarship eligibility and application deadlines visit the School of Education Scholarships & Aid web page.
Financial Aid
For information on financial aid and to fill out a FAFSA application, please visit the UWM Department of Financial Aid web site. Services provided include information on grants, loans, student employment, military benefits, and the Life Impact Program.
Additional employment opportunities are available on the UWM Employment site. Student employment information and other resources can be found at the Career Development Center.

For Current Students & Advisors

Urban Education Doctoral Program Handbook 2019-2020 (PDF)

“Cheat Sheet” of Key UEDP Guidelines and Policies (PDF)

UEDP Required Course Offerings by Cohort (PDF)

UEDP Forms
Program of Study (DOC)

The purpose of the plan of studies is to assist you in carefully planning and executing a coherent program of coursework. You may use the Plan of Studies as a planning document in dialogue with your advisor. You must submit to the UEDP office a completed plan of studies by the fourth semester after being admitted to the Doctoral Program.

External Member Approval Form (DOC)

This form must be completed when a doctoral committee is comprised of two or more members that are from a different department than the specialization that you are enrolled in or if the external members are from a different institution other than the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.

Student Status Report (DOC)

Graduate Forms
Application for Preliminary Examination

Doctoral preliminary examinations, or “prelims,” as they are commonly called, are designed to assess a doctoral candidate’s mastery of subject knowledge and application skills, and ensure adequate preparation for individual dissertation research. The Application for Preliminary Examinations must be completed after all coursework is complete. Students must complete the electronic Application for the Doctoral Preliminary Examination, located in the online Doctoral Milestones System, found by clicking the link above.

Application for Dissertator Status

The Application for Dissertator Status must be completed after Preliminary Examinations have successfully been completed. Students must complete the electronic Application for Dissertator Status, located in the online Doctoral Milestones System, found by clicking the link above.

Note: Students in programs such as ACHEL, Educational Administration, and Social Foundations of Education that combine the Preliminary Examinations and Proposal Hearing must fill out this form after completing their proposal hearing.

Application for Dissertation Proposal Hearing

The Application for Dissertation Proposal Hearing must be completed when the student has scheduled the defense of their dissertation proposal. Students must complete the electronic Application for Dissertation Proposal Hearing form, located in the online Doctoral Milestones System, found by clicking the link above.

Application for the Doctoral Dissertation Defense and Graduation

The Application for the Doctoral Dissertation Defense and Graduation form must be completed one month prior to the final defense of the student’s dissertation is held. Students must also adhere to graduation deadlines set by the university by applying for graduation using PAWS. Graduation Application deadlines can be found on the Graduate School’s Graduation Dates & Deadlines webpage.

Professional Development & Future Employment
The Graduate School provides a range of resources for student professional development on its website.

UWM also has a membership with The Versatile Ph.D. “the largest online community dedicated to non-academic and non-faculty careers for PhD graduates.” This is a great resource for students who plan to pursue careers outside of academia.