PhD Program

Our PhD program prepares students to engage the political, social, and cultural aspects of communication and communication technologies in a variety of technical and professional spheres, including academic, corporate, and nonprofit settings. Our interdisciplinary faculty includes experts in technical communication; information design; rhetoric of technology, science, and medicine; linguistics; communication pedagogy; and media studies.

Our students have unmatched opportunities to work as teaching, research, and project assistants within a wide range of settings and courses, and due to our small faculty-to-student ratio, work closely with their graduate advisors in developing custom curricula and research projects. We are proud of our alums, who work at a wide range of universities, including University of California-Davis, Arizona State University, and the Milwaukee School of Engineering.

Meet Our PhD Students

Get to know some of our graduate students and see how their academic and professional interests match up with yours.


The PhD program requires 54 credits beyond the BA, with no more than 27 credits earned at the Master’s level; students must also meet the requirements of our MA program.

9 credits in required core courses in theory, research, and teaching:

  • English 706 – Professional Writing Theory and Pedagogy
  • English 712 – Professional Writing Theory
  • English 713 – Qualitative Research

21 credits in Professional Writing courses:

  • 6 credits in 700-level or 400-level U/G courses
  • 15 credits in 800-level courses (with advisor’s approval, a student may take credits in related areas)

24 elective credits

Visit our courses page or read our Plan G Guidebook to help plan out which courses you may want to take to meet your degree requirement.

If you have any further questions about these requirements, or other questions related to the program, contact Graduate Coordinator of the Professional and Technical Writing program, Scott Graham.


For the PhD program: Students can transfer up to 27 credits from a Master’s degree.

Each student’s program of study must be approved by a faculty advisor, the Plan G Coordinator, and the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies.

Subject to the approval of the Graduate Professional Writing (Plan G) Advisory Committee, students may take up to 6 credits in a closely related field. Students who wish to petition for more credits in a related field need to check with their advisor and the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies in the English department.

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.