Academic Review

Doctoral students who have an MA or equivalent degree from another university, and some students who have an MA from UWM in areas other than their concentration, must take the Academic Review. The review must take place in the semester during or following the completion of 12 credits. (An incomplete grade cannot delay the Academic Review.)


All doctoral students who receive their MA from another university are placed on provisional status when they enter UWM. The Academic Review is designed to assess the progress of these PhD students and determine whether their provisional status is removed.

The Academic Review usually lasts from one and a half to two hours. A student meets with three graduate faculty members to discuss a Review portfolio, which consists of two unrevised course or seminar papers completed at UWM, his or her academic record (MA and UWM doctoral transcripts, Program of Study), and a reading list of 20-25 books. The student and faculty members discuss the two papers, the texts on the reading list, the student’s course of study and its connection to completed and required course work in the concentration.

Ideally, the Academic Review is a conversation about the student’s understanding of the texts, and about the student’s progress as shown in the papers. The committee’s questions can be open-ended or direct. Broad, open-ended questions ask the student to relate texts to each other, to the papers, to the student’s goals and understanding. The direct questions ask the student to discuss specific theories, authors, or concepts. Students also may be asked about the future direction of their scholarly interests. The best way for students to get a sense of the types of questions that may be asked is to discuss the review with members of their committee. The specific format, including the length of time spent on the texts and the papers, the order, and the types of questions, will vary depending on the chair’s preferences.

Students will be notified verbally of the results within 24 hours after the Academic Review. The committee will make one of the following recommendations on the Warrant for Academic Review:

  • Remove provisional status and continue in the concentration
  • Remove provisional status and continue in the concentration contingent upon completing a specific course or courses in areas judged to be weak, or upon rewriting one or both papers in accordance with committee standards or recommendations. The Academic Review Committee can require students to take additional courses in excess of the 54 credits needed for the PhD
  • Dismissal from the Graduate Program

Within one week of the Academic Review, the chair of the Academic Review Committee must submit a letter that assesses the student’s work and makes a recommendation to the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies. The student receives a copy of this letter.

Arranging the Academic Review

Early in the semester in which students will complete 12 doctoral credits, they should set up a meeting with their plan coordinator to discuss possible members of the Academic Review Committee. Together the student and the graduate coordinator choose the other two committee members. The Associate Chair for Graduate Studies must give final approval. At least two members of the Academic Review Committee should belong to the student’s concentration. In consultation with the chair of the committee, students prepare a reading list and select the two papers for review.

At least two weeks before the Academic Review, students should inform the Graduate Program Manager about the date and time of the review and the names of the committee members. The Graduate Program Manager will schedule a room for the review and send an official announcement to the student and the members of the committee.

Students must give copies of the reading list and papers to the members of the committee at least two weeks before the date of the review. Failure to deliver the reading list and papers on a timely basis may result in the cancellation or postponement of the review.