Overview

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) PhD Health Sciences Program is designed to meet the critical need for doctoral-prepared faculty and researchers in areas such as biomedical sciences, communication sciences and disorders, health informatics, kinesiology, occupational therapy, and physical therapy.

You will work closely with research faculty in your selected area of concentration and complete cross-disciplinary courses that emphasize an interdisciplinary perspective in health-related education and research. Your independent research and dissertation will be structured according to your area of specialization.

Why choose us?

  • Only a handful of universities nationwide offer a PhD in health sciences, and UWM offers the only such program in the state.
  • The diversity of our programs, faculty and their research will allow you to develop interdisciplinary perspectives to broaden your scientific approach.
  • Many of our students publish in peer-reviewed journals and present at national and international conferences before graduation.
  • All of our graduates have found employment within their chosen field, going on to a variety of faculty positions, post-doctoral fellowships, and industry jobs.

Apply

To apply to the PhD Health Sciences Program you must apply to the UWM Graduate School.

Cost

Tuition

For the most up-to-date information, visit the UWM Enrollment & Financial Services website . Be sure you are viewing the Graduate Fee Schedule for the appropriate semester.

UWM offers the following Tuition Reduction Programs for out-of-state residents:

Mandatory/Segregated Fees

These funds are earmarked for the support of certain student services. See the Mandatory/Segregated Fees document for the appropriate semester on the UWM Enrollment & Financial Services website .

Additional Course Fees

There may also be additional course fees that could include differential tuition, distance education fees, or special course fees. To see if your courses have additional fees, go to web.uwm.edu/registrar/tools/fee .

Aid

Teaching Assistantships

Teaching assistants support delivery of undergraduate curriculum at UWM. Appointments begin in mid/late-August and are for one academic year (9 months), renewable and dependent on funding. These part-time graduate assistantship positions provide a modest stipend and an excellent experience working closely with faculty.

Learn more about teaching assistantships at UWM .

Research or Project Assistantships

Research assistantships (RA) or project assistantships (PA) may be available pending individual faculty funding cycles. Only students admitted to Health Sciences Graduate Programs will be considered for an RA or PA appointment. Please contact the faculty member you are interested in working with to learn more information about available RA or PA positions.

Learn more about research/project assistantships at UWM .

UWM Fellowships & Awards

UWM & CHS Scholarships

Complete the FAFSA then go to the UWM Panther Scholarship Portal . Sign in using your PAWS credentials and complete the General Application and the CHS application. You may save your work and return to the portal at a later time. Additional information can be found at uwm.edu/scholarships .

State & National Scholarships/Awards

UWM Emergency Grant

The UWM Emergency Grant is funded by several private contributions and is available to students when they have unforeseen circumstances that may negatively influence their academic success. You can be awarded up to $1,000 for non-academic expenses (e.g., car repairs, medical bills, rent, utilities, child care, food, etc.). Learn more at uwm.edu/emergencygrant .

Other Financial Support

Resources

Contact

Admission

Admission

Prior to admission, an eligible College of Health Sciences graduate faculty member must agree to serve as your major professor.

You must first meet the admission requirements of the UWM Graduate School . In addition to UWM Graduate School requirements, you must be prepared to meet the following requirements:

  1. Submit GRE scores taken within the last five years
  2. Hold one of the following:
    • Master’s degree or equivalent in an area that provides foundational academic preparation in the proposed PhD Health Sciences area of concentration.
    • Bachelor’s degree with exceptional promise, as indicated by research experience/evidence of writing or an undergraduate project, recommendations, GRE scores and undergraduate GPA.
  3. Submit a sample of writing that demonstrates your ability to conduct research and/or the ability to critically analyze the scholarly work of others.
  4. Submit a letter outlining your academic and professional background, declaration of area of concentration and major professor, as well as specific research interests and goals for the program. This statement should be submitted to the UWM Graduate School and should be complete and thorough as it provides information that is central to the admission decision. This letter will serve in lieu of the UWM Graduate School’s “Reasons for Graduate Study” statement.
  5. Submit three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with your intellectual achievement and potential. At least two of these letters must be from faculty or senior administrators at academic institutions.

If you are from a country other than the US and your first language is not English, a score of at least 250 on the computer-based (or 600 on the paper-based) Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required. A score of 6.5 on the International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS) examination will be accepted in lieu of the TOEFL.

The PhD Steering Committee will make an admission recommendation and the final admission decision is contingent upon approval by the departmental Graduate Faculty Committee or Executive Committee, the applicant’s major professor and the UWM Graduate School.

Download the guide to the application process (PDF).
Download the checklist for the application process (PDF).

Graduate Faculty/Mentors

Graduate Faculty/Mentors

Department of Biomedical Sciences

Jennifer A. Doll, PhD

Title: Associate Professor
Primary Research: Prostate Cancer
Laboratory: Prostate Cancer Laboratory


Janis Eells, PhD

Title: Professor
Primary Research: Retinal Degenerative Diseases (Macular Degeneration)
Laboratory: Photomedicine Laboratory


Dean T. Nardelli, PhD

Title: Associate Professor
Primary Research: Lyme Disease
Laboratory: Lyme Borreliosis Laboratory

Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders

John J. Heilmann, PhD, CCC-SLP

Title: Associate Professor
Primary Research: Children’s Language Development
Laboratory: Language Analysis Laboratory


Sabine Heuer, PhD, CCC-SLP

Title: Associate Professor
Primary Research: Adult Neurogenic Language Disorders
Laboratory: Aphasia Laboratory


Shelley Lund, PhD, CCC-SLP

Title: Associate Professor
Primary Research: Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Laboratory: Augmentative and Alternative Communication Laboratory


Barbara R. Pauloski, PhD, CCC-SLP

Title: Associate Professor
Primary Research: Normal and Disordered Swallowing
Laboratory: Dysphagia Laboratory


Carol H. Seery, PhD, CCC-SLP

Title: Associate Professor
Primary Research: Normal Disfluency
Laboratory: Stuttering and Fluency Laboratory


Jing Yang, PhD

Title: Assistant Professor
Primary Research: Speech Science
Laboratory: Speech Acoustics & Development Laboratory

Department of Health Informatics & Administration

Jennifer T. Fink, PhD, MS

Title: Associate Professor
Primary Research: Health Services Research
Center: Center for Health Systems Solutions


Jake Luo, PhD

Title: Associate Professor
Primary Research: Health Big Data and Predictive Analysis
Center: Center for Health Systems Solutions


Priya Nambisan, PhD

Title: Associate Professor
Primary Research: Social Media and Health
Laboratory: Social Media and Health Research & Training (SMAHRT) Laboratory


Hanh Trinh, PhD

Title: Associate Professor
Primary Research: Health Care Costs


Min Wu, PhD

Title: Associate Professor
Primary Research: Health Care Information Systems

Department of Kinesiology

Stephen C. Cobb, PhD, ATC, CSCS

Title: Associate Professor
Primary Research: Lower-Extremity Injuries and Rehabilitation
Laboratory: Neuromechanics Laboratories


Christy Greenleaf, PhD

Title: Professor
Primary Research: Body Image
Laboratory: Body Weight & Shape Research Laboratory


Kevin Keenan, PhD

Title: Associate Professor
Primary Research: Motor Control
Laboratory: Neuromechanics Laboratories


Lori A. Klos, PhD, RD

Title: Associate Professor
Primary Research: Obesity, Weight Management, and Body Image
Laboratory: Body Weight & Shape Research Laboratory


Kristian O’Connor, PhD

Title: Professor
Primary Research: Athletic Injuries and Rehabilitation
Laboratory: Neuromechanics Laboratories


Scott J. Strath, PhD, ACSM Fellow

Title: Professor
Primary Research: Physical Activity and Aging
Laboratory: Physical Activity & Health Research Laboratory
Center: Center for Aging and Translational Research


Ann M. Swartz, PhD, ACSM Fellow

Title: Professor
Primary Research: Physical Activity Interventions
Laboratory: Physical Activity & Health Research Laboratory


Jinsung Wang, PhD

Title: Associate Professor
Primary Research: Motor Control/Learning
Laboratory: Neuromechanics Laboratories

Department of Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology

Monna Arvinen-Barrow, PhD, (C. Psychol)

Title: Associate Professor
Primary Research: Psychology of Sport Injury
Laboratory: Laboratory for Sport Psychology & Performance Excellence


Kris A. Barnekow, PhD, OTR/L

Title: Associate Professor
Primary Research: Health Literacy
Laboratory: Early Childhood Health Promotion Laboratory


Jennifer E. Earl-Boehm, PhD, ATC, FNATA

Title: Associate Professor
Primary Research: Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation


Kyle T. Ebersole, PhD, LAT

Title: Associate Professor
Primary Research: Injury Rehabilitation
Laboratory: Human Performance & Sport Physiology Laboratory


Joyce M. Engel, PhD, OT, FAOTA

Title: Professor
Primary Research: Pain Assessments and Pain Interventions


Wendy E. Huddleston, PT, PhD

Title: Associate Professor
Primary Research: Visual Attention
Laboratory: Visuomotor Laboratory


Jay Kapellusch, PhD

Title: Associate Professor
Primary Research: Occupational Biomechanics
Laboratory: Ergonomics Laboratory for Independent Living Environment & Occupation


Phyllis M. King, PhD, OT, FAOTA, FASAHP

Title: Professor
Primary Research: Ergonomics
Laboratory: Occupational Ergonomics Laboratory


Barbara B. Meyer, PhD, CMPC

Title: Professor
Primary Research: Applied Sport Psychology
Laboratory: Laboratory for Sport Psychology & Performance Excellence


Victoria A. Moerchen, PT, PhD

Title: Associate Professor
Primary Research: Motor Development
Laboratory: Pediatric Neuromotor Laboratory


Bhagwant S. Sindhu, PhD, OTR

Title: Associate Professor
Primary Research: Pain Physiology and Assessment


Brooke A. Slavens, PhD

Title: Associate Professor
Primary Research: Motion Analysis
Laboratory: Mobility Laboratory


Roger O. Smith, PhD, OT, FAOTA, RESNA Fellow

Title: Professor
Primary Research: Accessible Design
Laboratory: Assistive Technology and Universal Access (ATUA) Laboratory
Center: Rehabilitation Research Design & Disability (R2D2) Center


Virginia Stoffel, PhD, OT, BCMH, FAOTA

Title: Associate Professor
Primary Research: Capturing Living Experience through Photovoice
Laboratory: Behavioral Health and Human Occupation Laboratory


Inga Wang, OTR/L, PhD

Title: Associate Professor
Primary Research: Clinical Interpretation of Computerized Adaptive Test Generated Outcomes Measures
Laboratories: Rehabilitation Outcomes Research Laboratory, Sensory Motor Performance Laboratory

Course of Study

Course of Study

Curriculum

The PhD Health Sciences program requires 72 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree, including no more than 36 credits from a related master’s degree and/or other post-baccalaureate coursework. You must complete a minimum of 36 credits at UWM, including dissertation credits. The precise number of credits and actual course requirements will be determined after review of your previous coursework.

You plan a program of study in consultation with your major professor and Doctoral Committee that includes a set of core courses, an area of concentration, cross-disciplinary courses, electives, and the dissertation.

You will complete a minimum of 16 credits of core coursework:

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
BMS 901Seminar on Philosophical Approaches to Science3
KIN 702Statistical Analysis in the Health Sciences 3
BMS 910Advanced Seminar in Health Sciences 1 (repeated 4 times)
OCCTHPY 900Teaching, Learning & Educational Leadership in the Health Sciences 3
A statistical analysis, qualitative analysis or research methods course approved by your major professor 3
Total Credits:16

Area of Emphasis

Courses related to your area of concentration will require you to draw upon the strengths and expertise of the faculty and curriculum in an interdisciplinary and collaborative manner.

The basis of scientific exploration will be premised on the model adapted by the World Health Organization (WHO) which defines 3 levels contributing to the concept of health:

  1. Intact body structures and unimpaired host functions at the molecular, cellular or organ system level.
  2. The ability to participate in activities and roles at the level of the living organism or individual person.
  3. A physical and social environment that influences health at the level of society and populations.

Cross-disciplinary courses in areas such as disability and rehabilitation, diagnostic and biomedical sciences, human movement sciences, and population health and health administration/policy, will provide a unique framework and understanding for specific health states, outcomes, determinants and environmental influences.

Additional information regarding the course of study can be found in the UWM Academic Catalog .

Timeline to Completion

Timeline to Completion

In addition to formal coursework, you are required to successfully complete a preliminary examination, a dissertation proposal, and a dissertation defense. The completion of a dissertation, consisting of original research, will be the final step in earning your degree.

In accordance with UWM Graduate School policy, it is expected that you will complete all requirements for the degree within 7 years of the date of initial enrollment in the program. Upon successfully passing the preliminary examinations, you must complete all requirements for the degree within 4 years.

Additional information can be found in the UWM Academic Catalog .

Recent Student Publications

Recent Student Publications

Mohammed Alarifi

Journal Article

MohammedAlarifi M, Patrick T, Jabour A, Wu M, Luo J. (forthcoming). Designing a Consumer-Friendly Radiology Report using a Patient-Centered Approach. Journal of Digital Imaging.

Alarifi, M., Patrick, T., Jabour, A. et al. (2021). Understanding patient needs and gaps in radiology reports through online discussion forum analysis. Insights Imaging 12, 50.

Alarifi, M., Patrick, T., Jabour, A., Wu, M., Luo, J. (2020). Full Radiology Report through Patient Web Portal: A Literature Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Mason Drake

Presentation

Smith, Roger O, Paul, Hanna R, Drake, Mason, 98th Annual Wisconsin Occupational Therapy Association Conference, “In-Depth Instruction on Access Ratings for Buildings Application: AccessPlace and AccessTools,” Wisconsin Occupational Therapy Association (WOTA), Fox Valley Technical College, Appleton, WI. (October 2019).

Nooshin Fesharaki

Presentation

Fesharaki, Nooshin J (Presenter & Author), Huddleston, Wendy E (Author Only), Reuss, J (Author Only), Pillai, J (Author Only), DeYoe, Edgar A (Author Only), Society for Neuroscience 49th Annual Meeting, “Comparison of low-frequency resting-state fMRI and breath-hold metrics of cerebrovascular reactivity,” Society for Neuroscience, Chicago, IL. (October 20, 2019).

Rudi Marciniak

Journal Articles

Marciniak, R. A., Ebersole, K. T., Cornell, D. J. (in press). Relationships Between Balance and Physical Fitness Variables in Firefighter Recruits. WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment, and Rehabilitation.

Marciniak, R. A., Ebersole, K. T. (submitted). Heart Rate Response to Alert Tones in Firefighters. Annals of Work Exposures and Health.

Presentations

Marciniak, Rudi A, Wahl, Carly A, Tesch, Cody S, Ebersole, Kyle T, American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, “Examination of Two Different Balance Tests in Active-Duty Firefighters,” San Francisco. (2020).

Wahl, Carly A, Marciniak, Rudi A, Tesch, Cody S, Meyer, Barbara B, Ebersole, Kyle T, American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, “Association Between Perceived Recovery and Heart Rate in a Submaximal and Maximal Task in Firefighters,” San Francisco. (2020).

Wahl, Carly, Marciniak, Rudi, Meyer, Barbara B, Ebersole, Kyle, Association for Applied Sport Psychology Annual Conference, “Influence of call volume on perceptions of stress and recovery in active-duty firefighters (in review),” Orlando, FL. (2020).

Mellanie Nai

Journal Articles

Gnacinski, S. L., Nai, M. M., Brady, M., Meyer, B. B., Newman, N. (2020). An examination of athletic trainers’ occupational recovery experience during time after work.

Wahl, C. A., Gnacinski, S. L., Nai, M. M., Meyer, B. B. (2019). Psychological predictors of perceived stress and recovery in sport. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology.

Presentations

Nai, Mellanie M, Gnacinski, Stacy L, Newman, Nate, Meyer, Barbara B, Association for Applied Sport Psychology Annual Conference, “Examining the occupational recovery experience among NCAA coaches,” Association for Applied Sport Psychology, Portland, OR. (October 2019).

Gnacisnki, Stacy L, Nai, Mellanie M, Meyer, Barbara B, Brady, Megan, Newman, Nate, Association of Applied Sport Psychology Annual Conference, “Examining recovery experience predictors of National Collegiate Athletic Association athletic trainers’ stress.,” Association for Applied Sport Psychology, Portland, OR. (October 2019).

Gnacinski, Stacy L, Meyer, Barbara B, Wahl, Carly A, Nai, Mellanie M, Brenner, Veronica, Association for Applied Sport Psychology Annual Conference, “A systems-based approach to recovery intervention in elite sport environments,” Association for Applied Sport Psychology, Portland, OR. (October 2019).

Jennifer Thorpe

Journal Article

Thorpe, J., Oblak, P., Earl-Boehm, J. E. (in press). Hip and Knee Joint Kinematics During Front and Lateral Single Leg Stepdowns. Athletic Training and Sports Health Care.

Presentation

Thorpe, Jennifer, Earl-Boehm, Jennifer E, 6th International Patellofemoral Pain Research Retreat, “The Prevalence of Patellofemoral Pain in the Community,” International Patellofemoral Research Network, Milwaukee, WI. (October 2019).

Carly Wahl

Journal Articles

Wahl, C. A., Harris, B. S., Langdon, J. L., Riggs, A. J., Meyer, B. B. (2019). Goal orientation, motivational climate, and exercise as predictors of eating disorder risk factors among college students. Journal of American College Health, 1-8. dx.doi.org/10.1080/07448481.2019.1657431

Wahl, C. A., Gnacinski, S. L., Nai, M. M., Meyer, B. B. (2019). Psychological predictors of perceived stress and recovery in sport. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology.

Presentations

Wahl, Carly A, Marciniak, Rudi A, Tesch, Cody S, Meyer, Barbara B, Ebersole, Kyle T, American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, “Association Between Perceived Recovery and Heart Rate in a Submaximal and Maximal Task in Firefighters,” San Francisco. (2020).

Wahl, Carly, Marciniak, Rudi, Meyer, Barbara B, Ebersole, Kyle, Association for Applied Sport Psychology Annual Conference, “Influence of call volume on perceptions of stress and recovery in active-duty firefighters (in review),” Orlando, FL. (2020).

Marciniak, Rudi A, Wahl, Carly A, Tesch, Cody S, Ebersole, Kyle T, American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, “Examination of Two Different Balance Tests in Active-Duty Firefighters,” San Francisco. (2020).

Wahl, Carly A, Gnacinski, Stacy L, Meyer, Barbara B, Association for Applied Sport Psychology Annual Conference, “Examining differences in athletes’ perceptions of perceived stress and recovery between NCAA divisions,” Association for Applied Sport Psychology, Portland, OR. (October 2019).

Gnacinski, Stacy L, Meyer, Barbara B, Wahl, Carly A, Nai, Mellanie M, Brenner, Veronica, Association for Applied Sport Psychology Annual Conference, “A systems-based approach to recovery intervention in elite sport environments,” Association for Applied Sport Psychology, Portland, OR. (October 2019).

Derek Zike

Textbook Chapter

Zike, D., Arvinen-Barrow, M. (2020). Leaving sport with a spinal cord injury. In M. Sachs, L. Tashman, & S. Razon (Eds.), Performance excellence: Stories to make your endeavors a success. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Presentations

Ford, Jessica, Beauchemin, Rebecca, Halama, Brianna, Ildefonso, Ken, Zike, Derek, Arvinen-Barrow, Monna, Association for Applied Sport Psychology Annual Conference, “Exploring the use of performance strategies in Division 1 athletes,” Portland, OR, USA. (2019).

Zike, Derek, Arvinen-Barrow, Monna, Association for Applied Sport Psychology Annual Conference, “Reflections on becoming a PhD student: Lessons learned,” Portland, OR, USA. (2019).

Recent Student Awards & Recognition

Recent Student Awards & Recognition
Rudi Marciniak
1st Place, Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Graduate School, 2020

Anahita Qashqai
1st Place, Student Research Poster Award Competition
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, College of Engineering & Applied Science, 2020

Derek
Derek Zike
Advanced Opportunity Program Fellowship
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2020-21

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the PhD Health Sciences Program offered online?
The PhD Health Sciences Program is a face-to-face, on-campus learning doctorate. While select classes are offered online, the majority of learning is done in the classroom.

Academically, what does the average student who has been accepted to the program look like?
Accepted students demonstrate scholarly writing skills, scientific values and personal commitment to science, and have a Master’s Degree or equivalent in an area that provides foundational academic preparation in the proposed PhD Health Sciences area of concentration OR Bachelor’s Degree with exceptional promise, as indicated by research experience (such as evidence of writing or an undergraduate project, recommendations, GRE scores, and undergraduate GPA).

Do I have to take the GRE? How long are my GRE scores eligible? What is the minimum score requirement?
Completion of the GRE is required for admission. For tests taken on or after July 1, 2016, scores are reportable for five years following your test date. For tests taken prior to July 1, 2016, consult the GRE website . A combined GRE score (Verbal plus Quantitative) of 300 or greater is a requirement for admission.

When do I apply for admission? How often are applicants reviewed?
The PhD Health Sciences Program has rolling admissions and reviews. This means that applications are evaluated as they arrive (rather than all at once after a final deadline). As opposed to other programs that send admissions decisions on a specific date, the PhD Health Sciences Program sends out decisions regularly. You should consider the semester you intend to begin your study in the timing of your application.

Can I maintain a job while completing the PhD Health Sciences Program?
The PhD Health Sciences Program is an intensive and demanding program of study. While some students in the program maintain jobs outside of their studies, it is recommended that you consult with your major professor to consider what is feasible.

If I am not accepted at the time of application, what can I do to improve my chances to be reconsidered?
You are strongly encouraged to identify an area of research interest and a faculty member with an active research program in your area of interest to serve as your major professor. You should also consider how to improve upon all the elements of the admissions requirements.