Breadth is a required component of doctoral training at UW–Madison. Given there are multiple paths to breadth, the Graduate School leaves the choice of whether students achieve breadth through a doctoral minor, graduate/professional certificate, or other means up to the student's doctoral major program.
Options are as follows:
- Option A (external doctoral minor): Requires a minimum of 9 credits in a doctoral minor program (single disciplinary or multi-disciplinary) outside of the student's doctoral major program. Fulfillment of this option requires the approval of the doctoral minor program.
- Option B (distributed doctoral minor): Requires a minimum of 9 credits in one or more programs forming a coherent topic, and can include coursework in the student's doctoral major program. Fulfillment of this option requires the approval of the student's doctoral major program.
- Option C (graduate/professional certificate): Requires successful completion of a graduate/professional certificate in a program outside of the student's doctoral major program.
The Graduate School’s minimum course requirements for the doctoral minor and graduate/professional certificate to meet the breadth requirement include:
- An average GPA of 3.00 on all coursework.
- Coursework must be graded courses numbered 300 or above; no audits or pass/fail.
- Coursework may not be double-counted for major requirements.
- Maximum 3 credits of independent study (e.g., 699, 799, 899, 999).
- Research and thesis cannot be used to satisfy the minor or graduate/professional certificate (e.g., 790, 890, 990).
- No more than 5 credits of coursework completed more than five years prior to admission to the doctoral program; coursework taken 10 years ago or more may not be used.
A student cannot earn a doctoral minor and a graduate/professional certificate of the same name. The Graduate School also advises programs not to offer both a doctoral minor and graduate/professional certificate with the same name unless they are able to provide evidence that warrants the necessity for both programs. Credits earned towards the doctoral minor or graduate/professional certificate may count towards the minimum graduate residence requirement, minimum graduate degree requirement, and the minimum graduate coursework (50%) requirement.
Regardless of whether a program requires a doctoral minor or graduate/professional certificate or not, any doctoral student who wishes to complete a doctoral minor or graduate/professional certificate will have the option to do so in accordance with the program’s admission requirements.