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Policy on Breadth Requirement in Doctoral Training

The policy on Breadth Requirement in Doctoral Training has migrated to the UW–Madison-Policy Library at The policy library brings all university-wide policies together in one place so you can quickly locate the most accurate, up-to-date version of a policy.  View the policy at in the policy library.  Visit the Policy Library to search for another specific policy by topic or key word(s).

Effective Fall 2011, Graduate School policy increased the flexibility available to doctoral programs to ensure breadth in student training by making completion of a minor optional rather than required.  Programs can continue to require their students to complete a minor or they can opt into other types of breadth training (see examples below).  The decision was made at the November 12, 2010 meeting of the Graduate Faculty Executive Committee.  In addition, the Graduate Faculty Executive Committee approved adding Graduate/Professional certificates as an option to meet the breadth requirement at the March 12, 2021 meeting.  This addition is effective with the those students becoming dissertators in Fall 2021.

All existing minors remain viable, and the Graduate School will continue to both encourage and vet proposals for new minors as well as Graduate/Professional certificates.  The Graduate School views breadth components as critical elements in doctoral education and encourages programs to use this increased flexibility to devise the best ways in which to align breadth resources with the needs of their students.

As doctoral programs become more responsive to calls for interdisciplinary education, pedagogical training, ethical training, and professional training, we anticipate that individual programs will adopt strategies to meet the breadth requirement that fit both their intellectual landscapes and the needs of their students. Should a program decide to opt out of a required minor or Graduate/Professional certificate, it must provide the Graduate School with information requested in the doctoral program minor/ Graduate/Professional certificate opt-out worksheet.  Examples below may be a helpful reference in completion of the worksheet.

      •     Interdisciplinary requirements within the program that encourage cross-disciplinary coursework

      •     Cross-disciplinary research opportunities

      •     Service learning opportunities

      •     Workshops—both internal and external—that provide professional and other types of skills (for example, the Wisconsin Entrepreneurial Bootcamp offered annually by the School of Business)

      •     Lecture series such as forums focusing on the ethics of animal research or the Graduate School Seminar & Workshop Series, which highlights responsible conduct of research issues. 

Regardless of whether a program requires a minor or Graduate/Professional certificate or not, any doctoral student who wishes to complete either will have the option to do so.  


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Keywords:minor opt-out requirement doctoral training breadth, minor, minors, doctoral minor, doctoral minors, graduate certificate, graduate certificates, professional certificate, professional certificates, certificates, breadth   Doc ID:31615
Owner:Jenna A.Group:Graduate School
Created:2013-07-15 15:01 CDTUpdated:2022-11-01 12:44 CDT
Sites:Graduate School
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