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The Department of Educational Psychology offers the master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees in educational psychology. The programs for the M.S. and Ph.D. in educational psychology provide comprehensive knowledge of the field and intensive specialization in one of four areas of study and research: human development, learning sciences, quantitative methods, and school psychology.

The department provides for training in research. Many faculty members in the department conduct controlled research studies with human participants; schools and other agencies in the Madison area cooperate in facilitating such research projects. Principal research facilities include the School of Education's Wisconsin Center for Education Research, and the multidisciplinary Waisman Center.

Areas of Specialization1

Human Development

Advisors: Professors Bellmore, Brown, Enright, Hubbard, Kalish, Matthews, Vlach

The program in human development adopts a life-span approach to individual change. Studying development in context is an important component of the program, so that research can make conceptual/theoretical contributions to the understanding of human behavior and can address practical concerns of educators, parents, and others concerned with the developing person. A course of study provides a breadth and depth of knowledge about human development and educational psychology and encourages more detailed study in specific interest areas. Early in the program, students are exposed to general theories and issues in human development; specific developmental processes in childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age; as well as associated statistical methods and research practices.

In the latter part of the program, students exercise individual choice in selecting courses in subject matter that will broaden or deepen an understanding of human developmental processes. Such coursework may also extend to other programs of the university in which there is a research focus in human development.

Learning Sciences

Advisors: Professors Kalish, Nathan, Puntambekar, Rau, Shaffer

This program area bridges learning sciences and educational practice. Scholarship encompasses the coordinated design and study of learning environments ranging from preschool to university education, and reaches outside of school to informal contexts for learning, like museums and after-school programs. Faculty interests include the design of technologies as tools for learning, prolonged longitudinal study of relations between teaching and learning, and the nature of knowledge in substantive domains of inquiry, like mathematics, science, and composition. The program of study emphasizes an apprenticeship model of scholarship with early engagement in substantive problems of learning and teaching. Students work in concert with faculty to develop research studies in each of the first two years of study. Courses are coordinated to promote the development of research and communication skills, so that students can become involved with important problems in educational research. As students progress in the program, they continue to work with faculty, both within and outside of the department, to craft systematic investigations of learning environments.

Quantitative Methods

Advisors: Professors Bolt, Kaplan, Kim, Steiner, Wollack 

Educational research has a strong tradition of employing state-of-the-art statistical and psychometric (psychological measurement) techniques. Researchers in all areas of education develop measuring instruments, design and conduct experiments and surveys, and analyze data resulting from these activities. Because of this tradition, quantitative methods has long been an area of specialization within educational psychology. Graduates in this area teach, serve as consultants to educational researchers, and conduct research on statistics and psychometrics in education-related fields. Within the program, the quantitative methods area offers the two major specializations of statistics and measurement.

The study of quantitative methods takes advantage of the range of resources at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and includes coursework in statistics, mathematics, and computer sciences, and in other units of the School of Education.

School Psychology

Advisors:  Professors Albers, Asmus, Garbacz

Clinical Assistant Professor:  Kelly

The graduate program in school psychology leads to a Ph.D. in educational psychology with a scientist–scholar–practitioner model of professional training. Students prepare for positions as professors in colleges and universities, psychologists in elementary and secondary schools, and with other organizations or agencies that focus on psychological services to children, youth, and families. The program is fully accredited by the American Psychological Association and the National Association of School Psychologists.

The areas of professional practice of school psychologists include psychological assessment and psychodiagnostic evaluation, prevention and intervention procedures, consultation and program planning, and research and evaluation. The program also requires study of applied behavior analysis, cognitive-behavior therapy, social-learning theory and ecological–behavioral–systems theory. Applied experience and training are provided in individual and group work with both typical classroom populations and special groups, including individuals with developmental disabilities and others with special education needs. Included in the practicum and internship experience is work with families, classroom peer groups, and community and school systems.

M.S. Degree Programs in Educational Psychology with Special Emphases

Advisors: Professors Brown, Enright, Kalish

The special-emphasis master's degree program is designed for individuals who want to improve their knowledge base and skills for functioning in educational settings. The program is built around educator needs and offers a flexible blend of coursework, independent study, and practicum experiences. It is designed to provide the student with an individualized program of theoretical and applied training, tailored to his or her interests, needs, and professional goals.

M.S. Named Option In Professional Educator (MSPE)

The M.S. named option in Professional Educator (MSPE) is a formally documented sub-major in the M.S. It is a 30-credit master's degree program designed with a teaching professional's schedule in mind. Courses in the MSPE program emphasize practical strategies and applications. Participants are part of a two-year cohort learning group, completing a master's degree through a combination of technology-enhanced distance learning during the academic year and summer on-campus coursework.

For admission to graduate work, the department does not require a specific undergraduate major. However, it is preferred that applicants have completed approximately 18 credits in courses that provide a relevant foundation for further study in educational psychology. Neither certification as a teacher nor teaching experience is required. An undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 (4.0 basis) based on the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate coursework is requisite. Also essential are a statement of purpose, Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores, and three letters of recommendation.

Graduate School Admissions

Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic degree programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet requirements of both the program(s) and the Graduate School. Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.  

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and processes related to funding.

Program Resources

Students are eligible to compete for UW–Madison fellowships. A limited number of teaching and project assistantships are available within the department, and prospective students are encouraged to refer to the instructions for fellowships and assistantships contained in the program application information.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements

MODE OF INSTRUCTION

Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions

CURRICULAR REQUIREMENTS

Minimum Credit Requirement Human development and quantitative methods track: 33 credits
Learning sciences track: 36 credits
School psychology track: 55 credits

Note: These tracks are internal to the program and represent different pathways a student can follow to earn this degree. Track names do not appear in the Graduate School admissions application, and they will not appear on the transcript.
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement Human development and quantitative methods track: 27 credits
Learning sciences track: 33 credits
School psychology track: 52 credits

Note: These tracks are internal to the program and represent different pathways a student can follow to earn this degree. Track names do not appear in the Graduate School admissions application, and they will not appear on the transcript.
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (https://registrar.wisc.edu/course-guide/).
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements The Graduate School requires an average grade of B or better in all coursework (300 or above, not including research credits) taken as a graduate student unless conditions for probationary status require higher grades. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester.
Assessments and Examinations Contact the program for information on required assessments and examinations.
Language Requirements Contact the program for information on any language requirements.

Required COURSES 

Human Development Track1

ED PSYCH 709 Seminar in Research in Educational Psychology I3
ED PSYCH 710 Seminar in Research in Educational Psychology II3
First Year Research Project
ED PSYCH 720 Child Development3
ED PSYCH 721 Adolescent Development3
ED PSYCH 760 Statistical Methods Applied to Education I3
ED PSYCH 761 Statistical Methods Applied to Education II3
Human Development area course

Learning Sciences Track1

ED PSYCH 709 Seminar in Research in Educational Psychology I3
ED PSYCH 710 Seminar in Research in Educational Psychology II3
ED PSYCH 795 Introduction to Learning Sciences I3
ED PSYCH 796 Introduction to the Learning Sciences II3
Two classes (6 credits) in quantitative methods courses not including ED PSYCH 760 or its equivalent
One class (3 credits) in qualitative methods
One additional class (3 credits) in the Learning Sciences area
Current Issues in the Learning Sciences (1 credit per semester for two semesters)
Major Area Paper preparation class

Quantitative Methods Track1

The Quantitative Area of the Department of Educational Psychology is divided into two subareas: (1) Educational Statistics and Research Methodology; and (2) Educational Measurement. Below are listed the requirements in each of these subareas.
  • Educational Statistics and Research Methodology subarea
ED PSYCH 709 Seminar in Research in Educational Psychology I3
ED PSYCH 710 Seminar in Research in Educational Psychology II3
ED PSYCH 760 Statistical Methods Applied to Education I3
ED PSYCH 761 Statistical Methods Applied to Education II3
ED PSYCH 762 Introduction to the Design of Educational Experiments3
ED PSYCH 763 Regression Models in Education3
Two courses in the quantitative area (chosen in consultation with advisor)
  • Educational Measurement subarea
ED PSYCH 709 Seminar in Research in Educational Psychology I3
ED PSYCH 710 Seminar in Research in Educational Psychology II3
ED PSYCH 760 Statistical Methods Applied to Education I3
ED PSYCH 761 Statistical Methods Applied to Education II3
ED PSYCH 771 Test Construction3
Three courses in the quantitative area (chosen in consultation with advisor)

School Psychology Track1

ED PSYCH 540 Introduction to Professional School Psychology2
ED PSYCH 541 Applied Behavior Analysis in Classrooms3
ED PSYCH/​COUN PSY/​HDFS  726 Ethnic and Racial Diversity in Social Development3
ED PSYCH 740 Cognitive Assessment of Children in the Schools3
ED PSYCH 741 Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Assessment3
ED PSYCH 742 Assessment and Intervention for Academic Skill Problems3
ED PSYCH 743 Design and Analysis of Single-Case Research3
ED PSYCH 761 Statistical Methods Applied to Education II3
ED PSYCH 762 Introduction to the Design of Educational Experiments3
ED PSYCH 844 Childhood and Adolescent Psychopathology in Schools3
ED PSYCH 942 Systems of Consultation in School Psychology2-3
ED PSYCH 947 Evidenced-based Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy3
ED PSYCH 948 Research and Measurement Seminar in School Psychology3
ED PSYCH 840 Clinical Practicum in School Psychology1-6

Named Options (Sub-Majors)

A named option is a formally documented sub-major within an academic major program. Named options appear on the transcript with degree conferral.

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Graduate Program Handbook

A Graduate Program Handbook containing all of the program's policies and requirements is forthcoming from the program.

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

No credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the degree.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison University Special student. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Probation

The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.

ADVISOR / COMMITTEE

Every graduate student is required to have an advisor. To ensure that students are making satisfactory progress toward a degree, the Graduate School expects them to meet with their advisor on a regular basis.

An advisor generally serves as the thesis advisor. In many cases, an advisor is assigned to incoming students. Students can be suspended from the Graduate School if they do not have an advisor. An advisor is a faculty member, or sometimes a committee, from the major department responsible for providing advice regarding graduate studies.

A committee often accomplishes advising for the students in the early stages of their studies.

CREDITS PER TERM ALLOWED

15 credits

Time Constraints

Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

Other

n/a

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

1. Acquire a strong foundation in current and past theories, research findings, and methodologies in their program area.

2. Become acquainted with the implications of human diversity (in terms of individual abilities and orientations and sociocultural backgrounds) for research and practice in their chosen field of study.

3. Learn the fundamentals of research design, data collection, and data analysis through participating in ongoing research or conducting their own research project(s).

4. Identify key features of high-quality research or program implementation/evaluation in their chosen field.

5. Develop writing and oral skills needed to effectively communicate results of scientific research to academic, professional/practitioner, and lay audiences.

6. Learn how to conduct research or program implementation/evaluation in accordance with ethical standards established in their field of inquiry.

Faculty:  Professors Brown (chair), Asmus Bellmore, Bolt Enright, Kalish Kaplan, Kim, Nathan Puntambekar, Shaffer, Wollack; Associate Professors Albers, Steiner, Vlach; Assistant Professors Garbacz, Hubbard, Matthews, Rau; Clinical Assistant Professor Kelly