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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 Specialization 

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.

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 track: 56 credits
Learning sciences and quantitative methods tracks: 54 credits
School psychology track: 110 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 32 credits
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.
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 Doctoral students are required to take a comprehensive preliminary/oral examination after they have cleared their record of all Incomplete and Progress grades (other than research and thesis). Deposit of the doctoral dissertation in the Graduate School is required.
Language Requirements Contact the program for information on any language requirements.
Doctoral Minor/Breadth Requirements All doctoral students are required to complete a minor.

Required COURSES

Human Development Track1

M.S. Requirements
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
Additional Ph.D. Requirements
Two (2) Human Development area courses
ED PSYCH 762 Introduction to the Design of Educational Experiments3
ED PSYCH 763 Regression Models in Education3
Doctoral Minor coursework
Additional Courses20

Learning Sciences Track1

M.S. Requirements
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
Additional Ph.D. Requirements
18 credits chosen from the following (or other courses approved by advisor)
ED PSYCH 711 Current Topics in Educational Psychology (Topics: Grants and Grant Writing, Applied Regression Analysis, Embodied Cognition, Quantitative Ethnography)1-3
ED PSYCH 771 Test Construction3
ED PSYCH 792 Tools for Thought3
CURRIC 975 General Seminar (Topics: Computational Research Methods, Interactive Exhibit Design, Computational Literacy, Discourse Analysis and Education)2-3
ELPA 703 Evaluating and Supporting Quality Classroom Teaching3
ELPA 844 Technology and School Leadership3
COMP SCI/​ED PSYCH/​PSYCH  770 Human-Computer Interaction3
PHILOS 503 Theory of Knowledge3
Doctoral Minor coursework10

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
ED PSYCH 771 Test Construction3
ED PSYCH 960 Structural Equation Modeling3
ED PSYCH 963 Design & Analysis of Quasi-Experiments for Causal Inference3
ED PSYCH/​ELPA  964 Hierarchical Linear Modeling3
STAT/​MATH  309 Introduction to Probability and Mathematical Statistics I3
or STAT 311 Introduction to Theory and Methods of Mathematical Statistics I
STAT/​MATH  310 Introduction to Probability and Mathematical Statistics II3
or STAT 312 Introduction to Theory and Methods of Mathematical Statistics II
Recommended Elective Courses (chosen in consultation with advisor):
ED PSYCH 773 Factor Analysis, Multidimensional Scaling and Cluster Analysis3
ED PSYCH 871 Test Theory II3
ED PSYCH 971 Advanced Seminar in Educational Measurement and Statistics1-2
Other statistics courses
Other courses from the Learning Sciences, Human Development, and School Psychology tracks
  • 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 762 Introduction to the Design of Educational Experiments3
ED PSYCH 763 Regression Models in Education3
ED PSYCH 771 Test Construction3
ED PSYCH 773 Factor Analysis, Multidimensional Scaling and Cluster Analysis3
ED PSYCH 871 Test Theory II3
ED PSYCH 960 Structural Equation Modeling3
STAT/​MATH  309 Introduction to Probability and Mathematical Statistics I3
or STAT 311 Introduction to Theory and Methods of Mathematical Statistics I
STAT/​MATH  310 Introduction to Probability and Mathematical Statistics IIstat 312
Recommended Elective Courses (chosen in consultation with advisor):
ED PSYCH 963 Design & Analysis of Quasi-Experiments for Causal Inference3
ED PSYCH 971 Advanced Seminar in Educational Measurement and Statistics1-2
Other measurement/assessment/evaluation and statistics courses
Other courses in the Learning Sciences, Human Development, and School Psychology tracks

School Psychology Track1

ED PSYCH 540 Introduction to Professional School Psychology2
ED PSYCH 541 Applied Behavior Analysis in Classrooms3
ED PSYCH 542 The Biological Basis of Behavior3
ED PSYCH/​HDFS  725 Theory and Issues in Human Development3
ED PSYCH/​COUN PSY/​HDFS  726 Ethnic and Racial Diversity in Social Development3
COUN PSY/​PSYCH/​RP & SE  729 Advanced Social Psychology3
ED PSYCH/​COUN PSY/​RP & SE  737 Seminar in History and Systems of Psychology3
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 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 795 Introduction to Learning Sciences I3
ED PSYCH 844 Childhood and Adolescent Psychopathology in Schools3
ED PSYCH 845 Psychopharmacological Treatments for Children and Adolescents3
ED PSYCH 942 Systems of Consultation in School Psychology2-3
ED PSYCH 946 Advanced Assessment and Intervention Techniques3
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
ED PSYCH/​COUN PSY/​PSYCH/​RP & SE  995 Predoctoral Internship0-12
or ED PSYCH 943 Internship in School Psychology
Doctoral Minor coursework 110

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 ten years or more prior to admission to a doctoral degree 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 ten or more years prior to admission to a doctoral 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. An advisor is a faculty member, or sometimes a committee, from the major department responsible for providing advice regarding graduate studies. 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.

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.

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

CREDITS PER TERM ALLOWED

15 credits

Time Constraints

Doctoral degree students who have been absent for ten 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.

A candidate for a doctoral degree who fails to take the final oral examination and deposit the dissertation within five years after passing the preliminary examination may by require to take another preliminary examination and to be admitted to candidacy a second time.

Other

For the Ph.D. program, the department offers assistantships to incoming students (pending available funding).

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. Use critical thinking skills to synthesize existing knowledge, evaluate strengths and limitations in existing theory and research, and identify issues in need of additional inquiry - including conceptual and methodological approaches available to address these issues.  

2. Demonstrate a knowledge of and sensitivity to human diversity in terms of individual abilities and orientations and sociocultural backgrounds.  

3. Retrieve, evaluate, and interpret professional and scientific literature; use this information to develop or adapt theoretical frameworks and derive testable hypotheses or predictions for their own research / program evaluation projects.  

4. Learn to design realistic and feasible research or assessment projects in their program area and to prepare necessary protocols that are sensitive to the backgrounds of individuals who are the focus of their work.  

5. Conduct independent research and analyze and interpret resulting data.  

6, Create clear and concise reports of their research or program evaluations that are appropriate to the intended audiences, which may include fellow scholars (via scholarly journals), practitioners (via practitioner journals or reports), and lay audiences (via online or other published reports). 

7. Communicate effectively in collaborative work, instructional activities, and/or consultation settings with students and professional colleagues.  

8. 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

Accreditation

American Psychological Association

Accreditation status: Accredited. Next accreditation review: 2019.

Certification/Licensure

School Psychologist Praxis Exam (NASP)

Year of Exam UW-Madison Graduates: First Attempt National: First Attempt  
2016-2017 100% not available
2015-2016 100% not available
2014-2015 100% not available

Note: The table shows pass rates on a national certification exam. Licenses are awarded at the state-level. 

Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology

Year of Exam UW-Madison Graduates: First Attempt National: First Attempt  
2015-2017 93.33% 80.81%

Note: Because of the relatively small size of many doctoral programs, EPPP pass rates are reported only in terms of the three-year moving average. The table shows pass rates on a national certification exam. Licenses are awarded at the state-level.