The M.S. degree program in rehabilitation psychology prepares rehabilitation counselors and closely related professionals at the master’s degree level to serve adolescents and adults with disabilities in both private and public rehabilitation agencies and programs through counseling, assessment, job placement, case management, and advocacy. The range of disabilities served by graduates includes physical and psychiatric disabilities, alcohol and drug abuse, traumatic brain injury and other neurological impairments, learning and intellectual disabilities, sensory disabilities, and aging. The M.S. program is accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) as a rehabilitation counseling program. Graduates meet the educational qualifications for the national Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) credential.

Program requirements are designed to accommodate Wisconsin licensure requirements for professional counselors (LPC) and to meet accreditation standards of the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE). The program is also designed to anticipate continued accreditation under the merged accreditation process of CORE and the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Visit the program website for updates.

Further evidence of the quality and recognition of the graduate program in rehabilitation psychology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison is provided by the current No. 1 ranking of the program by U.S. News & World Report among all graduate programs in rehabilitation counseling nationwide.

The M.S. and Ph.D. programs serve students from across the nation and around the world. Financial support is available to qualified graduate students and may include scholarships, traineeships, teaching assistantships, and research/project assistantships. Employment opportunities following graduation include public and private educational, rehabilitation, and mental health agencies; colleges and universities; and research settings.

Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress

To make progress toward a graduate degree, students must meet the Graduate School Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress in addition to the requirements of the program.

Master’s Degrees


Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement

48 credits

Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement

16 credits

Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement

24 credits must be in graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide.

Prior Coursework Requirements: Graduate Work from Other Institutions

Students are allowed to count graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison Undergraduate

With program approval, students are allowed to count 7 credits of coursework numbered 300 level or above from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree toward the graduate degree. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 15 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.

Credits per Term Allowed

15 credits

Program-Specific Courses Required

48 graduate degree credits to include:

Required Core Academic Coursework: rehabilitation psychology

Required Core Academic Coursework: other departments

Required Clinical Instruction: rehabilitation psychology

Overall Graduate GPA Requirement


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.

Probation Policy

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

Students are assigned a faculty mentor upon admission to the program and a permanent faculty advisor at the end of the first semester of graduate study.

Assessments and Examinations

Master’s comprehensive exam successful completion of the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) national certification exam or a traditional written comprehensive exam.

Time Constraints

Master’s degree students who are absent for five or more years will not be given credit for prior work.

Language Requirements

No language requirements.

Complete application information is available on the program website. Applicants are expected to meet general requirements for admission to the Graduate School. The following factors will be considered by the admissions committee: relevancy of prior undergraduate and graduate study, employment history, stated goals for graduate study, evidence of writing and research skill, and three references. In addition, rehabilitation psychology doctoral candidates are required to submit scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).

Knowledge and Skills

  • Students will demonstrate mastery of the knowledge domains of the rehabilitation counseling profession including understanding the theoretical and historical foundations of the field of rehabilitation counseling and the ability to identify current best practices and challenges in the field. Specific knowledge domains are outlined by the rehabilitation counseling professional accrediting body, CORE (the Council on Rehabilitation Education).
  • Students will successfully apply the knowledge gained through course work to practical experiences in community rehabilitation settings.
  • Students will be prepared to enter professional positions in fields related to rehabilitation counseling including vocational rehabilitation, mental health counseling, advocacy, and support of individuals with disabilities

Professional Conduct

  • Students will be able to recognize and apply principles of ethical and professional conduct.

Faculty: Professors Bal, Chan (Department Chair), Doren, Gonzalez, Hanley-Maxwell, Phillips, Rosenthal (Rehabilitation Area Chair), Ruppar, Smedema, Trainor, Tansey, Wilkerson