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The education studies degree program addresses urgent questions related to domestic and global education policy and practice. Majors will become well-informed leaders who can engage critically, thoughtfully, and ethically in the educational policy debates in Wisconsin, the nation, and the world.

Undergraduates interested in issues of inequality and social justice will study these dimensions of educational reform. Courses explore the interconnections between education and other major social institutions, including the justice system, the healthcare system, family advocacy systems, economic development, and foreign affairs. Students study debates concerning education-related social disparities and the pursuit of equal educational opportunities for all.

The education studies major prepares students for work in educational and governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations (both domestic and international), think tanks, policy institutes, community organizations, and other out-of-school educational spaces. Graduates might serve as policy directors or in other positions of institutional leadership and will be well prepared to work in education-related businesses or to pursue advanced studies in educational policy at the graduate level.

Graduates will receive a bachelor of science degree in education studies from the School of Education. This program does not lead to teacher certification.


New freshmen and off-campus transfers are admitted directly to the Bachelor of Science–Education Studies degree program. Current UW–Madison students must meet with an advisor in Education Academic Services prior to applying for admission to the B.S.–Education Studies degree program. The program currently admits on-campus students to begin in the fall, spring, and summer. 



Incoming freshmen and transfer students enter directly into the Bachelor of Science–Education Studies degree program upon admission to UW–Madison. All other on-campus students should complete and submit an application following a meeting with an advisor in Education Academic Services at any time during the academic year.


Applicants not already enrolled on the UW–Madison campus must be admissible to the university to enroll in a School of Education program. Admission to UW–Madison requires a separate application and admission process. See UW–Madison Office of Admissions and Recruitment for application information. Prospective transfer students are strongly advised to meet with an Education Academic Services advisor in advance of their application; to schedule, call 608-262-1651.


Prospective applicants who already hold an undergraduate degree are strongly encouraged to meet with an Education Academic Services advisor in advance of their application. Consultations with advisors are available in person or via telephone; to schedule, call 608-262-1651.

Applicants who already hold an undergraduate degree are admitted to the School of Education as either an Education Special student or a second degree student, depending on their interests and academic background. Admission as an Education Special student indicates that the student has an interest in pursuing certification in a subject area studied during the initial degree; another degree is not awarded for this "certification only" coursework. Second degree students are seeking a second, unrelated degree from the School of Education, which may, or may not, include teacher certification. Candidates for limited enrollment programs must meet all admission eligibility requirements for the program and must compete with the eligible applicants for program admission. More information is available here.


While new freshmen and off-campus transfers are admitted directly to the Bachelor of Science–Education Studies degree program, all other current UW–Madison students seeking to enter the B.S.–Education Studies degree program must apply for admission to the program. Requirements and selection criteria may be modified from one application/admission period to the next. Potential applicants should consult with an advisor in Education Academic Services prior to submitting an application. Students interested in applying to the program should call 608-262-1651 to schedule an appointment.


Eligibility for admission consideration to Bachelor of Science–Education Studies degree:

  • Cumulative grade point average of at least a 2.5 based on UW–Madison campus coursework, as modified by the Last 60 Credits Rule (detailed below).
  • Filing of all required paperwork and other application materials, including program application and transcripts.

Last 60 Credits Rule

Two grade point averages may be calculated to determine candidates' eligibility to programs. GPAs will be calculated using

  • all transferable college level coursework attempted, and
  • the last 60 credits attempted.

The higher GPA of these two will be used for purposes of determining eligibility. If fewer than 60 credits have been attempted, all credits will be used to calculate the GPA. Graded graduate coursework will also be used in all GPA calculations. ("Attempted" coursework indicates coursework for which a grade has been earned.) More information on this rule is available here.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

Program Structure

The education studies program has three primary components:

  • Liberal studies and general education courses that expose students to a broad range of academic disciplines.
  • Major coursework in education studies, including core courses, depth, and breadth requirements. Students choose either a U.S. or Global concentration.
  • Elective credits to pursue individual areas of interest. Education studies majors are encouraged to consider completing complementary coursework in the College of Letters & Science, possibly including an additional major. The structure of the education studies degree program makes it possible to complete an additional major and still graduate in four years.

School of Education Liberal Studies Requirements

All students are required to complete a minimum of 40 credits of Liberal Studies coursework. This requirement provides an opportunity to do some academic exploration beyond the scope of the major. Students take courses in areas of particular interest and also have an opportunity to sample the wide selection of courses offered across the university. Coursework is required in humanities, social studies, science, and cultural and historical studies. Some elective coursework is also needed to reach the required number of credits.

The School of Education’s Liberal Studies Requirements automatically satisfy most of the University General Education Requirements outlined above, including ethnic studies, humanities/literature, social studies, and science. Students pursuing most School of Education degree programs may also complete Communication Part B, Quantitative Reasoning Part A, and Quantitative Reasoning Part B through courses required by their degree program. If a student cannot complete a General Education Requirement within the curriculum of their chosen School of Education program, academic advisors can offer suggestions for courses that meet the requirement and augment the student’s primary area of study.

A basic outline of the liberal studies is included below. Students must consult the detailed version of the requirements for information about course selection and approved course options.

Humanities, 9 credits

All students must complete a minimum of 9 credits to include:

  • Literature
  • Fine Arts
  • Humanities Electives

Social Studies (Social Science)

All students must complete a minimum of 9 credits. Teacher certification programs, Athletic Training, and Kinesiology; Exercise and Movement Science have unique requirements in this category.


All students must complete a minimum of 9 credits to include:

  • Biological Science
  • Physical Science
  • Laboratory Science
  • Science Electives

Cultural and Historical Studies

All students must complete three requirements (9 credits) met by separate courses. Any of these courses can also be used to meet the Humanities or Social Studies (Social Sciences) requirements if it has the relevant breadth designation.

  • Ethnic Studies
  • U.S./European History
  • Global Perspectives

Complete Liberal Studies Electives to total 40 Credits.

Major Requirements

The education studies major requires 30 credits, to include core courses (9 credits), depth requirements (12 credits) and breadth requirements (9 credits).  Students will select either a U.S. concentration or Global Concentration to fulfill the depth requirement of the major.

Core Courses, 9 credits

Complete the following:

ED POL 300 School and Society3
ED POL 340 Comparative Education3
ED POL/​HISTORY  412 History of American Education3

Depth Requirements, 12 credits

Complete a minimum of four courses (12 credits) in either the United States or Global concentration to facilitate in-depth study of education policy and practice.

U.S.  Concentration

ED POL/​HISTORY  107 The History of the University in the West3-4
ED POL 140 Introduction to Education3
ED POL 145 Introduction to Education Policy3
ED POL 150 Education and Public Policy (U.S. topics only)3
ED POL 200 Race, Ethnicity, and Inequality in American Education3
ED POL 210 Youth, Education, and Society3
ED POL 220 Human Rights and Education3
ED POL 450 Rethinking "After-School" Education3
ED POL 460 Immigration, Education, and Equity3
ED POL/​HISTORY  478 Comparative History of Childhood and Adolescence3
ED POL 500 Topics on Social Issues and Education (U.S. topics only)3
ED POL 505 Issues in Urban Education3
ED POL 510 Urban School Policy3
ED POL/​CURRIC/​RELIG ST  516 Religion and Public Education3
ED POL 518 Introduction to Debates in Higher Education Policy3
ED POL/​PHILOS  545 Philosophical Conceptions of Teaching and Learning3
ED POL/​PHILOS  550 Philosophy of Moral Education3
ED POL/​GEN&WS  560 Gender and Education3
ED POL/​AFROAMER  567 History of African American Education3
ED POL/​ANTHRO  570 Anthropology and Education3
ED POL 575 Education Policy and Practice3
ED POL 595 Language Politics, Ethnicity, and Education3
ED POL 600 Problems in Educational Policy (U.S. topics only)1-3
ED POL 618 Community Colleges: Issues and Research3
ED POL/​HISTORY  622 History of Radical and Experimental Education in the US and UK3
ED POL/​SOC  648 Sociology of Education3
ED POL/​HISTORY  665 History of the Federal Role in American Education3

Global Concentration

ED POL/​HISTORY  107 The History of the University in the West3-4
ED POL 140 Introduction to Education3
ED POL 150 Education and Public Policy (Global topics only)3
ED POL 220 Human Rights and Education3
ED POL/​INTL ST  335 Globalization and Education3
ED POL 460 Immigration, Education, and Equity3
ED POL/​HISTORY  478 Comparative History of Childhood and Adolescence3
ED POL 500 Topics on Social Issues and Education (Global topics only)3
ED POL/​CURRIC/​RELIG ST  516 Religion and Public Education3
ED POL/​GEN&WS  560 Gender and Education3
ED POL 595 Language Politics, Ethnicity, and Education3
ED POL 600 Problems in Educational Policy (Global topics only)1-3
ED POL/​HISTORY  622 History of Radical and Experimental Education in the US and UK3
ED POL 675 Introduction to Comparative and International Education3
ED POL/​CURRIC  677 Education, Health and Sexuality: Global Perspective and Policies3

Breadth Requirements, 9 credits

Required Breadth Course
Complete one of the following:3
How People Learn
Human Development in Infancy and Childhood
Human Development in Adolescence
Human Development From Childhood Through Adolescence
Additional Breadth Course Options
Complete additional coursework from the concentration NOT selected above, or from the courses listed below. ED PSYCH 301, 320, 321 and 331 may also count here, but not toward both breadth requirements.
CURRIC 240 Critical Aspects of Teaching, Schooling, and Education3
CURRIC/​CHICLA  321 Chicano/Latino Educational Justice3
ED PSYCH 326 Mind, Brain and Education3
ED PSYCH 506 Contemporary Issues in Educational Psychology3
ED PSYCH 541 Applied Behavior Analysis in Classrooms3
ELPA 640 Legal Rights and Responsibilities for Teachers1-3

Elective Credits

Complete additional credits to complete the minimum of 120 required for the degree. Education studies majors are encouraged to consider completing complementary coursework in the College of Letters & Science, possibly including an additional major. The structure of the education studies degree program makes it possible to complete an additional major and still graduate in four years.

GPA and Other Graduation Requirements

Graduation Requirements

Based on UW–Madison coursework.

  • 2.5 minimum cumulative grade point average. This may be modified by the Last 60 Credits Rule.
  • 2.5 cumulative major grade point average.
  • 2.5 cumulative grade point average in all upper-level major coursework (“upper-level” defined as numbered 300 and above).
  • Major Residency: Students must complete at least 15 credits of upper-level major coursework in residence on the UW–Madison campus.
  • Senior Residency: Degree candidates must complete their last 30 credits in residence on the UW–Madison campus, excluding retroactive credits and credits granted by examination.
  • Total credits: A minimum of 120 credits are required for graduation.

Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS)

At UW–Madison, a DARS report is used to document a student's progress toward the completion of their degree. This degree audit identifies the requirements that have already been completed, and also those that remain unsatisfied. A DARS report can offer suggestions about appropriate courses that may be taken to meet specific requirements and can assist in the academic planning process. 

Students can access DARS reports through their Student Center in My UW–Madison. Go to the Academics tab and find DARS on the dropdown menu.

DARS also has a "what-if" function. This feature makes it possible to request a DARS report as if pursuing another program or major on campus. It is an excellent tool if considering a new or additional area of study. School of Education students in a pre-professional classification such as Pre-Elementary (PRE) should request a "what if" DARS report of their professional program of interest.

DARS is not intended to replace student contact with academic advisers. It creates more time in an advising appointment to discuss course options, research opportunities, graduate school, or issues of personal interest or concern to students.

DARS is the document of record, i.e., certifying document of degree completion, for program areas in the School of Education.

University Degree Requirements 

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.

1. Formulate research-based arguments on topics in education policy using academic literature, including both primary and secondary sources.

2. Demonstrate an understanding of the social, cultural, and/or historical contexts of education policy.

3. Examine education policy from multiple theoretical perspectives (e.g., ethical/philosophical, economic/political, etc.).

4. Learn to use different historical and/or qualitative social-science methods to answer major questions in education policy research, both contemporary and enduring.

5. Analyze education policy issues from diverse perspectives related to race, class, and/or gender, and other forms of social difference.

Education Studies Advising

Students are advised by staff from Education Academic Services (Room 139 Education Building) at SOAR and during the regular academic year. Staff from the Office of Undergraduate Recruitment and Retention (Room 105 Education Building) provide additional support and assistance to under-represented students in the School of Education. See below. Admitted students are also assigned a departmental advisor.

General School of Education Advising

All undergraduate students in the School of Education are served by three offices devoted to academic and/or career advising. Each student in the School of Education is assigned at least one advisor and is encouraged to meet with the advisor on a regular basis. Students will also be assigned a faculty or staff advisor when admitted to the professional component of their degree program. Departmental advisors provide more in-depth knowledge of the major and of courses offered by the department.

Undergraduate Advising and Academic Dean's Office—Education Academic Services (EAS)

139 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall; 608-262-1651

Education Academic Services (EAS) is the undergraduate dean's office for students in the School of Education. Staff members interpret school regulations, policies, and program requirements; take exceptions around requirements and deadlines; advise current and prospective students; monitor students having academic difficulties; coordinate field placements; facilitate the program admissions process; and maintain the official files of students in the school.

Students should meet with an advisor during their first semester on campus (if not before) and are encouraged to meet with an advisor at least once a semester. This is particularly important during the freshman and sophomore years. Appointments may be arranged by calling or visiting the office.

EAS advisors answer questions and provide guidance to current and prospective students. They consult with and refer students to faculty members and departmental advisors. Once a student is admitted to a professional program within the School of Education, he or she will also be assigned a faculty or staff advisor. Advising then becomes a partnership, with EAS and OURR advisors continuing to help students with course selection, degree progress monitoring, academic difficulties, and interpretation of policies and procedures.

Program advisors help students select and plan a program of study in the major, negotiate issues within the department, and, in the case of certification programs, follow the students' progress through their professional courses. These divisions are flexible, and students are encouraged to consult with all advisors who can help with a situation or answer a question.

OURR: Office of Undergraduate Recruitment and Retention (Student Diversity Programs)

105 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall, 608-262-8427 or 608-262-1651

The UW–Madison School of Education is committed to promoting equity and increasing diversity in its programs. OURR staff work collaboratively with Education Academic Services and campus and community partners to support underrepresented students interested in majors in the School of Education.

OURR staff perform outreach, recruitment, and advising on behalf of the School. OURR staff also support current students with their personal and professional growth, their transition from high school to college, financial aid, and career exploration.  

OURR works to build a network of students and graduates who may strengthen, transform, and lead their communities through education, service, and other contributions. Students are invited to visit OURR staff at 105 Education Building—stop in, or call one of the numbers listed above to set up an appointment.

School of Education Career Center

L107 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall, 608-262-1755

Need assistance with any of the following? 

  • Exploring career options linked to School of Education majors
  • Seeking a major that incorporates individual passions, interests, and values that will help one reach specific career goals
  • Researching graduate schools and preparing application materials
  • Beginning a job search and learning where to start and what to do
  • Seeking assistance with developing a résumé, a cover letter, or interviewing skills
  • Networking and connecting with potential employers

The Career Center provides resources and individual consultations to assist students in reaching their career goals.  A plethora of resources can be found on the Career Center website:

  • Explore career possibilities for specific majors in Investigate Career Options. This section of the website provides tools for clarifying a student’s personal criteria for success, linking specific career options to majors, and identifying steps for career/major selection.  It includes strategies for making the most of a student’s academic and student experience.
  • Confirm major and career decisions.  Gain hands-on experience in the career field of study.  Assess the perceptions of selected career and major options for accuracy.  Develop professional and soft skills.  The Test Drive and Confirm Career Choice section provides strategies for acquiring real-world experience.
  • Preparation is critical for entering one’s next career phase.  Learn about graduate school requirements and the application process.  Develop promotional materials for employers and/or graduate schools and obtain feedback and suggestions for enhancing them.  Acquire materials that support one’s applications.  The Prepare and Connect section provides offers additional details.
  • Implement helps students plan for the future.  Attend recruiting events.  Apply for graduate school or for job opportunities.  Practice interviewing skills.  Interview.  Negotiate job and graduate school offers.

Personalized career assistance is available through individual appointments with consultants in the Career Center.  To schedule an appointment visit,

Informational workshops and career-related events are conducted each semester.  The schedule of these events can be found on the center’s website.

The Career Center coordinates teacher recruitment fairs each fall and spring semester and collaborates with career centers across campus to provide campus-wide career fairs at the beginning of each semester. 

Information about faculty, staff, and other contributors to the Department of Educational Policy Studies can be found on the department's website.

Information about scholarships, academic and career advising, study abroad opportunities, student diversity services, and other resources for students in the School of Education can be found on the school's Resources page.