This is a named option in the Curriculum and Instruction M.S. The M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction research program prepares students for advanced work in education. In some cases, work leading to the degree prepares students to enter a new position or career in education (e.g., curriculum developer, museum educator, content-area specialist, school department head, curriculum supervisor, early childhood specialist, bilingual teacher, or reading teacher). In other cases, it prepares students to perform at a higher level in their existing job. In yet other cases, it prepares students for Ph.D. study. Motivations for master's degree work include professional development, maintenance of accreditation, acquisition of new perspectives and skills, development of specialized knowledge, preparation to work with student teachers, preparation for leadership among teachers, and preparation for advanced graduate study. Whatever their personal reasons for pursuing the degree, master's degree students should expect both an atmosphere of intellectual inquiry and the serious academic standards befitting a graduate research program in curriculum and instruction.

Details of requirements and procedures pertaining to master's degree study in the department are described in the department's M.S. Program Handbook. Because master's degree students are personally responsible for learning about and following department requirements and procedures, they should familiarize themselves with this document. Master's degree students are also personally responsible for learning about and following Graduate School policies. The curriculum and instruction graduate program office offers an informational meeting for new graduate students at the beginning of each semester.

Prospective students interested in pursuing an M.S. degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on initial teaching practice may explore named options available in various teacher certification areas. These include: Englishmathematics, sciencesocial studies, and world language

Please consult the table below for key information about this degree program’s admissions requirements. The program may have more detailed admissions requirements, which can be found below the table or on the program’s website.

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

Fall Deadline March 30*
Spring Deadline August 30 for international applicants; November 30 for domestic applicants
Summer Deadline January 30 for international applicants; April 30 for domestic applicants
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) May be required in certain cases; consult program.
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (https://grad.wisc.edu/apply/requirements/#english-proficiency).
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

Rolling admissions is available until June 30 for domestic applicants.

Master's Applicants

Official transcripts from all previous post-secondary study and three letters of recommendation are required for all master's degree applicants. Letters of recommendation should be written by persons who are qualified to judge the potential of the applicant as a graduate student.  All letters of recommendation are submitted electronically as part of the online application for admission. 

All master's degree applicants are required to submit a detailed statement of reasons for graduate study. This statement should indicate the applicant's primary area of interest, professional objectives, career goals, and why the applicant is interested in pursuing the master's degree in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. This information is used to gauge the appropriateness of the applicant's program goals in relation to the department's mission and to identify prospective advisors whose research interests match those of the applicant. If an applicant's statement fails to persuade a faculty member to serve as the graduate advisor, the applicant will be refused admission; it is therefore important that this statement be detailed, well-written, and matched to specific areas of study that are available in the department. If an applicant would like for a particular professor to serve as graduate advisor, the applicant should identify the desired advisor in the statement of reasons for graduate study.

All master's degree applicants are required to submit a resume or curriculum vitae (cv).

For the Curriculum and Instruction master's program, if the grade point average (GPA) of an applicant's last 60 semester hours of undergraduate coursework is below 3.0 (on a 4-point scale), the applicant may also be required in certain cases to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) general test and have an official report of the scores sent electronically from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to UW–Madison (institution code: 1846).

International applicants should note additional requirements that are described in the International Applications section, below.

International Applicants

The department has a long and successful history of working with graduate students from around the world. Over the last 25 years, approximately 130 M.S. degrees were earned by international students; students in this group came from 37 countries. During the same period, approximately 150 Ph.D. degrees were earned by international students in the department; students in this group came from 43 countries. Altogether, approximately one-third of our graduate students in Curriculum and Instruction are international students, which enriches the social and intellectual environment for all faculty and students as we continuously learn from each other.

In accord with Graduate School policy, applicants whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). An admitted applicant whose internet-based TOEFL (iBT) score is below 92, or whose IELTS score is below 7 must take an English assessment test upon arrival. They must then register for any English as a Second Language (ESL) courses that are recommended. Please see the Graduate School's Requirements for Admissions page for the minimum required scores. 

Expected Background in Professional Education

Previous education coursework is a prerequisite for the Master’s program in Curriculum and Instruction. Applicants are required to have taken at least 12 credits in education courses that are equivalent to courses taught within a school of education, as judged by the Graduate Education Advisory Committee. Applicants lacking this background will be required to take a specified number of credits of education coursework in addition to the course work ordinarily required in the graduate program. The courses taken should be chosen in consultation with the graduate advisor, and each of these courses must be taken for a letter grade (not pass/fail). These courses may be carried concurrently with regular graduate courses, but, being additional requirements, they do not count toward requirements of the graduate program.

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 restrictions related to funding.


The department itself does not typically award fellowships or scholarships to Master's students.

However, Master's students are eligible to apply for C&I and non-C&I teaching assistantships, project assistantships, or research assistantships through the campus jobs portal. Assistantships are also available at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. These assistantships are awarded to qualified, full-time graduate students and typically involve 10–20 hours of professional work each week, usually in close collaboration with one or more professors. Assistantships provide a stipend and may include the cost of tuition (excluding segregated fees).   

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

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

Named Option Requirements 


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

Mode of Instruction Definitions

Accelerated: Accelerated programs are offered at a fast pace that condenses the time to completion. Students typically take enough credits aimed at completing the program in a year or two.

Evening/Weekend: ​Courses meet on the UW–Madison campus only in evenings and/or on weekends to accommodate typical business schedules.  Students have the advantages of face-to-face courses with the flexibility to keep work and other life commitments.

Face-to-Face: Courses typically meet during weekdays on the UW-Madison Campus.

Hybrid: These programs combine face-to-face and online learning formats.  Contact the program for more specific information.

Online: These programs are offered 100% online.  Some programs may require an on-campus orientation or residency experience, but the courses will be facilitated in an online format.


Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 21 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement 30 credits must be graduate-level coursework. Details can be found in the Graduate School’s Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement Policy: https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1244
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.25 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements None.
Assessments and Examinations Students are required to complete a thesis or a project; they must also complete an examination.
Language Requirements No language requirements other than the English proficiency required for admission.

Required Courses

At least 15 of the 30 credits must be from Curriculum & Instruction, but of these 15, none may be CURRIC 799 Master's Independent Study.

CURRIC 799 is allowed to count for the remaining 15 credits.

CURRIC 790 Master's Project or Thesis is not allowed to count toward any of the 30 credits.

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.

Named Option-Specific Policies

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. This coursework does not appear on a UW–Madison transcript nor count toward graduate career GPA. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements. Students should read the program handbook to see which credits may be counted. 

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 with the graduate attribute 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.


The status of a student can be one of two options:

  1. Satisfactory progress (progressing according to standards)
  2. Unsatisfactory progress (not progressing according to standards; permitted to enroll with specific plan with dates and deadlines in place in regard to removal of unsatisfactory progress to avoid dismissal from the program).


All students are required to have an advisor. An advisor is assigned to all incoming students. To ensure that they are making satisfactory progress toward a degree, students should meet with their advisor on a regular basis.

The advisor serves as the thesis advisor. Students can be suspended from the program, if they do not have an advisor.


Students may not enroll for more than 12 credits without first obtaining prior written approval from their advisor.

Time Limits

This program follows the Graduate School's Time Limits policy.

Grievances and Appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

School of Education Grievance Policy and Procedures

The following School of Education Student Grievance Policy and associated procedures are designed for use in response to individual student grievances regarding faculty or staff in the School of Education.

Any individual student who feels they have been treated unfairly by a School of Education faculty or staff member has the right to file a grievance about the treatment and receive a timely response addressing their concerns. Any student, undergraduate or graduate, may use these grievance procedures, except employees whose complaints are covered under other campus policies. The grievance may concern classroom treatment, mentoring or advising, program admission or continuation, course grades (study abroad grade complaints are handled through International Academic Programs), or issues not covered by other campus policies or grievance procedures. 

For grievances regarding discrimination based on protected bases (i.e., race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, etc.), contact the Office of Compliance (https://compliance.wisc.edu/eo-complaint/).

For grievances or concerns regarding sexual harassment or sexual violence (including sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, stalking and sexual exploitation), contact the Sexual Misconduct Resource and Response Program within the Office of Compliance.

For grievances that involve the behavior of a student, contact the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards in the Dean of Students Office at https://conduct.students.wisc.edu/).

For grievances about, or directed at, faculty or staff in a School of Education department, unit, or program, students should follow these steps:

  1. Students are strongly encouraged to first talk with the person against whom the concern is directed.  Many issues can be settled informally at this level.  If students are unable to resolve concerns directly or without additional support, step 2 or 3 should be pursued.
  2. If unresolved after taking or considering step 1:
    1. If the concern is directed against a teaching assistant (TA), and the student is not satisfied, the student should contact the TA's supervisor, who is usually the course professor.  The course professor will attempt to resolve the concern informally.
    2. If the concern involves a non-TA instructor, staff member, professor, academic department, or School of Education office or unit, the student should contact the chair of the department or the director of the office or unit, or their designee. The chair or director, or their designee, will attempt to resolve the concern informally. If the concern is about the department chair or office/unit director, the student should consult the School of Education Senior Associate Dean for guidance.
  3. If the concern remains unresolved after step 2, the student may submit a formal grievance to the chair or director in writing within 30 business days1 of the alleged unfair treatment. To the fullest extent possible, a formal written grievance shall contain a clear and concise statement of the issue(s) involved and the relief sought.  
  4. On receipt of a written grievance, the chair or director will notify the person at whom the grievance is directed with a copy of the written grievance. The person at whom the complaint is directed may submit a written response, which would be shared with the student.
  5. On receipt of a written grievance, the chair or director will refer the matter to a department, office, or unit committee comprised of at least two members. The committee may be an existing committee or one constituted for this purpose. The committee, or delegates from the committee, may meet with the parties involved and/or review any material either party shares with the committee.  
  6. The committee will provide a written description of the facts of the grievance and communicate recommendations to the department chair or office/unit head regarding how the grievance should be handled.
  7. The chair or director will offer to meet with the student who made the grievance and also will provide a written decision to the student, including a description of any related action taken by the committee, within 30 business days of receiving the formal grievance.

    For the purpose of this policy, business days refers to those days when the University Offices are open and shall not include weekends, university holidays, spring recess, or the period from the last day of exams of fall semester instruction to the first day of spring semester instruction. All time limits may be modified by mutual consent of the parties involved.

If the grievance concerns an undergraduate course grade, the decision of the department chair after reviewing the committee’s recommendations is final. 

Other types of grievances may be appealed using the following procedures:

  1. Both the student who filed the grievance or the person at whom the grievance was directed, if unsatisfied with the decision of the department, office or unit, have five (5) business days from receipt of the decision to contact the Senior Associate Dean, indicating the intention to appeal.   
  2. A written appeal must be filed with the Senior Associate Dean within 10 business days of the time the appealing party was notified of the initial resolution of the complaint.
  3. On receipt of a written appeal, the Senior Associate Dean will convene a sub-committee of the School of Education’s Academic Planning Council. This subcommittee may ask for additional information from the parties involved and/or may hold a meeting at which both parties will be asked to speak separately (i.e., not in the room at the same time).
  4. The subcommittee will then make a written recommendation to the Dean of the School of Education, or their designee, who will render a decision. The dean or designee’s written decision shall be made within 30 business days from the date when the written appeal was filed with the Senior Associate Dean.  For undergraduate students, the dean or designee’s decision is final.

Further appealing a School of Education decision – graduate students only

Graduate students have the option to appeal decisions by the School of Education dean or designee by using the process detailed on the Graduate School’s website.

Questions about these procedures can be directed to the School of Education Dean's Office, 377 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall, 608-262-1763.




Graduate School Resources

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

Faculty: Professors Agarwal, Baker, L. Berland, M. Berland, Bullock, Feinstein, Ghousseini, Grant, E. Halverson, Hassett, Hawkins, Hess, Ho, YJ Kim, C. Kirchgasler, K. Kirchgasler, Louie, Machado, McDonald,  McKinney de Royston, Pacheco, Popkewitz, LJ Randolph Jr., Roman, Rudolph, Russ, Stoddard, Vieira, Wardrip.

For more information about respective members of the faculty, see People on the department website.