The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents approved the cooperative master of science degree program in educational leadership and policy analysis between the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the UW–Whitewater campus on February 5, 1982.

The cooperative program provides the opportunity for educators in the northeastern and central regions of Wisconsin to obtain a master of science degree with certification (principal, director of instruction, director of special education and pupil services) in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. All required course work will be offered on the Whitewater campus.

Students must be admitted simultaneously to UW–Madison and UW–Whitewater. Program admission will be to the UW–Madison Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis and to the UW–Whitewater Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Upon completion of the approved program, students will be awarded a master of science degree from UW–Madison.

Admission to the department is based, in part, on the following criteria: undergraduate GPA in the last 60 hours of undergraduate work, GPA on 9 or more graduate credits, three letters of recommendation from persons who are qualified to judge the applicant's academic and professional competence, resume, transcripts, and a "reasons for study" essay.

The GRE is not required for admission to the Master's degree program.

For information regarding admissions criteria, deadlines and the application process, see Admissions on the department website.

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.

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


Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits (15 UW–Madison credits and 15 UW–Whitewater credits)
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 15 credits at UW–Madison
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement A minimum of 15 credits out of 30 total credits must be graduate-level UW–Madison coursework. The remainder of the 30-credit requirement, 15 credits are UW–Whitewater coursework.
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

UW-Whitewater Coursework (UW-Madison course equivalents below)
ELPA 702 Introduction to Educational Leadership3
ELPA/​INTER-HE  770 Community, Opportunity, and Justice3
ELPA 703 Evaluating and Supporting Quality Classroom Teaching3
ELPA 845 School-Level Leadership3
ELPA 700 Field Experience in Educational Leadership3
UW-Madison Coursework
ELPA 735 Leadership for Equity and Diversity3
ELPA/​ED POL/​PUB AFFR  830 School Finance and Resource Allocation3
ELPA 847 Instructional Leadership and Teacher Capacity3
ELPA 840 Public School Law3
Optional Coursework for Additional Licensure, Director of Instruction
ELPA 860 Organizational Theory and Behavior in Education3
ELPA 875 Theory and Practice of Educational Planning3
75-hour field experience
Optional Coursework for Additional Licensure, Director of Special Education and Pupil Services
ELPA/​RP & SE  835 Leadership for Inclusive Schooling3
ELPA 842 Legal Foundations of Special Education and Pupil Services3
75-hour field experience

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

Graduate Program Handbook

The Graduate Program Handbook is the repository for all of the program's policies and requirements.

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

None allowed.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

None allowed.

UW–Madison University Special

UW-Madison course work completed as a special student will need to be converted to graduate coursework if the 15 credit UW–Madison graduate credit requirement is not met. The student will be billed the different between special and graduate tuition once the conversion has been approved.  Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements. More information here.


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.


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.


12 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.


Funding is not offered along with offers for admission.

Graduate School Resources

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

Faculty: Professor Julie Mead (chair); Professors Borman, Camburn, Capper, Conrad, Diamond, Halverson, Jackson, Kelley, Miller, Underwood; Associate Professors Hillman, Wang, Winkle-Wagner; Assistant Professors Goff; Clinical Professors Crim, Rainwater; Faculty Associate King