The Department of Educational Policy Studies offers both master of arts (M.A minimum 30 credits) and doctor of philosophy (Ph.D. minimum 51 credits) degrees. Students who enroll with only a bachelor's degree and intend to pursue the Ph.D. degree are required to take the M.A. on the way to the Ph.D. Applicants already holding a master's degree will be admitted either into the EPS master's program or into the Ph.D. program, depending upon the recommendation of the admissions committee. Students for both the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees are expected to develop both depth and breadth in their studies. For the Ph.D. there are minimum credit requirements of 18 credits for the concentration and of 12 credits within educational policy studies for breadth. All candidates for the Ph.D. must take a minimum of 30 credits in ED POL.
The Department of Educational Policy Studies (EPS) offers an interdisciplinary program leading to both the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. The department is dedicated to the study of educational policy in its various manifestations and to the study of traditionally defined fields such as history of education, philosophy of education, comparative and international education, and sociology and anthropology of education. The number of budgeted faculty in the department is 11. Twelve to 18 students enter the department each year. The department includes faculty with interests in education beyond the United States and has formed ties with institutions and scholars in other countries. Several faculty from the departments of Curriculum and Instruction, Geography, Sociology, and Philosophy hold joint appointments in EPS, and several EPS faculty members hold appointments in other departments (History, Sociology, and Anthropology) and in programs in African studies, Development Studies, Global Health Institute, and women's studies.
Graduates of the department pursue a variety of academic, government, and private sector careers. They may be found across the United States in departments of educational policy studies and educational foundations, and other departments within schools of education; in organizations dedicated to educational research; in government and foundation work; and, in many other countries, in both higher education and ministries of education.
Beyond the department, other faculty at the University of Wisconsin–Madison study educational policy. They may be found, for example, in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, in the Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs, and in the Wisconsin Center For Education Research (WCER). Over the years, WCER projects have provided valuable research and employment opportunities to EPS students.
The department's graduate students are diverse. They come with a wide range of backgrounds in education and in the liberal arts. They vary in age, ethnicity, and social background, as well as prior practical and educational experience. Students thus provide a resource for one another's scholarly development. Some ED POL courses are cross-listed in the College of Letters & Science; others are cross-listed with other departments in the School of Education. They consequently attract students who approach material with a broad range of intellectual perspectives and complementary knowledge.
Despite the variety structured into the program, the multidisciplinary backgrounds of faculty, and the diversity of students, the small size of the department often leads to closer ties between students and faculty than are possible in most larger departments. Doctoral students generally come to know several faculty well and have an opportunity to work closely together.
The cornerstone of the department's doctoral program is the concentration. The department offers concentrations in social sciences and education, history of education, and comparative international education and global studies. Concentrations are intended to embody the content knowledge and learning experiences that students need to achieve necessary levels of proficiency within a field of study. While these levels of proficiency are acquired largely through course work and other traditional academic activities, in appropriate fields they may also be based in work experiences, internships, independent studies, and similar activities.
Concentration in Social Sciences and Education
Students in the Social Sciences and Education (SSE) concentration apply disciplinary perspectives, theories and methodologies to the study of issues in educational policy. Faculty members in this concentration utilize sociological, anthropological, political, and economic perspectives. SSE members aim to inform public discourse and educational policy and practice.
EPS students choosing to concentrate in Social Sciences and Education will develop a program of study that combines deep exploration of a particular educational problem, theoretical perspective, methodology, or disciplinary approach with broad grounding in social foundations of education and in key substantive fields relevant to educational policy and/or practice. Programs of study will be individually designed (with the support and approval of an EPS advisor) to reflect students' prior knowledge, skills and experience as well as their current educational goals. Students in this concentration are required to become well-versed in methodological approaches common to social science research, and specifically are required to take a methodology course and two research methods courses. Students within the concentration have the option to declare an “emphasis” in sociology, anthropology, or policy. In order to do so, at least two of their preliminary examination questions must be focused on the intended academic area of “emphasis."
Students who successfully complete this concentration should be well- prepared for careers as researchers, policy analysts, and advocates in academic, governmental, or non-governmental settings.
Concentration in Comparative International Education and Global Studies
Study in comparative international education prepares researchers, teachers, and planners who are interested in education across nations and cultures. Various modes of inquiry and the intellectual orientations of several disciplines are used to investigate, from a comparative and/or cross-cultural perspective, the following aspects of education in one or more geographical regions of the world: educational change and modernization, the interaction between education and development (social, political, economic), the politics of educational reform, educational planning and institution building, and the interrelationships of particular aspects of schools, societies, and cultures
Concentration in History and Humanities
The study of history helps us understand past educational policies and practices in the context of their time. It also often provides a unique perspective on modern developments. Students in the history of education usually study subjects from interdisciplinary angles, adapting theories and interpretive points of view from the humanities as well as the social sciences in their understanding of the past. In addition, great emphasis is placed in the program on the mastery of core knowledge in the field, the honing of analytical tools, and the improvement of writing skills, all of which are useful in a variety of academic and other settings. Students who choose a concentration in the history of education may specialize in the history of American education, African American education, the history of European education, comparative history of education, or any combination of these approved by the student’s advisory committee.
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||December 15|
|Spring Deadline||This program does not admit in the spring.|
|Summer Deadline||This program does not admit in the summer.|
|GRE (Graduate Record Examinations)||Required.|
|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|
Students may enter the department once a year, in fall. The deadline for applying is December 15, with applicants notified by letter before March 1. All applicants must apply online. Accepted students must respond in writing by April 15. The application is judged on the basis of previous academic record, other experience, 3 letters of recommendation, personal statement, vitae, writing sample, and the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores.
The admissions process in the department is the responsibility of the Admissions Committee. The committee will direct applications from qualified candidates to a faculty member in the department whose interests are similar to the applicant's. A temporary advisor must be willing to accept temporary responsibility for the student's graduate program. If no temporary advisor can be found, the candidate cannot be admitted to graduate study. If a faculty member agrees to serve as temporary advisor and the applicant is judged qualified for admission, the student is notified that the department will recommend admission to the Graduate School. Formal notification of admission comes from the Graduate School.
All applications must include a substantial sample of academic writing. For applicants already having an approved master's thesis, the thesis must be submitted. For students holding an M.A. that did not require a thesis, and for applicants currently pursuing an M.A., a paper from a graduate-level course or seminar may be submitted. For students holding a B.A., the writing sample might include sections from an undergraduate thesis or seminar paper, or a course paper. Applicants who wish to submit an alternative writing sample (for example, solely authored published article, solely authored research report or section of a research report) should check first with the chair of the Admissions Committee.
For students who are admitted, the Admissions Committee will, in consultation with an applicant's prospective advisor, recommend admission to either the EPS masters program or the EPS doctoral program. See department website for application requirements.
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.
The department offers teaching assistantships each semester. In addition, students in educational policy studies are very successful in competing for assistantships on professors' research grants through the Wisconsin Center for Education Research and other research organizations on campus, as well as for administrative assistantships and for teaching assistantships in related departments. University assistantships of at least one-third time routinely provide tuition remission (except for segregated fees), medical insurance, and a stipend. Each semester (and summer) the department posts positions teaching both undergraduate and graduate classes. Positions for teaching assistants are also posted each semester and occasionally for summer.
Minimum Graduate School Requirements
Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.
MODE OF INSTRUCTION
|Face to Face||Evening/Weekend||Online||Hybrid||Accelerated|
Mode of Instruction Definitions
Evening/Weekend: These programs are offered in an evening and/or weekend format to accommodate working schedules. Enjoy the advantages of on-campus courses and personal connections, while keeping your day job. For more information about the meeting schedule of a specific program, contact the program.
Online: These programs are offered primarily online. Many available online programs can be completed almost entirely online with all online programs offering at least 50 percent or more of the program work online. Some online programs have an on-campus component that is often designed to accommodate working schedules. Take advantage of the convenience of online learning while participating in a rich, interactive learning environment. For more information about the online nature of a specific program, contact the program.
Hybrid: These programs have innovative curricula that combine on-campus and online formats. Most hybrid programs are completed on-campus with a partial or completely online semester. For more information about the hybrid schedule of a specific program, contact the program.
Accelerated: These on-campus programs are offered in an accelerated format that allows you to complete your program in a condensed time-frame. Enjoy the advantages of on-campus courses with minimal disruption to your career. For more information about the accelerated nature of a specific program, contact the program.
|Minimum Credit Requirement||51 credits|
|Minimum Residence Credit Requirement||32 credits|
|Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement||30 of the 51 total credits must be completed in 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||Major professors have responsibility to determine whether students need to develop and demonstrate skill in one or more foreign languages for the program they plan. Dissertation work involving study of a setting where another language is spoken ordinarily requires such skill. The specific language required, if any, and the level of competence to be attained shall be determined by the student's major professor. |
Whenever feasible, language examinations will be administered by the appropriate language department. Language requirements, if specified, must be met before the Preliminary Examination is taken.
|Doctoral Minor/Breadth Requirements||All doctoral students must complete a doctoral minor.|
In addition to the entering colloquium, ED POL 701 Introduction to Educational Policy Studies, the plan of study must include a concentration as well as appropriate breadth.
Concentrations: All EPS doctoral students, in consultation with their advisor and their advising committee, must develop a concentration which will consist of a minimum of 18 credits, of which a minimum of 12 credits must be taken within ED POL. No more than 3 Independent Study credits can be counted toward fulfilling the overall 18 credit minimum requirement, but Independent Study credits cannot replace and cannot be counted toward fulfilling the minimum 12 ED POL course credits. The required ED POL 701 course cannot be counted toward the concentration.
We anticipate that EPS students will often take courses outside of the department, in part, to fulfill, their concentration requirements. In all cases, actual course-taking specifics, and decisions with regard to fulfilling concentration requirements will be made in consultation between the student and the advisor. Courses cannot be counted twice. See below for examples of courses in Educational Policy Studies in three of the concentrations.
Breadth Requirement: All doctoral students, in consultation with their advisor and their advising committee, will develop a breadth requirement which will consist of a minimum of 12 ED POL course credits. These 12 credits must be taken in domains other than the one in which the concentration is primarily identified. Course credits used to fulfill this breadth requirement cannot also be used to fulfill concentration requirements. Neither Independent Study credits nor the required ED POL 701 course may be counted toward the breadth requirement.
External Minor: All doctoral students must fulfill an external minor. Minimum course-taking requirements to fulfill the external minor are established by the external department.
As indicated above all candidates for the Ph.D., including those who began as M.A. candidates in the department, must take a minimum of 30 credits in the Department of Educational Policy Studies, including the required ED POL 701, and including no more than 3 credits of ED POL 999 Independent Reading. No ED POL 990 Research or Thesis credits may be used to fulfill this requirement.
Example Concentration Coursework
|Courses in History and Humanities|
|ED POL/HISTORY 412||History of American Education||3|
|ED POL/HISTORY 478||Comparative History of Childhood and Adolescence||3|
|ED POL/CURRIC/RELIG ST 516||Religion and Public Education||3|
|ED POL/PHILOS 545||Philosophical Conceptions of Teaching and Learning||3|
|ED POL/PHILOS 550||Philosophy of Moral Education||3|
|ED POL/AFROAMER 567||History of African American Education||3|
|ED POL/HISTORY 665||History of the Federal Role in American Education||3|
|ED POL/HISTORY 622||History of Radical and Experimental Education in the US and UK||3|
|ED POL/HISTORY 713||History of Higher Education in Europe and America||3|
|ED POL 740|
|ED POL 870||Theories of Social and Educational Change||3|
|ED POL/HISTORY 903||History of Education of Multicultural America||3|
|ED POL/HISTORY 906||Proseminar on the History of Education||1-3|
|ED POL/HISTORY 907||Seminar-History of Education||1-3|
|Courses in Social Sciences and Education|
|ED POL 460||Immigration, Education, and Equity||3|
|ED POL 500||Topics on Social Issues and Education||3|
|ED POL 505||Issues in Urban Education in the U.S.||3|
|ED POL 518||Introduction to Debates in Higher Education Policy||3|
|ED POL/GEN&WS 560||Gender and Education||3|
|ED POL/ANTHRO 570||Anthropology and Education||3|
|ED POL/SOC 648||Sociology of Education||3|
|ED POL/CURRIC 677||Education, Health and Sexuality: Global Perspective and Policies||3|
|ED POL/C&E SOC/SOC 755||Methods of Qualitative Research||3|
|ED POL/ELPA/PUB AFFR 765||Issues in Educational Policy Analysis||3|
|ED POL/ELPA/PUB AFFR 795||Economics of Education||3|
|ED POL/GEN&WS/PUB AFFR 805||Gender Issues in International Educational Policy||3|
|ED POL/CURRIC 855||Issues in Elementary Education||3|
|ED POL 860||Proseminar: Theory and Method in Comparative Education||3|
|ED POL 870||Theories of Social and Educational Change||3|
|ED POL 872|
|ED POL/SOC 908||Seminar-Sociology of Education||3|
|ED POL/SOC 955||Seminar-Qualitative Methodology||3|
|ED POL/ANTHRO 970||Seminar in Anthropology and Education||3|
|Comparative International Education and Global Studies|
|ED POL/INTL ST 335||Globalization and Education||3|
|ED POL 340|
|ED POL 600||Problems in Educational Policy||1-3|
|ED POL 675||Introduction to Comparative and International Education||3|
|ED POL/CURRIC 677||Education, Health and Sexuality: Global Perspective and Policies||3|
|ED POL 750||African Education: Past, Present and Future||3|
|ED POL 760||Seminar in International Education Development||3|
|ED POL 860||Proseminar: Theory and Method in Comparative Education||3|
|ED POL 962||Seminar in Cross National Studies of Educational Problems||3|
|ED POL/CURRIC 963||Seminar-Educational Planning & Curric Change-Developing Countries||3|
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.
Graduate Program Handbook
The Graduate Program Handbook is the repository for all of the program's policies and requirements.
Graduate Work from Other Institutions
With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 6 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree or earned ten years or more prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.
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 6 credits of coursework numbered 340 or above taken as a UW–Madison Special student. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree or earned ten years or more prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.
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 tthem 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
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.
Students are eligible to compete for UW–Madison fellowships. The department has a small number of teaching and project assistantships. In addition, students in Educational Policy Studies are frequently successful in competing for assistantships on professors' research grants through the Wisconsin Center for Education Research and other research organizations on campus, as well as for administrative assistantships and teaching assistantships in related departments.
Graduate School Resources
Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career.
- Articulate and conduct research related to the social, cultural, and/or historical contexts surrounding formal and/or informal education in the US and/or in a global context.
- Interpret and critique educational policy in a national and/or global context.
- Understand and analyze educational inequality related to race, class, gender and/or other dimensions.
- Apply professional principles of ethical research.