This is a named option in the Special Education MS.

The MS Special Education Teacher Certification program is an initial certification program preparing students to:

  • Serve as resources and advocates for persons with disabilities and their families
  • Work cooperatively in and outside schools to improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities and their families 
  • Assume leadership to enhance the education of all students

Graduates are eligible to apply for a K-12 cross-categorical Special Education license.

Students enrolled in this program are not permitted to accept teaching assistantships, project assistantships, research assistantships, or other graduate appointments that would result in a tuition waiver. Additionally, students are unable to take courses outside the required courses listed under the "Requirements" section or dual major while in this program. 


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 15 for international applicants; May 15 for domestic applicants
Spring Deadline October 15 for international and domestic applicants
Summer Deadline March 15 for international applicants; May 1 for domestic applicants
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) n/a
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not exclusively in English, must provide an English proficiency test score earned within two years of the anticipated term of enrollment. Refer to the Graduate School: Minimum Requirements for Admission policy:
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 2

Application information is available on the department website. Applicants are expected to meet general requirements for admission to the Graduate School. The admissions committee considers a variety of factors including academic preparation, letters of recommendation, personal statement, and professional experiences. 

Rolling admissions is for domestic applicants only. Domestic applicants interested in applying after the deadlines listed above are encouraged to reach out to the graduate program coordinator/manager for updated deadlines based on available space in program. Application deadlines for international applicants are strictly followed due to visa requirements and deadlines. 

Applicants are encouraged to have completed RP & SE 300 Individuals with Disabilities or equivalent. Applicants may be admitted without completion of this course, but required to complete during the first semester of the 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.

Program Information

Students enrolled in this program are not eligible to receive tuition remission from graduate assistantship appointments at this institution.

Periodically, the Department will have grant funding available. Interested applicants should send funding inquiries to

Teacher Pledge

The School of Education pledges to pay the equivalent of in-state tuition and fees, testing, and licensing costs for all teacher education students, including Special Education Teacher Certification MS students. In return, you pledge to work at a Wisconsin PK-12 school for three to four years after graduation. Restrictions apply. Please see the Teacher Education Center's website for more information. 

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

Mode of Instruction

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

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.

Curricular Requirements

Minimum Credit Requirement 41 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement 21 credits must be in graduate-level coursework. Refer to the Graduate School: Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement policy:
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required. Refer to the Graduate School: Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirement policy:
Other Grade Requirements n/a
Assessments and Examinations Students who do not complete the Wisconsin teacher certification examinations will be required to complete a comprehensive examination and a master's project or thesis.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required Courses

RP & SE 320 Introduction to Teaching in Special Education3
RP & SE/​CURRIC  365 Teaching Mathematics in Inclusive Settings3
RP & SE 464 Diagnosis, Assessment, and Instructional Planning in Special Education3
RP & SE 465 Language and Reading Instruction for Students with Disabilities3
RP & SE 472 Methods in Transition and Vocational Education3
RP & SE 473 Classroom Management for Inclusive Classrooms3
RP & SE 515 Access to the General Curriculum for Students with Disabilities3
RP & SE 605 Development, Learning and Education Foundations in Special Education3
RP & SE 710 Multicultural Issues in Special Education3
RP & SE 780 Introduction to Research in Special Education3
Practicum and Student Teaching Requirements9-17
Students select one of the following sequences:
Special Education Practicum: Early Childhood and Elementary
and Special Education Student Teaching: Secondary (Grades 4-12) (or Special Education Practicum: Secondary Education) 1
Special Education Practicum: Secondary (Grades 4-12)
and Special Education Student Teaching: Elementary (PK - Grade 9) 1
Seminar Requirement
RP & SE 467 Elementary Student Teaching Seminar2
or RP & SE 468 Secondary Student Teaching Seminar
Total Credits41-49

Students must take a minimum of 3 credits of RP & SE 475 or RP & SE 476 but students may take additional credits according to their program plan. 

For more information on required tests, refer to the certification/licensure information.

Students in this program may not take courses outside the prescribed curriculum without faculty advisor and program director approval. Students in this program cannot enroll concurrently in other undergraduate or graduate degree programs.

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 Credits Earned at Other Institutions

Refer to the Graduate School: Transfer Credits for Prior Coursework policy.

Undergraduate Credits Earned at Other Institutions or UW-Madison

Refer to the Graduate School: Transfer Credits for Prior Coursework policy.

Credits Earned as a Professional Student at UW-Madison (Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Veterinary careers)

Refer to the Graduate School: Transfer Credits for Prior Coursework policy.

Credits Earned as a University Special Student at UW–Madison

Refer to the Graduate School: Transfer Credits for Prior Coursework policy.


A semester GPA below 3.0 will result in the student being placed on academic probation. If a semester GPA of 3.0 is not attained during the subsequent semester of full time enrollment (or 12 credits of enrollment if enrolled part-time) the student may be dismissed from the program or allowed to continue for one additional semester based on advisor appeal to the Graduate School.

Advisor / Committee

Students are assigned a faculty advisor upon admission to the program.

Credits Per Term Allowed

15 credits

Time Limits

Refer to the Graduate School: 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 (

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

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.




Professional Development

Graduate School Resources

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



Rehabilitation Psychology

Malachy Bishop, Jina Chun, Garrett Huck, Kyesha Isadore, Sang Qin, Susan Smedema, Timothy Tansey, and Susan Wiegmann

Special Education

Zhe An, Aydin Bal, Heather Dahl, Sarah Lent, Hailey Love, Dian Mawene, Carlyn Mueller, Andrea Ruppar, Susan Syverud, Renee Tennant, Beverly Trezek, Ashley White, and Kimber Wilkerson


Kayla Armstrong Alfstad, Rebecca Bradbury, John Loeffelholz, Melissa Otto

For more information about faculty in the Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education Department, see: