Art education is a perfect choice for students who thrive in creative, collaborative environments. People who choose this meaningful career path love viewing, discussing, and making works of art/design and are passionate about engaging others in the artistic process. Art educators help children and adults discover their own creative capacities and the countless contributions visual artists make to our communities each day.

UW–Madison's art education program provides essential preparation for a variety of careers in art education. Students work directly with children and adolescents in both school and community-based field placements in every semester of the program. They study with world-renowned art and education faculty in a range of rigorous and engaging studio, art history, curriculum and instruction, educational psychology, and educational policy studies courses, while also connecting with Madison’s vibrant arts community through field trips and service learning.

Graduates of our program earn a bachelor of science degree, a career-ready Wisconsin teaching license in PK–12 art education, and gain the skills, knowledge, and confidence to teach the visual arts in public and private schools, at the elementary and secondary levels, in the United States and internationally, and in community settings such as art museums, maker spaces, and senior centers.

Consult the departmental website for additional information about art education.


Program Admission Overview

The art education program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison follows admission procedures intended to result in an academically qualified student body as varied as possible in terms of academic strengths, life experiences, and professional experiences. As the population of our nation's public schools becomes increasingly multicultural, there is a growing need for teachers from diverse backgrounds. The art education faculty encourages qualified applicants from underrepresented groups to apply for admission to the art education program. In addition, the faculty wishes to broaden the field of art education; individuals representing a wide range of visual arts and design are encouraged to apply. A diverse cohort of students enriches the art education teacher certification program as well as the profession. Undergraduate art education students generally apply to the professional part of the art education degree program in their sophomore year.

Entering the School of Education

New and Current UW–Madison Students

New freshmen and transfer students interested in art education are admitted directly to the School of Education with a “pre-professional” classification. This classification indicates that a student is interested in a program offered by the school, but has not applied and been admitted to the professional program. Students interested in art education receive a "pre-professional" classification of PAED.

On-campus students wishing to be admitted to the school while working on eligibility requirements and application can apply for admission to the School of Education by completing a Pre-Professional Application. A minimum GPA of 2.5, based on UW–Madison coursework, is required to transfer into the school. This GPA may be modified by the Last 60 Credits rule (detailed below). It is not necessary to be a "pre-professional” student before applying to a professional program. Admission as a “pre-professional” student does not guarantee admission to the professional program.

It is strongly recommended that students interested in a School of Education program meet with an academic advisor in the School of Education Student Services office, 139 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall. Students may call 608-262-1651 to schedule an appointment with an advisor. Prospective art education majors should meet with the art education program coordinator, Dr. Mary Hoefferle.

Prospective Transfer Students

Prospective transfer students should meet as early as possible with the art education program coordinator and with an advisor at Education Academic Services. Studio and aesthetics coursework taken at another institution may need to be evaluated by the art department advisor or a faculty member in the art department. Because students interested in art education must meet minimum eligibility requirements and apply within strict deadlines, prospective transfer students should meet with an advisor in the School of Education Student Services office as soon as possible.

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.

Students with a Previous Degree

Prospective applicants who already hold an undergraduate degree are strongly encouraged to meet with an advisor in the School of Education Student Services office 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.


Program admission occurs once a year, effective in the fall. Selection is made the previous spring. Students who already possess a B.S., BFA, or advanced degree in visual arts and seek certification in art education follow the same application procedures. Resources limit the number of students who can be served by the UW–Madison art education teacher education program. In recent years the art education program has been able to accommodate all qualified applicants; however, if the number of qualified applicants to art education exceeds program resources, admission will become limited and competitive. If this happens, meeting or surpassing the minimum eligibility criteria will not guarantee admission.

PROGRAM ADMISSION Eligibility Requirements

Requirements and selection criteria may be modified from one application/admission period to the next. Potential applicants should consult the School of Education's Undergraduate Admissions page for application deadlines and detailed information regarding current eligibility requirements and selection criteria prior to submitting an application.

To be considered for admission, students must:

  • complete at least 54 credits of transferable college-level coursework to include 20 credits of Studio Art, and 6 credits of the Aesthetics requirement. This coursework must be completed by the end of the spring semester of the application year.
  • earn a cumulative grade point average of at least a 2.75 on a 4.0 scale, based on all transferable college coursework attempted at UW–Madison and other campuses.1 Transcripts for all college-level coursework (excluding courses taken at UW–Madison) must accompany the program application and supporting materials.
  • prepare a portfolio. Applicants should include images of their artwork that best represents their skills, knowledge, and interests in art.
  • submit all program application form(s), transcripts, portfolio, and other related application materials by the application deadline specified on the School of Education's Undergraduate Admissions page.
  • Note: In previous years, applicants to teacher education programs were required to submit scores from one of the following exams: ACT, SAT, Praxis I/PPST, Praxis Core, or GRE. Under emergency rules announced by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, no applicants need to submit scores for any exam as a component of their application to this program. The exam requirement was officially removed by the School of Education on November 15, 2017.

Last 60 Credits Rule

Two grade point averages will 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 regarding this rule is available here.


All qualified applicants will be reviewed individually by the art education program coordinator and selection committee. The committee will consider numerous factors when selecting a diverse student cohort, including the following:

  • Grade point average (GPA)
  • Course selection and performance
  • Life experiences (written statement)
  • Supporting materials
  • Consideration of student's race, ethnicity, culture, geographic and economic background.

Candidates will be provisionally admitted and notified of their admission status. The offer of admission will specify a deadline for acceptance of this offer. Applicants must respond to the School of Education Student Services office by this date; those who do not will forfeit their position. Admission is not final until the office receives the acceptance and program eligibility is confirmed through spring semester grades.


The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) is required by law to conduct a background check on each applicant for a Wisconsin educator license. This check is intended to determine if the applicant has engaged in any behavior that endangers the health, welfare, safety or education of PK–12 pupils. Local school districts also will conduct criminal background checks routinely on teacher education students prior to the start of in-classroom field work. Admitted applicants to any teacher education program who have a positive background check should confer with the Academic Dean’s Office (Room 139 Education, 1000 Bascom Mall) about the potential impact of this on field placements and licensure.

An individual who is deemed ineligible to participate in field or clinical experiences based on the results of their background check may not be able to complete the requirements for their degree or certification. Students with questions about these processes should contact the academic dean in the School of Education Student Services office.

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.

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.

Program Structure

The art education program is divided into five areas of study: 

  • Liberal studies courses expose students to a broad range of academic disciplines. The university-wide General Education requirements also encourage this breadth of study.
  • The Foundations Program requires six interrelated studio and aesthetics courses designed to prepare first-year students for further study in studio art and design.
  • Aesthetics coursework gives students an opportunity to study both the history of art and contemporary developments in the visual arts.
  • Major requirements offer an in-depth study of studio art.
  • Professional education coursework includes an examination of the schools' relationship to our society and the processes by which students grow and learn. The professional sequence is a three-semester sequence of art education teaching methods course work and field experiences in schools.

Art Foundations Program

The Art Foundations Program is a series of interrelated studio and lecture courses to be taken by art and art education majors in their first year as preparation for further study in studio art and design. The program addresses the fundamentals of art through investigation of formal, technical and conceptual issues. The drawing, 2D and 3D design, digital media, and art historical lecture classes are designed to expose, broaden, and challenge students' understanding of contemporary art production.

Art foundations classes are meant to be taken concurrently and the information covered in them is interrelated. Students completing the foundations program should enroll in ART 102 Two-Dimensional Design, ART 212 Drawing Methods & Concepts, and ART 108 Foundations of Contemporary Art for the fall semester and complete ART 104 Three-Dimensional Design, ART 107 Introduction to Digital Forms, and ART 208 Current Directions in Art in the spring. 

Most freshman art majors complete their foundations courses through participation in the very popular Contemporary Art and Artists First-Year Interest Group (FIG), which also creates a network of corresponding experiences and a peer community that will continue throughout the program and often beyond graduation. Students in FIGs enjoy studying with instructors dedicated to serving first year students, the opportunity to integrate related ideas from all three classes, and the ready-made opportunities to form support networks and lasting friendships.

Additional information about the Foundations Program is available on the departmental website.

Aesthetics Requirement

Complete four courses focusing on the history of art and contemporary developments in the visual arts.

ART 108 Foundations of Contemporary Art3
ART 208 Current Directions in Art3
ART HIST 202 History of Western Art II: From Renaissance to Contemporary4
Select one of the following: 13-4
History of Western Art I: From Pyramids to Cathedrals
Survey of Asian Art
Global Arts
Introduction to African Art and Architecture
Introduction to Afro-American Art
History of Islamic Art and Architecture
From Tomb to Temple: Ancient Chinese Art and Religion in Transition
The Tastes of Scholars and Emperors: Chinese Art in the Later Periods
Cross-Cultural Arts Around the Atlantic Rim: 1800 to the Present
American Indian Art History: Contemporary Issues
Chinese Painting
Arts of Japan
Later Japanese Painting and Woodblock Prints

Major Requirements

Students must complete 48 credits of studio art, including the specific requirements below. At least 15 upper-level studio credits must be taken in residence on the UW–Madison campus. Upper-level classes include Art courses numbered 214 and above, excluding ART 236 and ART 338. Note: These requirements are effective beginning spring 2016 admission to art education.

ART 102 Two-Dimensional Design3
ART 104 Three-Dimensional Design3
ART 107 Introduction to Digital Forms3
ART 212 Drawing Methods & Concepts3
ART 222 Introduction to Painting3-4
ART 338 Service Learning in Art2
ART 306 Relief Printmaking3-4
or ART 336 Serigraphy
ART 244 Art Metal I3-4
ART 224 Ceramics I4
ART 214 Sculpture I3-4
or ART 334 Wood Working
Take additional art electives to reach the minimum of 48 credits

Professional Education Requirements

Development (Minimum of 3 credits)3
Select one of the following:
Human Development From Childhood Through Adolescence
Human Development in Infancy and Childhood
Human Development in Adolescence
Learning (Minimum of 3 credits)3
How People Learn
Foundations of the Profession (Minimum of 3 credits)3
School and Society
History of American Education
Literacy, Including Reading3
Integrating the Teaching of Reading with Other Language Arts
Special Education3
Strategies for Inclusive Schooling
Art in Exceptional Education

Art Education Requirements

Fall Semester
Module 1 (first 7 weeks)
ART ED/​CURRIC  323 Art in Elementary Education3
ART ED/​CURRIC  470 Practicum in Elementary School Art3
Module 2 (second 7 weeks)
ART ED/​CURRIC  324 Art in Secondary Education3
ART ED/​CURRIC  493 Practicum in Secondary School Art3
Spring Semester
ART ED/​CURRIC  423 Student Teaching in Art in Elementary Schools6
ART ED/​CURRIC  424 Student Teaching in Art in Secondary Schools6

GPA and Other Graduation Requirements

Graduation Requirements

Requirements are based on UW–Madison coursework.

  • 2.75 minimum cumulative grade point average, first effective for students admitted into the art education program fall 2016. This may be modified by the Last 60 Credits Rule.
  • 2.75 cumulative grade point average in all major course work.
  • 2.75 cumulative grade point average in all upper-level major course work. Art courses numbered 214 and above, excluding ART 236 and ART 338, are considered upper-level courses.
  • 2.75 in professional education course work (excluding practicum and student teaching).
  • Major Residency. Students must complete a minimum of 15 upper-level studio credits 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.
  • A minimum of 120 total credits.

Degree Audit (DARS)

UW–Madison uses “DARS” to document a student's progress toward the completion of their degree, including any additional majors and certificates. A DARS (Degree Audit Reporting System) report shows all the requirements for completing a degree and, against courses that are planned or completed, shows the requirements that have been met, and those that are unmet. A report can offer suggestions about courses that may be taken to meet specific requirements and can assist in the academic planning and enrollment process. Students can access a DARS report in the Course Search & Enroll app or Student Center via My UW.

DARS also has a "what-if" function. This feature makes it possible to request a DARS report as if pursuing another program, major or certificate. 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), or Pre-Kinesiology should request a "what if" DARS report of their professional program of interest.

More information on how to request a DARS report is available on the registrar’s website.

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 used as the document of record for degree program, major and certificate completion in the School of Education.

Additional Certification Requirements and Applying for a License

In addition to completing UW–Madison's program requirements, students must also complete Wisconsin statutory requirements and certification requirements established by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Many of these requirements are embedded within the program's requirements and require no additional attention. The endorsement of the program coordinator/faculty is also required to receive certification through UW–Madison.

The State of Wisconsin requires that anyone wishing to teach in a public K–12 setting hold a valid teaching license issued through the Department of Public Instruction. In addition to completing a certification program, students must submit a separate application for this license.

Detailed information about certification requirements and applying for a license is available under Certification/Licensure.

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. Identify and explore important eras, developments, movements, and theories in historical and contemporary art practice.
  2. Identify and analyze the elements and principles of design in the work of other artists and consistently and effectively employ the elements and principles in their own studio work.
  3. Develop technical skill, a personal creative practice, and knowledge of the historical and current practices of at least four separate visual art disciplines, including 2D, 3D, 4D, and graphics areas.
  4. Examine best practices (historical and contemporary) in art curriculum planning, instruction and assessment, apply knowledge to k-12 curriculum development, and effectively teach art to diverse populations in community and school-based settings.
  5. Meet all School of Education Teacher Education Standards and DPI k-12 art licensure requirements (including child development and learning theories, history of American Education, and the role of art in literacy education).

Bachelor of Science: Art Education - Sample Four-Year Plan

This four-year sample graduation plan is designed to guide your course selection throughout your academic career; it does not establish a contractual agreement. Use it along with your DARS report and the Course Guide to create a four-year plan reflecting your placement scores, incoming credits, and individual interests. Consult with an academic advisor(s) to develop a personalized plan of study and refer to the Guide for a complete list of requirements. You will likely revise your plan several times during your academic career here, based on your activities and changing academic interests.

Communication A (fall or spring semester)3Communication A f(all or spring semester)3
ART 1083ART 2083
ART 1023ART 1073
ART 1043ART 2123
ART 5081POLI SCI 1044
Liberal Studies course work to include Social Studies and/or Science3 or 6Liberal Studies course work to include Social Studies or Science0-3
 16 16
Aesthetic Elective also meeting Global Perspectives requirement3-4ART HIST 2024
ART 214 or 3344ART 2444
ART 2224ART 306 or 3364
Quantitative Reasoning A3Ethnic Studies course work3
Liberal Studies Science lab course work3Liberal Studies Literature course work3
 17-18 18
ART 2244Studio Elective4
Studio Elective4ART 3382
Liberal Studies Science also meeting Quantitative Reasoning B3ART 5081
ED PSYCH 3013One of the following:3
 CURRIC 305 (also meets Communication B)3
 17 16
Studio Elective4ART ED/​CURRIC  4236
 16 12
Total Credits 128-129


Art Education Advising

Prospective off-campus and on-campus art education students will meet with the art education program coordinator Dr. Mary Hoefferle, 6241 Humanities Building, 455 North Park Street,; 608-772-7016. Students considering art education should contact Dr. Hoefferle as soon as possible. Pre-admission advising is conducted by the Department of Art and advisors in the School of Education Student Services office, see below.

The undergraduate art program advisors are Julie Ganser,, and Matthew Mauk,, located at 6241 Humanities Building, 455 North Park Street. Appointments can be made by calling 608-262-1660. Current students can schedule an appointment with either advisor online through the Starfish app in MyUW.

General School of Education Advising

Dedicated to supporting and promoting student success, the School of Education Student Services office coordinates a number of student-related services for prospective and current School of Education students in all programs. Student Services staff offer support in academic advising, career advising, mentoring and advocacy for underrepresented and international students, requirements monitoring, interpreting academic policy, and more. Students in the School of Education are encouraged to make Student Services a vital part of their academic and employment journey.

To schedule and appointment: Call 608-262-2651 or stop by 139 Education Building. Current students can schedule an appointment online through the Starfish app in MyUW.

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

Additional Certification Requirements 

Note: In August of 2018 the Department of Public Instruction issued new administrative rules governing educator licensing. Changes in certification requirements and also the license types and levels will occur as program areas implement the new requirements. 

Students must complete all requirements and also obtain the endorsement of the program faculty to receive certification through UW–Madison. These requirements include those required by UW–Madison, the Department of Public Instruction, and those mandated by state statutes. While most of these requirements are embedded in course content, some (e.g., the Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test) are not related to course enrollment. 

Students pursuing certification should be aware of the following requirements. See the Teacher Education Center website for additional information/requirements.

Certification requirements should be monitored carefully. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) periodically implements regulations that affect all certification programs; teacher certification candidates are responsible for having up-to-date information about certification requirements.

Disclosure Statement and Criminal Background Investigation

Disclosure Statement

Applicants to School of Education programs that involve a practicum, internship, or other field placement must complete a disclosure statement indicating (1) whether they have been admitted to, then withdrawn from, asked to withdraw from, or been dropped from a student teaching, clinical experience, or other intern/practicum program, and (2) if they have ever been placed on probation or disciplined by any college or university for academic dishonesty.

Criminal Background Investigation (CBI)

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) is required by law to conduct a background check on each applicant for a Wisconsin educator license. This check is intended to determine if the applicant has engaged in any behavior that endangers the health, welfare, safety, or education of PK–12 pupils. Local school districts also will conduct criminal background checks routinely on teacher education students prior to the start of in-classroom field work.

Students should be aware that criminal background checks may be initiated by other agencies or organizations when they are seeking employment or a professional license. School administrators have the authority to determine the appropriateness of a student placement and may choose not to permit a placement based on a student’s background check results.

An individual who is deemed ineligible to participate in field or clinical experiences based on the results of their background check may not be able to complete the requirements for their degree or certification. Students with questions about these processes should contact the Teacher Education Center,

Environmental Education

This licensing requirement is mandatory for all Elementary Education, Secondary Science, Secondary Social Studies, and Agri-Science Education certification students. Students with previous degrees in their subjects must also monitor and complete this requirement for certification and licensure.

Select one Environmental Studies course or from the following list. If appropriate, this course may also be applied toward the liberal studies requirements.

ATM OCN/​SOIL SCI  132 Earth's Water: Natural Science and Human Use3
BOTANY 100 Survey of Botany3
BOTANY/​PL PATH  123 Plants, Parasites, and People3
BOTANY/​BIOLOGY/​ZOOLOGY  152 Introductory Biology5
BOTANY 240 Plants and Humans3
BOTANY/​ENVIR ST/​ZOOLOGY  260 Introductory Ecology3
CURRIC/​C&E SOC/​ENVIR ST  405 Education for Sustainable Communities3
ECON/​A A E/​ENVIR ST  343 Environmental Economics3-4
F&W ECOL 110 Living with Wildlife - Animals, Habitats, and Human Interactions3
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  120 Introduction to the Earth System3
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  127 Physical Systems of the Environment5
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  139 Global Environmental Issues3
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  309 People, Land and Food: Comparative Study of Agriculture Systems3
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  339 Environmental Conservation4
LAND ARC/​ENVIR ST  361 Wetlands Ecology3
MED HIST/​ENVIR ST/​HIST SCI  513 Environment and Health in Global Perspective3
PHYSICS 115 Energy3
POP HLTH/​ENVIR ST  502 Air Pollution and Human Health3
SOC/​C&E SOC  140 Introduction to Community and Environmental Sociology4
SOC/​C&E SOC/​F&W ECOL  248 Environment, Natural Resources, and Society3
SOIL SCI 301 General Soil Science4
SOIL SCI/​ENVIR ST  324 Soils and Environmental Quality3

Student Testing and Assessment

Students in teacher education programs are required to complete a significant performance assessment prior to certification and eventual licensure. Additional tests may be required, although this varies by certification area. Detailed information related to these requirements, along with fee and registration information can be found on the Teacher Education Center website under the Exams section of Become a Teacher. A brief description of these tests and assessments is provided below.

Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA)

The edTPA is a subject area-specific, performance-based assessment for pre-service teacher candidates, which is centered on student learning. Evidence of candidate teaching proficiency in the areas of planning, engagement and instruction, and assessment is drawn from a subject-specific learning segment, 3–5 lessons from a unit of instruction. Assessment artifacts include video clips of instruction, lesson plans, student work samples, analysis of student learning, and reflective commentaries. These artifacts will be taken together and scored by trained evaluators using the standardized set of edTPA rubrics. Effective September 1, 2015, initial license candidates (i.e., students completing certification programs) were required to complete the edTPA as part of their student teaching. Effective September 1, 2016, initial license candidates were required to pass the edTPA to be recommended for licensure.

Content Test

Students completing professional education programs must demonstrate proficiency in their content area. This is accomplished a number of ways, varying by certification area. For example, Elementary Education students must have a major GPA of 3.0. World Language Education students must have a 3.0 in their major or minor area, meet an ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview requirement, and also pass the ACTFL Writing Proficiency Test (WPT). A student may be required to take and pass an approved examination in their content area, usually the appropriate Praxis II: Subject Assessments/Specialty Area Tests through the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test

As of January 31, 2014, individuals seeking an initial Wisconsin license to teach in kindergarten through grade 5 or in special education, an initial Wisconsin license as a reading teacher, or an initial Wisconsin license as a reading specialist, must take and pass the Wisconsin Foundations Reading Foundations Test. Undergraduate programs impacted by this requirement are Elementary Education and Special Education.

This test is for Wisconsin licensing purposes only. Students who choose not to pursue Wisconsin educator licensing need not take and pass this test. This test is in addition to all other required tests and assessments for certification and licensure.

Field Experiences

School-based field experiences are a critical part of students' professional preparation for teaching. Under Wisconsin State regulations, students seeking teaching certification from UW–Madison are required to complete at least one pre-student teaching practicum and at least one full semester of student teaching. Most programs at UW–Madison require students to complete additional field experiences.  

Pre–Student Teaching Practicum

The pre–student teaching practicum gives students firsthand knowledge of the classroom environment and the teacher's role. For many students, the practicum is the initial encounter with the real world of teaching. Practicum students do not assume the degree of classroom responsibility they do during student teaching. Under the supervision of an experienced teacher, practicum students observe classroom activities, assist the teacher with day-to-day classroom management tasks, interact one-to-one with students, and instruct small groups. The cooperating teacher and university supervisor use the practicum to assess the student's readiness for the student teaching experience.

Student Teaching Experience

Student teaching, the culminating field experience, is a full-time, school district semester assignment that places a university student under the guidance of an experienced, qualified cooperating teacher. After an orientation period, the student teacher gradually assumes more responsibility for planning, instruction, and overall classroom management. Student teachers follow the daily schedule of the cooperating teacher and the building policies of the school, and function as regular staff members in arrival and departure times and attendance at school events.

The student teaching experience follows the calendar of the local school district. A fall semester assignment will typically begin the latter part of August and end the latter part of January. A spring semester assignment will begin the latter part of January and end mid-June. Holiday breaks follow the school district calendar. Carrying other formal course work during the student teaching semester is strongly discouraged.

Detailed policies and regulations regarding field experiences can be found on the Teacher Education Center website. Students and staff are responsible for knowing and complying with the Field Experience policies. Many professional programs have their own separate handbooks and specific policies; students are also responsible for those policies and procedures.

Withdrawing From/Failing Field Experience Assignments

Withdrawing from a field experience has serious implications for the student’s progress in the program. Students who withdraw or receive an unsatisfactory grade (including a “D”) from a field experience may not repeat such experiences without approval from the program coordinator. Students withdrawing from or receiving an unsatisfactory grade in field experiences in one major or program may not enroll in another major or program without written permission from the program coordinator. Because of the consequences that withdrawal from a confirmed assignment may have on a student's future progress in the teaching certification program, a student who contemplates such action is strongly urged to consult with the program coordinator to fully understand the implications of such action and the options available.

Minority Group Relations and Conflict Resolution

Minority Group Relations

Wisconsin State teacher education regulations require students to complete a section titled Minority Group Relations. The rules identify Minority Group Relations as

  • The history, culture, and tribal sovereignty of American Indian tribes and bands located in Wisconsin.
  • The history, culture and contributions of women and various racial, cultural, language and economic groups in the United States.
  • The philosophical and psychological bases of attitude development and change.
  • The psychological and social implications of discrimination, especially racism and sexism in the American society.
  • Evaluating and assessing the forces of discrimination, especially racism and sexism on faculty, students, curriculum, instruction, and assessment in the school program.
  • Minority group relations through direct involvement with various racial, cultural, language and economic groups in the United States.

UW–Madison teacher education programs address these areas through course work and experiences in each professional education program. Students who successfully complete their professional program will have satisfied each of the areas of Minority Group Relations.

Conflict Resolution Requirement

Wisconsin State teacher education regulations require all individuals pursuing teacher certification to have formal training in conflict resolution. This includes

  • Resolving conflicts between pupils and between pupils and school staff.
  • Assisting pupils in learning methods of resolving conflicts between pupils and between pupils and school staff, including training in the use of peer mediation to resolve conflicts between pupils.
  • Dealing with crises, including violent, disruptive, potentially violent or potentially disruptive situations that may arise in school or activities supervised by school staff as a result of conflicts between pupils or between pupils and other persons.

All teacher certification programs include conflict resolution training in their required course work.


As of July 1, 1998, the State of Wisconsin requires that all persons seeking initial and renewal licenses to teach reading or language arts in grades Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 6 (PK–6) must have successfully completed instruction in teaching reading and language arts using appropriate instructional methods, including phonics. "Phonics" means a method of teaching beginners to read and pronounce words by learning the phonetic value of letters, letter groups and syllables.

The Phonics requirement applies to students completing Elementary Education and Special Education certification programs. UW–Madison students fulfill this requirement through the successful completion of courses that are already required, so no additional course work is needed to meet this statutory requirement.


This licensing requirement is mandatory for secondary Social Studies (and Agri-Science) Education certification. Students with previous degrees in their subjects must also monitor and complete this requirement for certification and licensure.

Students typically complete the cooperatives requirement after being admitted to the Secondary Social Studies program and should consult with the program coordinator regarding its completion.

Teacher Standards

UW–Madison teacher education students must meet all state licensing requirements for initial teaching certification in Wisconsin. These requirements, sometimes referred to as administrative rules "PI 34," mandate that individuals demonstrate proficiency on state-approved teaching standards. Each teacher education institution in Wisconsin has adopted a set of teacher education standards that meet state guidelines. These standards must be met by all students completing a licensing program.

Program graduates of UW-Madison demonstrate their knowledge and skills in five broad standard areas: (1) learner and learning environment, (2) planning, (3) engaging/instructing, (4) assessing, and (5) behaving in professional and ethical ways. Guided by Foundational Knowledge (Content) Standards, programs provide the knowledge and skills needed to meet the Performance Standards.

Applying for a Teaching License

The State of Wisconsin requires that anyone wishing to teach in a public K–12 setting hold a valid teaching license issued through the Department of Public Instruction. In addition to completing a certification program, students must submit a separate application for this license. Students intending to complete a teacher certification program should monitor program requirements carefully. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) periodically implements regulations that affect all certification programs; teacher certification candidates are responsible for having up-to-date information about certification requirements.

Licensing Levels

The following licensing options are offered at UW–Madison.

  • The Elementary Education program currently offers two licensing levels: Early Childhood and also Middle Childhood through Early Adolescence
  • The Special Education program certifies students at both the Middle Childhood through Early Adolescence level and also at the Early Adolescence through Adolescence level. The Special Education/Elementary Education dual major option certifies students only at the Middle Childhood through Early Adolescence level.
  • Secondary Education programs certify students to teach their subject area at the Early Adolescence through Adolescence level.
  • Students completing Language Education programs will be licensed at the Early Childhood through Adolescence level.
  • Students in special fields such as Art, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Music, and Physical Education will be licensed at the Early Childhood through Adolescence level.

Wisconsin State Licensing

The State of Wisconsin issues an initial teaching license to certified teachers. The current fee is $125. An online license application is available through the Department of Public Instruction. A Criminal Background Investigation (CBI) will also be conducted by DPI. Information about fingerprint submission, when necessary, is available through the Department of Public Instruction.

Before applying for a license, DPI requires the electronic submission of “Endorsed Candidate for Licensure" (ECL) data by the certifying officer of the institution where the teacher preparation was completed. For UW–Madison teacher certification students, the endorsement will come from the School of Education, 139 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall. Once this information has been submitted to DPI, students are notified by email that they may begin the application online.

Before endorsing a student, UW–Madison requires that (1) all certification requirements are met; (2) student teaching (following the school district calendar) is completed; (3) final grades are posted and reviewed; (4) the degree is "posted" by the registrar's office (four to five weeks after graduation); and (5) a recommendation for certification is received from the program faculty. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction may require an additional 6 to 12 weeks for license processing. See Educator Licensing for additional information about the licensing process.

Licensing Outside of Wisconsin

To apply for a license in a state other than Wisconsin, first check out the application requirements of that state. The University of Kentucky has a website that provides links to teacher licensing agencies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Many states have a verification form that needs to be signed by a UW–Madison certification officer. This form verifies that a state-approved licensing program has been completed. These forms should be sent to the School of Education Student Services Office at 139 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall, or by email ( to be completed. If the form requests information about practicum and student teaching assignments (names of schools, grade levels, dates, etc.), this information must be completed before sending the form to Student Services. 

Professional Certification/Licensure Disclosure (NC-SARA)

The United States Department of Education requires institutions that provide distance education to disclose information for programs leading to professional certification or licensure about whether each program meets state educational requirements for initial licensure or certification. Following is this disclosure information for this program:

The requirements of this program meet Certification/Licensure in the following states:

Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin

The requirements of this program do not meet Certification/Licensure in the following states:

Not applicable

The requirements of this program have not been determined if they meet Certification/Licensure in the following states:

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming; District of Columbia; American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands

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.