The bachelor of science degree in physical education prepares individuals for careers in a variety of areas. At the heart of the degree is the physical education teacher education program, which has been preparing excellent physical educators since 1911. The bachelor of science degree in physical education is the key to obtaining physical education teaching positions in Wisconsin, other states, and internationally.

Recent research indicates that an individual's positive memories of physical education are the most important factor in shaping future attitudes toward, and participation in, physical activity.

Our program is committed to developing professionals who will provide the best physical, mental, and psychological experiences possible. Improvements in physical education experiences can inspire increased physical activity with the potential to benefit the health of millions of people.

A degree in physical education also readies individuals for teaching positions outside of school settings. Graduates of the program have pursued successful careers in many positions unrelated to teaching. Program alumni are well represented in the areas of coaching and officiating, recreation, fitness, healthcare, and sport management.  

The careers of some of our physical education alumni are highlighted here.

UW–Madison's PE program has recently been redesigned to address emerging trends in physical education pedagogy. Critical elements of the new curriculum include:

  • A cutting-edge conceptual approach to teaching physical education
  • “Hands-on” guided teaching
  • Culturally responsive teaching techniques
  • An emphasis on urban, inclusive, and multicultural settings
  • The use of movement activities to build strong teams
  • Completion of the degree in four years

Physical education students also benefit from:

  • Nationally and state recognized faculty and staff members
  • Certification options in Adapted Physical Education and Health Education
  • Small class sizes and advising groups
  • A strong science and technology based curriculum
  • Instruction within the nationally ranked UW–Madison School of Education

Graduates are eligible to apply for a Wisconsin Physical Education license at the Early Childhood through Adolescence (Pre–K through 12) level.


Undergraduate physical education students generally apply to the professional part of the physical education degree program in their sophomore year. Currently, students are admitted to the program twice a year, effective for the fall or spring semester following selection. Once admitted, students typically spend five semesters completing their remaining coursework.

Entering the School of Education

New and Current UW–Madison Students

New freshmen and transfer students interested in physical 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 physical education receive a pre-classification of PED. This classification indicates that a student is interested in physical education, but has not applied and been admitted to the professional part of the undergraduate program.

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 2.75, 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. To remain in good standing, students with a PED classification must maintain campus and semester GPAs of 2.75, as modified by the Last 60 Credits rule. Admission as a “pre-professional” student does not guarantee admission to the professional program.

It is strongly recommended that students interested in physical education consult with an advisor in the Kinesiology department. It would also be helpful to speak with an academic advisor in Education Academic Services (EAS), 139 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall. Students may call 608-262-1651 to schedule an appointment with an advisor.

Prospective Transfer Students

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. Prospective transfer students are strongly advised to meet with an Education Academic Services advisor in advance of their application; to schedule, call 608-262-1651.

Students with a Previous Degree

Prospective applicants who already hold an undergraduate degree are strongly encouraged to meet with an Education Academic Services advisor 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.

Application and Admission

Certification to teach physical education requires that a student be admitted into the professional part of the degree program. The School of Education admits students into the physical education program twice a year, effective for the fall or spring semester following selection. Resources limit the number of students who can be served by the UW–Madison Physical Education Teacher Education Program. In recent years the physical education program has been able to accommodate all qualified applicants; however, if the number of qualified applicants to physical 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 Apply to a Program page for application deadlines and detailed information regarding current eligibility requirements and selection criteria prior to submitting an application.

To be considered for admission to the professional program, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Total Credits/Prerequisite Coursework: Earn 40 or more credits by the end of the semester in which the application is submitted, including the following prerequisite courses:
    • KINES 116 First Aid and Basic Life Support (2 cr), or exemption. Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers certification or CPR/AED for Professional Rescuers certification may substitute for the CPR/AED portion of Kines 116. First Aid certification may substitute for the first aid portion of Kines 116. Students possessing current certifications may submit documentation and request a waiver of KINES 116. Students must present both certifications (CPR/AED and first aid) to exempt from the class.
    • KINES 119 Introduction to Kinesiology (2 cr)
  • Cumulative Grade Point Average: Earn a minimum 2.75 (on a 4.00 scale) cumulative GPA on all college coursework attempted or a 2.75 cumulative GPA based on the Last 60 Credits Rule (detailed below) by the end of summer of the application year.1 This 2.75 GPA must be maintained through the semester during which the application is submitted to remain eligible for admission.
  • Submit completed program application form(s), transcripts, and all other related application materials by the application deadline specified on the School of Education's Apply to a Program 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.) Currently, retention and graduation GPAs are based on all credits attempted at UW–Madison as an undergraduate student. If each semester's GPA after admission to the program meets the required GPA for retention, the student will be allowed to continue and complete the program. More information on this rule is available here.


The Admissions Committee will review application files with three key areas in mind:

  • Academic Qualifications: The Department of Kinesiology and the Physical Education Teacher Education Program seek students with strong academic credentials. This includes cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA), course selection, and trend of college grades.
  • Goals: The required personal statement provides an opportunity for students to express their reasons for pursuing a career in physical education and what has shaped their desire to do so. The admissions committee expects applicants to have a foundational understanding of physical education and to have a sense of some of the issues that physical educators face. Observing or volunteering in physical education settings can help applicants demonstrate an understanding of the field.
  • Other Contributions: The Department of Kinesiology and the Physical Education Teacher Education Program seek students whose diverse work experiences, life experience, stated goals, and cultural background are assets to the learning environment in both the department and the professional program.


Applicants to the Physical Education Teacher Education Program will compete for a specific number of openings in the program. Each application will be reviewed by at least two academic faculty or staff from the Admissions Committee. Each committee member will independently examine and rate applicants’ files on a scale of 1 (do not accept) to 5 (definitely accept) using a holistic view based on the criteria above. The committee members will then share and discuss their ratings and select the final cohort for admission.

Students will be provisionally accepted in December or May. The offer of admission will be revoked and the student withdrawn from subsequent Kinesiology courses (typically during January or August) if any of the following requirements are not met:

  • All prerequisite courses completed by the end of the semester in which the application is submitted.
  • Maintenance of a cumulative GPA of last 60-credit GPA of at least 2.75.

If there are more eligible applicants than spaces available, eligible applicants will be rank-ordered for admission based on

  1. cumulative GPA or 60-credit GPA and
  2. nonacademic factors.


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 Education Academic Services.

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 Physical Education program has six components:

  • Liberal studies courses expose students to a broad range of academic disciplines. The university-wide General Education requirements also encourage this breadth of study.
  • Science Core coursework offers in-depth study of the basic sciences and mathematics.
  • Kinesiology Core courses look at how the body responds and adapts to exercise, the role of psychological factors in sports and exercise, mechanics applied to biological systems, and how movement is controlled, learned, and developed over the life span.
  • The Physical Education requirements focus on advanced study in Physical Education pedagogy, including teaching methods coursework and field experiences in the schools.
  • Education coursework includes an examination of the school's relationship to our society and also of the processes by which students grow and learn.
  • Elective coursework is taken to reach the minimum of 120 credits required for the degree.

While not required, teaching certifications in Adapted Physical Education and Health Education are also offered.

Science and Kinesiology Core Courses

With the exception of KINES 116 First Aid and Basic Life Support , KINES 119 Introduction to Kinesiology and KINES 121 Foundations of Physical Education , Kinesiology coursework must be taken after admission into the professional part of the undergraduate program.

MATH 112 Algebra3
CHEM 103 General Chemistry I4-5
or CHEM 108 Chemistry in Our World
ANAT&PHY 337 Human Anatomy 13
ANAT&PHY 235 Human Physiology and Health (formerly KINES 235) 24
KINES 116 First Aid and Basic Life Support 32
KINES 119 Introduction to Kinesiology2
KINES 314 Physiology of Exercise4
KINES 318 Biomechanics of Human Movement3
KINES 350 Introduction to Exercise Psychology3
KINES 361 Motor Learning and Performance3

Physical Education Courses

Effective for Summer, 2018 program admission.

KINES 121 Foundations of Physical Education2
KINES 315 Assessment and Research in Physical Activity Pedagogy3
KINES 316 Adapted Physical Activity3
KINES 325 Group Development and Behavior Management3
KINES 353 Health and Physical Education in a Multicultural Society2
KINES 370 Planning, Facilitating & Assessment in Movement and Health Professionals3
KINES 371 Methods and Practicum of Teaching PK-12 Dance and Gymnastics3
KINES 372 Methods and Practicum of Teaching PK-12 Educational Games and Fitness3
KINES 373 Methods and Practicum of Teaching Secondary Sport Concepts and Skills3
KINES 412 Organization and Administration of Physical Education2
KINES/​CURRIC  478 Elementary School Physical Education Student Teaching6
KINES/​CURRIC  479 Middle School or High School Physical Education Student Teaching6

Professional Education Courses

Learning (Minimum of 3 credits)
ED PSYCH 301 How People Learn3
Foundations of the Profession: (Minimum of 3 credits)
ED POL 300 School and Society3
or ED POL/​HISTORY  412 History of American Education
Literacy, Including Reading:
CURRIC 305 Integrating the Teaching of Reading with Other Language Arts (also meets Communication Part B requirement)3

Additional Certification Options

Physical Education students are encouraged to increase their content knowledge and teaching capabilities through additional training. Although not required, teaching certifications are available in health education and adapted physical education. Students may pursue more than one additional certification.

Health Education minor, 30 credits.

Contact Cindy Kuhrasch,, for additional information about the Health Education minor.

Adapted Physical Education, 15 credits.

Contact Tim Gattenby,, 608-262-9562, for additional information regarding Adapted Physical Education at UW-Madison.

Certification in Adapted Physical Education requires:

Required Courses
KINES 316 Adapted Physical Activity (required of all PE majors)3
KINES 300 Practicum in Kinesiology (Adapted Sport and Fitness:Adults)1-3
KINES 364 Assessment and Programming in Adapted Physical Education3
KINES 365 Practicum: Adapted Physical Education (Children)2
RP & SE 300 Individuals with Disabilities3
Select one elective. Requires advisor approval.
RP & SE 330 Behavior Analysis: Applications to Persons with Disabilities3
RP & SE 450 Collaborating with Families of Individuals with Disabilities3
RP & SE 470 Individuals with Learning and Behavioral Disabilities3
RP & SE 505 Biological, Psychosocial, and Vocational Aspects of Disabilities3
RP & SE/​CURRIC  506 Strategies for Inclusive Schooling3
CS&D 110 Introduction to Communicative Disorders3
CS&D 240 Language Development in Children and Adolescents3
CS&D 424 Sign Language I2
PSYCH 405 Abnormal Psychology 13-4
PSYCH 512 Behavior Pathology-Psychoses3

Continuation Requirement: Department of Kinesiology

All students admitted to undergraduate programs in the Department of Kinesiology, including Physical Education, must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.75, based on all UW–Madison campus course work. Consult the School of Education's Academic Policies and Procedures for additional information about the continuation requirement.

GPA and Other Graduation Requirements

Graduation Requirements

Based on UW–Madison coursework.

  • 2.75 cumulative grade point average. This may be modified by the Last 60 Credits Rule.
  • 2.75 cumulative grade point average across all professional education courses (excluding practicum and student teaching).
  • 2.75 cumulative grade point average in the major.
  • A minimum of 120 credits.
  • Major residency: Degree candidates must complete at least 15 credits of upper-level major coursework (numbered 300–699) in residence on the UW–Madison campus.
  • Senior residency: Degree candidates must complete their last 30 credits in residence on the UW–Madison campus. Student teaching and practicum are considered part of the 30 credits.

Degree Audit (DARS)

At UW–Madison, a DARS report is used to document a student's progress toward the completion of their degree. This degree audit identifies the requirements that have already been completed, and also those that remain unsatisfied. A DARS report can offer suggestions about appropriate courses that may be taken to meet specific requirements and can assist in the academic planning process. 

Students can access DARS reports through their Student Center in My UW–Madison. Go to the Academics tab and find DARS on the dropdown menu.

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

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 the document of record, i.e., certifying document of degree completion, for program areas 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. (Standard 1) Incorporates Understanding of Human Learning and Development. Teachers design learning environments and pedagogical practices for students that are grounded in concepts and interpretive frameworks provided by disciplines that study human development and learning.
  2. (Standard 2) Understands Social Context of Schooling. Teachers understand how local, state, national, and global social and political contexts differentially affect schooling and its outcomes for students.
  3. (Standard 3) Demonstrates Sophisticated Curricular Knowledge. Teachers understand the central concepts, assumptions, tools of inquiry, ways of reasoning, uncertainties, and controversies of exercise science and physical educations.
  4. (Standard 4) Demonstrates Pedagogical Knowledge in Specific Domains. Teachers are knowledgeable about the problems, challenges, and opportunities that commonly arise as students develop understanding or competence in physical education.
  5. (Standard 5) Explains and Justifies Educational Choices. Teachers can articulate and defend their curricular and instructional choices with sound ethical and pedagogical justifications.
  6. (Standard 6) Connects School and Community. Teachers use the knowledge and abilities necessary for collaboration with individuals, groups, and agencies within the school and community. They base instruction of students on an understanding of curricular goals, subject matter, and the community, and help the students make connections between community-based knowledge and school knowledge.
  7. (Standard 7) Understands and Adapts to Multiple Forms of Communication. Teachers understand and adapt to students’ multiple forms of expressing and receiving experiences, ideas, and feelings.
  8. (Standard 8) Employs Varied Assessment Processes. Teachers understand and thoughtfully use formal and informal evaluation strategies to assess students’ achievements, strengths, challenges, and learning styles for continuous development.
  9. (Standard 9) Manages Learning Environment. Teachers establish and maintain an environment that engages students in learning while providing for their physical and socio-emotional well-being.
  10. (Standard 10) Employs Varied Instructional Strategies. Teachers understand and use a variety of instructional strategies to enhance students’ learning.
  11. (Standard 11) Uses Technologies. Teachers appropriately incorporate new and proven technologies into instructional practice. They understand the major social, cultural, and economic issues surrounding their implementation.
  12. (Standard 12) Accommodates for All Students. Teachers design educational environments and use instructional practices that accommodate students’ achievements, strengths, challenges, interests, and learning styles.
  13. (Standard 13) Is a Reflective Practitioner. Teachers are reflective practitioners who evaluate the effects of their assumptions, choices, and actions on others (students, parents, and other professionals in the learning community) and who actively seek out opportunities to grow professionally. They examine assumptions enmeshed in ways of thinking and in familial, institutional, and cultural lore, and practices.
  14. (Standard 14) Relates Well with Students, Families, and Communities. Teachers relate to students, families, and community members in a fair, respectful, and sensitive manner. They show an appreciation for the cultural diversity of our society.
  15. (Standard 15) Understands Legal Rights and Responsibilities. Teachers understand the legal rights and responsibilities of professional educators and the law as it applies to their specific domains of teaching.

Physical Education – Sample Four Year Plan

This sample 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 your 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 (fall or spring semester)3
KINES 1212KINES 1162
Liberal Studies course work7-10CHEM 1085
 MATH 112 (also meets Quantitative Reasoning A)3
 Liberal Studies course work0-3
 16 15
KINES 3253KINES 315 (also meets Quantitative Reasoning B)3
ED PSYCH 3013ED POL 300 or 4123
Ethnic Studies3Liberal Studies or General Elective course work8
Liberal Studies course work3 
 15 17
KINES 3532KINES 3503
KINES 3613KINES 3723
KINES 3703CURRIC 305 (also meets Communication B)3
KINES 3713Liberal Studies or General Elective course work3
 14 16
KINES 4122 
Liberal Studies or General Elective course work6 
 15 12
Total Credits 120


Physical Education Advising

Prospective off-campus and on-campus physical education students will meet with Dan Timm in the kinesiology department.  Students considering physical education should schedule an appointment with Dr. Timm as soon as possible; call 608-262-0259. Pre-admission advising is conducted by the kinesiology department and staff at Education Academic Services (EAS), see below.

Students with either a pre-certification (PED) or certification (BSPE) classification are required to meet with their department advisor at least once per semester. Mandatory advising meetings are conducted every semester, just before enrollment begins for the following semester.

General School of Education Advising

All undergraduate students in the School of Education are served by three offices devoted to academic and/or career advising. Each student in the School of Education is assigned at least one advisor and is encouraged to meet with the advisor on a regular basis. Students will also be assigned a faculty or staff advisor when admitted to the professional component of their degree program. Departmental advisors provide more in-depth knowledge of the major and of courses offered by the department.

Undergraduate Advising and Academic Dean's Office—Education Academic Services (EAS)

139 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall; 608-262-1651

Education Academic Services (EAS) is the undergraduate dean's office for students in the School of Education. Staff members interpret school regulations, policies, and program requirements; take exceptions around requirements and deadlines; advise current and prospective students; monitor students having academic difficulties; coordinate field placements; facilitate the program admissions process; and maintain the official files of students in the school.

Students should meet with an advisor during their first semester on campus (if not before) and are encouraged to meet with an advisor at least once a semester. This is particularly important during the freshman and sophomore years. Appointments may be arranged by calling or visiting the office.

EAS advisors answer questions and provide guidance to current and prospective students. They consult with and refer students to faculty members and departmental advisors. Once a student is admitted to a professional program within the School of Education, he or she will also be assigned a faculty or staff advisor. Advising then becomes a partnership, with EAS and OURR advisors continuing to help students with course selection, degree progress monitoring, academic difficulties, and interpretation of policies and procedures.

Program advisors help students select and plan a program of study in the major, negotiate issues within the department, and, in the case of certification programs, follow the students' progress through their professional courses. These divisions are flexible, and students are encouraged to consult with all advisors who can help with a situation or answer a question.

OURR: Office of Undergraduate Recruitment and Retention (Student Diversity Programs)

105 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall, 608-262-8427 or 608-262-1651

The UW–Madison School of Education is committed to promoting equity and increasing diversity in its programs. OURR staff work collaboratively with Education Academic Services and campus and community partners to support underrepresented students interested in majors in the School of Education.

OURR staff perform outreach, recruitment, and advising on behalf of the School. OURR staff also support current students with their personal and professional growth, their transition from high school to college, financial aid, and career exploration.  

OURR works to build a network of students and graduates who may strengthen, transform, and lead their communities through education, service, and other contributions. Students are invited to visit OURR staff at 105 Education Building—stop in, or call one of the numbers listed above to set up an appointment.

School of Education Career Center

L107 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall, 608-262-1755

  • Exploring career options linked to School of Education majors
  • Seeking a major that fits you and helps you reach your career goals
  • Researching graduate schools and preparing application materials
  • Beginning your job search and not sure where to start
  • Want assistance with your résumé, cover letter, or interviewing skills
  • Want to connect with potential employers

The Career Center provides resources and individual consultations to assist you in reaching your career goals.  A plethora of resources can be found on the Career Center website

Explore career possibilities for specific majors in Career Exploration - Resources. This section of the website provides tools for clarifying your personal criteria for success, identifying specific career options linked to majors, identifying steps for career/major selection, and includes strategies for making the most of your academic and student experience.

  • Confirm your decisions. Gain hands-on experience in the career field you are pursuing. Assess the perceptions of your career and major options for accuracy and develop professional and soft skills.  The Career Exploration – Gain Experience and Evaluate website section provides strategies for gaining real-world experience.
  • Prepare to gain entry into the next phase of your career. Learn about graduate school requirements and the application process.  Develop your promotional materials for employers and graduate schools, and obtain feedback and suggestions for enhancing them. Visit the website sections Applying to Graduate School, Creating Application Materials, and Career and Job Link Resources for details.  
  • Implement your plans for your future. Investigate strategies for Conducting a Job Search. Attend Fairs & Events planned especially for you. Apply for graduate school acceptance or for job opportunities.  Practice and polish your Interviewing skills. Negotiate job and graduate school offers.

Personalized career assistance is available through individual appointments with consultants in the Career Center.  Schedule an appointment here.

Targeted career-related events and workshops are conducted each semester. 

The Career Center also coordinates teacher recruitment fairs each fall and spring semester and collaborates with career centers across campus to provide campus-wide career fairs at the beginning of each semester. 

Information about faculty, staff, and other contributors to the Department of Kinesiology 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 school's 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 academic dean in Education Academic Services.

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/​BIOLOGY/​ZOOLOGY  152 Introductory Biology5
BOTANY 240 Plants and Humans3
BOTANY/​ENVIR ST/​ZOOLOGY  260 Introductory Ecology3
ECON/​A A E/​ENVIR ST  343 Environmental Economics3-4
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 Sociology3
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 School of Education website under Academic Tests for Prospective Teachers. 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. After August 31, 2015, initial license candidates (i.e., students completing certification programs) must complete the edTPA as part of their student teaching and after August 31, 2016, initial license candidates will be required to pass the edTPA before they can 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.

Find detailed policies and regulations regarding student teaching in the document, Teacher Education Field Experience Policies (July, 2017). 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. For more detailed information about how required courses address Minority Group Relations for each program area, see the School of Education's PI 34 site. Choose Certification Programs, select the program of interest, and click on Rules & Statutes.

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. For more detailed  information about how conflict resolution is addressed in each program area, see the School of Education's PI 34 site. Choose Certification Programs, select the program of interest, and click on Rules & Statutes.


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, Professor Alan Lockwood, 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. The current standards of the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Education can be found on the school's website.

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.