Frequently Asked Questions: Graduate Degree Admissions

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What is the expected educational background for being admitted to a Curriculum and Instruction graduate degree?

All applicants for admission to graduate study are expected to have completed at least 12 credits in professional education courses. Equivalent courses taught outside a school of education are permissible, so long as an express focus on professional education is evident. Applicants lacking this background will be required to take a specified number of credits of education coursework in addition to the course work ordinarily required in the graduate program. The number of credits may be reduced by showing completed education classes on a transcript and providing syllabi.

What are the application deadlines?

Ph.D. semester deadlines

To begin in Fall and Summer semesters: 

December 1 (of previous year)

M.S. semester deadlines 

To begin in Fall semester: 

All applicants: March 30, with rolling admissions for domestic applicants until June 30.

To begin in Spring semester: 

Domestic applicants: November 30 (of previous year)

International applicants: August 30 (of previous year) 

To begin in Summer semester: 

Domestic applicants: April 30

International Applicants: January 30

M.S. with Teacher Certification semester deadlines

M.S. with Teacher Certification only enrolls in the Summer semester

Early admission deadline: October 15 (of previous year)

Rolling admission deadline: June 1 (as space allows)

What materials are required for Ph.D. applications?

  • Transcripts.  Unofficial transcripts will be required in the online application.  The transcripts should include all previous collegiate work from each undergraduate and graduate institution attended. The Graduate School will request official transcripts if an applicant is recommended for admission by the department.  (Applicants should not mail official transcripts to Curriculum and Instruction.)
  • Statement of Reasons for Graduate Study. A detailed statement of your reasons for graduate study must be submitted either as part of your on-line application to the Graduate School or as a document mailed to the Curriculum and Instruction Graduate Program. The statement should indicate the graduate Area of Study within the department in which you intend to concentrate, your professional objectives and career goals, and your reasons for wishing to pursue a Ph.D. degree in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. This information is used to ascertain the appropriateness of your program goals in relation to the department’s mission and to identify a faculty member who may serve as your major professor (graduate advisor).
  • GRE Scores. Have Graduate Records Examination (GRE) General Test scores not older than five years sent directly from Educational Testing Service (ETS) to University of Wisconsin-Madison (institution code: 1846). Please note, we have temporarily waived our GRE requirement for the fall 2020 admissions season.
  • Three Letters of Recommendations. Ph.D. applicants are required to have three letters of reference assessing their academic and professional competence. Letters of reference written for teachers ordinarily include an evaluation of their professional competence, and the department does consider that information. However, the department needs letters that also give a knowledgeable appraisal of the applicant’s academic competence and research capability. A student’s former professors are usually best able to provide this, so the department encourages letters from such referees. Visit the Graduate School’s on-line application for instructions on how to have letters of recommendation to be submitted electronically.
  • Writing Sample. Ph.D. applicants are required to provide evidence of their writing ability by sending a writing sample (master’s thesis, academic paper from a graduate course, a journal article, or any other writing which the applicant believes can be used to judge writing ability). It should be uploaded to the supplemental application found at the Graduate School online application.
  • Resume or curriculum vitae (cv).
    Resumes should be uploaded to the supplemental application found at the Graduate School online application.
  • International Students. International applicants whose native language is not English must submit recent (not older than two years) results of a Test of English as a Second Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB). A score of at least 92 on TOEFL’s Internet-Based Test (IBT), 7 on the IELTS, or 82 on the MELAB is expected by both the Department and the Graduate School. Applicants with a lower score are sometimes admitted; this, however, is a rare event because prospective advisors, the Graduate Program Committee, the Department faculty, and the Graduate School must all concur for it to happen. The Department required that any student who obtained a TOEFL Total Score less than 92 or a TOEFL subtest score less than 21 take upon arrival the English as a Second Language Assessment Test (ESLAT), which is administered by UW-Madison’s Program in English as a Second Language (ESL). If the Program in English as a Second Language then recommends enrollment in specific ESL courses, the student must enroll in the recommended courses.

What materials are required for M.S. applications?

  • Transcripts​:  Unofficial transcripts will be required in the online application.  The transcripts should include all previous collegiate work from each undergraduate and graduate institution attended. The Graduate School will request official transcripts if an applicant is recommended for admission by the department.  (Applicants should not mail official transcripts to Curriculum and Instruction.)
  • Statement of Reasons for Graduate Study. A detailed statement of your reasons for graduate study must be submitted either as part of your on-line application to the Graduate School or as a document mailed to the Curriculum and Instruction Graduate Program. The statement should indicate the graduate Area of Study within the department in which you intend to concentrate, your professional objectives and career goals, and your reasons for wishing to pursue a M.S. degree in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. This information is used to ascertain the appropriateness of your program goals in relation to the department’s mission and to identify a faculty member who may serve as your major professor (graduate advisor).
  • GRE Scores. Have Graduate Records Examination (GRE) General Test scores not older than five years sent directly from Educational Testing Service (ETS) to University of Wisconsin-Madison (institution code: 1846). This requirement is waived for Master’s-degree applicants whose overall undergraduate grade point average was 3.00 or higher (on a 4-point scale).
  • Three Letters of Recommendations: All M.S. degree applications must be supported by written recommendations from three (3) persons qualified to judge the potential of the applicant as a graduate student. Visit the Graduate School’s on-line application for instructions on how to have letters of recommendation to be submitted electronically.
  • Resume or curriculum vitae (cv).
    Resumes should be uploaded to the supplemental application found at the Graduate School online application.
  • International Students: International applicants whose native language is not English must submit recent (not older than two years) results of a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB). A score of at least 92 on TOEFL’s Internet-Based Test (IBT), 7 on the IELTS, or 82 on the MELAB is expected by both the Department and the Graduate School. Applicants with a lower score are sometimes admitted; this, however, is a rare event because prospective advisors, the Graduate Program Committee, the Department faculty, and the Graduate School must all concur for it to happen. The Department requires that any student who obtained a TOEFL Total Score less than 92 or a TOEFL subtest score less than 21 take upon arrival the English as a Second Language Assessment Test (ESLAT), which is administered by UW-Madison’s Program in English as a Second Language (ESL). If the Program in English as a Second Language then recommends enrollment in specific ESL courses, the student must enroll in the recommended courses.

What should my Ph.D. or M.S. Research statement of reasons for graduate studies cover?

Your research statement should mention:

  • The area/s of the department you want to do research in;
  • The names of one to two specific faculty in those areas;
  • Your specific research interests in these areas;
  • How your prior research, interests and experiences feed into these research areas and interests (This is not a review of your resume or CV), and;
  • What you hope to contribute to the research area through your work – You are not expected to come into the program with your dissertation or thesis topic already decided, but you may discuss in broad terms your goals.

What materials are required for M.S. with Teacher Certification applications?

  • Transcripts.  Unofficial transcripts will be required in the online application.  The transcripts should include all previous collegiate work from each undergraduate and graduate institution attended. The Graduate School will request official transcripts if an applicant is recommended for admission by the department.  (Applicants should not mail official transcripts to Curriculum and Instruction.)
  • Statement of Reasons for Graduate Study. A detailed statement of your reasons for ​becoming a certified teacher must be submitted as part of your on-line application to the Graduate School. The statement should indicate the ​content area the applicant intends to pursue for licensure, professional objectives and career goals, and reasons for wishing to pursue a M.S. degree with teacher certification. This information is used to ascertain the appropriateness of applicant program goals in relation to the department’s mission and to identify the subject area faculty member who may serve as graduate advisor.
  • GRE Scores. The GRE requirement is waived for Master’s-degree applicants whose overall undergraduate grade point average was 3.00 or higher (on a 4-point scale). All other applicants must have Graduate Records Examination (GRE) General Test scores not older than ​ten years sent directly from Educational Testing Service (ETS) to University of Wisconsin-Madison (institution code: 1846). If scores are older than 5 years, additional testing materials will be requested.
  • Two to Three Letters of Recommendations: All Secondary M.S. degree applications must be supported by written recommendations from at least two (2) persons qualified to judge the potential of the applicant as a graduate student or as a teacher, up to three (3) will be accepted. During the application process, applicants will be asked to provide the name and email address of people writing a recommendation letter on their behalf. Visit the Graduate School’s on-line application for instructions on how the letters of recommendation will be submitted.
  • Resume or curriculum vitae (cv).
  • International Students: International applicants whose native language is not English must submit recent (not older than two years) results of a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB). A score of at least 92 on TOEFL’s Internet-Based Test (IBT), 7 on the IELTS, or 82 on the MELAB is expected by both the Department and the Graduate School. Applicants with a lower score are sometimes admitted; this, however, is a rare event because prospective advisors, the Graduate Program Committee, the Department faculty, and the Graduate School must all concur for it to happen. The Department requires that any student who obtained a TOEFL Total Score less than 92 or a TOEFL subtest score less than 21 take upon arrival the English as a Second Language Assessment Test (ESLAT), which is administered by UW-Madison’s Program in English as a Second Language (ESL). If the Program in English as a Second Language then recommends enrollment in specific ESL courses, the student must enroll in the recommended courses.

What are tuition and fees?

Tuition and fee rates are adjusted annually. For current tuition and fee information, visit the Office of the Registrar’s website. 

Are there funding opportunities available?

The department will guarantee four years of funding for each admitted, full-time PH.D. student. This funding could take the form of assistantships or fellowships and will include tuition remission and a small stipend. Assistantships typically involve 15-20 hours of professional work each week. Fellowships do not have work requirements but typically involve attending fellowship events and meetings. 

Part-time students are not eligible for fellowships or assistantships. A full-time student temporarily dropping to part-time status will not be eligible for funding while they are part-time.

We do not guarantee funding for Master’s students in our department. Many students successfully find funding after admission in other departments on campus. Students can find more information on funding by visiting the Office of Student Financial Aid (https://financialaid.wisc.edu/) website and by visiting the student job board at https://studentjobs.wisc.edu/uw-graduate-assistantships/

What special services are available for accessibility?

Students with disabilities may get information about learning aids, transportation, medical attendants, parking, building access, housing, library services, etc., from the McBurney Disability Resource Center website.