Department of Curriculum and Instruction-Graduate Program Information

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Main Office

Curriculum & Instruction
School of Education
210 Teacher Education Building
225 North Mills Street
MadisonWI  53706

Tel: 608/263.4600
Fax: 608/263.9992

or by contact form

Information about the Graduate Programs

PhD Program

MS Program

MS Program

with SED Teacher Certification

The goals of the Ph.D. program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction are to help students develop abilities for research in the field of Curriculum and Instruction, imbuing them with a distinctive theoretical and critical edge; develop expertise in one of the department's areas of study, listed previously; acquire greater competence in curriculum evaluation and development; improve understanding of the teaching-learning process; gain depth and breadth of knowledge in related academic fields; and build a broadened professional background in areas related to curriculum and instruction, such as administration, counseling, educational psychology, supervision, and the anthropology, history, philosophy, and sociology of education.

Ph.D. study in the department is research-oriented. It prepares students for different forms of intellectual leadership in education including research, teacher education and other teaching in higher education, and leadership positions in educational agencies. These different forms of leadership are not mutually exclusive, but the relative emphasis given to each varies among students and areas of study.

For information about how to apply to the Ph.D. program, click here.

Ph.D. Program Handbook (PDF): This handbook provides a comprehensive guide for prospective, entering, and continuing Ph.D. degree candidates. It describes the current policies regarding admission, program requirements, examinations, minimum standards for satisfactory progress toward the degree, and transfer of credits.

Timeline to Ph.D degree (PDF): This one-page document summ‚Äčarizes the steps to completing a Ph.D. degree.

The M.S. program in the Curriculum and Instruction department prepares students for advanced work in education. In some cases, work leading to the degree prepares students to enter a new career as an educational specialist (e.g., curriculum developer, content-area specialist, school department head, curriculum supervisor, instructional technology specialist, early childhood specialist, or reading teacher). In other cases, it prepares students to perform at a higher level in their existing job. In yet other cases, it prepares students for Ph.D. study.

Motivations for master's degree work include professional updating, maintenance of accreditation, acquisition of new perspectives and skills, development of specialized knowledge, preparation to work with student teachers, preparation for leadership among teachers, and preparation for advanced graduate study. Whatever their personal reasons for pursuing the degree, master's degree students should expect both an atmosphere of intellectual inquiry and the serious academic standards befitting a graduate research program in curriculum and instruction.

For how to apply, see Applying to Graduate Programs.

M.S. Program Handbook (PDF): This handbook provides a comprehensive guide for prospective, entering, and continuing M.S. degree candidates. It describes the current policies regarding admission, course-load requirements, transfer of graduate course credit, program requirements, minimum standards for satisfactory progress toward the degree, and the Master's Examination.


The C&I Department also offers a masters degree with initial teacher certification, which prepares graduates for a secondary teaching license in their content area and ESL.  The content areas include English, Mathematics, Science (Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Space Science, Broad Field/Natural Science, Physics), and Social Studies (Broad Field Social Studies, Economics, Geography, History, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology).

Applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree with a relevant major (or its equivalent) in their teaching area to begin the full-time professional graduate program. Applicants will have the spring semester to complete necessary content coursework prior to the commencement of the program courses.

For how to apply, see Applying to Graduate Programs.

Applications completed prior to October 15th will be given priority status.  Applications completed after this time will be reviewed only as space permits.

For additional details on the Secondary Teaching Program, See MS with Secondary Teaching and ESL Certification


PhD Minor in Curriculum and Instruction

Doctoral students majoring in another department who desire a Ph.D. minor in curriculum and instruction should seek and enlist a faculty member in the department to serve as Ph.D. minor adviser (also known as the minor professor). The minor professor, in conference with the student and the major professor, approves the courses that will constitute the minor.

Twelve credits are required for a Ph.D. minor in Curriculum and Instruction. At least six of these credits must be in substantive, graduate-level courses taken in the department; this part of the requirement cannot be satisfied through independent reading, independent study, research, and thesis credits. With the approval of the minor professor, the remaining six credits may be met through an approved transfer of credits in substantive, graduate-level courses completed at other institutions. A maximum of three credits of the total 12-credit minor requirement may be met through graduate-level independent reading done in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.




Employment and Funding Opportunities

    • Current Graduate Assistantship Opportunities in the Department
    • Funding Opportunity information through Graduate Student Collaborative: Sign up for GradConnections, a weekly newsletter about leadership, professional development, social, funding, and service opportunities.
    • UW Student Job Center: Focuses on student job opportunities including assistantships in other departments and offices at the university 
    • Office of Fellowships & Funding Resources: Provides assistance to graduate students, staff and faculty on campuswide funding issues, particularly those related to internal and external fellowships.
    • School of Education Fellowships: Through the generosity of alumni, the School of Education offers 10-12 scholarships each year for current graduate students. Information is sent out in early February by the Curriculum and Instruction Graduate Program Coordinator with the application due in late March. They are awarded later in the spring for the following academic year.
    • Travel and Data Preparation Funds for Dissertators in the Department: Obtain information from the C&I Graduate Programs office. 
    • The Graduate School Vilas Travel Grant: Grants to support travel for conference presentation and research.

Professional Development Opportunities

    • School of Education Doctoral Research Program: The program offers a cross-disciplinary program of professional enrichment designed for School of Education graduate students, who intend to pursue careers as researchers in education and education-related fields.

Printable Departmental Forms

Student Organizations

    • CIRCLEup: CIRCLEup is a group of UW-Madison graduate students working to build greater community and support in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.
    • Teaching Assistant Association (TAA): TAA represents all graduate teaching and project assistants in negotiating the employment contract under which they work.
    • Graduate Student Collaborative (GSC): GSC serves as a resource and a voice for UW-Madison graduate students within the Graduate School. Through outreach, educational, and social programming, the GSC enhances UW-Madison graduate students' community involvement; professional, academic, and personal development; and quality of life.

Other Resources

    • Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures: This document (sometimes referred to as “Guidelines” or “Handbook”) helps answer questions about Graduate School academic and administrative policies and procedures.
    • The Guide to Graduate Student Life: Designed by graduate students, this guide offers useful hints for navigating Madison community and being a graduate student.
    • Office of Child Care and Family Resources (OCCFR): Students of the Department of Curriculum & Instruction are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the resources and services of OCCFR, which promotes the development and implementation of a coordinated child care and family support system on campus.

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