University of Wisconsin–Madison

Our mission is to advance education-related theory and methodology; to improve knowledge about the biological, psychological, technological, and social processes of learning, development, and mental health in diverse populations; and to enhance learning and mental health in educational and community contexts through innovative educational interventions and effective prevention/ intervention programs.


UW-Madison’s Dept. of Educational Psychology has again been named as the top program in its field in U.S. News & World Report‘s 2019 Best Graduate Schools ranking.

“Our reputation is built on the faculty’s skill in conducting sophisticated and meaningful research — that is, research that has strong theoretical foundations, advanced research designs, and practical implications for educational practice,” says Ed Psych Department Chair Brad Brown. “Our faculty members are involved in studies of bullying, the fundamentals of math learning, use of technology to assist in learning and instruction, programs to inspire early reading, elements of successful family-school partnerships in rural areas, instruction for youths with autism, the adjustment of ethnic minority students to predominantly white college environments — a remarkable diversity of critical issues in education.”

Including this latest report, UW Ed Psych has now been ranked Number 1 for seven of the last eight years.


Our minor program will expand your understanding of how individuals learn, processes of human development, research methods and statistics, and/or how to enhance learning and adjustment in school settings.

Find more info here.

Spotlight News


Chelsea Olson, a third-year graduate student in the department’s Human Development area, has won a research grant to fund a study exploring how university students use a range of media to stay in touch with old friends from high school and make new friends at college. The UW-Madison Global Health Institute will fund the research.

“Our study will survey freshmen students at UW-Madison during next September and December to find out how they use texting and phone calls as well as social media – like Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat – to interact with old friends and make new social connections,” she says. “One potential impact of this study would be recommendations about what media platforms college freshmen could use to maintain friendships in order to reduce stress and benefit mental health.”


ICYMI: Is One Emoji Worth a Thousand Variables?

In the October issue of the journal Mathematics Teacher, Ed Psych Prof. Percival Matthews co-authored an article exploring the potential of icon-based mathematical games, emoji math and mobile math to promote student engagement and understanding of algebra.

For the article, which is entitled “An Emoji is Worth a Thousand Variables,” Matthews teamed up with Tom McCaffrey,  a mathematics teacher at Eagle Hill School, a private boarding school for students with learning disabilities.

“Emoji math is not watered down algebra,” the two write in the article. “It is a form of algebra using variables that students are more likely to encounter in life outside the classroom.”

Part of the department’s Human Development area, Matthews’ research is dedicated to understanding the ways that students learn about numbers, with a special emphasis on ratios and fractions.

You can find the journal article here.

Student Wins ‘Leaders & Legends’ Award

Pauline Ho, a first-year student in the department’s Human Development program area, was recently named as a 2017 Leaders & Legends honoree by the Who’s Who in Asian American Communities.

Ho is humbled by the award and appreciates the recognition as “confirmation for my passion and commitment in the Asian American community,” she says, adding “I want to pass on a torch of legacy to the next generations encouraging them to give back to their respective communities.”

An immigrant from Vietnam, Ho is a part of the department’s Peer Relations Study Group, which is run by Prof. Brad Brown. With PRSG and her Ed Psych studies, she plans to “conduct rigorous research exploring factors that influence underrepresented students’ educational experience and success from an asset-based perspective,” she says.

After graduation, Ho says she will “pursue a tenure-track position at a public research university where I can continue doing research, but also to go into the community and collaborate with community leaders to make changes in the community.”