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.

UPCOMING DISSERTATION DEFENSE: “A Mixture Model Approach to Detect Examinees with Item Preknowledge”

Ed Psych PhD Candidate Seo Young Lee will defend her dissertation: “A Mixture Model Approach to Detect Examinees with Item Preknowledge.”

This dissertation explores how specific developmental tasks relate to college students’ sense of belonging and how belonging relates to students’ intentions to persist.


When: Monday, June 4 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Where: UW Educational Sciences building (1025 W. Johnson St.), Room 8528

The dissertation committee includes Profs. Jim Wollack, Dan Bolt, Jee-Seon Kim, Eric Camburn and Mark Albanese.

Seo Young Lee is a PhD candidate in the Quantitative Methods program. She received her master’s degree in Education with an emphasis in educational measurement and evaluation from Ewha Womans University of South Korea in 2005. Her research interests focus on how anomalous testing behaviors can be identified using statistical or modeling approaches. She is currently working at Prometric as a psychometrician.

Spotlight News


The department is pleased to announce that Dr. Sarah Short has joined the Human Development area as an assistant professor and the inaugural King Endowed Chair in Educational Psychology and the Center for Health Minds.

Dr. Short has a long-standing interest in the prevention of neurodevelopmental disorders and psychiatric illness and has conducted multidisciplinary research that unites the fields of psychology, biology, human development and neuroscience. Her work focuses on the identification of early risk factors and the characterization of brain and behavioral development starting at birth. In a second line of research, she has begun to investigate contemplative interventions with parents and children to facilitate learning. She aims to create neurodevelopmentally informed behavioral interventions that leverage the inherent plasticity of the developing brain to promote resilience in children.

Before joining the department, Dr. Short was an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and most recently served as the scientific co-director and an associate scientist at the Center for Healthy Minds here on campus.

Short will teach her first course  Brain & Behavioral Development from Prenatal to Pre-K: Setting the Stage for Learning in Fall 2018.


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.”



Assistant Prof. Andy Garbacz recently received an award from the National Association of School Psychologist’s Family, School and Community Partnership Interest Group.

The award recognizes his work examining approaches to strengthen connections and build partnerships across homes, schools, and communities to promote positive outcomes for children, families and schools. He specifically aims to develop home-school-community systems that support evidence-based interventions within multi-tiered systems of support.

“I am grateful for this acknowledgement of our work,” says Garbacz, who joined the department’s School Psychology Program in 2016. “This recognition highlights the dedication of our team, the strength of our collaborators across universities, organizations, and communities; and esteemed scholars who, through their important advancements, have made our work possible.”

Garbacz received the award at the 2018 National Association of School Psychologists Annual Convention in Chicago, Illinois.