The Department of Educational Psychology offers the master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees in educational psychology. The programs for the M.S. and Ph.D. in educational psychology provide comprehensive knowledge of the field and intensive specialization in one of three areas of study and research: human development, learning sciences, quantitative methods. The program also offers a Ph.D. in School Psychology.

The department provides training in research. Many faculty members in the department conduct controlled research studies with human participants; schools and other agencies in the Madison area cooperate in facilitating such research projects. Principal research facilities include the School of Education's Wisconsin Center for Education Research and the multidisciplinary Waisman Center.

Areas of Specialization 

Human Development

Professors: Bellmore, Brown, Enright, Hubbard, Matthews, Short, Vlach

This Human Development program focuses on individual development, with an emphasis on the beginning of the lifespan and formal schooling years (infancy through young adulthood). The Human Development area’s research seeks to make conceptual/theoretical contributions to the understanding of human behavior that can address practical concerns of educators, parents, and others. Special emphasis is placed on considering how diversity in personal backgrounds, contexts, and experiences contribute to the developing person. The graduate program provides a breadth and depth of knowledge about human development and educational psychology and encourages more detailed study in specific interest areas. Early in the program, students learn about general theories and issues in human development; specific developmental processes in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood; as well as associated statistical methods and research practices.

In the latter part of the program, students exercise individual choice in selecting courses in subject matter that will broaden or deepen an understanding of developmental processes. Such coursework may also extend to other programs of the university in which there is a research focus in human development.

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Resources

Students are eligible to compete for UW–Madison fellowships. A limited number of teaching and project assistantships are available within the department, and prospective students are encouraged to refer to the instructions for fellowships and assistantships contained in the program application information.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements

MODE OF INSTRUCTION

Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions

Accelerated: Accelerated programs are offered at a fast pace that condenses the time to completion. Students typically take enough credits aimed at completing the program in a year or two.

Evening/Weekend: ​Courses meet on the UW–Madison campus only in evenings and/or on weekends to accommodate typical business schedules.  Students have the advantages of face-to-face courses with the flexibility to keep work and other life commitments.

Face-to-Face: Courses typically meet during weekdays on the UW-Madison Campus.

Hybrid: These programs combine face-to-face and online learning formats.  Contact the program for more specific information.

Online: These programs are offered 100% online.  Some programs may require an on-campus orientation or residency experience, but the courses will be facilitated in an online format.

CURRICULAR REQUIREMENTS

Minimum Credit Requirement 56 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 38 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement 28 credits (50% of 56 credits) must be graduate-level coursework. Details can be found in the Graduate School’s policy: https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1244
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
This program follows the Graduate School's policy: https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1203.
Other Grade Requirements n/a
Assessments and Examinations Doctoral students are required to take a comprehensive preliminary/oral examination after they have cleared their record of all Incomplete and Progress grades (other than research and thesis). Deposit of the doctoral dissertation in the Graduate School is required.
Language Requirements No language requirements.
Graduate School Breadth Requirement All doctoral students are required to complete a doctoral minor or graduate/professional certificate.

Required COURSES

Human Development Pathway1

M.S. Requirements
ED PSYCH 709 Seminar in Research in Educational Psychology I3
ED PSYCH 710 Seminar in Research in Educational Psychology II3
ED PSYCH 712 Educational Psychology Diversity Seminar1
ED PSYCH 720 Child Development3
ED PSYCH 721 Adolescent Development3
ED PSYCH 760 Statistical Methods Applied to Education I3
ED PSYCH 761 Statistical Methods Applied to Education II3
Human Development Area Course
Select one of the following:3
ED PSYCH 711
Current Topics in Educational Psychology * with permission from HD Area Chair
ED PSYCH/​COUN PSY  723
Developmental Processes Across the Life Span
ED PSYCH/​HDFS  725
Theory and Issues in Human Development
ED PSYCH 921
Seminar in Adolescent Development
ED PSYCH 925
Advanced Seminar in Human Development
Elective credits approved by HD faculty11
Master's Thesis
Additional Ph.D. Requirements
Select two (2) additional Human Development area courses from the list above. Thesis and dissertation credits (990) can not be counted towards coursework requirements, but can count toward elective credits. No more than four credits can be earned in Independent Study (999).6
ED PSYCH 762 Introduction to the Design of Educational Experiments3
or ED PSYCH 763 Regression Models in Education
Breadth coursework9
Additional Elective credits to reach a total of 20 credits after MS degree5
Total Credits56
1

These pathways are internal to the program and represent different curricular paths a student can follow to earn this degree. Pathway names do not appear in the Graduate School admissions application, and they will not appear on the transcript.

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned ten years or more prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements. 

UW–Madison Undergraduate

No credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the degree.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison University Special student. Coursework earned ten or more years prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements. 

Probation

This program follows the Graduate School's Probation policy.

ADVISOR / COMMITTEE

This program follows the Graduate School's Advisor policy and Committees policy.

CREDITS PER TERM ALLOWED

15 credits

Time limits

This program follows the Graduate School's Time Limits policy.

grievances and appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

School of Education Grievance Policy and Procedures

The following School of Education Student Grievance Policy and associated procedures are designed for use in response to individual student grievances regarding faculty or staff in the School of Education.

Any individual student who feels they have been treated unfairly by a School of Education faculty or staff member has the right to file a grievance about the treatment and receive a timely response addressing their concerns. Any student, undergraduate or graduate, may use these grievance procedures, except employees whose complaints are covered under other campus policies. The grievance may concern classroom treatment, mentoring or advising, program admission or continuation, course grades (study abroad grade complaints are handled through International Academic Programs), or issues not covered by other campus policies or grievance procedures. 

For grievances regarding discrimination based on protected bases (i.e., race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, etc.), contact the Office of Compliance (https://compliance.wisc.edu/eo-complaint/).

For grievances or concerns regarding sexual harassment or sexual violence (including sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, stalking and sexual exploitation), contact the Sexual Misconduct Resource and Response Program within the Office of Compliance.

For grievances that involve the behavior of a student, contact the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards in the Dean of Students Office at https://conduct.students.wisc.edu/).

For grievances about, or directed at, faculty or staff in a School of Education department, unit, or program, students should follow these steps:

  1. Students are strongly encouraged to first talk with the person against whom the concern is directed.  Many issues can be settled informally at this level.  If students are unable to resolve concerns directly or without additional support, step 2 or 3 should be pursued.
  2. If unresolved after taking or considering step 1:
    1. If the concern is directed against a teaching assistant (TA), and the student is not satisfied, the student should contact the TA's supervisor, who is usually the course professor.  The course professor will attempt to resolve the concern informally.
    2. If the concern involves a non-TA instructor, staff member, professor, academic department, or School of Education office or unit, the student should contact the chair of the department or the director of the office or unit, or their designee. The chair or director, or their designee, will attempt to resolve the concern informally. If the concern is about the department chair or office/unit director, the student should consult the School of Education Senior Associate Dean for guidance.
  3. If the concern remains unresolved after step 2, the student may submit a formal grievance to the chair or director in writing within 30 business days1 of the alleged unfair treatment. To the fullest extent possible, a formal written grievance shall contain a clear and concise statement of the issue(s) involved and the relief sought.  
  4. On receipt of a written grievance, the chair or director will notify the person at whom the grievance is directed with a copy of the written grievance. The person at whom the complaint is directed may submit a written response, which would be shared with the student.
  5. On receipt of a written grievance, the chair or director will refer the matter to a department, office, or unit committee comprised of at least two members. The committee may be an existing committee or one constituted for this purpose. The committee, or delegates from the committee, may meet with the parties involved and/or review any material either party shares with the committee.  
  6. The committee will provide a written description of the facts of the grievance and communicate recommendations to the department chair or office/unit head regarding how the grievance should be handled.
  7. The chair or director will offer to meet with the student who made the grievance and also will provide a written decision to the student, including a description of any related action taken by the committee, within 30 business days of receiving the formal grievance.
    1

    For the purpose of this policy, business days refers to those days when the University Offices are open and shall not include weekends, university holidays, spring recess, or the period from the last day of exams of fall semester instruction to the first day of spring semester instruction. All time limits may be modified by mutual consent of the parties involved.

If the grievance concerns an undergraduate course grade, the decision of the department chair after reviewing the committee’s recommendations is final. 

Other types of grievances may be appealed using the following procedures:

  1. Both the student who filed the grievance or the person at whom the grievance was directed, if unsatisfied with the decision of the department, office or unit, have five (5) business days from receipt of the decision to contact the Senior Associate Dean, indicating the intention to appeal.   
  2. A written appeal must be filed with the Senior Associate Dean within 10 business days of the time the appealing party was notified of the initial resolution of the complaint.
  3. On receipt of a written appeal, the Senior Associate Dean will convene a sub-committee of the School of Education’s Academic Planning Council. This subcommittee may ask for additional information from the parties involved and/or may hold a meeting at which both parties will be asked to speak separately (i.e., not in the room at the same time).
  4. The subcommittee will then make a written recommendation to the Dean of the School of Education, or their designee, who will render a decision. The dean or designee’s written decision shall be made within 30 business days from the date when the written appeal was filed with the Senior Associate Dean.  For undergraduate students, the dean or designee’s decision is final.

Further appealing a School of Education decision – graduate students only

Graduate students have the option to appeal decisions by the School of Education dean or designee by using the process detailed on the Graduate School’s website.

Questions about these procedures can be directed to the School of Education Dean's Office, 377 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall, 608-262-1763.

Resources

Other

For the Ph.D. program, the department offers assistantships to incoming students.

  1. Acquire a strong foundation in current and past theories, research findings, and methodologies in their program area. Use critical thinking skills to synthesize existing knowledge, evaluate strengths and limitations in existing theory and research, and identify issues in need of additional inquiry - including conceptual and methodological approaches available to address these issues.
  2. Demonstrate a knowledge of and sensitivity to human diversity in terms of individual abilities and orientations and sociocultural backgrounds.
  3. Retrieve, evaluate, and interpret professional and scientific literature; use this information to develop or adapt theoretical frameworks and derive testable hypotheses or predictions for their own research / program evaluation projects.
  4. Learn to design realistic and feasible research or assessment projects in their program area and to prepare necessary protocols that are sensitive to the backgrounds of individuals who are the focus of their work.
  5. Conduct independent research and analyze and interpret resulting data.
  6. Create clear and concise reports of their research or program evaluations that are appropriate to the intended audiences, which may include fellow scholars (via scholarly journals), practitioners (via practitioner journals or reports), and lay audiences (via online or other published reports).
  7. Communicate effectively in collaborative work, instructional activities, and/or consultation settings with students and professional colleagues.
  8. Conduct research or program implementation / evaluation in accordance with ethical standards established in their field of inquiry.