Applying to Graduate Programs

Applying to our Graduate Programs

If you have questions while completing the admissions process, please contact Educational Psychology’s Graduate Admission Coordinator via email at

Complete the Graduate School’s online application

Find the Graduate School’s Electronic Application page here.

The Department of Educational Psychology offers a limited number of fee waivers that prospective students may apply towards the UW-Madison Graduate School application fee, for purposes of ensuring that the application fee does not present a significant barrier. Applications are welcome from international students or from domestic students (i.e., US/DACA) who applied, but were unsuccessful at receiving a waiver from the Graduate School (see

Waivers will be granted based on financial need. To apply, individuals are asked to submit the following to

1.     A short statement (not to exceed 250 words) explaining (a) their financial situation and how it affects their ability to apply to graduate school, and/or (b) how this situation is exacerbated / caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

2.     A current copy of their CV

3.     A copy of their statement of purpose (i.e., the statement they have to submit as part of their application to the graduate program).

4.     Evidence that they applied for and did not receive a waiver from the Graduate school (for Domestic students only)

To guarantee full consideration, students must apply by November 20, 2020.  We will continue to evaluate waiver applications beyond the deadline on a case-by-case basis, as funding allows.

Application Deadline

The application deadline for the next Fall semester is December 1 for those interested in applying to the MS/PhD track programs in Human Development, Learning Sciences, Quantitative Methods or School Psychology. Applications received after December 1st will be withdrawn. Do not submit an application after December 1st unless you have contacted the department and have received an invitation to submit an application. You can visit the Academics page here for a full description of each program area.

All applications are reviewed after the December 1 deadline. Applicants can monitor their application status via the link found on the Grad School on-line application site.

The department does not admit students for spring or summer semesters for the MS/PhD track programs.

Application Requirements

Reasons for Graduate Study or Statement of Purpose (Department requirement)

Guidelines for writing the statement of purpose:

  • The statement is essential for faculty to gain insight into your academic, research and career goals
  • Provide a detailed description of the types of topics and academic areas you wish to study, as well as outlining any specific research questions you have or lines of research you wish to pursue
  • Include a sentence indicating which area of the department you wish to study – Human Development, Learning Sciences, Quantitative Methods or School Psychology. This information is required so that your application can be reviewed by the appropriate faculty. Absence of this information delays review of your application
  • Please indicate specifically which faculty member you want as your program area advisor in your statement

UW’s Grad School provides the following guidelines regarding preparing your statement of purpose:

Before you begin

Visit the graduate program website for information about faculty and their research, courses offered, graduate student profiles, and student support and professional development activities. This will help you get a sense of the culture and priorities of the program, what they may be looking for in a potential student, and if it is a good fit for you – for example, your research interests, professional development needs and career goals. You can then address these topics in your Statement of Purpose. If you have any questions, contact the graduate program.

Items to consider

Be specific about your interest and knowledge particular to this program: Have you read an article by one or more faculty member? Has your advisor specifically directed you to this program? Do you have other ties to this program and/or school? Pick out the pertinent facts about your academic and professional interests that make you a good fit with the program and institution to which you are applying. (A statement of purpose is not a place to list everything you have done.) Mention extra-curricular achievements to illustrate additional dimensions of your personality. Demonstrate curiosity, creativity, enthusiasm for learning, a capacity for teamwork, ability to think independently, and pride in your work. Using brief anecdotes is a good way to make your points. Explain (briefly) any incongruity in your application material, such as a low semester grade. Stay within the page limit specified by the graduate program. If there are no specifications, limit yourself to two pages. Be succinct and clear.

Before you submit

Let at least two people read your statement, preferably a faculty member and an academic advisor, and ask them to provide feedback. Revise accordingly; you want to submit a well- balanced statement that helps you make a strong case for your candidacy. Proofread, proofread, proofread to ensure there are no grammatical or spelling errors. Do not depend on your word processor to do this for you.

Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Resume (Department requirement)

Include a comprehensive listing of academic awards, teaching or research experience. This information is used in nominating students for fellowships and making decisions about funding.

Supplemental Application (Department requirement)

All applicants must complete a Supplemental Application (included in the on-line Grad School application).  On the supplemental application, you will be required to choose the area of the department you wish to study in (Human Development, Learning Sciences, Quantitative Methods or School Psychology).  You are also strongly urged to identify a faculty member or two who may be your likely advisor and identify your ultimate degree goal.  For School Psychology applicants, you must complete the questionnaire for individuals who will participate in student teaching or intern/practica programs.

Graduate Record Exam (GRE) (Department requirement)

For individuals entering the program in Fall, 2021, the GRE will not be required. The department will re-evaluate this policy for subsequent application years.

Transcripts (Department and Graduate School requirement)

A PDF of your unofficial undergraduate and graduate (if applicable) transcripts is required for admission review by the department. Follow the instructions on the on-line application to upload these unofficial transcripts with your application.  After you are recommended for admission by the department, the Graduate School will contact you with instructions on how to submit your official transcript(s).


A minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 or the equivalent of the last 60 semester hours (approximately two years of work) or a master’s degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 is required. Applicants from an international institution must demonstrate strong academic achievement comparable to a 3.00 for an undergraduate or master’s degree. All GPAs are based on a 4.00 scale. The Graduate School will use your institution’s grading scale.  Do not convert your grades to a 4.00 scale.


A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or a comparable degree from an international institution is required. International applicants must have a degree comparable to a regionally accredited U.S. bachelor’s degree.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are required from three people qualified to judge the potential of the applicant as a graduate student. It is advised that those making the recommendations submit their letters electronically. Instructions for inviting recommenders to submit their letter online can be found on the Graduate School’s Electronic Application. Letters submitted are stored electronically and automatically attached to the application. If a recommender is unable to submit their letter electronically, they may send it directly to

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (Graduate School requirement)

Applicants whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English, must provide an English proficiency test score by taking the TOEFL test.

Scores are accepted if they are within two years of the start of the admission term. Country of citizenship does not exempt applicants from this requirement. Language of instruction at the college or university level and how recent it has been are the determining factors in meeting this requirement.

Applicants are exempt if:

  • English is the exclusive language of instruction at the undergraduate institution; OR
  • You have earned a degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university not more than five years prior to the anticipated semester of enrollment; OR
  • You have completed at least two full-time semesters of graded course work, exclusive of ESL courses, in a U.S. college or university or at an institution outside the U.S. where English is the exclusive language of instruction. Completion of graded course work cannot be more than five years prior to the anticipated semester of enrollment.

The required proficiency scores are:

Minimum TOEFL requirement: 92 internet (iBT); 580 paper-based test (PBT)

Minimum IELTS requirement: 7.0

Minimum MELAB requirement: 82

  • Request that your scores be sent to UW-Madison
  • Use the institution code of 1846 for UW-Madison
  • Scores may not be older than 2 years

Official score for the TOEFL must be received at the department by the December 1 application deadline. If the official score will not be available for submission by the application deadline, you may do the following:

  • Submit your UNOFFICIAL score for temporary use by the department until the official scores are available by entering the score on your online application form or send them via email ( as soon as you have taken the test
  • If the score is sent via email, the department will add the information to your other application materials

Other Admissions Information

English proficiency for Teaching Assistants

International applicants who will hold a teaching assistantship (TA) and whose native language is not English need to take the Test of Spoken English (TSE) prior to admission or take the SPEAK test after arrival on campus.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition and fee rates are adjusted annually. For current tuition and fee information, visit the Office of the Registrar’s website here. Information on projected expenses for international students can be found on the International Financial Statement form. The form is only for informational purposes – applicants are not required to fill it out for the application process.


The department will consider all eligible applicants for fellowships and available funding. Applications received by December 1 will be guaranteed consideration for university-wide fellowships and available funding. The department currently offers successful applicants four years of financial support.

For more financial assistance information, visit the Office of Student Financial Aid website.

Special Services

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

Other Educational Psychology degree programs

If you are interested in any of Educational Psychology’s MS programs please, refer to these web links for more information:

Information about our on-line Master of Science for Professional Educators (MSPE) program can be found at

Information about our Master of Learning Analytics will be posted to our website in Fall, 2020.  This on-line MS program will admit students between January 1 and May 15, for a program start scheduled for June, 2021.

Individuals who are interested in the EdS program in School Psychology should choose to select the EdS program on the supplemental application.  This is a 3-year program offered face to face on campus.  More information about the EdS program can be found at