The Education Studies degree program addresses urgent questions related to domestic and global education policy and practice. Majors will become well-informed leaders who can engage critically, thoughtfully, and ethically in educational policy debates and practices in Wisconsin, the US, and the world.

Undergraduates interested in issues of inequality and social justice will have the opportunity to study these dimensions of educational reform. Courses explore the interconnections between education and other major socio-economic institutions, including the justice system, the healthcare system, political systems, economic development, and foreign affairs. Students study educational debates including those concerning education-related social disparities and the pursuit of equal educational opportunities for all, and have opportunities to engage in community-based learning, study abroad, and internship experiences related to education studies.

The Education Studies major prepares students for work in educational and governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations (both domestic and international), think tanks, policy institutes, community organizations, and other out-of-school educational spaces. Graduates might serve as project officers, policy directors, youth workers, or in other positions of institutional leadership and will be well prepared to work in education-related organizations or to pursue advanced studies in educational policy at the graduate level.

Graduates will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Education Studies from the School of Education. This program does not lead to teacher certification.

Students interested in pursuing this major are encouraged to consult with advising staff at the School of Education Student Services office, Room 139 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall, 608-262-1651. Current students can schedule an appointment online through the Starfish app in MyUW.

PROGRAM ADMISSION OVERVIEW

The Education Studies major may be completed either as the primary major or as an additional ("double") major.

Primary Major in Education Studies

Undergraduate students interested in completing the Bachelor of Science–Education Studies degree program will fulfill the School of Education's liberal studies, and other degree requirements in addition to the 30 credits required for the Education Studies major.

Additional Major in Education Studies

Undergraduate students from all schools and colleges on campus (including the School of Education) may declare Education Studies as an additional major. Students completing Education Studies as an additional major do not need to complete the School of Education's liberal studies and other degree requirements. For application information, go directly to the Additional Major in Education Studies section below.

ENTERING THE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION

NEW and CURRENT UW–MADISON STUDENTS

Incoming freshmen enter directly into the Bachelor of Science–Education Studies degree program upon admission to UW–Madison; list Education Studies as the intended major. No additional application to Education Studies is required. See UW–Madison Office of Admissions and Recruitment for application information.

All other on-campus students will submit an application following a meeting with an advisor in the School of Education Student Services office. Call 608-262-1651 to schedule an appointment; current students can also schedule an appointment online through the Starfish app in MyUW.

PROSPECTIVE TRANSFER STUDENTS

Transfer students must be admissible to the university to enroll in a School of Education degree program. See UW–Madison Office of Admissions and Recruitment for application information. Transfer students enter directly into the Bachelor of Science–Education Studies degree program upon admission to UW–Madison; list Education Studies as the intended major. No additional application to Education Studies is required.  Prospective transfer students are strongly advised to meet with an advisor in the School of Education Student Services office in advance of their application; to schedule, call 608-262-1651.

STUDENTS WITH A PREVIOUS DEGREE

Prospective students who already hold an undergraduate degree must be admissible to the university to enroll in a School of Education degree program. See UW–Madison Office of Admissions and Recruitment for application information.

Applicants must also meet the following criteria for admission as a second undergraduate degree candidate in the School of Education.  Candidates must:

  • be seeking a new major that is substantially different from their previous degree work;
  • need to complete at least 15 upper-level credits in the new major;
  • need to complete at least 30 credits beyond their previous coursework.

When admitted, second degree candidates enter directly into the Bachelor of Science–Education Studies degree program. No additional application to Education Studies is required. 

Prospective students who already hold an undergraduate degree are strongly encouraged to meet with an advisor in the School of Education Student Services office in advance of their application to UW-Madison. Consultations with advisors are available in person or via telephone; to schedule, call 608-262-1651.

APPLICATION AND ADMISSION

While new first year students and off-campus transfers are admitted directly to the Bachelor of Science–Education Studies degree program, all other current UW–Madison students seeking to enter the B.S.–Education Studies degree program must apply for admission to the program. Requirements and selection criteria may be modified from one application/admission period to the next. Potential applicants must consult with an advisor in the School of Education Student Services office prior to submitting an application. Call 608-262-1651 to schedule an appointment; current students can also schedule an appointment with an advisor online through the Starfish app in MyUW.

CRITERIA FOR ADMISSION

Eligibility for admission consideration to Bachelor of Science–Education Studies degree:

  • Cumulative grade point average of at least a 2.5 based on UW–Madison campus coursework, as modified by the Last 60 Credits Rule described below. Note: Students declaring Education Studies as an additional major are not held to this requirement.
  • Submission of all required application materials, including program application and transcripts.

Last 60 Credits Rule

Two grade point averages may be calculated to determine candidates' eligibility to programs. GPAs will be calculated using

  • all transferable college level coursework attempted, and
  • the last 60 credits attempted.

The higher GPA of these two will be used for purposes of determining eligibility. If fewer than 60 credits have been attempted, all credits will be used to calculate the GPA. Graded graduate coursework will also be used in all GPA calculations. ("Attempted" coursework indicates coursework for which a grade has been earned.) More information on this rule is available here.

Additional Major in Education Studies

Undergraduate students from all schools and colleges on campus (including the School of Education) may declare Education Studies as an additional major. Students wishing to declare the additional major must visit an advisor in the School of Education Student Services office to complete the declaration form; call 608-262-1651 or schedule an appointment with an advisor online through the Starfish app in MyUW. The declaration must also be approved by the student's home school/college.

An additional major in Education Studies only requires the completion of the 30 credit major. Students do not need to complete the School of Education's liberal studies and other degree requirements for the additional major. Applicants are not held to the 2.5 cumulative GPA required of students completing the Education Studies degree program.

Please note that the requirements of the additional major must be completed before or concurrently with the degree program and primary major.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

School of Education Liberal Studies Requirements

All students are required to complete a minimum of 40 credits of Liberal Studies coursework. This requirement provides an opportunity to do some academic exploration beyond the scope of the major. Students take courses in areas of particular interest and also have an opportunity to sample the wide selection of courses offered across the university. Coursework is required in humanities, social studies, science, and cultural and historical studies. Some elective coursework is also needed to reach the required number of credits.

The School of Education’s Liberal Studies Requirements automatically satisfy most of the University General Education Requirements outlined above, including ethnic studies, humanities/literature, social studies, and science. Students pursuing most School of Education degree programs may also complete Communication Part B, Quantitative Reasoning Part A, and Quantitative Reasoning Part B through courses required by their degree program. If a student cannot complete a General Education Requirement within the curriculum of their chosen School of Education program, academic advisors can offer suggestions for courses that meet the requirement and augment the student’s primary area of study.

A basic outline of the liberal studies is included below. Students must consult the detailed version of the requirements for information about course selection and approved course options.

Humanities, 9 credits

All students must complete a minimum of 9 credits to include:

  • Literature
  • Fine Arts
  • Humanities Electives

Social Studies (Social Science)

All students must complete a minimum of 9 credits. Teacher certification programs, Athletic Training, and Kinesiology; Exercise and Movement Science have unique requirements in this category.

Science

All students must complete a minimum of 9 credits to include:

  • Biological Science
  • Physical Science
  • Laboratory Science
  • Science Electives

Cultural and Historical Studies

All students must complete three requirements (9 credits) met by separate courses. Any of these courses can also be used to meet the Humanities or Social Studies (Social Sciences) requirements if it has the relevant breadth designation.

  • Ethnic Studies
  • U.S./European History
  • Global Perspectives

Complete Liberal Studies Electives to total 40 Credits.

Program Structure

The Education Studies program has three primary components:

  • Liberal studies and general education courses that expose students to a broad range of academic disciplines.
  • Major coursework in education studies, including core course, depth, and breadth requirements. Students choose either a U.S. or Global concentration.
  • Elective credits to pursue individual areas of interest. Education Studies majors are encouraged to consider completing complementary coursework in the College of Letters & Science, possibly including an additional major. The structure of the Education Studies degree program makes it possible to complete an additional major and still graduate in four years.

Major Requirements

The Education Studies major requires 30 credits, to include core courses (9 credits), depth requirements (12 credits) and breadth requirements (9 credits).  Students will select either a U.S. concentration or Global Concentration to fulfill the depth requirement of the major.

Core Courses, 9 credits

Complete the following:

ED POL 240 Comparative Education3
ED POL 300 School and Society3
ED POL/​HISTORY  412 History of American Education3

Depth Requirements, 12 credits

Complete a minimum of four courses (12 credits) in either the United States or Global concentration to facilitate in-depth study of education policy and practice.

U.S.  Concentration

ED POL/​HISTORY  107 The History of the University in the West3-4
ED POL 140 Introduction to Education3
ED POL 145 Introduction to Education Policy3
ED POL 150 Education and Public Policy (U.S. topics only)3
ED POL 200 Race, Ethnicity, and Inequality in American Education3
ED POL 210 Youth, Education, and Society3
ED POL 220 Human Rights and Education3
ED POL 450 Rethinking "After-School" Education3
ED POL 460 Immigration, Education, and Equity3
ED POL/​HISTORY  478 Comparative History of Childhood and Adolescence3
ED POL 500 Topics on Social Issues and Education (U.S. topics only)3
ED POL 505 Issues in Urban Education in the U.S.3
ED POL 510 Urban School Policy3
ED POL/​CURRIC/​RELIG ST  516 Religion and Public Education3
ED POL 518 Introduction to Debates in Higher Education Policy3
ED POL/​PHILOS  545 Philosophical Conceptions of Teaching and Learning3
ED POL/​PHILOS  550 Philosophy of Moral Education3
ED POL/​GEN&WS  560 Gender and Education3
ED POL/​AFROAMER  567 History of African American Education3
ED POL/​ANTHRO  570 Anthropology and Education3
ED POL 575 Education Policy and Practice3
ED POL 595 Language Politics, Ethnicity, and Education3
ED POL 600 Problems in Educational Policy (U.S. topics only)1-3
ED POL/​HISTORY  622 History of Radical and Experimental Education in the US and UK3
ED POL/​SOC  648 Sociology of Education3
ED POL/​HISTORY  665 History of the Federal Role in American Education3

Global Concentration

ED POL/​HISTORY  107 The History of the University in the West3-4
ED POL 140 Introduction to Education3
ED POL 150 Education and Public Policy (Global topics only)3
ED POL 220 Human Rights and Education3
ED POL 237 Wealth, Poverty and Inequality: Transnational Perspectives on Policy and Practice in Education3
ED POL 260 Introduction to International Education Development3
ED POL/​INTL ST  335 Globalization and Education3
ED POL 460 Immigration, Education, and Equity3
ED POL/​HISTORY  478 Comparative History of Childhood and Adolescence3
ED POL 500 Topics on Social Issues and Education (Global topics only)3
ED POL/​CURRIC/​RELIG ST  516 Religion and Public Education3
ED POL/​GEN&WS  560 Gender and Education3
ED POL 595 Language Politics, Ethnicity, and Education3
ED POL 600 Problems in Educational Policy (Global topics only)1-3
ED POL/​HISTORY  622 History of Radical and Experimental Education in the US and UK3
ED POL 675 Introduction to Comparative and International Education3
ED POL/​CURRIC  677 Education, Health and Sexuality: Global Perspective and Policies3

Breadth Requirements, 9 credits

Required Breadth Course
Complete one of the following:3
ED PSYCH 301
How People Learn
ED PSYCH 320
Human Development in Infancy and Childhood
ED PSYCH 321
Human Development in Adolescence
ED PSYCH 331
Human Development From Childhood Through Adolescence
Additional Breadth Course Options
Complete additional coursework from the concentration NOT selected above, or from the courses listed below. ED PSYCH 301, 320, 321 and 331 may also count here, but not toward both breadth requirements.
CURRIC 240 Critical Aspects of Teaching, Schooling, and Education3
CURRIC/​CHICLA  321 Chicano/Latino Educational Justice3
CURRIC 331 Taking Education Outside of School3
CURRIC/​C&E SOC/​ENVIR ST  405 Education for Sustainable Communities3
ED PSYCH 326 Mind, Brain and Education3
ED PSYCH 506 Contemporary Issues in Educational Psychology3
ED PSYCH 541 Applied Behavior Analysis in Classrooms3
ELPA 640 Legal Rights and Responsibilities for Teachers1-3

Elective Credits

Complete additional credits to complete the minimum of 120 required for the degree. Education Studies majors are encouraged to consider completing complementary coursework in the College of Letters & Science, possibly including an additional major. The structure of the Education Studies degree program makes it possible to complete an additional major and still graduate in four years.

GPA and Other Graduation Requirements

Graduation Requirements

Based on UW–Madison coursework.

  • 2.5 minimum cumulative grade point average. This may be modified by the Last 60 Credits Rule.
  • 2.5 cumulative major grade point average.
  • 2.5 cumulative grade point average in all upper-level major coursework (“upper-level” defined as numbered 300 and above).
  • Major Residency: Students must complete at least 15 credits of upper-level major coursework in residence on the UW–Madison campus.
  • Senior Residency: Degree candidates must complete their last 30 credits in residence on the UW–Madison campus, excluding retroactive credits and credits granted by examination.
  • Total credits: A minimum of 120 credits are required for graduation.

Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS)

UW–Madison uses “DARS” to document a student's progress toward the completion of their degree, including any additional majors and certificates. A DARS (Degree Audit Reporting System) report shows all the requirements for completing a degree and, against courses that are planned or completed, shows the requirements that have been met, and those that are unmet. A report can offer suggestions about courses that may be taken to meet specific requirements and can assist in the academic planning and enrollment process. Students can access a DARS report in the Course Search & Enroll app or Student Center via My UW.

DARS also has a "what-if" function. This feature makes it possible to request a DARS report as if pursuing another program, major or certificate. It is an excellent tool if considering a new or additional area of study. School of Education students in a pre-professional classification such as Pre-Elementary (PRE), or Pre-Kinesiology should request a "what if" DARS report of their professional program of interest.

More information on how to request a DARS report is available on the registrar’s website.

DARS is not intended to replace student contact with academic advisers. It creates more time in an advising appointment to discuss course options, research opportunities, graduate school, or issues of personal interest or concern to students.

DARS is used as the document of record for degree program, major and certificate completion in the School of Education.
 

University Degree Requirements 

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.

Education Studies: Sample Four-Year Plan

This four-year sample graduation plan is designed to guide your course selection throughout your academic career; it does not establish a contractual agreement. Use it along with your DARS report, the Guide, and the Course Search and Enroll app to create a four-year plan reflecting your placement scores, incoming credits, and individual interests. Consult with an academic advisor to develop a personalized plan of study and refer to the Guide for a complete list of requirements. You will likely revise your plan several times during your academic career here, based on your activities and changing academic interests.

Freshman
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Communication A (fall or spring semester)3Communication A (fall or spring semester)3
Education Studies major course in concentration area (100 or 200 level)3Education Studies major course in concentration area (100 or 200 level)3
Liberal Studies course work9-12Ethnic Studies3
 Quantitative Reasoning A3
 Liberal Studies course work3-6
 15 15
Sophomore
FallCreditsSpringCredits
ED POL 3003ED POL 2403
Liberal Studies course work12Quantitative Reasoning B3
 Liberal Studies or General Elective course work9
 15 15
Junior
FallCreditsSpringCredits
ED POL/​HISTORY  4123Education Studies Breadth course3
Communication B3Liberal Studies or General Elective course work12
Complete one of:3 
ED PSYCH 301
 
ED PSYCH 320
 
ED PSYCH 321
 
ED PSYCH 331
 
Liberal Studies or General Elective course work6 
 15 15
Senior
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Education Studies major course in concentration area (upper level)3Education Studies major course in concentration area3
Education Studies Breadth course3Liberal Studies or General Elective course work12
Liberal Studies or General Elective course work9 
 15 15
Total Credits 120

Education Studies Advising

Students are advised by staff from the School of Education Student Services office (Room 139 Education Building) at SOAR and during the regular academic year, (see below). Current students can schedule an appointment online through the Starfish app in MyUW. Admitted students are also assigned a departmental advisor.

General School of Education Advising

Dedicated to supporting and promoting student success, the School of Education Student Services office coordinates a number of student-related services for prospective and current School of Education students in all programs. Student Services staff offer support in academic advising, career advising, mentoring and advocacy for underrepresented and international students, requirements monitoring, interpreting academic policy, and more. Students in the School of Education are encouraged to make Student Services a vital part of their academic and employment journey.

To schedule and appointment: Call 608-262-2651 or stop by 139 Education Building. Current students can schedule an appointment online through the Starfish app in MyUW.

Information about faculty, staff, and other contributors to the Department of Educational Policy Studies can be found on the department's website.

Information about scholarships, academic and career advising, study abroad opportunities, student diversity services, and other resources for students in the School of Education can be found on the school's Resources page.