Educational Policy Studies- Admissions



Main Office

Educational Policy Studies
School of Education
UW - Madison
235 Education Building
1000 Bascom Mall
MadisonWI  53706

Tel: 608/262-1760
Fax: 608/262-0460

contact form


Students may enter the Department ​only in the fall.   All applicants must apply online. The deadline for applying is December 15, with applicants notified by letter before March 1.  For questions on the application process please email Mary Jo Gessler at

All applicants must apply online.

Accepted students must respond in writing by April 15.

The following materials must be uploaded online:

  1. Online application
  2. Three (3) letters of recommendations that attest to your academic abilities and potential for graduate study
  3. Statement of reasons for pursuing graduate work in Educational Policy Studies (1-2 pages)
  4. All transcripts*
  5. Vita/Resume
  6. Writing sample (as described below)
  7. GRE scores (use code 1846)- ​scores must be received by December 15


*Upload all supplemental materials before you submit your application. You will not be able to add supplemental materials once your application has been submitted. Copies of your transcripts must be uploaded online with the rest of your application materials. Upon admittance to the program you are required to submit hard copies of all official transcripts.

Application Evaluation

The application is judged on the basis of previous academic record, other experiences, letters of recommendation, personal statement (please outline specific reasons for your interest in pursuing graduate study in the Department of Education al Policy Studies), writing sample, and the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores.

The admissions process in the Department of Educational Policy Studies is the responsibility of the Admissions Committee. The committee will direct applications from qualified candidates to a faculty member in the department whose interests are similar to the applicant’s. A temporary adviser must be willing to accept temporary responsibility for the student’s graduate program. If no temporary adviser can be found, the candidate cannot be admitted to graduate study. If a faculty member agrees to serve as temporary adviser and the applicant is judged qualified for admission, the student is notified that the department will recommend admission to the Graduate School. Formal notification of admission comes from the Graduate School.

With rare exceptions, all students who do not hold masters degrees are initially admitted to the master’s program. At the time of the defense of your master’s thesis, a decision is made about your admission to the doctoral program. No further application is required for entrance into the doctoral program. No further application is required for entrance into the doctoral program, and all masters coursework counts toward the doctoral coursework requirement. Students who already hold masters degrees are also initially admitted to the master’s program, except in cases where the candidate has completed a master’s thesis or comparable piece of writing.

All applicants must include a substantial sample of academic writing. For applicants who have completed a master’s degree, the master’s thesis or equivalent paper (e.g. “qualifying paper”) must be submitted. For applicants wishing to apply directly to the PhD program, the EPS faculty will consider this work when determining admission at the MA or PhD level. For applicants currently working on a master’s thesis or equivalent paper, that material may be submitted for consideration when it is completed. For students holding a B.A., the writing sample might include sections from an undergraduate thesis or seminar paper, or a course paper. Applicants who wish to submit an alternative writing sample (e.g., solely authored published article, solely authored research report or sections of a research report). For students who are admitted, the Admissions Committee will, in consultation with an applicant’s prospective adviser, recommend admission to either the EPS master’s program or the EPS doctoral program. 

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