Frequently Asked Questions

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Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis
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MadisonWI  53706-1326

Tel: 608/262-3106
Fax: 608/265-3135

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q. I am interested in graduate school. What do I do first?

    A. Obtain information regarding the Graduate School and their admission and application process.
    Obtain information on the department requirements.

  • Q. I already have a Master’s degree. Who do I contact to have my previous course work evaluated to determine what course work would be accepted in your Ph.D. program?

    A. Contact the Student Services Coordinator at 608-263-2701 or email Shari Smith.  You can also submit your transcripts with a request for evaluation to:  Shari Smith, ELPA, 253-B Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall, Madison, WI 53706-1326

  • Q. I want to be certified as an administrator. If I receive a M.S. or Ph.D., will I automatically have K-12 leadership certification?

    A. Not necessarily. Administrator Certification requires specific coursework not necessarily taken to receive a M.S. or Ph.D. Feel free to review the requirements for K-12 Leadership Certifications or the requirements for the Educational Specialist Certificate.

  • Q. What are the procedural and academic requirements for admission into the Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis program?

    A. Procedural Requirements: All programs require the submission of an on-line application form submitted to the Graduate School and an application fee paid directly to the Graduate School. The department will obtain the application from the Graduate School and recommend students for admission. The department does not require a separate application form.  Please review the department admission requirements and application process.

    Academic Requirements: The Department requires the last 60 hours UGPA of 3.25 or better, GGPA of 3.5 or better, and GRE scores  (verbal & quantitative) of 1100 (old exam) 305 (current exam) or better, three letters of recommendation, official copies of all transcripts, and a reason for study essay.

    Applicants whose UGPA (last 60 credits) is below 3.25 or a GGPA (last 60 credits) is below 3.5 or a GRE score below 1100 (old exam) or 305 (current exam) points (verbal and quantitative combined score) should provide additional explanation/documentation to support his/her admission (e.g. an explanation as to why scores do not accurately reflect potential, documentation of high potential for leadership, relevant experiences that affect their abilities to serve in leadership roles). Applicants must meet the graduate school's minimum requirements.

  • Q. I have done graduate work at another school. Will those credits transfer?

    A. All transcripts will need to be reviewed before transfer credits are accepted. Students seeking K-12 leadership administrator certification from this department must take a minimum of six credits at UW-Madison.

    Students seeking the M.S. degree must complete a minimum of 16 (of 30 total) credits from UW-Madison.

    Students seeking the Ph.D. degree must take at least 39 (of 75 total) credits from UW-Madison.

    Students seeking the Educational Specialist Certificate must take at least 24 (of 60 total) graduate credits from UW-Madison.

  • Q. I have enrolled as a Special Student. How many credits will transfer?

    A. A maximum of six credits of coursework taken as a special student will be accepted toward either certification or a degree program.

  • Q. What is considered full-time and part-time status?

    A. The Graduate School considers full-time enrollment to be 8-12 graduate-level credits (300 and above; no audits or pass/fail) during the fall and spring semesters and 4-8 graduate credits during the eight-week summer session.  A student who has dissertator status is considered full-time with 3 graduate-level credits.

  • Q. Can I schedule a tour of the Department?

    A. Contact the Student Services Coordinator: email Shari Smith or call 608/263-2701for an advising appointment and options for meeting with faculty, sitting in the classes, and touring the campus.  If you wish to arrange your own tour, contact Visitor and Information Programs.

  • Q. What time of day are classes offered?

    A. During the academic year, fall and spring, the majority of courses are offered in the evening from 4:40-7:10 or 7:15-9:45.  Occasionally courses are offered on weekends.  During the summer session, most courses are offered in the day.

  • Q. Are new students grouped together in a cohort, or am I free to take whatever classes I choose?

    A. Students are not grouped in a cohort.  Students meet with their advisors and develop a program plan.  Advisors will assist you in selecting the appropriate course work for you.

  • Q. How many credits should I take each semester?

    A.  Full-time/Part-time Status: The Graduate School considers full-time enrollment to be 8-12 graduate-level credits (300 and above; no audits or pass/fail) during the fall and spring semesters and 4-8 graduate credits during the eight-week summer session.  A student who has dissertator status is considered full-time with 3 graduate-level credits.

  • Q. How do I find out about and apply for funding?

    A. The Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis supports students by providing opportunities for graduate assistantships, graduate fellowships, teaching assistantships, scholarships, and travel support.  A listing of funding opportunities, including how to apply for graduate/teaching assistantships, stipends, the number of students currently funded, how to find funding for research and travel to conferences, and fellowship/scholarship opportunities is available on the funding opportunities page.

  • Q. I am an International Student. Where can I find information regarding opportunities, options, and assistance?

    A. Online information can be found at the International Student and Scholar Services website.
    The Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis does not provide financial support to first year international students and funding after the first year is very limited.  International applicants are required to have sufficient funds to cover their expenses completely while attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The university's Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) is mandatory for international students and their dependents living in the U.S.

  • Q. How do I get a student ID card?

  • Q. How do I enroll in courses?

    A.  Enrollment is done on-line via My-UW Madison. If you do not know your Net ID and password, contact the DoIt Help Desk at 608/264-4357.

  • Q. How do I find out what is happening in the Department?

    A.  The Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis runs a low traffic listserve to update present and future students, faculty, and alumni on available courses, conferences, financial aid opportunities and other news from the Department and field.

    Joining the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis listserve will provide you helpful announcements from the Department, as well as keeping you informed of some news and employment opportunities both on campus and in the field of educational leadership.  The average number of postings has been less than one a day.

    ELPA listserve
  • Q. Who will be my academic advisor?

    A.  Students are assigned initial advisors by the Department.  Students have the option of requesting a faculty member to serve as their advisor and may make the change by submitting an Advisor Agreement Form (be sure to fill out the change of advisor section).

  • Q. What will my program look like?

  • Q. I am a Ph.D. student. How do I select my dissertation committee?

  • Q. How long do I have to complete a degree?

    A. The M.S. degree program must be completed within five (5) years from the date of admission to the program. Failure to complete the program in 5 years will result in the student being declared "inactive." Students declared "inactive" will be ineligible to complete their degree until a new graduate program has been approved by the Department and any new or different program requirements then in effect have been met. Students declared "inactive" for three (3) years may be dropped from the M.S. program. Students who have been dropped must seek readmission to a specific degree program in the Department and meet all existing admission and program requirements.

    The Ph.D. Program Preliminary Examination must be passed within seven (7) years from the date of admission to the program. The dissertation must be satisfactorily completed within five (5) years of passing the Preliminary Examination. The Graduate School requires that after completion of the Preliminary Examination and all program requirements the student enroll for at least three (3) graduate credits each semester as a "dissertator" until completion of the final oral examination. Any student who fails to maintain satisfactory progress toward the degree will be declared "inactive." Students declared "inactive" will be ineligible for any final examination or degree in the Department. "Inactive" students must have a new graduate program approved and must meet the new program and examination requirements in effect at that time.
    Students declared "inactive" for three years may be dropped from the Ph.D. program. Students who have been dropped must seek readmission and meet all existing admission, program, and examination requirements.

  • Q. Does every student have to take the qualifying exam?

    A. Ph.D. students are required to take the qualifying exam.  There is a written take-home opt and a paper option.  The qualifying exam must be completed prior to being eligible for preliminary exams.

  • Q. I am a student looking for an internship. Are there such opportunities?

    A. The Department offers field experiences and internships in conjunction with ELPA courses 700/900.  Field experiences are typically K-12 experiences and internships at the Higher Post Secondary level and are arranged by the instructor of the courses in consultation with the student.

  • Q. May I complete my dissertation elsewhere?

    A. To receive a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis from UW-Madison, you must complete and deposit your dissertation at UW-Madison.

  • Q. Am I able to take a semester off from my studies and return to the department without reapplying?

    A. Yes.  Well in advance of the semester you intend to enroll in class, you need to complete the reentry process. If the last time you enrolled was more than five (5) years ago, you will need to reapply to the Graduate School and pay the application fee.

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