UW-Madison Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis ACADEMICS

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Main Office

Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis
School of Education
253 Education Building
1000 Bascom Mall
MadisonWI  53706-1326

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

Email: elpa@education.wisc.edu
or by contact form
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Education: a debt due from present to future generations. —George Peabody

Ph.D. Educational Leadership 
& Policy Analysis  


Content areas include organizational theory, politics of education, legal aspects of administration, economics and financing of education, educational planning and program evaluation, supervision of instruction, higher education, vocational-technical education, special education, pupil personnel services, community education, and education policy.​

The Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis (ELPA) will offer its PhD in Educational Leadership through a Cohort Program that will focus explicitly on K-12 leadership for dramatically improving student performance and closing achievement gaps.

The theme of District and School Leadership for Equity and Excellence will be infused through most courses, and supported by theoretical and empirical, as well as practical, understandings. The program will provide a coordinated plan that will allow students to defend their dissertation within three to four years. The dissertation will focus on school, district, or community efforts to improve performance for all students. Cohort students will receive training in qualitative and quantitative inquiry and analysis, and will be expected to develop a study design for the dissertation that is appropriate to addressing their research questions.

Master's Degree

There are four distinct program 
strands in the Master's degree program.  

The Educational Specialist Certificate Program is a 60 credit program.  In most cases, someone entering the program already holds a Master's degree in educational leadership.  Course work completed in a Master's program in educational leadership is typically accepted toward the 60 credit requirement.  At a minimum, 24 of the 60 credits must be completed at UW-Madison.  

The Educational Specialist Certificate Program is most often completed by someone seeking a superintendent license.  In Wisconsin, to be eligible for a superintendent license, you must either be in a PhD program and have completed preliminary exams (dissertation proposal) or hold an Educational Specialist Certificate.  

The following minimal requirements will satisfy the Educational Specialist Certificate in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis. 

K-12 Administrator Certification

Leadership for Learning for All Students"

The programs emphasize the development of knowledge, skills and dispositions to support leadership for learning for all students. The program is designed with courses offered under the general themes of individual socialization, instructional leadership, and integrative leadership clusters. Course work emphasizes the development of knowledge and skills in the seven state administrator standards, with a strong instructional leadership focus. Students receive training in data-based decision-making, resource reallocation, instructional and cultural leadership, professional development and evaluation, and legal aspects of administrative practice. Students develop a portfolioof their work throughout the program that is used formatively to help shape learning opportunities, and summatively to assess readiness for administrative work.

Graduates of the program serve as administrators in public and private schools throughout the state in diverse settings. They also serve in state and national leadership roles to strengthen and enhance learning outcomes for all students.

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