Educational Specialist Certificate

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A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions. —Anonymous


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. 

  Category I. - 3 credits

702 Introduction to Educational Leadership 

  Category II. - 15 credits

785 Staff Personnel Systems
846 The Superintendency
860 Organizational Theory and Behavior in Education
870 The Politics of Education
875 Theory and Practice of Educational Planning 
    Category III. - 30 credits
At least ten (10) additional courses including at least thirty (30) graduate credits selected from any courses in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis. (A maximum of three (3) graduate credits of  990, or 999 may be included in the 30 credits.) Students seeking Superintendent Certification need to incorporate required coursework into Category III.   In addition to the Category II course work, superintendent certification requires:

832 Resource Allocation for Equity and Social Justice
840 Public School Law
890 Educational Specialist Research Paper (not a class)

  Research Methods and Statistics Courses - 6 credits
At least two (2) courses including six (6) graduate credits of research courses distributed as follows:

  1. An introductory statistics course which includes descriptive statistics, central tendency, probability, inference, and variance.

  2. The research requirement for the Educational Specialist Certificate shall be satisfied by completing Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis 824, Field Research Designs and Methodologies in Educational Administration.

  Supporting Courses - 6 credits
At least two (2) courses including six (6) graduate credits of supporting coursework in teaching and learning (typically one course in curriculum and instruction and one additional course). Additional courses in teaching and learning are recommended. 
  Program Approval
The Education Specialist Certificate Program plan (as well as any subsequent amendments and changes) must be submitted and approved by the Department as soon as is practicable following admission to the program.

  Specialist Paper

The department has established the following criteria as guidelines for the specialist paper:

  • The specialist paper should be derived from a current, practical problem which is researchable and limited in scope.
  • The specialist paper should have the approval, cooperation, or collaboration of the governing board or administration of an educational institution when appropriate.
  • The specialist paper should utilize applied, market, or policy research.
  • The specialist paper should result in recommendations for action.
  • The design and methodology for the specialist paper will be developed by the student and major professor and reviewed and approved by a three-person faculty committee which will also conduct the oral examination on the completed specialist paper.
   Minimum Standards and Progress

A minimum of sixty (60) graduate credits must be completed in the Educational Specialist Certificate Program with an overall GGPA of at least 3.00. The student must maintain a minimum overall 3.00 GGPA in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis courses at all times.

The Educational Specialist Certificate Program must be completed within seven (7) years from the date of admission to the program. Failure to complete the program in 7 years will result in the student being declared "inactive." Students declared "inactive" will be ineligible to take the final oral examination and receive the certificate until a new graduate program has been approved by the Department and any new or different program or examination requirements then in effect have been met.

Students declared "inactive" for three (3) years may be dropped from the Specialist program. Students who have been dropped must seek readmission to a specific degree program in the Department and meet all existing admission, program, and examination requirements. 


  Course Descriptions    Graduate Credit Requirements    Forms to Facilitate the Process  

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