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Admissions and Aid

In keeping with the mission and strategic plan of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis (ELPA), admissions will be based on a holistic view of each candidate with special attention to the potential for success in the desired program of study evidenced in the documentation provided.​

The applicant must meet both the department’s and the Graduate School’s criteria for admission. Admission to the department is the first step and does not guarantee admission to the Graduate School. Exceptions to the Graduate School’s requirement of at least a 3.0 undergraduate grade point average are limited. The department will obtain your application from the Graduate School. There is one application fee paid to the Graduate School.

Admissions Decisions

A favorable vote by the department faculty is required for the department to recommend admission to the Graduate School. Upon admission, a member of the ELPA faculty will be assigned to serve as your initial advisor. Because of the volume of applications received by the department, qualified students must sometimes be denied admission. Those denied admission are welcome to reapply during the next admissions cycle.

Deadlines and Instructions

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Global Higher Education MS

Deadline: July 1 (domestic applicants) and March 31 (international applicants)
Admission decisions: Rolling
Start date: Fall semester

MS applicants are required to upload the following items to the online application.

  1. Essay statement (not to exceed two pages) that addresses the following:
  • Clearly identify Global Higher Education as your area of interest
  • Explain why you are interested in a master’s degree focusing on Global Higher Education. What are your career goals? Tell us what kind of educational and/or international experiences may have inspired you to pursue a master’s degree in the field of international higher education.
  • What are your expectations from the Global Higher Education program? How will this program contribute to your professional objectives?
  • What can you contribute to the program and other cohort students, (such as your experiences, your ​knowledge in global, international higher education)? 

Attention: You don’t have to try to imitate the American style of a “Statement of Purpose” if this is not a common genre in your culture as we respect and celebrate the cultural diversities brought by applicants and students from around the world.

  1. Unofficial transcripts. Official transcripts will be requested prior to Graduate School admission.
  2. Resume or CV.
  3. Three letters of recommendation. We require recommendations from three people who are qualified to evaluate the academic and professional competence of the applicants. (When completing an online application, submit names and emails of those requesting recommendation from; recommendations are sent electronically to your application.)
  4. Supporting document if UGPA is below 3.00. In statement, explain why GPA does not accurately reflect potential, documentation of high potential for leadership, relevant experiences that affect abilities to serve in leadership roles.

GRE scores are NOT REQUIRED.

English proficiency requirements required for international applicants. Test scores should be submitted to institution code 1846.

Higher Education MS

Application deadline:  December 1 each year for admission the following fall.  No spring or summer admissions.

Admissions decisions: January

MS applicants are required to upload the following items to the online application.

  1. Essay statement (not to exceed two pages) that addresses the following:
  • Your area of interest (task or functional area of administration)  INDICATE STUDENT AFFAIRS OR INTERCOLLEGIATE ADMINISTRATION AT TOP OF ESSAY
  • Your career goals (i.e., why you are interested in pursuing a degree in educational administration)
  • Your professional objectives and how the UW–Madison program will contribute toward your role as a school/institution leader.
  1. Unofficial transcripts. Official transcripts will be requested prior to Graduate School admission.
  2. Resume or CV.
  3. Three letters of recommendation. We require recommendations from three people who are qualified to evaluate the academic and professional competence of the applicants. (When completing online application, submit names and emails of those requesting recommendation from; recommendations are sent electronically to your application.)
  4. Supporting document if UGPA is below 3.00. In statement, explain why GPA does not accurately reflect potential, documentation of high potential for leadership, relevant experiences that affect abilities to serve in leadership roles.

GRE scores are NOT REQUIRED.

English proficiency requirements required for international applicants. Test scores should be submitted to institution code 1846.

K-12 Leadership MS

Application deadline: April 15
Admission decisions: May 1
Start date: Summer semester
No fall or spring admissions.

MS applicants are required to upload the following items to the online application.

  1. Essay statement (not to exceed two pages) that addresses the following:
  • Describe evidence in your educational practice of your commitment to addressing equity/social justice issues and a desire to lead with a focus on eliminating inequities.
  • Describe evidence of your instructional excellence with a range of diverse learners.
  • Describe evidence of leadership excellence related to equity and diversity.
  • Please add anything else you would like us to know about why you would be an excellent candidate for this program focused on social justice.
  1. Unofficial transcripts. Official transcripts will be requested prior to Graduate School admission.
  2. Resume or CV.
  3. Three letters of recommendation. We require recommendations from three people who are qualified to evaluate the academic and professional competence of the applicants. (When completing online application, submit names and emails of those requesting recommendation from; recommendations are sent electronically to your application.)
  4. Supporting document if UGPA is below 3.00. In statement, explain why GPA does not accurately reflect potential, documentation of high potential for leadership, relevant experiences that affect abilities to serve in leadership roles.

GRE scores are NOT REQUIRED.
International students are not eligible for this program.

Educational Policy Analysis and Evaluation MS

Application deadline: December 1 each year for admission the following fall.  No spring or summer admissions.

Admissions decisions: January

MS applicants are required to upload the following items to the online application.

  1. Essay statement (not to exceed two pages) that addresses the following:
  • Your area of interest (task or functional area of administration)
  • Your career goals (i.e., why you are interested in pursuing a degree in educational administration)
  • Your professional objectives and how the UW–Madison program will contribute toward your role as a school/institution leader
  1. Unofficial transcripts. Official transcripts will be requested prior to Graduate School admission.
  2. Resume or CV.
  3. Three letters of recommendation. We require recommendations from three people who are qualified to evaluate the academic and professional competence of the applicants. (When completing online application, submit names and emails of those requesting recommendation from; recommendations are sent electronically to your application.)
  4. Supporting document if UGPA is below 3.00. In statement, explain why GPA does not accurately reflect potential, documentation of high potential for leadership, relevant experiences that affect abilities to serve in leadership roles.

GRE scores are NOT REQUIRED.

English proficiency requirements required for international applicants. Test scores should be submitted to institution code 1846.

Wisconsin Idea Principal Preparation MS

Application deadline: April 15
Admission decisions: May 1
Start date: Summer semester
No fall or spring admissions.

MS applicants are required to upload the following items to the online application.

  1. Essay statement (not to exceed two pages) that addresses the following:
  • Describe evidence in your educational practice of your commitment to addressing equity/social justice issues and a desire to lead with a focus on eliminating inequities.
  • Describe evidence of your instructional excellence with a range of diverse learners.
  • Describe evidence of leadership excellence related to equity and diversity.
  • Is there anything else you would like us to know about why you would be an excellent candidate for this program focused on social justice?
  1. Unofficial transcripts. Official transcripts will be requested prior to Graduate School admission.
  2. Resume or CV.
  3. Three letters of recommendation. We require recommendations from three people who are qualified to evaluate the academic and professional competence of the applicants. (When completing online application, submit names and emails of those requesting recommendation from; recommendations are sent electronically to your application.)
  4. Supporting document if UGPA is below 3.00. In statement, explain why GPA does not accurately reflect potential, documentation of high potential for leadership, relevant experiences that affect abilities to serve in leadership roles.

GRE scores are NOT REQUIRED.
International students are not eligible for this program.

Higher Education PhD, K-12 Leadership PhD, Educational Policy and Evaluation PhD

Application deadline: December 1
Admission decisions: February
Start date: Summer or fall semester

PhD applicants are required to upload the following items to the online application.

  1. Essay Statement. Each applicant must submit a “Reasons for Study” essay. As you prepare your responses, we invite you to review the information on our website to review the program literature, to talk with our alumni and current students, and to interact with members of the faculty and staff. PhD applicants should address the following in an essay that does not exceed three pages (single or double spaced).
  • What are your primary career goals and professional gaps you have identified as important for your intellectual and professional advancement over the next five to 10 years?
  • In what ways will these professional gaps be addressed through a doctoral program at UW–Madison?
  • Describe at least one research topic and/or project you plan to work on during your doctoral program.
  • As you will note, we are interested in developing and maintaining a diverse and engaged learning community. Please identify any unique or special contributions you will bring to this community.

A “strong” essay is characterized by:

  • A clear, thorough, well-organized essay that expresses ideas in a detailed and engaging manner.
  • Addresses all components of the instructions.
  • Paragraphs signal the divisions of thought and sentences flow with ideas in a logical sequence.
  • No (or very few) noticeable errors in composition.
  • The articulation of clear scholarly interests that are consistent with the department’s mission and that may expand knowledge within the field.

A “satisfactory” essay is characterized by:

  • A detailed, well-organized essay.
  • Addresses all components of the instructions.
  • Paragraphs signal the major divisions of thought and sequence.
  • Few errors in composition.
  • The articulation of scholarly interests that are consistent with the department’s mission.

A “weak” essay is characterized by:

  • A well-organized but insufficiently detailed essay.
  • Addresses some, but not all, of the components of the instructions.
  • Paragraphs do not contain main topics.
  • A distracting number of errors in composition or spelling (i.e. more than two or three per page).
  • No articulation of scholarly interests.
  1. Unofficial transcripts. Official transcripts will be requested prior to Graduate School admission.
  2. Resume or CV.
  3. Three letters of recommendation. We require recommendations from three people who are qualified to evaluate the academic and professional competence of the applicants. (When completing online application, submit names and emails of those requesting recommendation from; recommendations are sent electronically to your application.)
  4. Supporting document if required.

Applicants who earned an UGPA below 3.00 or a GGPA below 3.5 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, relevant experiences that affect abilities to serve in leadership roles.

GRE SCORES ARE NOT REQUIRED

English proficiency requirements required for international applicants. Test scores should be submitted to institution code 1846.

Wisconsin Idea Executive PhD

Application deadline: December 1, 2023
Accepts: Domestic applicants
Next anticipated start date: Fall 2024

PhD applicants are required to upload the following items to the online application.

  1. Essay Statement. Each applicant must submit a “Reasons for Study” essay. As you prepare your responses, we invite you to review the information on our website to review the program literature, to talk with our alumni and current students, and to interact with members of the faculty and staff. PhD applicants should address the following in an essay that does not exceed three pages (single or double spaced).
  • What are your primary career goals and professional gaps you have identified as important for your intellectual and professional advancement over the next five to ten years?
  • In what ways will these professional gaps be addressed through a doctoral program at UW–Madison?
  • Describe at least one research topic and/or project you plan to work on during your doctoral program.
  • As you will note, we are interested in developing and maintaining a diverse and engaged learning community. Please identify any unique or special contributions you will bring to this community.

A “strong” essay is characterized by:

  • A clear, thorough, well-organized essay that expresses ideas in a detailed and engaging manner.
  • Addresses all components of the instructions.
  • Paragraphs signal the divisions of thought and sentences flow with ideas in a logical sequence.
  • No (or very few) noticeable errors in composition.
  • The articulation of clear scholarly interests that are consistent with the department’s mission and that may expand knowledge within the field.

A “satisfactory” essay is characterized by:

  • A detailed, well-organized essay.
  • Addresses all components of the instructions.
  • Paragraphs signal the major divisions of thought and sequence.
  • Few errors in composition.
  • The articulation of scholarly interests that are consistent with the department’s mission.

A “weak” essay is characterized by:

  • A well-organized but insufficiently detailed essay.
  • Addresses some, but not all, of the components of the instructions.
  • Paragraphs do not contain main topics.
  • A distracting number of errors in composition or spelling (i.e. more than two or three per page).
  • No articulation of scholarly interests.
  1. Unofficial transcripts. Official transcripts will be requested prior to Graduate School admission.
  2. Resume or CV.
  3. Three letters of recommendation. We require recommendations from three people who are qualified to evaluate the academic and professional competence of the applicants. (When completing online application, submit names and emails of those requesting recommendation from; recommendations are sent electronically to your application.)
  4. Supporting document if required.

Applicants who earned an UGPA below 3.00 or a GGPA below 3.5 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, relevant experiences that affect abilities to serve in leadership roles.

GRE SCORES ARE NOT REQUIRED.
International students are not eligible for this program.

 

Sports Leadership MS

Application Deadline:  Last admission deadline by semester aligns with Graduate School admission deadlines.  
Admissions decisions: Rolling
Accepts: Domestic and International Applicants
Admissions decisions: Rolling

MS applicants are required to upload the following items to the online application.

  1. Essay statement (not to exceed two pages) that addresses the following:
  • Your area of interest (task or functional area of administration).
  • Your career goals (i.e., why you are interested in pursuing a degree in sports leadership).
  • Your professional objectives and how the UW–Madison program will contribute toward your role as a leader.
  1. Unofficial transcripts. Official transcripts will be requested prior to Graduate School admission.
  2. Resume or CV.
  3. Three letters of recommendation. We require recommendations from three people who are qualified to evaluate the academic and professional competence of the applicants. (When completing online application, submit names and emails of those requesting recommendation from; recommendations are sent electronically to your application.)
  4. Supporting document if UGPA is below 3.00. In statement, explain why GPA does not accurately reflect potential, documentation of high potential for leadership, relevant experiences that affect abilities to serve in leadership roles.

GRE scores are NOT REQUIRED.

English proficiency requirements required for international applicants. Test scores should be submitted to institution code 1846.

Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis Fellowships and Scholarships

Applications for ELPA scholarships and fellowships are completed via the WiSH system. When applying, refer to the Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis Scholarship Application. The application system for Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis opens on March 1 and closes on April 15 each year. Applications are considered in early May each year and awarded for the following academic year.

Possible available fellowships and scholarships in the department include:

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Earl Hoffmann Graduate Scholarship

Eligibility: Interested applicants must have been admitted to the Graduate School and be enrolled at least half-time in a degree program in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis.

Delmar And Mary Pockat Fellowship

This fellowship is awarded to a returning adult student with preference given to an individual with family responsibilities. The student selected as the Delmar and Mary Pockat Fellow must have demonstrated the highest commitment to educational administration and show outstanding potential. The student must also demonstrate a long-term commitment to the field of educational administration in public schools.

Eligibility: Interested applicants must have been admitted to the Graduate School and plan to be enrolled in a minimum of three graduate credits per semester in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis.

Lanore A. Netzer and Glen G. Eye Scholarship

Lanore A. Netzer and Glen G. Eye Scholarships will be given to two graduate students majoring in educational leadership and policy analysis.

Eligibility: Interested applicants must have been admitted to the Graduate School and be enrolled at least half-time in a degree program in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis. Two scholarships will be awarded to a female graduate student and to a male graduate student.

W. Charles and Helen Read Fund

W. Charles Read was Dean of the School of Education for 35 years. He was a former high school English teacher, earning a Master of Arts in teaching and a Ph.D. in linguistics and education from Harvard University. He joined the UW–Madison faculty in 1970 as a professor of English and linguistics. The Dubuque, Iowa, native has written three books and numerous articles, and his research on linguistics and literacy has been widely cited. At UW–Madison, he has served as chair of the Department of Linguistics and as associate dean and interim dean of the Graduate School. Helen Read ’85 earned her Master of Arts from UW-Madison in Library and Information Studies and her Bachelor of Science from Eastern Michigan University. The Reads are strong supporters of the UW-Madison School of Education and the Cooperative Children’s Book Center.

Eligibility: Interested applicants must be a graduate student in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis.

Russell T. Gregg Fellowship

Russell T. Gregg was a faculty member in Educational Administration from 1945 to 1972.

Eligibility: Interested applications must have been admitted to the Graduate School and be enrolled in a minimum of three graduate credits per semester in a degree and/or certification program in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis. Applicants must have a long term commitment to the field of educational administration in public schools.

Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowship in Technical College Leadership

Today’s global, technology intensive, and rapidly changing economy requires the development of new approaches to teaching and learning technical and professional expertise. To meet these challenges, scholar-leaders in the nation’s 2-year colleges must conduct research that guides the design of new instructional practices and policies. The development of scholar-leaders is critical to increasing access to high quality technical education and lifelong learning experiences for the nation’s citizens. With generous support from the Morgridge Family Foundation, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, and the University of Wisconsin Foundation, an endowed fellowship was created in 2000 to support advanced graduate study in Technical Educational Leadership in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The fellowship will be awarded on a competitive basis for up to three years of full-time graduate study. The appointment will be made for one academic year and is renewable for up to a total of three years. Applicants seeking a one-year renewal must provide a progress report regarding their graduate study and research. Prospective fellows must be admitted to the doctoral program in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis prior to being considered for a fellowship appointment.

Eligibility: Applicants for the Fellowship: 1. Must have completed coursework and the Ph.D. qualifying examination in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis with a focus on higher and post-secondary education. 2. Currently hold or aspire to obtain a leadership position in the Wisconsin Technical College System. 3. Must engage in full-time graduate study (minimum of 8 graduate credits) during the period of the fellowship.

School of Education Awards

The School of Education Awards Application is completed via WiSH. When applying, search for the specific fellowship/scholarship.

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Michael W. Apple Fellowship (Democratic Education)

This fellowship is administered directly by the School of Education. The application requires you to discuss how your research focuses on democratic education. Applicants who are not already familiar with Apple’s work are encouraged to familiarize themselves with his perspective on democratic education. The C&I Awards committee will select one or more nominees depending on School of Education guidelines.

Arvil S. Barr Graduate Fellowship and Barr Award Scholarship (Teacher Education)

The recipient must be a graduate student in the School of Education whose major focus, in terms of program of studies and research projects, is teacher education. The C&I Awards committee will select the nominee for the department based on School of Education guidelines. The C&I Awards committee will select the nominee for the department based on School of Education guidelines.

Other Funding Opportunities

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Kemper Knapp University Fellowship

For more information, please visit the Graduate School’s Fellowships website

Graduate School Travel and Research Grants

ELPA Conference Support

Each year, the ELPA department is fortunate to be able to provide financial assistance to students for conference travel. Participation in conferences is an important part of the department’s mission to prepare scholars and scholar practitioners who generate and share knowledge, serve their professional communities, and cultivate equity and educational opportunity. Toward this end, funding for conference scholarships is provided by the Graduate School, generous donor and alumna Marilyn Gaddis, and the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis.

Eligibility: Any ELPA student attending a professional organization or association conference is invited to apply for funding support. Award amounts vary based on conference location and available funds. Students may apply for conference travel support once per semester.

We understand that this support does not cover all costs associated with conference travel. For additional support, the Department encourages you to review the Graduate School Student Research Grants Competition Information.

Applications for ELPA conference support can be completed here.