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Curriculum and Instruction


Administrative Unit:Curriculum and Instruction
College/School: School of Education
Admitting Plans:M.S., Ph.D.
Degrees Offered:M.S., Ph.D.
Minors and Certificates:Ph.D. Minors in Curriculum and Instruction, and in Qualitative Research Methodology in Education

Faculty: Professors Rudolph (chair), Lockwood (graduate program chair), Apple, Baker, Gomez, Grant, Graue, Hawkins, Hess, James, Knuth, Koza, Ladson-Billings, Marschalek, Nathan, Popkewitz, Tochon, Uttal, van de Water;  Associate Professors Compton-Lilly, Ellis, Fujita Geyer, R. Halverson, Hassett, Marché, Schweber, Squire, Zhang; Assistant Professors Braaten, Dobbs, Feinstein, Ghousseini, E. Halverson, Pacheco, Steinkuehler, Thomas, Wager; Visiting Assistant Professor Levy. For more information about respective members of the faculty, see Faculty on the department website.

Overview

The Department of Curriculum and Instruction offers graduate studies that lead to the master of science (M.S.) in curriculum and instruction and the doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) in curriculum and instruction. Each graduate student must concentrate in one of the department's areas of study, listed in the next paragraph.

Areas of Study 

In accord with interests and professional goals, each admitted graduate student is assigned to an area of study and to an initial faculty advisor in that area. Areas of study are art education; bilingual education; curriculum theory and research; early childhood education; educational communications and technology; elementary education; English/language arts education (literacy studies); English as a second language education; international studies in curriculum, pedagogy, and teacher education*; literacy studies; mathematics education; multicultural education; music education; reading education (literacy studies); science education; social studies education; teacher education; and world language education.

*The international studies in curriculum, pedagogy, and teacher education area of study has an optional subemphasis on global studies, teaching, and the curriculum in the department's M.S. program. For additional information, please contact Marilyn Fearn, graduate program coordinator, 608-263-7466, mfearn@education.wisc.edu.

Nondegree Study in Graduate-Level Courses 

Already-certified educational professionals who wish to earn credit in graduate-level courses to improve professionally or to update or renew a license but do not wish to seek a graduate degree ordinarily register as University Special students through the Adult and Student Services Center, Division of Continuing Studies, 21 North Park Street, 7th Floor, Madison WI 53715-1218; 608-263-6960; assc@dcs.wisc.edu; www.dcs.wisc.edu. Persons who plan to eventually earn a graduate degree in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction should apply for admission as a graduate student before beginning their studies and not accumulate credits as a University Special student. University policies actively discourage belated requests to allow work done as a University Special to count toward graduate-degree requirements.

Postbaccalaureate Teacher Certification 

Unless the department Web site describes specific exceptions, graduate study in the department cannot be combined with work required for initial teacher certification. Qualified candidates who are not presently certified and who desire teacher certification but not a graduate degree should contact Education Academic Services, 139 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall, 608-262-1651, easinfo@education.wisc.edu. Admission to nongraduate teacher-certification programs is limited and is subject to the availability of class space and field placements. Depending on an applicant's background and the type of certification sought, a successful applicant will be classified upon admittance as either an Education Certification Special (EDCS) student or a second-undergraduate-degree candidate.

Master's Degree Programs 

Details of requirements and procedures pertaining to master's degree study in the department are described in the department's Master's Degree Program Handbook. Because master's degree students are personally responsible for learning about and following department requirements and procedures, they should familiarize themselves with this document. The handbook is available at the Curriculum and Instruction Graduate Program Office, 210C Teacher Education Building, 225 North Mills Street, 608-263-7466, or online. Master's degree students are also personally responsible for learning about and following Graduate School policies. The Curriculum and Instruction Graduate Program Office offers an informational meeting for graduate students at the beginning of each semester; this meeting is especially useful to entering graduate students.

Master of Science (M.S.) in Curriculum and Instruction

The M.S. in curriculum and instruction prepares students for advanced work in education. In some cases, work leading to the degree prepares students to enter a new career as an educational specialist (e.g., curriculum developer, content-area specialist, school department head, curriculum supervisor, instructional technology specialist, early childhood specialist, community health educator, or reading teacher). In other cases, it prepares students to perform at a higher level in their existing job. In yet other cases, it prepares students for Ph.D. study. Motivations for master's degree work include professional updating, maintenance of accreditation, acquisition of new perspectives and skills, development of specialized knowledge, preparation to work with student teachers, preparation for leadership among teachers, and preparation for advanced graduate study. Whatever their personal reasons for pursuing the degree, master's degree students should expect both an atmosphere of intellectual inquiry and the serious academic standards befitting a graduate research program in curriculum and instruction.

M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction Combined with Teacher Certification

A program organized to combine master's degree work with initial teacher certification was previously offered by the department, but that option no longer available. Unless the department Web site describes specific exceptions, graduate study in the department cannot be combined with work required for initial teacher certification. Please refer to the section on Postbaccalaureate Teacher Certification, above.

Ph.D. Degree 

The goals of doctoral study in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction are to help students develop abilities for research in the field of curriculum and instruction, imbuing them with a distinctive theoretical and critical edge; develop expertise in one of the department's areas of study, listed previously; acquire greater competence in curriculum evaluation and development; improve understanding of the teaching-learning process; gain depth and breadth of knowledge in related academic fields; and build a broadened professional background in areas related to curriculum and instruction, such as administration, counseling, educational psychology, supervision, and the anthropology, history, philosophy, and sociology of education.

Ph.D. study in the department is research-oriented. It prepares students for different forms of intellectual leadership in education including research, teacher education and other teaching in higher education, and leadership positions in educational agencies. These different forms of leadership are not mutually exclusive, but the relative emphasis given to each varies among students and areas of study.

Details of requirements and procedures pertaining to Ph.D. study in the department are described in the department's Ph.D. Degree Program Handbook. Doctoral students are responsible for learning about and following department requirements and procedures; they should therefore familiarize themselves with this document, a printed copy of which can be picked up at the Curriculum and Instruction Graduate Program Office, 210C Teacher Education Building, 225 North Mills Street, 608-263-7466. Ph.D. students are also responsible for learning about and following Graduate School policies. The Curriculum and Instruction Graduate Program Office offers an informational meeting for graduate students at the beginning of each semester; this meeting, whose place and time will be announced on the department's Web site, is especially useful to entering graduate students.

Ph.D. Minor in Curriculum and Instruction 

Doctoral students majoring in another UW-Madison department who desire a Ph.D. minor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction should seek and enlist a faculty member in the department to serve as their Ph.D. minor advisor. Twelve credits are required for a Ph.D. minor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. At least 6 of these credits must be in substantive, graduate-level courses taken in the UW-Madison Department of Curriculum and Instruction. (Substantive, graduate-level courses excludes credits earned through Independent Reading, Independent Study, Research, and Thesis.) With the approval of the minor advisor, the remaining 6 credits may be met through an approved transfer of credits in substantive, graduate-level courses completed at other institutions. A maximum of 3 credits of the total 12-credit minor requirement may be met through graduate-level independent reading done in the UW-Madison Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Advanced Certification Programs 

In addition to the master's degree and Ph.D. degree programs, the department offers several advanced certification programs involving certificates that are available only at the postbaccalaureate level. Their descriptions follow. The programs listed below lead to certificates or licenses issued by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Bilingual Certification

The Bilingual Certification program is an optional add-on to English as a Second Language (ESL) K-12 certification, described below. This option leads to Bilingual teacher certification. Candidates for Bilingual Certification must already hold a Wisconsin teaching license and ESL certification.

English as a Second Language K-12 Certification Program

The English as a Second Language (ESL) certification program offers a course of study that leads to Kindergarten-Grade 12 (K-12) ESL teacher certification. ESL is an add-on certification, which means that the candidate must already hold a Wisconsin teaching license in early childhood education, elementary education, or a secondary education core content area (defined as science, social studies, math, or English/language arts). All courses are at the graduate level, and they may be taken either as a University Special student or as a graduate student enrolled in the curriculum and instruction master's degree program. The certification program consists of 22 credits of graduate course work. For addition information, see English as a Second Language and Bilingual Programs.

Instructional Technology Specialist Program

The Instructional Technology (IT) Specialist certification program requires a student to complete the master's degree requirements in the department's Educational Communications and Technology area of study. The curriculum of this program emphasizes critical media analysis, computers in the classroom, television production, local production of instructional media, and instructional design. For persons who are certified to teach in Wisconsin, successful completion of this program qualifies them for certification by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction as an Instructional Technology Specialist.

Applicants must have teacher certification in at least one field of study. Please refer to the department's Master's Degree Programs Handbook for applicable admission requirements and satisfactory-progress criteria.

Advisors: Professor Steinkuehler, 528D Teacher Education Building, 608-263-4669, steinkuehler@wisc.edu;  Professor Squire, 544-B Teacher Education Building, 608-263-4672, kdsquire@education.wisc.edu; Professor Thomas, 544-A Teacher Education Building, 608-263-6987, mthomas@education.wisc.edu

Reading Teacher Program

Any person who has a specific assignment to teach reading in Wisconsin must hold a Wisconsin State Reading Teacher license (316). A reading teacher license to teach at the early childhood through adolescence level shall be issued to an applicant who has completed an approved program, who has received institutional endorsement for the reading teacher license, and who meets all of the following requirements:

a. Eligibility to hold a Wisconsin license to teach or completion of an approved teacher education program.

b. Two years of successful regular classroom teaching experience.

c. Proficiency in the teaching of reading that includes a practicum in teaching reading in all of the following:

(1) Developmental reading for pupils in the early childhood through adolescent level.

(2) Assessment and instructional techniques for readers with special needs.

(3) Language development.

(4) Learning disabilities.

(5) Content area reading.

(6) Literature for children or adolescents.

Institutional endorsement from UW-Madison for the reading teacher license (316) is met through the following required courses: 272-500 (Literacy and Language Development with practicum), 272-503 (Literacy Across the Curriculum with practicum), 272-504 (Literacy Assessment and Intervention with practicum), 272-604 (Seminar on Literacy topic 1), 272-604 (Seminar on Literacy topic 2), 272-632 (Literature and Literacy with practicum), plus one 3-credit elective course involving language development, language disorders, language structure, or literacy as approved by advisor. Thus, it is 21 credits for the Wisconsin State Reading Teacher License, with 15 semester credits involving a practicum.

Advisor: Professor Dawnene Hassett, 456e Teacher Education Building, 608-263-4666, ddhassett@wisc.edu

Reading Specialist Program

In Wisconsin, a Reading Specialist license (317) is required for any person who directs early childhood through adolescence reading programs or works with reading teachers, classroom teachers, administrators, and others as a resource teacher in reading. A reading specialist license may be issued to an applicant who has completed an approved program, who has received the institutional endorsement for the reading specialist license, and who has met the following requirements:

a. A reading teacher license under Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction PI 34 Administrative Rules, s. PI 34.33 (6), dpi.wi.gov/tepdl/pi34.html#supplementarycategories3433.

b. A master's degree with a major emphasis in reading

c. The ability to demonstrate expertise in each of the following:

(1) Guiding and directing the kindergarten through grade 12 program.

(2) Field experience in kindergarten through grade 12 reading programs.

(3) Research related to reading.

(4) Supervision of instruction.

(5) Content area reading for the reading specialist.

Institutional endorsement from UW-Madison for the reading specialist license (317) is met through the following required courses: 272-805 (Guiding and Directing School Reading Programs); 272-840 (Fieldwork in School Reading Programs); 305-848 (Professional Development and Organizational Learning—or an equivalent class from the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, as approved by the advisor); plus two 3-credit elective courses involving school-wide programs, curriculum development, language development, or literacy as approved by advisor. Thus, it is 15 credits for the Wisconsin State Reading Specialist License (15 credits beyond the reading teacher license).

Advisor: Professor Dawnene Hassett, 456e Teacher Education Building, 608-263-4666, ddhassett@wisc.edu.

Financial Aid

The department nominates eligible incoming M.S. and Ph.D. students for an Advanced Opportunity Fellowship (AOF). Eligibility criteria for these fellowships can be found at the Graduate School's Office of Fellowships and Funding Resources (OFFR). The department nominates its most academically competitive Ph.D. candidates for the University-Wide Fellowship Competition. Nominees are considered in February by a committee of the Graduate School's Social Studies Division. For an applicant to be considered in this competition, the graduate-application file should be complete by December 1.

University-wide information about financial aid for graduate students is available through the Office of Student Financial Aid. Additional information about financing graduate education is available from the Graduate School's Office of Graduate Admissions- Costs and Funding. 

The department itself does not award fellowships or scholarships; however, a limited number of teaching assistantships, project assistantships, research assistantships, and program assistantships are available either in the department or through faculty research projects in the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. These assistantships are awarded to qualified, full-time graduate students and typically involve 10-20 hours of professional work each week, usually in close collaboration with one or more professors. Assistantships provide a stipend and may include the cost of tuition (excluding segregated fees).

Applications for assistantships in the department can be downloaded here or requested from the Academic Department Manager, 210A Teacher Education Building, 608-263-4602, jzander@education.wisc.edu. Students should also check with individual faculty members about opportunities for assistantships. Any teaching, project, or program assistant in the department must carry a full course load of 8-12 graduate-level credits and make satisfactory progress toward the graduate degree.

Admission 

All applicants should apply online at Graduate School Electronic Application. Official transcripts should be sent in duplicate to the Curriculum and Instruction Graduate Program Office, 225 North Mills Street, Madison WI 53706-1707. Printed letters of recommendation may also be sent to this address, but persons writing recommendations may find it faster and more convenient to submit their recommendations electronically. Letters of recommendation can be submitted electronically to the Graduate School, following a process that is described in the on-line application. Any additional documentation required specifically by the Department of Curriculum and Instruction should be sent to the postal address shown above. If the application fee is not paid electronically, a check or money order should be mailed to the Office of Graduate Admissions, 228 Bascom Hall, 500 Lincoln Drive, Madison WI 53706-1330.

Master's Applicants

Official transcripts from all previous postsecondary study and three letters of recommendation are required for all master's degree applicants. Letters of recommendation should be written by persons who are qualified to judge the potential of the applicant as a graduate student. Printed letters of recommendation may be sent directly to the Curriculum and Instruction Graduate Program Office, but persons writing recommendations may find it faster and more convenient to submit their recommendations electronically. Requests to have letters of recommendation submitted electronically are made as part of the online application for admission. International applicants should note additional requirements that are described in the International Applications section.

All master's degree applicants are required to submit a detailed statement of reasons for graduate study. This statement should indicate the applicant's primary area of interest, professional objectives, career goals, and why the applicant is interested in pursuing the master's degree in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. This information is used to gauge the appropriateness of the applicant's program goals in relation to the department's mission and to identify prospective advisors whose research interests match those of the applicant. If an applicant's statement fails to persuade a faculty member to serve as the graduate advisor, the applicant will be refused admission; it is therefore important that this statement be detailed, well-written, and matched to specific areas of graduate specialization that are available in the department. These areas of study are listed at the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Graduate Program: Areas of Study. If an applicant would like for a particular professor to serve as graduate advisor, the applicant should identify the desired advisor in the statement of reasons for graduate study.

All master's degree applicants are required to submit a resume or curriculum vitae (cv). 

If the grade point average (GPA) of an applicant's last 60 semester-hours of undergraduate course work is below 3.0 (on a 4-point scale), the applicant must also take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) general test and have an official report of the scores sent electronically from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to UW-Madison (institution code: 1846).

Ph.D. Applicants

Ph.D. applicants are required to supplement the application with the items enumerated below. To see whether any additional forms of evidence are presently required, prospective applicants should check the Graduate Program link at the department Web site. or contact the Graduate Program Office, 608-263-7466, cigrad@education.wisc.edu. (International applicants should note additional requirements that are described in the International Applications section, below.)

(1) Official transcripts. Official transcripts from all previous postsecondary study are required for all Ph.D. applicants.

(2) Graduate Record Exam (GRE) general test. Ph.D. applicants should have an official report of their Graduate Record Exam (GRE) general test scores sent electronically from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to UW-Madison (institution code: 1846).

(3) Evidence of writing ability. Ph.D. applicants are required to provide evidence of their writing ability by sending a writing sample (master's thesis, academic paper from a graduate course, a journal article, or any other writing which the applicant believes can be used to judge writing ability) directly to the Curriculum and Instruction Graduate Program Office.

(4) Three letters that include appraisal of academic competence. Ph.D. applicants are required to have three letters of reference assessing their academic and professional competence. Letters of reference written for teachers ordinarily include an evaluation of their professional competence, and the department does consider that information. However, the department needs letters that also give a knowledgeable appraisal of the applicant's academic competence. A student's former professors are usually best able to provide this, so the department prefers letters from them. Printed letters of recommendation may be sent directly to the Curriculum and Instruction Graduate Program Office, but persons writing recommendations may find it faster and more convenient to submit their recommendations electronically. Requests to have letters of recommendation submitted electronically are made as part of the online application for admission.

(5) Statement of reasons for doctoral study. Each Ph.D. applicant is required to submit a detailed statement of reasons for doctoral study. The statement should indicate the applicant's primary area of interest, professional objectives, career goals, and why the applicant is interested in pursuing a research degree in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. This information is used to gauge the appropriateness of the applicant's program goals in relation to the department's mission and to identify prospective advisors whose research interests match those of the applicant. If an applicant's statement fails to persuade a faculty member to serve as the graduate advisor, the applicant will be refused admission; it is therefore important that this statement be detailed, well-written, and matched to specific areas of graduate specialization that are available in the department. These areas of study are listed on the School of Education website at Graduate Program: Areas of Study. If an applicant would like for a particular professor to serve as graduate advisor, the applicant should identify the desired advisor in the statement of reasons for graduate study.

(6) Resume or curriculum vitae (cv). 

International Applicants

The department has a long and successful history of working with graduate students from around the world. Over the last 25 years, approximately 120 M.S. degrees were earned by international students; students in this group came from 37 countries. During the same period, approximately 140 Ph.D. degrees were earned by international students in the department; students in this group came from 43 countries. Qualified international students add to the enrichment of the social and intellectual environment for all faculty and students.

In accord with Graduate School policy, applicants whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB). An admitted applicant whose paper-based TOEFL score is below 580, internet-based TOEFL (iBT) score is below 92, IELTS score is below 7, or MELAB score is below 82 must take an English assessment test upon arrival. They must then register for any English as a Second Language (ESL) courses that are recommended.

To see whether any additional forms of evidence are presently required, prospective international applicants should check the Graduate Program link at the department Web site or contact the Graduate Program Office, 608-263-7466, cigrad@education.wisc.edu.

Expected Background in Professional Education

A professional background in education (typically, as a certified teacher) is a prerequisite for most graduate areas of study in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Applicants to certain areas of study within the department are sometimes admitted without teacher certification, but they are nevertheless required to have taken at least 12 credits in professional education courses. Equivalent courses taught outside a school of education are permissible, so long as an express focus on professional education is judged by the graduate program chair to be evident. At least 6 credits must be in foundations of education (e.g., educational anthropology, educational sociology, history of education, human development, human learning, philosophy of education). Applicants lacking this background may be admitted with deficiencies. They will then be required to take a specified number of credits in the areas of deficiency, in addition to the course work ordinarily required in the graduate program. Although courses taken to remove deficiencies might also be part of a program that leads to initial teacher certification, students who take them to remove deficiencies should not expect to gain initial teacher certification by taking the remaining courses of a teacher-certification program while still a graduate student. Courses taken to remove deficiencies should be chosen in consultation with the graduate advisor, and each of these courses must be taken for a letter grade (not pass/fail). These courses may be carried concurrently with regular graduate courses; but, being additional requirements, they do not count toward requirements of the graduate program.

For more information: Curriculum and Instruction Graduate Program Office, 210-C Teacher Education Building, 225 North Mills Street, Madison WI 53706-1707; 608-263-7466; fax 608-263-9992; cigrad@education.wisc.edu; ci.education.wisc.edu.