University of Wisconsin–Madison

Frequently Asked Questions

How is the graduate program structured?
Each program (whether English, Mathematics, Science, or Social Studies) runs for one full academic year and two summers. Students begin in the summer, complete two semesters of classroom and field work in the following academic year, and finish during the next summer.

Successful graduates will earn certification in their designated subject area as well as certification in English as a Second Language (ESL).

Is financial aid available?
Students can apply for financial aid (grants and loans) as they might in any graduate program. There are also a number of program-specific scholarships available to help students defray educational expenses, and some students may be eligible for loan forgiveness if they commit to teach in a high needs school district after graduation. More information can be found on the Financial Aid page.

How much does the program cost?
The program consists of two full-time summer sessions and two full-time academic semesters (fall and spring). Cost information can be found on the Tuition and Fees page of the Graduate School website.

Will I be able to work while I’m in the program?
Unfortunately, due to the intensive nature of the field-experience and course sequence, it’s unlikely that you would be able to work while you’re in the program. It’s a full-time commitment. The weeks are filled with teaching during the days and courses in the evenings, and during your free time you’ll most likely be doing outside of class preparation.

Is it harder to find a teaching job with a masters degree?
No. The increased compensation that teachers with advanced degrees earn has not been found to be a disadvantage in the job search. Even in competitive job markets, students with dual certification in their subject area and in ESL are in high demand.

Do I need to take any education courses to qualify for admission to the program?
Not at all. Although students sometimes find taking courses within a school of education useful in helping them determine if teaching is the career path for them. Also, earning education credits may give you a leg up in the admissions process. Taking these classes is one way to demonstrate your interest and commitment to a career in teaching.

Current undergraduates at UW-Madison might want to check out the certificate programs in Education and Educational Services and Educational Policy Studies. These are programs of courses that essentially serve as minors in education (but without teaching certification).

What score do I need on the GRE?
The GRE is only needed if GPA is below a 3.0. We have no set cut scores at this time. The scores are used as one element in a range of comparable data.

The GRE scores are also used to fulfill the state requirement for a basic-skills assessment in communication (for this students need a Composite Score of at least 298 with minimum score of 150 on Verbal and 145 on Math). For details, see the Testing Requirement page at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction website.

May I add certification areas to my Science or Social Studies license after my application?
Yes, if you fulfill the content standards of additional areas before applying for your license. If you wish to add certification areas after you receive your Wisconsin teaching license, you can do so through additional coursework or by passing the content exam in that certification area. For details, see the Content Test Pathway page on the Wisconsin DPI website.