Baccalaureate Level/Bachelor’s Degree

The UW Graduate School requires a bachelor’s or comparable undergraduate degree for admission to any graduate program. Undergraduate degrees must be completed before the start of the C&I Master’s Program classes in Summer 1. You may submit your application with courses in progress, and you may be accepted as early as December. However, all offers of admission are provisional until final undergraduate grades are reviewed and your degree is confirmed. Your previous degree must be in a field of study relevant to the licensable area. In some cases, life experiences in the content area may augment or count in place of necessary coursework. Each certification area has its own criteria. Please select a subject area below to learn more about specific prerequisites. If you do not have one of the degrees listed for your desired subject area and believe you have a particular case for consideration, including significant professional experience, or comparable University courses, you may send an email to the Program advisor explaining your situation.

Degree specifics for each content area is listed below –


The Program does not require printed (official) transcripts when you first apply. The initial evaluation may be done using un-official transcript data. Applicants who accept an offer of admission to the Program, however, will need to submit an official transcript to document courses taken and grades earned prior to admission. If the Baccalaureate degree is still in-progress at the time of admission selection, a second official transcript will need to be submitted to document the degree once it is conferred. UW-Madison Graduate School policy allows the degree conferral to be documented after the Program classes have begun.

  • Official Transcripts

If recommended for admission by the Department, you will receive a request for your official transcripts from the Graduate School at that time. Send official transcripts or academic records from each institution attended to the Graduate School at the address below.

UW–Madison Graduate School
Office of Admissions
217 Bascom Hall
500 Lincoln Drive
Madison, WI 53706

Do not send transcripts to the Department.

GPA (Grade Point Average) of 3.0 or Better

The UW Graduate School admits students based on the GPA earned over the last 60 credits of the Bachelor’s Degree. The minimum 60-credit GPA is 3.0. However, the Secondary Education Program may request a GPA waiver for an applicant whose qualitative factors are felt to be strong. If your GPA is under 3.0, you might wish to communicate with the Program Coordinator about your circumstances. Students who do not have a 3.0 GPA or higher may need to take and pass an approved content examination to earn certification.  Details about the timeline for the exam will be shared at the time of admission.

The Graduate School’s GPA evaluation normally will not include additional courses taken beyond completing the Bachelor’s Degree. In certain cases, an advanced degree might have relevance. If you have a degree beyond the bachelor’s (or courses toward such a degree), please list the details in your application. The Program may consider these in determining your eligibility for admission.

Prerequisite Courses and Experiences

Several specific course topics are required for admission to the program. Be sure to read the prerequisite information for your subject area listed below. All of the prerequisite coursework is in the content area. No education courses are required. However, we encourage applicants to have some experience working with adolescents.  Other helpful preparation includes some experience working with populations that include speakers of languages other than English,  UW-Madison undergraduate students can complete the Education Certificate or explore the field of education at your university.

GRE and TOEFL Scores

GRE: GRE not required.

TOEFL Scores: Applicants whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must arrange to have Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores sent to UW-Madison. Applicants may also be requested to converse with the MS Teacher Education Staff. Refer to English Proficiency on the Graduate School Admission Requirements page.

Letters of Recommendation

Two letters of recommendation are required. Ideally, letters should come from a respected academic or professional individual (such as a professor, an academic advisor, a supervisor, or an educational professional) who knows you well enough to address the following qualities: leadership skills, maturity, responsibility, working with diverse populations, skill in communicating, teamwork, and interpersonal skills. It would be beneficial if your recommender could also comment on the depth and breadth of your experience working with adolescents and why you show potential for success in the field of secondary education. The UW-Madison Graduate School online application allows applicants to give contact information for individuals to whom the Graduate School would email instructions for submitting online recommendations directly to the Graduate School.

Statement of Purpose/Reasons for Graduate Study

The statement of purpose should communicate your reasons for wanting to become a teacher. You should also use it to introduce yourself to program faculty, highlighting experiences, related skills, and personal attributes which make you an exceptional candidate for the Education Program. ​This usually is addressed in an essay, about one page in length. As the statement of purpose is one of the most important components of the application, you should carefully read, revise, and edit it before submission. It may be wise to seek assistance from external resources. See the link to the UW Graduate School’s advice on writing the Statement of Purpose. UW-Madison students may wish to contact the UW-Madison Writing Center for additional help.


A resume upload via the UW-Madison Graduate School supplemental application is required. This should include your professional and academic experience, as well as any other information you believe is pertinent. No specific format is required. The resume should not exceed two pages in length.


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Applicants need to have (or have completed by June) a Bachelor’s of Science or a Bachelor’s of Art with a major or a minor in one or more of the following areas:

  • English
  • Comparative Literature
  • Linguistics
  • Theater & Drama
  • Other areas will be considered, ie: Journalism, Social Sciences, Media

Social Studies

Applicants need to have (or have completed by June) a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts with a major in one or more of the following areas:

  • History
  • Political Science
  • Geography
  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Economics
  • or some other Social Science-related degree


Applicants need to have (or have completed by June) a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts with a major in one or more of the following areas:

  • Biology or other Life Science-related major
  • Environmental Science
  • Geology or other Geoscience
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Engineering
  • or some other Natural Science or Science-related degree


Applicants need to have (or have completed by June) a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts with coursework comparable to an undergraduate degree in mathematics.  Regardless of degree, if a candidate has the range of mathematics subjects

World Language

Applicants need to have (or have completed by June) a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts with a major in the language of the teaching certification.  Applicants who do not have an undergraduate degree in the language of certification but who are native or heritage speakers of the language or who have an undergraduate degree from a non-English-language institution may also be considered.

Language certification areas:

  • Chinese-Mandarin
  • French
  • German
  • Hebrew
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Latin
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish

If you have proficiency in a different language and wish to pursue certification, please contact the program coordinator to review options.


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Prior to admission applicants must demonstrate competency in the following domains through coursework or other experiences. Language

  • Applying language to fit a variety of audiences and purposes
  • Study of the structure or history of language, typically found in linguistics
  • Exploring the interrelatedness of language arts, including:
    • reading, writing, speaking, listening, creating and responding to media


  • Writing as a recursive thinking process (e.g., pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, publishing, and presenting)
  • Writing, speaking and creating media for a variety of audiences and purposes


  • Literature is broken into genres and connects to the world around
  • The breadth of literary exposure includes culturally-rich and diverse (broadly-speaking) representative works of major writers that span Classic, Contemporary, and Futuristic genres from the United States to around the world


Prior to admission, all applicants must demonstrate competency in the following general areas through coursework or other experiences.

  • Calculus
  • Linear Algebra
  • Modern Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Combinatorics/ Probability
  • History/ Philosophy of Mathematics
  • Statistics


Prior to admission, all applicants must demonstrate competency in the following general areas through coursework or other experiences.

  • Structure and Properties of Matter
  • Chemical Reactions
  • Forces and Interactions
  • Energy
  • Waves and Electromagnetic Radiation

For content competencies required for each of the certification areas offered in science, please see the Science Certification Areas.

Social Studies

Prior to admission, all applicants must demonstrate competency in one or more of the following areas through coursework or other experiences. For more information, see the Social Studies Certification Areas.

World Language

Before admission, all applicants must demonstrate oral and written proficiency* in the language of certification and awareness of the socio-cultural contexts of the language.  Such competencies may be demonstrated via any one of the following methods:

  • a degree in the language of certification obtained within the past two years.
  • a rating of intermediate-high or better on the ACTFL oral proficiency interview (OPI) and written proficiency test (WPT) or on another approved proficiency assessment.
  • a passing score on the PRAXIS Subject Test, as defined by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

*Exceptions apply in some cases (e.g., ASL and Latin).

Mathematics: Additional details for former or current UW-Madison students

University of Wisconsin-Madison graduates may use the following list of courses as guide towards fulfilling each content domain.

Content Domain
UW-Madison Courses
 Calculus  Math 221, Math 222, Math 234, and Math 421 or Math 521
 Linear Algebra  Math 320, Math 340, Math 341, or Math 376
 Modern Algebra  Math 441 or Math 541
 Geometry  Math 461
 Combinatorics and Probabilty  Math 431 and Math 475
 History and Philosophy of Math  Math 473
 Statistics  Stats 301 or Math 309

Current UW-Madison undergraduate students planning to apply to this program may follow the Option-2 Math major guidelines at the Math department website.  Other degrees are also accepted.  Contact the SED Math lead to review your situation:  Jen Murphy,

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In some cases it is required before the program startsest may be taken after you have been admitted into the program but must be passed before the commencement of Summer 1 coursework. If this exam score is necessary, a common exam is the Praxis II: Subject Assessments/Specialty Area Tests through the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Area tests and passing scores for each of our offered program subject areas are below.

  • English: General English Exam #5038, passing score 167
  • Social Studies: Social studies Content Knowledge Exam #5081, passing score 153
  • Science: General Science Exam #5435, passing score 154
  • Mathematics: General Mathematics Exam #5161, passing score 160
  • World Language:

Notification of Application Status

Priority Applicants will be notified by December 20th of their status for admission for the June start. All offers of admission are provisional until all bachelor’s level grades are final and documented (if the bachelor’s degree was pending at the time of application) and until criminal background investigation results are reviewed. If, after a student has been offered admission, the final transcript review or the results of the criminal background check indicate that a student did not satisfy all the eligibility criteria, the offer of admission will be rescinded. Students should be aware that under these or similar ineligibility conditions the offer of admission could be rescinded.

Program Restrictions

Students accepted into this program are not permitted to accept teaching assistantships, project assistantships, research assistantships, or any other appointments that would provide a tuition waiver.


Contact Joey Lubasi, UW Secondary Education Program Coordinator at