The satisfaction that comes from teaching math is incalculable

There is a high demand for well-qualified and effective mathematics teachers in our nation’s middle and high schools. For those with a deep understanding of mathematics and a call to teach, we offer a program that prepares you to become a math teacher and to ignite and support the learning of all students.

In the UW-Madison Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction: Secondary Education program, you will develop a conceptual appreciation of secondary school mathematics (middle and high school)—one that will enable you to foster students’ abilities to create a deep and connected set of ideas, relationships, procedures, and concepts. You will engage in a variety of course activities designed to support your development as an educator, including:

  • Discussing and solving novel problems
  • Analyzing examples of student thinking
  • Evaluating curricular materials
  • Critiquing sample solution methods
  • Analyzing instances of classroom practice

The courses and field experiences will help you develop the skills, knowledge, and habits of mind necessary to being an effective, dynamic teacher of mathematics.

If you have questions about the field of secondary math education, or about the mathematical thinking preparation within the program, please feel free to reach out to the SED Math Coordinator, Jen Murphy, at


Undergraduate 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.

If you believe you have a special case for consideration, including significant professional experience, or comparable university courses, you may send an email to Jen Murphy explaining your situation.

Content Domains

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


Students may be able to complete a national math content exam to address certain gaps in their coursework.  The Praxis II: Subject Assessments/Specialty Area Tests through the Educational Testing Service (ETS)—General Mathematics Exam # 5161, is the exam most often used.  A passing score for this exam is 160. This test may be taken after you have been admitted into the program.

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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 should follow the Option-2 Math major guidelines at the Math department website.

Admissions Criteria

The admissions process of the Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction: Secondary Education is highly competitive. The program will select students in each subject area for admission based on the following:

  • Is the applicant well-qualified academically? Does the academic background reflect the needs of the profession?
  • Is the applicant thoughtful and reflective about the meaning of teaching? Are the applicant’s motivations for entering the profession worthwhile and do they reflect a commitment to professional improvement?
  • Has the applicant shown the ability to work effectively with young people, especially those different in important ways from the applicant?
  • Does the applicant show a genuine commitment to working with all children, not just the privileged or highly motivated? Does the applicant provide evidence of working with adolescents?
  • Is the applicant capable of working effectively with other professionals in the school, parents, caregivers, and members of the community outside of school?
  • Does the applicant have work experience that may add to their ability to assist students in building their own knowledge of the subject?


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