The Department of Educational Policy Studies only has fall admission. The application deadline is December 15, with applicants notified by letter before March 1. Accepted students must respond in writing by April 15. For questions on the application process please email Mary Jo Gessler at gessler@education.wisc.eduAll applicants must apply online.

Required materials:

  1. Online application
  2. Three (3) letters of recommendations that attest to your academic abilities and potential for graduate study
  3. Statement of reasons for pursuing graduate work in Educational Policy Studies (1-2 pages)
  4. All transcripts*
  5. Vita/Resume
  6. Writing sample (as described below)
  7. GRE scores (use code 1846) — ​scores must be received by December 15

Upload all supplemental materials before you submit your application. You will not be able to add supplemental materials once your application has been submitted. Copies of your transcripts must be uploaded online with the rest of your application materials. Upon admittance to the program, you are required to submit hard copies of all official transcripts.

The application is judged on the basis of previous academic record, other experiences, letters of recommendation, personal statement (please outline specific reasons for your interest in pursuing graduate study in the Department of Education al Policy Studies), writing sample, and Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores.

The admissions process in the Department of Educational Policy Studies is the responsibility of the Admissions Committee. The committee will direct applications from qualified candidates to a faculty member in the department whose interests are similar to the applicant’s. A temporary advisor must be willing to accept temporary responsibility for the student’s graduate program. If no temporary advisor can be found, the candidate cannot be admitted to graduate study. If a faculty member agrees to serve as temporary advisor and the applicant is judged qualified for admission, the student is notified that the department will recommend admission to the Graduate School. Formal notification of admission comes from the Graduate School.

With rare exceptions, all students who do not hold masters degrees are initially admitted to the master’s program. At the time of the defense of your master’s thesis, a decision is made about your admission to the doctoral program. No further application is required for entrance into the doctoral program, and all master’s coursework counts toward the doctoral coursework requirement. Students who already hold master’s degrees are also initially admitted to the master’s program, except in cases where the candidate has completed a master’s thesis or comparable piece of writing.

All applicants must include a substantial sample of academic writing. For applicants who have completed a master’s degree, the master’s thesis or equivalent paper (e.g. “qualifying paper”) must be submitted. For applicants wishing to apply directly to the doctoral program, the EPS faculty will consider this work when determining admission at the master’s or doctoral level.

For applicants currently working on a master’s thesis or equivalent paper, that material may be submitted for consideration when it is completed. For students holding a bachelor’s degree, the writing sample might include sections from an undergraduate thesis or seminar paper, or a course paper. Applicants who wish to submit an alternative writing sample (e.g., solely authored published article, solely authored research report, or sections of a research report). For students who are admitted, the Admissions Committee will, in consultation with an applicant’s prospective advisor, recommend admission to either the EPS master’s program or the EPS doctoral program.


The Department of Educational Policy Studies welcomes applications from non-U.S. citizens. In addition to other application materials, international applicants must also provide:

  • Official documentation of all courses taken and grades received
  • Official certification of degrees and dates granted
  • Official TOEFL scores
  • GRE scores

Additional Resources

NOTE: The Graduate School is no longer requesting financial documents from international applicants until a recommendation for admission has been received. Please note that international applicant financial information can be found on the Graduate School website.