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Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis

Administrative Unit:Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis
College/School: School of Education
Admitting Plans:M.S., Ph.D., Specialist Certificate
Degrees Offered:M.S.,Ph.D.
Minors and Certificates:Doctoral Minor, Specialist Certificate
Named Options: Cooperative Program with UW–Whitewater (M.S.), Global Higher Education (M.S.), Wisconsin Idea Executive PhD Cohort (Ph.D.)


Faculty: Associate Professor Camburn (chair); Professors Borman, Capper, Conrad, Jackson, Halverson, Kelley, Mead; Associate Professors Diamond, Miller; Assistant Professors Goff, Hillman, Wang, Winkle-Wagner; Clinical Professors Crim, Rainwater; Faculty Associate King


The mission of the department is to create, evaluate, exchange, and apply knowledge about leadership, learning, and organizational performance to prepare scholars and scholar practitioners who cultivate equity and educational opportunity in a diverse and changing world.  

Many varied educational constituencies need to be able to analyze and to inform debate on educational issues, and to lead and develop learning communities that meet the diverse learning needs of students and society. We believe effective educational leadership in any institution embodies three core values: inquiry, equity and reflection.

Graduates and recipients of the department's instruction are expected to reflect the knowledge, skills, and personal qualities that will be successful in promoting, producing, and improving learning and increasing public trust in educational institutions.

The Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis offers the M.S. degree, Global Higher Education named option in the M.S. degree, the Ph.D. degree, the Wisconsin Idea Executive Ph.D. named option cohort, a specialist certificate program, and Principal, Director of Instruction, Director of Special Education and Pupil Services and Superintendent licensure programs. All are intended to increase professional knowledge and skills essential for educational leadership, and to prepare persons for leadership positions at all levels of education: preschool, elementary, secondary, special education, vocational and technical schools, and colleges and universities, both public and private.

In keeping with this mission, the department has three specialties or emphases: Higher, Postsecondary, and Continuing Education, focused on the effective administration of postsecondary institutions, including higher education leadership, student affairs administration, and athletic administration; K–12 Leadership, emphasizing the effective administration of primary and secondary institutions; and Educational Policy, stressing effective formation and analysis of policies governing the administration of all educational institutions. Students in each specialty will focus their course work within the emphasis, although students are encouraged to learn about other areas as well. Many students in the department also pursue the course work leading to certification for administrative licensure by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. 

Cooperative Program with UW–Whitewater 

The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents approved the cooperative master of science degree program in educational leadership & policy analysis between the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the UW–Whitewater campus on February 5, 1982.

The cooperative program provides the opportunity for educators in the northeastern and central regions of Wisconsin to obtain a master of science degree, with certification (principal, director of instruction, director of special education and pupil services) in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. All required course work will be offered on the Whitewater campus.

Students must be admitted simultaneously to UW–Madison and UW–Whitewater. Program admission will be to the UW–Madison Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis and to the UW–Whitewater Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Upon completion of the approved program, students will be awarded a master of science degree from UW–Madison.

Financial Aid 

Full-time graduate students may receive appointments as research, program, or project assistants. These assistantships usually provide for remission of tuition (except for segregated fees) and provide a stipend to help meet the expenses of graduate study.  For information regarding financial aid opportunities, see Costs and Funding on the Graduate School website.


Admission to the department is based, in part, on the following criteria: undergraduate GPA in the last 60 hours of undergraduate work, GPA on 9 or more graduate credits, Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores (required for Ph.D. and Educational Specialist Certificate only), three letters of recommendation from persons who are qualified to judge the applicant's academic and professional competence, resume, and a "reasons for study" essay.

For information regarding admissions criteria and the application process, see Admissions on the department website.

For more information: Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, 253 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall, Madison, WI 53706-1398; 608-263-2701; elpa@education.wisc.edu; http://elpa.education.wisc.edu
FAQs: http://elpa.education.wisc.edu/elpa/about/frequently-asked-questions
Master's program: http://elpa.education.wisc.edu/elpa/academics/MSDegreeRequirements
Doctoral program: http://elpa.education.wisc.edu/elpa/academics/PhDDegreeRequirements
Certification programs: http://elpa.education.wisc.edu/elpa/academics/K12Certification
Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis specialist certificate program: http://elpa.education.wisc.edu/elpa/academics/EdSpecialistCertificate