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Rehabilitation Psychology

Administrative Unit:Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education
College/School: School of Education
Admitting Plans:M.S., Ph.D.
Degrees Offered:M.S., Ph.D.
Minors and Certificates:Doctoral Minor

Faculty: Professors Wilkerson (chair), Chan, Hanley-Maxwell, Rosenthal, Trainor; Assistant Professors Bal, Doren, Phillips, Ruppar, Smedema, Tansey


The department offers the master of science in rehabilitation psychology, master of science in special education, doctor of philosophy in rehabilitation psychology, and doctor of philosophy in special education. The department addresses the life-span educational and rehabilitation needs of persons with disabilities through its special education and rehabilitation psychology areas. Children and youth are served by teacher preparation programs emphasizing inclusion and individualization with a strong background in working with students with disabilities cross-categorically.

The rehabilitation psychology program prepares professionals at the graduate level to serve adolescents and adults with disabilities in both private and public service delivery agencies including counseling, assessment, job placement, case management, and advocacy. The range of disabilities served by graduates includes physical and psychiatric disabilities, alcohol and drug abuse, traumatic brain injury and other neurological impairments, learning and intellectual disabilities, sensory disabilities, and aging. The department faculty in rehabilitation psychology and special education join resources in providing training and research programs that promote successful transition from school to the adult world of work and successful psychosocial adaptation for individuals with disabilities.

The master's degree program in rehabilitation psychology is accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) as a Rehabilitation Counseling Program, and graduates meet the educational qualifications for the national Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) credential and for licensure as a Professional Counselor in Wisconsin and a number of other states.

The department is a national and international leader in preparing Ph.D. professionals to serve in leadership positions in university teaching, research, and program administration. This leadership is evidenced by the routine placement of Ph.D. graduates in major universities and colleges and by the publication and professional record of its faculty and graduates. The rehabilitation psychology program is recognized as a Designated Program in Psychology by the American Association of State Psychology Boards and the Council for the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology. Faculty work closely with graduate students in research and scholarship activities. In addition, faculty routinely involve students in a full array of professional activities, which may include reviewing papers for journal publications, preparation of materials for litigation involving civil rights violations of persons with disabilities, preparation of research and training grant applications, preparation of training materials, and involvement in clinical cases.

The department serves students from across the nation and around the world. Financial support, although limited, is available to qualified graduate students and may include scholarships, traineeships, teaching assistantships, and research/project assistantships. Employment opportunities following graduation include elementary and secondary schools; public and private educational, rehabilitation, and mental health agencies; colleges and universities; and research settings.


Interested applicants must identify and submit materials to the program of their choosing.The candidate will be expected to meet general requirements for admission to the Graduate School. The following factors will be considered by the admissions committee: relevancy of prior undergraduate and graduate study, employment history, stated goals for graduate study, evidence of writing and research skill, and three references. In addition, rehabilitation psychology doctoral candidates are required to submit scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) (preferred), or the Miller Analogies Test.

For more information: Student Services and Graduate Admissions, Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education, 1000 Bascom Mall, Room 431, Madison, WI 53706; 608-263-4608;  rpseinfo@education.wisc.edu; www.education.wisc.edu/rpse.