Frequently Asked Questions

Admissions

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Is the GRE required for admission?

Currently, the GRE is only required for admission to the rehabilitation counselor education doctoral program. For up-to-date admissions information, please visit that program’s admission page.

What documents are required to apply for each program?

Special Education Master’s

  • 2 letters of recommendation
  • Resume or CV
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Unofficial transcript(s)

Special Education PhD and Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling MS

  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Resume or CV
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Unofficial transcript(s)

Rehabilitation Counselor Education PhD

  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Resume or CV
  • Statement of Purpose
  • GRE or MAT scores (waived for fall 2021 applicants)
  • Writing Sample (maximum 20 pages)
  • Unofficial transcript(s)

Can I complete the master’s or doctoral program online?

Unfortunately, no. We pride ourselves in building a community of teachers, researchers, and advocates in our programs. This is accomplished through in-person courses, seminars, and research. 

What funding opportunities does your department offer?

The RPSE department, along with the School of Education, offers a variety of funding opportunities for it’s master’s and doctoral students.  Please see our Funding and Financial Aid page for up-to-date information.

What does the department look for in applicants for the master's programs?

Applicants are expected to meet general requirements for admission to the Graduate School. The admissions committee considers a variety of factors including academic preparation, letters of recommendation, personal statement, and professional experiences.

What does the department look for in applicants for the doctoral programs?

Rehabilitation Counselor Education

The following factors will be considered by the admissions committee: aptitude for doctoral-level study, relevance of prior academic work and career goals, stated goals for doctoral study, employment history, potential success in forming effective counseling relationships, respect for cultural differences, evidence of writing and research skills, letters of recommendation, and scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

Special Education

Applicants are expected to meet general requirements for admission to the Graduate School. The admissions committee considers a variety of factors including aptitude for doctoral-level study, relevance of prior academic work and career goals, stated goals for doctoral study, respect for cultural differences, evidence of writing and research skills. Recommendation letters are also considered. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required for admission to this program.

As an international student, what is required for admission?

Admission requirements for international applicants varies by country.  Please see the Graduate School’s Requirements for Admission, choose the country, and read the requirements carefully.  TOEFL and IELTS requirements are also found on this page.

What should I discuss in my statement of purpose?

Master’s program applicants should describe their interest in the field, relevant professional experience, research experience, and professional goals. There is no word or length requirement but 1-2 pages is preferred.

Doctoral program applicants are encouraged to discuss the above as well as their research interests and a potential faculty advisor they would like to work with.  There is no word or length requirement but 2-3 pages is preferred.

Please address any past academic issues or concerns.

How do I reenter into the major?

For information about reentry into the major as an undergraduate student, please visit the Transfer and Reentry page. For information about reentry into the major as a graduate student, please contact Kayla Armstrong (armstrongalf@wisc.edu).

Current Students

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How can I learn about master’s- and PhD-level requirements in my program?

One easy way is to check the Academics section of the website. Setting up a meeting with your advisor or with Kayla Armstrong (armstrongalf@wisc.edu), student services coordinator, is another way to clarify the requirements as you enter the program.

How do I register for classes?

UW-Madison has a computer-based registration system, accessible through the My UW-Madison website, a secure, easy-to-use, web-based environment that provides a personalized gateway to the campus services most important to you. You gain access to the My UW-Madison website when you activate your NetID and login.

To register for courses, you need to follow the prompts from the University’s homepage to establish a myUW account. Once you’ve established this account, registration is available via the “Academics” tab at the My UW-Madison website – see the “Student Center” in the right-hand column. A timetable of courses is likewise found under the “Academics” tab on the same site. New graduate students are unable to register for fall classes until the end of June.

With graduate level courses it is often necessary to receive prior approval before registering for a class. You must meet with your advisor and then speak with Kayla Armstrong (armstrongalf@wisc.edu) so she can enter an authorization into the registration system. For classes in other departments, you must contact the professor teaching that course directly.

What facilities are available for RPSE graduate students?

Office space: All PhD students and teaching/project assistants will be assigned a desk at 1000 Bascom Mall. Typically desks are shared by two students. See Cheryl Harris (room 431) for both office and desk keys.
Computer access: There are two computers for doctoral students on the fourth floor (rooms 461 and 457). To access the room, you must be a PhD student, teaching assistant, or project assistant.

Mailbox: As a doctoral student/graduate assistant you will have a mailbox on the fourth floor next to Room 461. Boxes are usually shared by desk-mates.

Graduate Student Lounge: The Graduate Student Lounge (3rd Floor, Education Building) can be accessed with your key card. To request access, please fill out the form found on the School of Education Business office website.

Copy machines: Copy machines are available in the Memorial Library and all other campus libraries for personal use. The departmental copy machine is restricted to staff, faculty, and specific project assistants for departmental use only.

How do I find out about TA/PA job vacancies in RPSE?

RPSE teaching, project, and research assistantship openings are posted on the bulletin board beside the elevator on the fourth floor of the Education building and in the student lounge in room 433. Additionally, the UW Student Job Center provides a daily listing of both university-wide and non-university job opportunities. Job openings in the School of Education may also be found on the bulletin board by the elevators on the first floor of the Educational Sciences Building (on West Johnson Street).

What health benefits are available to me?

If you have a teaching or project assistantship of 33.3% or more, you are entitled to full health benefits. You will receive a booklet explaining numerous health insurance plans with your appointment letter. Several benefits seminars designed to introduce new graduate assistants to UW–Madison’s benefit package (e.g., health insurance) are held in late August/early September. Please see the “New Employee Benefits Seminars Graduate Assistants” flyers.

You must submit the application form to the department within 30 days of employment. If you want your health insurance to start on September 1, you must have the application submitted to the departmental office (room 431B) by August 31. The monthly cost of health insurance will vary, depending on the health care plan you choose. Please note: Premiums are paid two months in advance. Therefore, initial deductions from your salary probably will occur about two months before coverage begins. If the initial deduction cannot occur that far in advance, double or triple deductions may be required initially to make premium payments current.

If you are not a teaching or project assistant with an appointment of 33.3% or more, you may wish to purchase the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). You can also contact University Health Services (1552 University Avenue) at 608-265-5600 for more information.

Are there training requirements for TAs?

New teaching assistants are required to complete a minimum of eight hours of training to aid them in their teaching duties. The School of Education will provide this training on post-secondary teaching. In addition, all TAs are required to attend a training session on diversity, discrimination, and harassment that is coordinated by the Equity and Diversity Resource Center.

As a TA or PA, when will I be paid?

If you are a teaching or project assistant during the academic year, you are paid on the first of each month (beginning October 1 and ending on June 1 for teaching assistants; beginning September 1 and ending on June 1 for project assistants). During the summer, pay dates vary widely and depend upon the type and length of your appointment. Contact John Loeffelholz (jloeffelholz@wisc.edu) for any questions about payroll.

What is the TAA?

The Teaching Assistants’ Association (TAA) is the union of graduate employees at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Every two years the TAA negotiates a contract that sets pay, benefits, working conditions, and the grievance procedure. The TAA is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and the AFL-CIO. You can become a member by signing a membership card. Everyone (members or not) who benefits from the contract (all TAs and PAs) pays 1.2% of their salary toward the cost of running the union and bargaining a contract (rent, equipment, staff salaries). If you are a member, you pay union dues; if you are not a member, it’s called a “maintenance-of-membership” fee. The difference is that when you’re a member, you have the right to vote in union meetings or union elections and participate in determining the direction of the union. Check the Teaching Assistants’ Association website for more information about the TAA.

Current Students - Graduation

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What steps do I take to graduate (master’s level)?

There are several steps students must take to graduate. 

  1. Complete the Master’s – Final Warrant Request form found on the Forms and Handbooks page under “Graduate – All Programs”.

  2. Go to your MyUW Student Center and complete the “Apply to Graduate” form for your name to be put in the printed Commencement Program.

  3. For Commencement Ceremony updates and FAQs, go to https://commencement.wisc.edu/.

  4. Complete the Master’s Exit Survey here:  https://uwmadison.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_dp2STo8ymdHgTVr

What steps do I take to graduate (doctoral level)?

There are several steps doctoral students must take to graduate. To view what you need to complete, please visit the “Completing your Doctoral Degree” page and contact Kayla Armstrong (armstrongalf@wisc.edu) for more information.

To request your final warrant, please fill out the Dissertation Defense Final Warrant Request Form found on the Forms and Handbooks page under “Graduate – All Programs”.  This form is required a minimum one month prior to your defense.

How do I order an official transcript?

You may order your transcript or track an existing order on the Office of the Registrar website.

How do I apply for my Wisconsin teaching license?

Before completing the online teacher license application through DPI, please complete the License Endorsement Request  before the end of your last semester of coursework at UW-Madison. This procedure should take less than 5 minutes.

For more information regarding how to apply for your Wisconsin teaching license, please visit the Teacher Education Center’s Applying for Your Wisconsin License page.

How do I apply for my Licensed Professional Counselor-In Training (LPC-IT) certification?

In Wisconsin, applicants must be in a position or have an offer for a position as a Professional Counselor in a supervised clinical professional counseling practice prior to applying for their LPC-IT.

For more information regarding licensure, please visit the Wisconsin’s Department of Safety and Professional Services.

I've graduated but need confirmation/recommendation to obtain a clinical license in another state. Who do I contact?

Mitchell Patton (mlpatton@wisc.edu) in Education Student Services handles all licensure recommendations for Rehabilitation Counseling and Special Education.  Please email him with your request, degree information, and student ID, if known.