The Master of Science for Professional Educators at UW–Madison is unlike any other. Not only will you earn your master’s degree and valuable skills to advance your career, but you will also earn an Instructional Coaching Certificate* when you graduate.  Instructional coaching is a field with promise and possibility. A successful school or district coaching model can create a powerful professional learning community committed to student success. The Instructional Coaching model puts educators in the best position to improve student learning. Our curriculum truly empowers educators with all the tools, resources, and training to make a big difference.

Try our online learning platform, Canvas — FREE! — with two modules from a real UW–Madison course. Kick the tires, explore the features and discover how Canvas makes it easier to learn on your schedule. You’ll also find information on how to complete your application, along with other helpful UW–Madison resources. For more information click HERE. 

"For a working practitioner, I believe the MSPE program provided an excellent blend of theory and practical application."

Leah Hillenbrand (Class of 2011)

Year 1

Year 2


This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Collaborative Teamwork for Inclusive School Reform (3 credits)

Course Number: Curriculum & Instruction 272-731

Description: Designed to guide educational practitioners into creating inclusive school communities for diverse learners. Various methods and tools for collaboration will be explored that promote effective team relationships, problem-solving, and co-planning of differentiated curriculum and instruction. Activities and projects are problem-based and focus on generating solutions to programmatic, student-specific, or school-wide issues related to inclusive education. Class participants acquire skills to engage in collaborative teamwork and act as change facilitators within a school system. This course has live sessions every Thursday during the summer from 1:00-3:30 pm.

Engaging with Education Research (3 credits)

Course Number: Educational Psychology 315-752

Description: Designed to address the fundamentals of research in education. The purpose of the class is to provide educational practitioners with basic knowledge and skills to prepare them to consume and analyze academic research. The coursework will also prepare participants to effectively identify and incorporate evidence-based practices into their learning communities. The class will draw upon readings, seminars, research reflections, and interactive experiences related to a specific current issue in education to facilitate the learning of concepts and applications in practice.

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Supporting Students' Social Emotional Well-Being (3 credits)

Course Number: Educational Psychology 315-633

Description:Designed to examine promotion, prevention, and intervention approaches and strategies relating to how to best address students’ social, emotional, and behavioral needs within an educational setting. We will (a) examine ways to promote positive development within students, (b) evaluate prevention programs and approaches and how to implement these in school settings, and (c) explore systematic approaches for addressing social, emotional, and behavioral needs once they are present.

Understanding Legal Rights & Responsibilities (3 credits)

Course Number: Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis 305-640

Description: Designed to examine the legal issues confronting an educational professional on a daily basis. Participants will learn how the law impacts both curriculum development and curricular delivery. An emphasis will be placed on understanding legal analysis in order to empower educators to better balance the multiple interests confronting them. Participants will also learn how an understanding of the law can further the development of a democratic classroom. Specific topics to be examined include curricular control, teachers’ academic freedom, religion in the curriculum, equity in programming, special education, student freedoms, student discipline, contracts, educator discipline, and negligence.


This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Foundations of Instructional Coaching (3 credits)

Course Number: Educational Psychology 315-640

Description: As instructional leaders, coaches play an important role in building the capacity and collective efficacy of school teams. Begin to explore the strategies at the heart of this process by engaging in discussions about the role of the instructional coach, the various models of instructional coaching, and the diverse ways instructional coaches collaborate with teachers and school leaders in and out of the classroom to support students as learners. Explore effective questioning techniques, coaching conversations, facilitation strategies, working with adult learners, navigating conflict, and verbal and nonverbal communication skills. While instructional coaches provide confidential, non-evaluative, job-embedded professional learning for fellow educators, they must also advocate for their own ongoing needs as learners, build trusting relationships with colleagues, and garner support from administration.

Thinking and Learning (3 credits)

Course Number: Educational Psychology 315-501

Description: Designed to allow students to explore the psychological principles that are relevant to learning, knowing, and teaching. Focuses on ideas, questions, and contextual applications. Reflect on personal approaches to learning, knowing, and teaching, and think about past, present, and future experiences through a variety of different lenses.

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Capstone Project (4 credits)

Course Number: Educational Psychology 315-791

Description: A culminating project that must be completed successfully to qualify to earn the Master of Science for Professional Educators degree. Integrates knowledge, skills, and experiential learning to demonstrate a broad mastery of learning across the program curriculum.


This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Assessment Analysis & Instructional Decision-Making (3 credits)

Course Number: Educational Psychology 315-642

Description: Assessments provide teachers with multiple types and sets of data that can inform their instructional practices. Engages participants in discussions about data sets and then provide them with opportunities to conduct analyses that link to instructional adjustments. Continually focus on how to engage in productive coaching conversations with teachers and other instructional leaders about effectively designing and using assessment data to enhance student learning outcomes.

Current Issues in Education (1 credit)

Course Number: Educational Psychology 315-711

Description: Designed to foster cultural awareness at the individual and institutional levels, and to promote equitable and anti-racist behaviors as well as social justice in educational practices. As a class, we will examine the meanings of multicultural education and will work to understand how teachers can encourage, develop, and support learning, and create practices that establish high expectations for all learners. Participants are expected to reflect on how they, their schools, and other social institutions participate in maintaining the hegemony and power of whiteness, middle class, ableness, heterosexuality, and speaking English well.

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Practicum for Instructional Coaching (2 credits)

Course Number: Educational Psychology 315-643

Description: Designed to integrate and apply concepts and practices from the previous coaching courses, engage in discussions and readings to think critically, and reflect on coaching practices. Engage in coaching activities at the individual and/or team level and take an active role in the online Instructional Coaching Professional Learning Community at UW–Madison. It provides additional opportunities to engage in collaborative inquiry into coaching practices that account for sociocultural and student-centered instructional practices, attention to components of adult learning theory, and analysis of coaching roles through language use and norms of facilitation.


Designing and Managing the Learning Environment (2 credits)

Course Number: Educational Psychology 315-745

Description: Designed to address a critical component of effective teaching: managing the classroom environment to facilitate learning. The purpose of the class is to assist educational practitioners in identifying the components of effective classroom management, including: (1) developing a model of classroom management, (2) creating a positive learning climate, (3) structuring the learning environment and activities, (4) motivating students, (5) teaching students to be self-regulated learners, (6) providing behavioral support to students, and (7) working with families and school/district policies and staff members, and applying these components in their work. The class will draw upon readings, in-class activities, and teacher reflection and experience to facilitate the learning of concepts and applications in practice.


Academic Calendar

"The expert instruction, cohort collaboration, and practical coursework helped invigorate my career on a day-to-day level in the classroom. It is gratifying to realize how my career trajectory changed for the better as a result of my studies in Madison.”

Anders Rempel (Class of 2014)

Teaching Standards and Professional Development

Our courses are designed to address standards from multiple professional organizations, including:

Online Teaching and Learning

The Master of Science for Professional Educators is a fully online program, enhanced with web-based conferencing. This allows educators to continue teaching while completing their master’s degree at a distance. Due to the online nature of this program, upon enrollment, students should be comfortable using basic computer and Internet resources and have consistent access to a computer with a microphone and reliable high-speed Internet. The MSPE program utilizes a number of interactive computer technology platforms that enhance distance-learning opportunities, including:

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.


Learn@UW service manages and supports UW-Madison’s suite of learning technologies that facilitates teaching and learning. See the Learn@UW website for a list of the supported technology.


Canvas is a cloud-based, vendor-hosted learning management system (LMS). Canvas is part of the Learn@UW suite of learning technologies.

G-Suite Applications

Many Google Apps can be accessed via UW-Madison student accounts. Instructors may utilize course-specific Google Sites and Google Drive to facilitate student engagement.

Program Policies

All students in the Master of Science for Professional Educators Program are required to maintain a 3.0 grade point average to receive a Master of Science degree from the Department of Educational Psychology.  This is in accordance with Graduate School GPA policies.

“I wanted to be able to start establishing positive spheres of support around children to promote academic and emotional growth, as I have found this sometimes to be lacking in traditional Taiwanese school systems.”

Deborah Egly (Class of 2015)