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Science Program Prerequisites

Candidates for the science program must demonstrate specific criteria to be accepted, such as a relevant undergraduate degree, certain coursework or experience, and GPA requirements.  

Non-US Graduates: Review the graduate school’s application requirements for specific information about comparable degrees in your country and which academic documents are required. 


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Earn a Relevant Undergraduate Degree

Applicants need to have (or have completed by June of the year they enter the program) a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or a comparable degree from an international institution with a major or a minor in one or more of an area associated with the certification area. 

These include: 

  • Biology or other life science-related major 
  • Environmental science 
  • Geology or another geoscience 
  • Chemistry 
  • Physics 
  • Engineering 
  • Or some other natural science or science-related degree

If you do not have one of these degrees and believe you have a special case for consideration, including significant professional experience, or comparable university courses, you may email Professor John Rudolphexplaining your situation. 

Demonstrate Competency in Relevant Content Domains

Prior to admission, applicants must demonstrate competency within certain areas of their chosen subject. This may be demonstrated through coursework or significant life experiences. 

All science applicants must demonstrate competency in the following general areas:  

  • Structure and properties of matter 
  • Chemical reactions 
  • Forces and interactions 
  • Energy 
  • Waves and electromagnetic radiation 

English Proficiency

Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score. Your score must be from within two years before the start of the admission term. The language of instruction at the college or university level and how recently the language instruction was taken are the determining factors in meeting this requirement.

Non-native English speakers must also show adequate instructional verbal skills, by passing a verbal interview with the Secondary Education ESL team.

Applicants may be exempt if:

  • English is the exclusive language of instruction at the undergraduate institution.
  • You have earned a degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university no more than five years before the anticipated semester of enrollment.
  • You have completed at least two full-time semesters of graded coursework, exclusive of ESL courses, in a U.S. college or university, or at an institution outside the U.S. where English is the exclusive language of instruction. Completion of graded coursework cannot be more than five years before the anticipated semester of enrollment.
  • An exemption is contingent on the Secondary Program’s discretion.

TOEFL scores must be submitted electronically via ETS. IELTS scores can be submitted electronically or by paper. Our office address is:

UW-Madison Graduate School, Office of Admissions

232 Bascom Hall, 500 Lincoln Drive

Madison, WI 53706

Get the Added Value of a Dual Certification/ESL Certification

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Our program is infused with a philosophy that teachers must be able to engage and value all students in the classroom. Our approach allows you to work with a wide range of students that engage in US public schools. For the secondary content areas, this also includes skills and techniques to work with students learning English, including the opportunity to earn a dual English as a Second Language (ESL) Certification along with your content. This certification increases your potential impact as a teacher and gives you a competitive advantage in the job market.