UW–Madison No. 2 in U.S. News’ ranking of Best Online Master’s in Education Programs for Veterans

U.S. News and World Report on Feb. 7 released its annual rankings of Best Online Programs, and UW–Madison’s School of Education is No. 2 in the category of Best Online Master’s in Education Programs for Veterans.

“I think part of what makes UW–Madison and the School of Education so attractive to veterans is what makes it a place so many of our students want to be — it’s a world-class institution with highly regarded faculty in a range of fields who are conducting great research and have outstanding partnerships with employers,” says Joe Rasmussen, UW–Madison’s director of University Veteran Services and a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

Christian Angulo portrait photo

Christian Angulo, who served in the U.S. Navy, says he couldn’t be happier with his decision to join the School of Education’s MS in Educational Psychology: Learning Analytics program this past summer.

“I think it’s the best decision I’ve ever made in my life,” says Angulo, who was with the Navy from 2014 to 2016, before an injury forced him into medical retirement.

After leaving the Navy, Angulo went on to earn an associate’s degree in business management from Waukesha County Technical College and a BA in psychology from UW–Milwaukee. But it wasn’t until he spent the 2022-23 academic year as an instructional teaching assistant at North Cook Young Adult Academy that he found his passion in education. While working at this alternative school in Des Plaines, Illinois, Angulo supported students who faced a range of obstacles as they pursued their education. This work was not only important to Angulo, it was personal. At age 15, he was homeless and dropped out of high school.

“Until I worked in that education setting, I didn’t realize how much I love helping people,” says Angulo, who plans to graduate from UW–Madison in May 2025. “I found a passion for teaching and helping others overcome obstacles. I’m very interested in finding ways to develop data-driven plans, with multiple steps, to help young people realize their goals. The online Learning Analytics program has been perfect for me.”

The UW–Madison School of Education is home to four fully online master’s programs:

No. 2 ranking graphic

Harnessing data to answer tough questions

Our MS in Educational Psychology: Learning Analytics program prepares students to harness the power of data to tackle a broad range of educational challenges. Graduates are able to use data to help improve individual student learning, raise graduation rates, and address equity gaps. “Fundamentally, we’re not just creating number-crunchers,” says David Williamson Shaffer, the faculty director of the program with the highly ranked Department of Educational Psychology. “We’re teaching educators how to use powerful new tools to make a meaningful difference in students’ lives.”

Empowering future school leaders to make a difference

Our 15-month Wisconsin Idea Principal Preparation (WIPP) master’s degree program through the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis meets online on weekends and during the summer. Enrolling in cohorts, participants learn from leading scholars in the field. “Tailored for working educators, WIPP affords easy access to a top-tier, reputable educational leadership program designed to equip aspiring leaders with the knowledge and skills to tackle the complex challenges in K-12 education,” says Tina Salzman, the program’s director. Upon graduation, students earn the credentials to pursue a principal license in Wisconsin. 

Cultivating dynamic sports leaders

The Master’s in Sports Leadership (MSL) program draws from UW–Madison’s world-leading academic and athletic resources to prepare dynamic sports leaders for positions across diverse settings in K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and beyond. Peter Miller, the program’s faculty director from the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, underscores the importance of quality leadership in sports, as coaches often build relationships with students across their high school years. “That can have a significant influence on a student,” he says. “The MSL is designed to produce effective sports leaders who can help to ensure that more people will have great and impactful experiences.”

Equipping educators with tools to inspire students

In two years, teaching professionals can complete the MS in Educational Psychology for Educators (MSPE) degree program — including an instructional coaching certificate — in one of the leading Departments of Educational Psychology in the nation. The program draws a diverse mix of teachers and education professionals who are motivated to learn and apply the best practices in education to their work in classrooms, schools, and districts. MSPE graduates are equipped with tools and strategies to address the individual needs of students within K-12 settings.

“The reason UW–Madison and the School of Education is right for me is because they have high-quality programs,” says Amanda Venske, who earned a BS in Education Studies and now is pursuing her MS in Educational Psychology: Learning Analytics. 

Amanda Venske portrait

Venske has received support from University Veteran Services (UVS) because her father is a retired Wisconsin Army National Guard service member.  Venske currently works as the education benefits program manager for UVS, and plans to continue in that role after earning her master’s in May.

“I’m still fairly new to my profession with UVS, so I’m looking forward to continuing to work with veterans, current service members, and dependents to find their joy in learning and education, like I have during my time at UW,” she says.

In noting the methodology behind its rankings of best online graduate programs for veterans, U.S. News explains that “veterans and active-duty service members gain the most from distance education that is affordable, accessible and reputable. The 2024 Best Online Programs for Veterans rankings measure these factors in consideration of financial benefits available specifically to people with military experience. … With respect to academic quality, all schools included in these rankings first have to be ranked among the top half of schools in U.S. News & World Report’s 2024 Best Online Programs rankings.” (Learn more about the methodology behind the Best Online Programs for Veterans Rankings.) 

The UW–Madison School of Education ranked No. 10 in U.S. News’ overall Best Online Master’s in Education Programs Rankings. (Check out U.S. News’ methodology.)

There are a range of education benefits that can be used at UW-Madison, with options for veterans, current service members, and dependents. Some of these are federally administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), while others are administered by the State of Wisconsin. To learn more about all the benefits and various eligibility requirements, visit this University Veteran Services web page.

Despite dropping out of high school at age 15, Angulo eventually earned his GED before joining the Navy. After that career was cut short by injury, he persevered and today is excited about his future — which will include helping others overcome obstacles to reach their potential.

“If you were to ask me when I was 15 years old if I was going to college, I’d say, ‘No way!’ ” says Angulo. “Now I’m in a master’s program with instructors who believe in me and want me to succeed. I’m learning the tools and skills that are going to help me be able to help others. I couldn’t be happier.”

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