Learn more about topics related to the Cognitive and Developmental Sciences program by reading the CDS FAQs listed below.

General Questions

Is my background well-suited for a degree in CDS?

Students from many different backgrounds apply to the CDS programs. There is no minimum experience requirement for our programs, although PhD applications preferably have a strong psychological or social science background.

Many students in our MS program are current educators interested in advancing their careers or in enriching their understanding of psychological and developmental phenomena that impact teaching/student learning. MS and PhD students come from an array of backgrounds, including business, art, criminology, theater, exceptional education, family studies, etc.

What do graduates do with a MS degree?

Graduates of our Master’s program take one of two tracks. Some students apply to PhD programs to pursue research and/or teaching careers. Other graduates seek employment in a wide range of industries such as education, research, marketing, and program evaluation. The MS degree does not grant licensure or certification.

Applying to the CDS Program

To learn more about the cds program and the application process, you are also welcome to attend one of our information sessions. Watch the UWM events calendar for dates for these fall information sessions, held each fall. You are also invited to attend the annual Graduate School open house, held each year in October.

Are paper applications accepted?

No, all applications must be received through Panthera, the online Graduate School application system. Panthera will collect information about your educational background, transcripts, personal statement/statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, writing samples, and an application fee.

What are your application deadlines?

Application deadlines for enrollment during the Spring and Fall semesters are as follows:

  • Spring 2024 Deadline: Oct. 1, 2023
  • Fall 2024: Deadline: Dec 1, 2023

Doctoral students must apply by the December 1 deadline for full consideration of funding.

Are letters of recommendations required?

Two letters of recommendation are required for the MS program. You may choose to provide more letters or a writing sample as additional evidence of admissibility. In some cases, the program may choose to request letters after your initial application is reviewed.

Three letters are required for Doctoral program applicants and at least two should be from individuals (i.e., faculty, instructors) who can speak to your academic experience and/or research experiences. If you are unable to provide a letter from faculty members, provide your reasons in the personal statement.

What should my letters of recommendation say?

The letters should speak to your abilities as a student and researcher, your overall goals, why you would be a good fit for the Cognitive and Developmental Sciences program and how you might contribute to the area. Letters of recommendation are required for the PhD program.

Are test scores required? What is the minimum score I need?

Students are not required to take the GRE. However, we do ask that you submit a sample of your academic writing and provide some evidence (via transcript, or in your statement) of your quantitative skills. We consider all applications holistically, but our program and department are known for rigorous training in research methods and evidence that indicate an applicant will be successful in quantitative methods and in scholarly writing at the graduate level are preferred, especially for PhD candidates.

What should I write in my personal statement?

The personal statement is one of the most critical pieces of your application. The Graduate School offers this Personal Statement guidance (PDF) on reasons statements (i.e., personal statement or statement of purpose).

The statement should provide a substantive outline your academic and professional background, declaration of Area of Concentration (Cognitive and Developmental Sciences), specific research/career/academic interests, and goals for the program, including plans for graduate study. This statement should be submitted to both the Graduate School and the Department of Educational Psychology (see Application Process for more information) and must be complete and thorough as it provides information that is central to the admission decision. This statement of purpose should be a strong reflection of your candidacy, the skills and experience you bring into the program, your future interests, and evidence that you can be successful in the program. We also regard the statement of purpose as a writing sample.

If I’m in the Accelerated Master’s program as an undergraduate, do I still need to apply?

Yes, students in this program will be required to submit an application complete with the above required materials to the CDS MS program (apply using the “Accelerated Master’s” option in Panthera). Visit the CEED-CDS Accelerated Master’s Degree Program webpage to learn more the application process. ONLY students currently in the CEED-CDS Accelerated Master’s undergraduate degree program at UWM should use the “Accelerated Master’s” application.

After Applying to the CDS Program

I have applied for graduate study and would like to know the status of my application. Who do I contact?

Please watch your email and mailbox for information on monitoring your application status online. The CDS program reviews applications twice a year, after the application deadlines.

I’ve been admitted. Now what?

Information about tuition, registration, courses and the academic calendar can be found at the UWM One Stop website.

One you have been assigned a Panther ID and email, you can also self-enroll in the CDS student guide at this link.

All admitted students are assigned an advisor. You are encourage to reach out to your advisor before enrolling in courses.