Photo of Montessori classroom, E2 Language Class 6-21-18 UWRF E2 Montessori Language class in session at River Falls Academy

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents on Feb. 5, 2021, approved a request by the University of Wisconsin-River Falls to implement a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree in its Montessori Studies Program.

This doctoral degree, which evolved under UWRF’s Pathway to Distinction Strategic Plan, is the first doctoral degree program at UW-River Falls as well as one of the first Ed.D. programs in Montessori studies in the United States.

“UWRF’s College of Education and Professional Studies (CEPS) has over 150 years of innovation in preparing teaching excellence,” said CEPS Interim Dean Ogden Rogers. “Our experience in successful curriculum development to help train Montessori teachers has helped establish a foundation to prepare programming to develop leaders in Montessori education.”

“The Ed.D. in Montessori Studies will make a meaningful contribution to UWRF’s select mission, overall academic plan and academic degree program array,” said Provost David Travis. “We are proud to offer this level of academic excellence to the teaching community.”

Although the Montessori pedagogy and philosophy has been around for over 100 years, there have been very few doctoral programs in the world that have focused on the Montessori method of education.

“That the University of Wisconsin System has embraced a doctoral level program to train Montessori researchers and scholars is a testament to the Wisconsin Idea and the progressive thinking that underscores it,” said Professor Michael Miller, Teacher Education Department chair.

The doctoral program will be located within the Teacher Education Department which already offers a successful Master of Science in Education (MSE) degree in Montessori Education. Students will be able to complete the doctorate’s 54 credits within three years.

“UWRF’s Masters Montessori Program is one of only about 10 nationally accredited Montessori master’s programs that are housed within a university. UWRF is one of only two public universities that offer a master’s level Montessori Teacher Education Program,” said Kateri Carver, program director.

“The Montessori Studies Ed.D. is a hybrid with coursework online throughout the academic year,” explains Carver. “The summer in-residency component offers in-person classes, networking events and cohort community-building – all of which are key to its sustainability and effectiveness.”

UW-River Falls anticipates the new doctorate program will attract students with strong education potential and diverse socioeconomic backgrounds from Wisconsin, the Upper Midwest, across the country, and internationally. The launch of the Montessori Studies Ed.D. is slated for June 2022.

For more information about the new degree, email