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Admissions Policies and Guidelines


UW School of Medicine and Public Health Admissions

(608) 263-4925



The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (UWSMPH) encourages students to apply for the year in which they want to start medical school. The school does, however, offer accepted applicants the option to request a deferral for one year (occasionally two years) before matriculating.


There are multiple reasons an applicant may request a delayed admission. For example, applicants sometimes wish to pursue additional activities that will enhance their background and experiences before starting their formal medical education, unexpected life events may occur which necessitate a delay such as the illness of a parent or the impending birth of a child, or there may have been a setback in plans to finish a thesis for a graduate degree.


There are even applicants who remain unsure about a career in medicine and want an extra year to consider their plans. There is usually one deferred applicant each year who ultimately chooses to withdraw and not attend medical school at all.


Our experience is that you need to be ready to focus 100 percent on your medical education when you start classes in mid-August. You do not want to be distracted by family issues, other unfinished academic or research work, or indecision about your commitment to be a physician.


Only a limited number of delayed admission requests will be approved each year in order to avoid an excessive reduction in the number of positions available for applicants to the next entering class. Approval of a delayed admission request will be based upon the rationale and goals presented in a letter to the Admissions Committee.


If you are accepted to the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, then you will be contacted in the spring, usually mid-April, with information about requesting a deferral with a deadline in April. We will notify you of our decision concerning your deferral before the April 30 deadline by which you need to choose the medical school that you will attend. Applicants accepted from our Alternate List may also request a deferral within two weeks of receiving their acceptance. Any other late requests for a deferral will only be considered on a case-by-case basis.


Acceptance of a deferral does require you to withdraw acceptances that you may have received from other schools, i.e., you may not have a deferral from the UW School of Medicine and Public Health and another school. You may, however, apply to other schools the following year even though you hold a deferral from the UWSMPH (although we hope that you don't).


Contact the MD Admissions Office with any questions concerning our Deferral Policy.


Technical Standards and Disclosure of Disabilities


Conferral of a medical degree certifies that the recipient has demonstrated all the requisite abilities to become a practicing generalist physician. This demonstration encompasses a variety of attributes critical to the provision of quality medical care, including the physical, cognitive and emotional strengths necessary to complete the rigorous requirements of the medical school curriculum, and the social and behavioral skills expected of a competent care-giver.


In some cases, where the presence or function of a critical attribute is affected by an applicant's disability, additional consideration is given to whether, through reasonable accommodation, adequate and reliable function can be secured. In the exceptional case, where either reasonable accommodation cannot be provided or adequate assurance of function obtained, admission may be denied or rescinded.


The Admissions Committee makes the final decision regarding the applicant's admission status whenever the technical standards committee advises that reasonable accommodation cannot be provided. For further information, please see our complete Technical Standards Policy.


Wisconsin Residency


The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (UWSMPH) accepts applications from both Wisconsin residents and non-residents. Highly qualified applicants from throughout the United States are encouraged to apply. All applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States.


All Wisconsin resident and non-resident applicants are evaluated by the same criteria but in different applicant pools. About 70 percent of positions for new students go to Wisconsin residents except for the MD/PhD program, where residency is not considered. It is to your advantage to be a resident of Wisconsin when applying to the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.


Wisconsin residency has been defined by the state legislature for the purposes of applying to the UWSMPH and paying tuition. A summary can be found on the UW-Madison Office of the Registrar website.


For determination of Wisconsin residency, we only use the information that you submit as part of your secondary application. The state of legal residence that you reported on your AMCAS application is not considered. Laws and rules used by other states and universities do not apply. It is possible that you could be considered a resident of more than one state. This does not disqualify you from being a Wisconsin resident.


For the purposes of acceptance to the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, your Wisconsin residency is determined within one year of the first day of medical school. It is possible that if you are living and working in Wisconsin that your residency could change by the time that your residency is determined for the purposes of paying tuition.


If you identify yourself as a Wisconsin resident on your application, then we will confirm your residency status with the Office of the Registrar before further processing. If you identify yourself as a non-resident, then we only confirm your non-residency status if you are accepted to the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.


Although making false statements on this application can have serious consequences, it will not be held against you if we determine that you are not a resident as long as you had a reasonable belief that you were and answered supporting questions truthfully. Appeal of non-resident status is through the Office of the Registrar.




In order to be considered for our medical school program, applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents (possessing documentation verifying that permanent residence has been approved) at the time the AMCAS application has been submitted.


Foreign Coursework


If an applicant has completed undergraduate education at a foreign institution, it is highly recommended that he/she complete additional coursework at a U.S. college or university. This coursework should include most or all pre-medicine course requirements in order to demonstrate the ability to perform well academically in a U.S. educational setting. At a minimum, applicants should be able to show U.S. grades received in one academic year.


It is also recommended that applicants submit a foreign credential evaluation report prepared by a NACES-approved educational credential evaluation service in order to assist the admissions committee in the review process. See the NACES website for more information.


We reserve the right to request TOEFL score results to assist us in determining English language proficiency. This request will be determined on a case-by-case basis.




AP/CLEP exams may satisfy pre-medicine course requirements for the following areas: general biology, general chemistry, general physics and/or statistics. College or university transcripts must clearly state the AP subject and credit granted.


Policy Changes


The MD Admissions Office makes every effort to provide the most up-to-date and accurate information on our website. The Admissions Committee endeavors to make policy changes before the start of each yearly admissions cycle so as to be consistent. We reserve the right, however, to make corrections, clarifications or changes at any time.

Admissions Policies and Guidelines

Last updated: 12/13/2016
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