Skip to Content
Faculty and Staff Resources

Premedical Requirements


UW School of Medicine and Public Health Admissions

(608) 263-4925

Applicants to the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (UWSMPH) in Madison need to have earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university before starting the MD Program. Only outstanding undergraduate applicants will be considered without earning a bachelor's degree.


Applicants are expected to take coursework that demonstrates the intellectual discipline and problem-solving skills necessary to be a successful medical student. In addition, specific courses are required before starting at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health so that students possess the appropriate knowledge base that allows them to learn at the fast pace they will encounter in medical school classes. These course requirements need not be completed prior to submitting your application but must be fulfilled by the time of matriculation.


The UW School of Medicine and Public Health Admissions Committee values intellectual diversity among its applicants and does not necessarily value science courses (beyond those listed below) more than upper level courses in humanities, social sciences and other fields. Courses that improve communication skills or prepare students for the social, psychological and economic aspects of medical practice are all important.


Applicants may choose to use their undergraduate time to explore and study areas not necessarily directly related to their future career in medicine without feeling that they will be penalized in the admissions process as long as they perform well.


Entering Class of 2017


Requirements for Entering Class of 2017
General biology (one of the two semesters must be with lab) 2
General chemistry (with lab) 2
Organic chemistry 1
Biochemistry 1
Physics (with lab) 2
Statistics or equivalent (see below) 1
Humanities or social sciences, upper level course with intensive writing requirement 1




1) Courses that meet the general biology, general chemistry and physics prerequisites should preferably be taught at the level required for students majoring in science or engineering. As these courses require a laboratory component, they may not be taken online.


2) A basic course in statistics or the equivalent is required. The requirement may be satisfied through a wide variety of courses that include statistics topics and/or experiences that include implementation of statistics by the applicant. Such courses and experiences must be documented and submitted to the MD Admissions Office for approval.


3) Strong skills in written communication outside science disciplines are critical in medicine. The UW School of Medicine and Public Health therefore requires applicants to take an upper-level, writing-intensive course in a humanities or social science field in order to gain these skills. Departments offering courses that will meet this requirement include but are not limited to:

  • Anthropology
  • English
  • Ethnic studies
  • Gender studies
  • History
  • Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Political science
  • Religious studies
  • Sociology

A course is considered writing-intensive if a significant amount of students' learning in the course is accomplished through writing, and at least one-third of the final grade is based on written work. Courses offered in science departments and courses taught in a foreign language will not meet this requirement.


At UW-Madison, intermediate and advanced courses are considered upper-level. Courses designated Comm B courses at UW-Madison in humanities or social science fields will meet this requirement. Many UW-Madison courses that are not designated Comm B, however, will also satisfy the requirement. Courses at the University of Minnesota designated with a W will also meet this requirement.


If you have questions about a course, please send a course description and a syllabus for the course in an email to


4) Skill in verbal communication is an important requisite in medicine. We reserve the right to request a TOEFL score from non-native English speakers.


5) AP/CLEP exams may satisfy premedical course requirements in the following areas: general biology, general chemistry, physics and statistics. College or university transcripts must clearly state the AP subject and credit granted.


6) While specific courses are not required, the applicant's preparation should include courses in those areas that prepare for the social, psychological and economic aspects of medical practice. We recommend a course in psychology. Many applicants find that taking an introductory course in sociology in addition to psychology provides better preparation for the MCAT.


7) It is recommended that course requirements should be taken for a letter grade rather than on a pass/fail basis. Seminar courses do not satisfy any of the premedical course requirements.


8) These requirements are only for the MD Program at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. Other medical schools may have different requirements. Access to the Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) is important for all applicants.


Premedical Requirements

Last updated: 05/02/2016
Website Feedback
Copyright © 2017 University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Use of this site signifies your agreement to the terms and conditions