Admission to the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is limited to U.S. citizens and internationals with permanent visa status. We recruit nationwide without regard to an applicant's in-state or out-of-state residency status in Wisconsin.

The Medical Scientist Training Program does not accept applications from candidates who have already completed, or will have completed at the time of matriculation, a doctoral or professional degree (MD, PhD, PharmD, DDS, DVM, etc.).

However, candidates who have completed or are currently enrolled in a post-baccalaureate or master's-level graduate program are eligible to apply. Candidates who are enrolled in a doctoral (PhD) graduate program are eligible to apply only if they will not have achieved dissertator status prior to matriculation. If you have questions about your eligibility, please contact the program administrator.

The UW-Madison MSTP does accept applications from candidates in the National Institutes of Health MD-PhD Partnership Training Program, but only Track 1Track 3 students interested in medical training at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health may apply to the regular MD program but are not eligible for MSTP funding.

Applicants need to have earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution prior to entering the Medical Scientist Training Program. The degree may be earned in any discipline as long as the coursework demonstrates the intellectual discipline and analytical and problem-solving skills necessary to succeed in the medical and graduate school phases of our program.

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.

Requirements for entering class of 2020

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 notes below) 1
Humanities or social sciences, 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.

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 hard science disciplines are critical in medicine. The UW School of Medicine and Public Health therefore requires applicants to take a writing-intensive course in a humanities or social science field in order to gain these skills. Foreign language or introductory composition courses (e.g., ENG 101) will not satisfy this requirement. In general, courses that meet this requirement satisfy the following criteria:

  • The course should be in a humanities or social sciences field (i.e., no "science writing" courses).
  • At least 30 percent of the final grade should be based on written assignments.
  • Students must be required to complete one substantial research paper (at least eight pages in length).
  • Students must be required to submit a bibliography or works cited page with their substantial research paper.

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.

Learn more about MD Program premedical course requirements

Research and clinical experience

Research experiences and letters from research mentors are weighed heavily by the admissions committee. It is preferred to have a letter of recommendation from the supervisor from each of your laboratory experiences. Successful applicants have usually demonstrated escalating levels of scientific understanding and discovery as they progress to each research experience. Applicants are also expected to have experiences that engender a general understanding of health care and medicine, based upon employment, volunteering or shadowing.

Standardized test scores and grades

The MCAT is required for admission, with no exceptions. You may take the exam multiple times; our admissions committee will consider your highest overall score. The GRE is not required.

Secondary applications are offered to applicants who meet our minimum academic requirements: a cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 out of 4.0 and an MCAT score of at least 500. Applicants who do not meet the undergraduate GPA minimum but have completed 12 credits of post-baccalaureate coursework in the sciences with at least a 3.0 GPA will be reviewed manually and may be sent a secondary application.

Please see our FAQ page for further information about the MCAT.

Grades from your undergraduate experience are very important in order to demonstrate to the admissions committee that you can be successful in the rigorous MD and PhD curricula. However, improvement over time and post-baccalaureate or graduate coursework is also taken into account. Please note that the committee also looks at many factors other than the MCAT and grade point averages. The numbers cited are for general reference only.

Applicants invited to interview

YearAverage overall GPAStandard deviationAverage MCATStandard deviation
2018-2019 3.79 ± 0.15 517 ± 4.8
2017-2018 3.82 ± 0.14 516 ± 5.3
2016-2017 3.82 ± 0.16 516
± 5.7
± 2.6