The following details on premedical requirements and selection criteria provide information about how our Admissions Committee views your academic preparation for medical school as part of their holistic review of your application.

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Premedical requirements

Applicants to the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health must have earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university before starting the MD Program. 

All prerequisite courses must be completed prior to beginning the MD Program at UW (i.e. the first day of class). Applicants may apply before completion of premedical requirements, but must finish any outstanding medical school requirements before matriculation to the MD Program. Courses that meet the general biology, general chemistry, and physics prerequisites should be taught at a level required for students majoring in science or engineering.

  • General biology: 2 semesters, one of which must be with a lab
  • General chemistry: 2 semesters, both with lab
  • Organic chemistry: 1 semester
  • Biochemistry: 1 semester
  • Physics: 2 semesters, both with lab
  • Statistics or equivalent: 1 semester
    • 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. Email medadmissions@med.wisc.edu to inquire whether a course or experience you have could satisfy this requirement.
  • Humanities/social sciences intensive writing requirement: 1 semester
    • o Strong skills in written communication are critical to the practice of medicine. The 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 demonstrate these skills. Courses that meet this requirement satisfy the following criteria:
    • The course must be in a humanities or social sciences field (i.e., no "science writing" courses).
    • AP courses and credits do not satisfy this requirement.
    • Foreign language courses, group writing projects, and creative writing courses do not satisfy this requirement.
    • The School of Medicine and Public Health reserves the right to request a syllabus to determine whether the course meets this requirement.

AP and CLEP exams

AP and CLEP exams may satisfy our premedical requirements in general biology, general chemistry, physics, and statistics, but your college or university transcripts must clearly state the course subject for which credit was granted.

Pass/fail coursework

UW will accept pass/fail (or equivalent) grades for coursework completed during the pandemic. However, to give the best sense of an applicant's comparative academic preparation, UW encourages as much coursework as possible be taken on a graded basis (vs. pass/fail). This is especially true for premedical requirements and all biology, chemistry, physics, and math courses.

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Selection criteria

The following criteria are key considerations of the Admissions Committee.

Mission alignment

UW School of Medicine and Public Health has a broad, multi-faceted mission aimed at advancing health and health equity through remarkable service to patients and communities, outstanding education, and innovative research. The Admissions Committee seeks applicants whose aspirations are consistent with the school’s mission and who articulate how training at UW will further their goals. Strong applicants from throughout the United States are encouraged to apply to the MD Program.

Wisconsin residency

As a public institution, and consistent with the school’s mission and the Wisconsin Idea, the MD Program focuses on training physicians to serve the health needs of Wisconsin. Therefore approximately 70-75 percent of the student body in each matriculating class is comprised of Wisconsin residents, and non-resident admission is more competitive. For the MD-PhD Program, residency is not a factor for admissions. Admission to the Wisconsin Academy of Rural Medicine (WARM) program is limited to applicants whose state of legal residence is Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, or Iowa.

Unique or outstanding characteristics

Applications should convey personal characteristics that make applicants uniquely qualified for medical school, residency, and the vocation of medicine. UW looks for evidence that applicants have developed and demonstrated the AAMC’s Core Competencies for Entering Medical Students.

Achievements and experiences

Be sure to describe these achievements and experiences in the application:

  • Non-medical experiences or jobs that contributed to personal development and that helped foster strong work ethic
  • Opportunities or activities that develop leadership
  • Experience in laboratory, clinical, or public health research
  • Participation in student or community organizations
  • Awards, scholarships or other honors

Motivation to study and practice medicine

Describe opportunities that have provided experiential knowledge of medical practice, such as volunteering or working in clinical, patient-facing contexts. Some examples include:

  • Working as a certified nursing assistant or emergency medical technician (EMT)
  • Physician shadowing
  • Volunteering in an assisted-living facility or a free clinic for underserved populations
  • Medical scribing

Academic minimums

Applicants to UW must have the following academic minimums:

  • Cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 and
  • An MCAT score of at least 500

To receive a secondary application, an applicant must meet these minimums with one exception: Applicants who do not have a 3.0 undergraduate GPA, but who have completed at least 12 credits of post-baccalaureate coursework in natural sciences (i.e. biology, biochemistry, physiology) and earned at least a 3.0 GPA in that coursework, may still receive a secondary application.

For otherwise eligible applicants, we accept coursework completed at non-U.S. institutions pending a foreign credential evaluation from a National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES)-approved service. In this case, we strongly recommend completing additional coursework at a U.S. college or university. This coursework should include at least two semesters of premedical courses to demonstrate your ability to perform well academically in a U.S. educational setting.

In rare cases, admitted applicants who have not completed a bachelor’s degree but who have completed another degree (e.g., a PharmD) may begin the MD Program without a bachelor’s degree. In most cases, applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree before beginning the MD Program. The degree may be earned in any discipline.

Due to our highly integrated curriculum, we are unable to accept transfer students. Applicants to our MD Program must apply as first-year students. View the UW School of Medicine and Public Health’s full transfer policy.

More on MCATs and GPAs

We consider MCAT scores up to four years prior to the year in which an applicant would begin medical school and our Admissions Committee will consider all MCAT scores earned by each applicant. An applicant only needs one MCAT score that meets the minimum in order to receive a secondary application.

For the entering class of 2022, the MCAT must have been taken between Jan. 1, 2018 and Sept. 11, 2021.

If you submit your AMCAS application before a pending MCAT score has been reported, you must indicate any future dates when you intend to take the MCAT. We will hold consideration of your application until we receive those scores. Once our Admissions Committee has reached a decision on your application, we will not consider any additional MCAT scores for the current application cycle. Please do not submit your application until you have decided whether you will retake the MCAT.

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