The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health recognizes applicants are facing unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please be assured that our staff and admissions committee members understand the issues that you are facing and will continue to adjust our assessment of applications and applicants as needed. Our primary concern is the safety of all applicants.

Please use this page to stay up-to-date on how the pandemic affects application requirements for the 2020-21 PTCAS cycle.

Pass/fail coursework

We recognize that COVID-19 has disrupted academic plans across the country and that applicants are facing unprecedented challenges related to the pandemic. Many colleges have gone solely with pass/fail grading during the 2020 spring semester; therefore, our program will accept pass/fail grades for spring 2020 courses with no disadvantage to the applicant. To give us the best sense of your comparative academic preparation, we do encourage as much coursework as possible be taken on a graded basis (vs. pass/fail); this is especially true of our prerequisites.

Online coursework and labs

As has been the case with our program for several years, prerequisite courses (including labs) can be taken at any regionally accredited institution- including online courses.

Letters of recommendation

Our requirements for the type and number of letters of recommendation are unchanged. We do however recognize that the course of study changes, resulting from COVID-19, may impact the depth of applicants’ interactions with typical recommenders, and that the specificity of comments may be less or have a different tone due to a lower number of in-person contact hours.


As has been with our program for several years, scores up to five years old are accepted. In an effort to meet the needs of students who are unable to take the GRE General Test at a test center due to public health concerns, ETS is temporarily offering a GRE General Test at-home option.

Observation hours

We realize that due to self-quarantine, social distancing, and other virus mitigation policies, it may be difficult for applicants to accumulate the minimal requirement of 40 hours of observation, with a licensed physical therapist, in two different types of settings. We plan to be flexible with this requirement, for applicants who are not able to complete observation hours due to COVID-19 circumstances, as applications which don’t meet the requirement will nevertheless be holistically reviewed by our Admissions Committee. There is a question in the 2020-21 PTCAS application, which allows applicants to expand on how they were personally or professionally affected by COVID-19, where applicants can discuss limitations in observation experiences.