Admissions

Dear Prospective Applicant:

Thank you for your interest in the Endocrinology & Reproductive Physiology (ERP) graduate program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison!  

[We’ve added a section on Tips for a Successful Application below.] 

ERP is Primarily a Doctoral Research Training Program:

The ERP training program at UW-Madison admits significantly more PhD students than MS students every year. (A prior Master’s degree is not required for admission to our PhD program.) PhD students spend the first semester of their training rotating through 3 labs before matching with a faculty advisor/mentor. 

In contrast, prospective MS students take the initiative to forge a relationship with an ERP faculty mentor prior to enrollment. The ERP MS program is research-based and requires a thesis defense.

All ERP students are guaranteed funding–including a competitive stipend, tuition and health insurance–provided they make satisfactory progress. Students are typically funded through research assistant appointments; eligible students may also be funded through individual fellowships or training grants; some dissertators become teaching assistants.

Virtual Open House:

ERP hosted a Virtual Open House on Monday, October 23rd, 2023.
Check out the slide deck!

Application Requirements:

A complete application includes a personal statement, a curriculum vitae or resume, three letters of recommendation, unofficial transcripts, and an application fee.  Refer to the “Tips for a Successful Application” section below for guidance on how application elements can demonstrate attributes that the ERP Admissions Committee looks for in successful applicants:  engagement in research, academic grounding in the biological sciences, and potential for contribution to the community. 

The ERP Admissions Committee looks at application materials for signs of engagement in research, including:  1) experience in laboratory settings, 2) intellectual curiosity, and 3) expression of future goals in one or more areas of research interest. 

Our program focus is in the areas of endocrinology and reproductive physiology, and as such a background in the biological sciences is a priority. Academic transcripts will be reviewed for grounding in biology, chemistry, and biochemistry. We do not place specific prior course requirements on entering students due to the breadth of our program faculty (endocrine studies from whole animal physiology through molecular and cellular signaling). However, applicants should be aware that our core course requirements include intermediate and advanced biochemistry and cell biology in addition to endocrine and reproductive physiology.  A copy of our first year PhD course requirements is available as a pdf file. Applicants with strengths in these areas will be more likely to both be admitted and match to an advisor. We also urge you to look at our current students’ biosketches and view our annual Symposium Booklet to get a feel for the kind of studies you are likely to undertake.

ERP’s Admissions Committee also looks at application materials for evidence of potential for future contribution to the ERP program, the university, and the professional community.

The ERP program does not require GRE scores. Note that this is not a universal policy across University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate programs, so please check with other programs to which you are applying to confirm their GRE policies. English assessment exams are required of almost all international applicants.

The Graduate School requires a minimum undergraduate grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00 or the equivalent of the last 60 semester hours (approximately two years of work) or a master’s degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00. We can, and will, petition the Graduate School to admit otherwise-strong applicants with a GPA below 3.00.

We currently only admit for Fall semesters.

Our application for Fall 2025 term will open in September.  The application deadline for Fall 2024 has passed. 

How to Apply:

The Endocrinology & Reproductive Physiology program is a member of the Biomedical Graduate Program Consortium.  Our admissions process is outlined on the Consortium’s admissions website.  Many other questions about admissions requirements can be found on the Graduate School’s Requirements for Admissions page.

Complete the online application available through the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School.

The Graduate School offers application fee waivers in limited circumstances for domestic applicants only (see Fee Waivers in the FAQ section on their application page).

Tips for a Successful Application:

The ERP program is committed to a holistic admissions process.

Holistic admissions is a best practice process to ensure selection of a diverse cohort of exceptional students. Both quantitative and qualitative measures are used to obtain a more complete picture of each applicant’s attributes and potential to thrive in our graduate program. Holistic review ensures that no single factor leads to either accepting the applicant or excluding them from consideration. ERP’s admissions committee recognizes that simple reliance on GPA cutoffs or other quantitative measures of student merit often do not predict success in graduate school, especially for students from historically marginalized communities.

In order to prepare your best application, we invite you to consider the following criteria that the ERP Admissions Committee looks for in each application element:

  • Transcript:  
      • Advanced coursework in biology, chemistry, and biochemistry.  
      • Basic biostatistics is helpful.
  • Letters of Recommendation:  
      • Laboratory research experience
      • Qualities such as: 
        • Intellectual engagement 
        • Problem-solving
        • Tenacity
        • Independence
        • Communication skills
        • Leadership
        • Community involvement
  • Personal statement:
      • Why do you want to pursue graduate study in endocrinology and reproductive physiology?
      • Why do you want to join our program at UW-Madison?
      • What are your areas of research interest?
      • Describe your research experience(s). 
      • Are there ERP program faculty whose work aligns with your interests? *
      • Highlight qualities described above in the Letters of Recommendation section.

*Note – Part of the Admissions Committee’s work is to ascertain how readily a prospective student could be matched with our faculty mentors. Applicants whose interests are fairly broad (rather than laser-focused) and who express willingness to explore research opportunities with a variety of faculty (rather than only 1 or 2 individuals) are likely to be given stronger consideration. The Admissions Committee knows from experience that realities such as constraints in funding, space, and time mean that students who are flexible (rather than rigid) will be more happy and fulfilled when they arrive.

  • Supplemental Application:
      • ERP (and our fellow programs in the Biomedical Graduate Program Consortium) asks the following supplemental question as part of our application, “How have your background and life experiences, including cultural, geographical, financial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Wisconsin?”
      • This question complements your personal statement, which is often more focused on research interests.  In answering this question, you are invited to a) highlight obstacles and opportunities you’ve encountered, so that we can get to know you better as a person, and b) if applicable, describe any funding that you have been awarded for your future graduate study (such as a scholarship).  
      • This is also a great place to address “hiccups” in academic progress, such as poor grades or minimal exposure to laboratory research.

NIH Required Data:

As a National Institutes of Health training grant funded PhD program, we are required to provide all applicants with information on our acceptance rates and time to degree completion. This information is available here.

Information and Advising for Applicants with an Interest in Medical School