The graduate program in cellular and molecular pathology (CMP) is a joint venture of the UW–Madison Department of Pathology and the School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH). This interdisciplinary training environment, embedded in an exciting and challenging basic and clinical translational research context, offers a high level of intellectual stimulation for predoctoral training. The CMP curriculum is novel at the university, providing integrated training in fundamental concepts of modern pathobiology with an emphasis on biochemical, cellular and molecular approaches, and providing rigorous in-depth bench-level research training in understanding the fundamental bases of diseases. Trainees and trainers participate in rigorous pathobiology courses and activities, and are offered in-depth research training in the pathobiology of cancer, nervous and immune system diseases, and signal transduction in basic disease mechanisms.

Prospective students should see the program website for funding information.

Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress

To make progress toward a graduate degree, students must meet the Graduate School Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress in addition to the requirements of the program.

Doctoral Degrees


Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement

51 credits

Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement

32 credits

Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement

Half of degree coursework (26 out of 51 total credits) must be completed in graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide.

Prior Coursework Requirements: Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 7 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison Undergraduate

Up to 7 credits numbered 300 or above from a UW–Madison undergraduate career are allowed to count toward the degree with committee approval. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 7 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison University Special students. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Credits per Term Allowed

15 credits

Program-Specific Courses Required

PATH 900 Seminar (every semester enrolled)0
PATH 901 Student Seminar / Journal Club (every semester enrolled)1
PATH 990 Research (every semester enrolled)1-8
PATH 750 Cellular and Molecular Biology/Pathology (spring semester, first year in program)3
PATH 802 Histopathology for Translational Scientists (fall semester, first year in program)3
PATH 803 Pathogenesis of Major Human Diseases (fall semester, second year in program)3
PATH 809 Molecular Mechanisms of Disease (spring semester, second year in program)2

Doctoral Minor/Breadth Requirements

For interdisciplinary or minor requirements, see CMP.

Overall Graduate GPA Requirement

3.00 GPA required

Other Grade Requirements

Students must maintain a B average or better in all graduate courses.

Probation Policy

The status of a student can be one of three options:

  1. Good standing (progressing according to standards; any funding guarantee remains in place).
  2. Probation (not progressing according to standards but permitted to enroll; loss of funding guarantee; specific plan with dates and deadlines in place in regard to removal of probationary status).
  3. Unsatisfactory progress (not progressing according to standards; not permitted to enroll, dismissal, leave of absence or change of advisor or program).

Advisor / Committee

All students are required to conduct a yearly progress report meeting with their advisor, scheduled by December 17 and completed by April 30. Failure to do so will result in a hold being placed on the student’s registration.

Assessments and Examinations

Students must complete all required courses including PATH 809. They must pass their Prelim B exam after their second year of graduate school. Students must defend their PhD thesis within five years of completion of Preliminary exam B.

Time Constraints

A candidate for a doctoral degree who fails to take the final oral examination and deposit the dissertation within five years after passing the preliminary examination may by require to take another preliminary examination and to be admitted to candidacy a second time.

Doctoral degree students who have been absent for ten or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

Language Requirements

No language requirements.

The Graduate School sets minimum requirements for admissions. Academic program admission requirements are often more rigorous than those set by the Graduate School. Please check the program’s website for details.

Knowledge and Skills

  • Students will gain a better understanding of the basic mechanisms of disease at the level of cell, organ, and body, as well as the morphologic expression patterns of selected common specific disease processes.
  • Articulates research problems, potentials, and limits with respect to theory, knowledge, and practice within the field of study.
  • Formulates ideas, concepts, designs, and techniques beyond the current boundaries of knowledge within the chosen field of study.
  • Creates research and scholarship that makes a substantive contribution.
  • Demonstrates breadth within their learning experiences.
  • Advances contributions of the field of study to society.
  • Communicates complex ideas in a clear and understandable manner.

Professional Conduct

  • Commit to increase professional growth and knowledge, to attend educational programs and to personally contribute expertise to meetings and journals.
  • Fosters ethical and professional conduct.

Faculty: Ahmad, Alexander, Allen-Hoffmann, Andes, Arendt, Asimakopoulos, Attie, Atwood, Bendlin, Bresnick, Broman, Burger, Burkard, Burlingham, Bushman,Capitini,Carrithers, Chen, Cho, Coon, Currie, Deming, Denlinger, Diamali, Emborg, Engin, Evans, Fabry, Fleming, Friedl, Friedrich, Ge, Gern, Golos, Greenspan, Gumperz, Guo, Halberg, Hematti, Huttenlocher, Jarjour, Jones, Kenney, Kent, Kimble, Kimple, Klein, Kuo, Lakkaraju, Lamming, Lee, Lewis, Liu, Lloyd,  Loeb, Messing, Mezrich, Nett, Nickells, D. O'Connor, S. O'Connor, Otto, Pepperell,  Peters, Puglielli, Rapraeger, Rey, Rui, Sandor, Sauer, Seroogy, Sheehan, Sheibani, Shelef, Slukvin, J. Smith, Sondel, Sridharan, Suresh, Suzuki, Svaren, Talaat, Thorne, Vermuganti, Wheeler, Xu, Yoshino, Su-chun Zang, Zhao,W. Zhong