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.

This master’s program is offered for work leading to the Ph.D. Students may not apply directly for the master’s, and should instead see the admissions information for the Ph.D.

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements


Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions


Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework (16 credits out of 30 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements Students must maintain a B average or better in all graduate courses.
Assessments and Examinations Students must complete all required courses including PATH 809. Students must write a master thesis and defend it in front of their Advisory Committee. The M.S. thesis does not need to be published.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required Courses

Required Courses
Continuous Enrollment
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
Choose one of the following Statistics courses:4
Statistical Methods for Bioscience I
Statistical Methods for Bioscience II
Choose one of the following Ethics courses: 1
Advanced or Special Topics in Cancer Research (Topic: Appropriate Conduct of Science)
Research Ethics and Career Development
Responsible Conduct of Research for Biomedical Graduate Students
Elective Courses
Within the 16 required credits, students will take one elective course. This course is chosen by the student and the Ph.D. thesis committee. The goal of the elective course is for students to acquire additional broad knowledge in either pathology or their major area of research. For the elective course, students may take one of the following:
Cell and Molecular Biology of Aging
Immunopathology: The Immune System in Health and Disease
Equivalent course approved by the Ph.D. thesis committee

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

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.

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 master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy 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 UW–Madison University Special students. coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.


The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.

  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).


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.


15 credits

Time Constraints

Master’s degree students who have been absent for five 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.

grievances and appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

Students should contact the program director with questions about grievances.


All students receive an annual stipend for $25,000 (2013–14 rate) for a 12-month appointment. It is the intention of the program to continue to award this stipend as a research assistantship throughout the student's Ph.D. studies. During rotation the stipend will be funded by the department. Once the student has selected a lab, the primary investigator will fund the student from grant funding. To receive the stipend, the student must maintain full-time status of 8–12 credits per semester.

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

  1. Gain a better understanding 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.
  2. Articulates, critiques, or elaborates the theories, research methods, and approaches to inquiry or schools of practice in the field of study.
  3. Identifies sources and assembles evidence pertaining to questions or challenges in the field of study.
  4. Demonstrates understanding of the primary field of study in a historical, social, or global context.
  5. Selects and/or utilizes the most appropriate methodologies and practices.
  6. Evaluates or synthesizes information pertaining to questions or challenges in the field of study.
  7. Communicates clearly in ways appropriate to the field of study.
  8. Commit to increase professional growth and knowledge, to attend educational programs and to personally contribute expertise to meetings and journals.
  9. Recognizes and applies principles of ethical and professional conduct.

Faculty: Ahmad, Alexander, Allen-Hoffmann, Andes, Arendt, Asimakopoulos, Attie, Atwood, Bendlin, Bresnick, Broman, Burger, Burkard, Burlingham, Bushman, Capitini, Coon, Currie, Deming, Denlinger, Djamali, Emborg, Engin, Evans, Fabry, Jing Fan, Fleming, Friedl, Friedrich, Gamm, Ge, Gern, Gibson, Golos, Greenspan, Gumperz, Guo, Halberg, Hematti, Huttenlocher, Iyer, Jones, Junsu Kang, Kenney, Kimble, Kimple, Klein, Knoll, Kuo, Lakkaraju, Lamming, Lang, Lee, Lewis, Liu, Lloyd,  Loeb, Messing, Mezrich, Nett, Nickells, D. O'Connor, S. O'Connor, Okonkwo, Otto, Pepperell,  Peters, Puglielli, Rapraeger, Rey, Roy, Rui, Sandor, Samanta, Sauer, Seroogy, Sheehan, Sheibani, Shusta, Shelef, Slukvin, J. Smith, Sondel, Sridharan, Sugden, Suresh, Suzuki, Svaren, Talaat, Taylor, Thorne, Vermuganti, Watters, Welham, Wheeler, Xu, Yoshino, Zamanian, Su-chun Zang, Zhao, W. Zhong