Admissions to the Cytotechnology Program have been suspended as of spring 2024 and will be discontinued as of fall 2025. If you have any questions, please contact the department.

The Cytotechnology Program was created by the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene in 1957 and is currently part of the Laboratory of Genetics within the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Cytotechnology is the study of cells obtained from body tissues. Through intensive microscopic examination, cytotechnologists discern minute cellular alterations to differentiate malignant from normal cells.

Participants are UW–Madison students in University Special student status. Students who successfully complete the 50-week Cytotechnology Program receive a certificate in cytotechnology from UW–Madison. They may also become a CT(ASCP) by passing the ASCP Board of Certification Examination.

The program is divided into three terms. During the first two terms, the 38-hour weeks consist of lectures, discussions, quizzes, and approximately 25 hours of microscopy. Students complete a series of comprehensive examinations aimed at testing their knowledge of cytopathology at the end of the second term. The third term is devoted to supervised microscopy of clinical specimens. Students also rotate through various clinical settings associated with the practice of clinical cytology, which provides practical experience in the areas of advanced laboratory procedures, quality assurance, and cytogenetics.

How to Get in

Admissions to the Cytotechnology Program have been suspended as of spring 2024 and will be discontinued as of fall 2025. If you have any questions, please contact the department.

Admission Eligibility Criteria

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program

A minimum overall GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale is required.

Recommended preparation for students who will have received their Bachelor’s degree prior to the start of the program:

  • 20 credits of science (biology and chemistry courses preferred)
  • 3 credits of mathematics or statistics
  • A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in science coursework

There is currently no option for advanced placement, or counting outside coursework toward program requirements.


GENETICS 470 Basic Cytology and Laboratory Procedures1
GENETICS 570 The Female Reproductive System8
GENETICS 571 Clinical Practice I1
GENETICS 572 The Respiratory System3
GENETICS 573 The Genitourinary System2
GENETICS 471 Advanced Laboratory Procedures1
GENETICS 568 The Central Nervous System1
GENETICS 569 The Breast1
GENETICS 574 The Gastrointestinal System3
GENETICS 575 Miscellaneous Systems3
GENETICS 576 Effusions2
GENETICS 577 Applied Cytology I1
GENETICS 670 Seminar in Clinical Cytogenetics1
GENETICS 672 Seminar in Laboratory Operations and Quality Control1
GENETICS 673 Seminar in Clinical Cytology1
GENETICS 578 Applied Cytology II1
GENETICS 671 Advanced Clinical Practice8
Total Credits39

Learning Outcomes

  1. Establish the biological and medical background knowledge necessary to understand the clinical significance of cytologic diagnoses and related ancillary tests
  2. Become proficient in screening of gynecologic and nongynecologic slides for rare findings, including developing the accuracy and speed expected by future employers
  3. Develop diagnostic accuracy and speed as expected by future employers
  4. Demonstrate professional and ethical standards of conduct within the medical laboratory


ASCP Board of Certification Examination

Professional Certification/Licensure Disclosure (NC-SARA)

The United States Department of Education (via 34 CFR Part 668) requires institutions that provide distance education to disclose information for programs leading to professional certification or licensure. The expectation is that institutions will determine whether each applicable academic program meets state professional licensure requirements and provide a general disclosure of such on an official university website.

Professional licensure requirements vary from state-to-state and can change year-to-year; they are established in a variety of state statutes, regulations, rules, and policies; and they center on a range of educational requirements, including degree type, specialized accreditation, total credits, specific courses, and examinations.  

UW-Madison has taken reasonable efforts to determine whether this program satisfies the educational requirements for certification/licensure in states where prospective and enrolled students are located and is disclosing that information as follows.

Disclaimer: This information is based on the most recent annual review of state agency certification/licensure data and is subject to change. All students are strongly encouraged to consult with the individual/office listed in the Contact Information box on this page and with the applicable state agency for specific information.

The requirements of this program meet certification/licensure requirements in the following states:

Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Washington, Wisconsin

The requirements of this program do not meet certification/licensure requirements in the following states:

Not applicable

Updated: 1 June 2024


Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs1

Accreditation status: Accredited. Next accreditation review: 2023.


On recommendation of the Cytotechnology Programs Review Committee, sponsored by the American Society of Cytology.