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 an 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.


Prospective students may be accepted into the program after completing three years of undergraduate coursework with an affiliated college or university. This coursework must include a minimum of:

  • 20 semester hours (30 quarter hours) of biological sciences
  • 8 semester hours (12 quarter hours) in chemistry
  • 3 semester hours of math (4 quarter hours)
  • Favorable consideration will be given to applicants with an above average academic record and recommendation.

Students who have completed a baccalaureate degree may be accepted into the Cytotechnology Program. Post-baccalaureate students must have completed a minimum of:

  • 20 semester hours (30 quarter hours) of biological sciences
  • 8 semester hours (12 quarter hours) in chemistry
  • 3 semester hours of math (4 quarter hours); and have a
  • Minimum grade point (GPA) of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale

Baccalaureate-degreed students will be enrolled as Special students at UW–Madison to receive a certificate in cytotechnology at the end of the program.


Applications are accepted throughout the year but must be received no later than February 1 for the cohort that starts in August. Applications must include ALL official college transcripts (not just your most recently attended school) and three letters of recommendation. Interviews are conducted in February and March, and decisions are made in early April for an August start. If a class does not fill, interviews will continue until July.

You may apply online for the program. Your personal essay must be attached to your application and must be either a PDF (.pdf) or Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) file. Any other file extension will not be opened. Applications are also available upon request by contacting the program director via phone or email. If admitted to the program you will also be required to submit a UW–Madison special student application to gain student status and become eligible to enroll in your courses.

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


ASCP Board of Certification Examination

Professional Certification/Licensure Disclosure (NC-SARA)

The United States Department of Education requires institutions that provide distance education to disclose information for programs leading to professional certification or licensure about whether each program meets state educational requirements for initial licensure or certification. Following is this disclosure information for this program:

The requirements of this program meet Certification/Licensure in the following states:

Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Washington, Wisconsin

The requirements of this program do not meet Certification/Licensure in the following states:

Not applicable

The requirements of this program have not been determined if they meet Certification/Licensure in the following states:

Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming; District of Columbia; American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands


Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs1

Accreditation status: Accredited. Next accreditation review: 2022.