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About the MCW Graduate School

About the Graduate School


Fueled by Curiosity, Focused on Health

The MCW Graduate School offers master’s and doctoral degrees, certificate programs and post-doctoral education opportunities, along with the opportunity to train with nationally recognized biomedical and health researchers while contributing to cutting-edge, highly translational medical research and improved public and community health.

We are a major component of the research engine of MCW that drives discovery, fueling the passion and creativity that lies within students and faculty to find solutions to the world’s most pressing health challenges. In fact, without the Graduate School, MCW’s research mission would be incomplete.

MCW’s Graduate School traces its beginnings to June 1936 with the conferral of the first non-MD graduate degrees from medical departments in the Marquette University School of Medicine. This 2016 marks the 80th anniversary of the beginning of graduate education in the biomedical sciences at what is today the Medical College of Wisconsin.

On September 30, 1967, Marquette University, due to financial constraints, terminated its sponsorship of the medical school and graduate degree programs offered by medical departments. The institution became a freestanding medical school, offering graduate degree programs in the biomedical sciences and was renamed Marquette School of Medicine. On October 14, the institution was renamed to the Medical College of Wisconsin.

In January 1995, the MCW Board of Trustees formally established the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences as an academic school that was separate and distinct from the School of Medicine. William L. Hendee, PhD, who also served as Senior Associate Dean for Research, was named Founding Dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; a position he held until 2006.

In September 2007, Owen Griffith, PhD, Professor and Chair of MCW’s Department of Biochemistry, was named Dean of the Graduate School, after having served as Interim Dean. He served as Dean until 2010.

In May 2010, Ravi Misra, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry, was named Dean of the Graduate School, a position he continues to hold today.

Since 2011, the MCW Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences has conferred approximately 170 PhD and 230 Master degrees.


Today, the MCW Graduate School provides 20 PhD, Master and Certificate programs in six academic disciplines meeting the needs of students who are either beginning their careers or looking to advance in their careers, including: 

Take the first step toward a graduate educational experience and learn from and along side some of the best and brightest minds in biomedical and health science, who are there to assist you on your journey to making new scientific discoveries that may one day effectively treat society’s most devastating diseases and improve health in your community. The MCW Graduate School is here for you. 


The MCW Graduate School is  designed to provide you with a unique, specialized learning opportunity. Your program can be customized to align with your research and learning interests, and you will have access to the latest technology and equipment throughout your educational experience. The small class sizes and labs at MCW offer one-on-one attention, fostering an atmosphere of collegiality and teamwork, all from an institution that has a great national reputation as a leader in health, science and medicine.


The wide range of programs offered at MCW - spanning biomedical sciences, translational science and public and community health - are all designed to help prepare you to become a leader in science. MCW gives you the freedom to direct your career toward working in a laboratory, university, the biotechnology industry or population health, while providing you the opportunity to perform clinically relevant research at an academic medical center. The support and mentoring offered to students by our premiere faculty has aided many of our students in attaining competitive grants and national fellowships at the graduate level. What will you discover at MCW?  

Innovate Innovate

As an MCW student, you can chart your course for new lines of biomedical investigative study or approaches to improved public and community health. You will have the opportunity to work with top faculty researchers who have pioneered numerous medical firsts. As the second largest research institution in Wisconsin, we are focused on translating our medical discoveries into treatments, therapies and protocols that will transform the lives of future patients, families and communities.


Your journey at MCW will prepare you to become an entrepreneurial leader, under the guidance of renowned role models and mentors who will encourage you to participate in their cutting-edge research investigations. Our students contribute throughout their education to innovative studies involving cancer biology, immunology, regenerative medicine, addictive behavior, neurodegeneration and sleep deprivation, among others. An MCW Graduate School education is designed to propel your career to new heights, as you join our many distinguished alumni who are now leaders in universities, healthcare systems, biotechnology companies, medical research organizations and community health advocacy organizations throughout the country.

  • Dean's Message
  • Our Campus
  • Mission
  • Accreditation
  • Diversity
  • Success Rates

Dean's Message

The Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) Graduate School is dedicated to providing a rich and stimulating educational environment, supporting students who wish to study biomedical or health sciences. We are committed to supporting our students with state-of-the-art educational programs, customized for each student to deliver a unique and specialized learning experience, including the ability to participate in world-class research, discovery and invention.

Our graduate school experience is delivered by renowned faculty, committed not only to their specific areas of research, but mentoring the next generation of researchers, scientists and health leaders to further propel biomedical science and public and community health.

MCW is the second largest research institution in Wisconsin, and our faculty secures nearly $160 million annually for research. Our faculty and students collaborate on projects related to cancer, cardiovascular systems, genomics, proteomics, stem cell biology, neurosciences, traumatic brain injury and imaging, infectious diseases and immunology, and community and population health.

MCW’s Graduate School presently offers 13 PhD and 7 Master’s degree programs, as well as several graduate certificate programs, serving the needs of students in all stages of their career development. Additionally, we provide an intellectually challenging and enriching education experience, boasting innovative research opportunities for every student. Our one-to-one student to faculty ratio allows for unprecedented individual attention, delivering structured support to students, helping them to become leaders in their chosen field.

I personally invite you to learn more about the graduate programs available to you at MCW, and I look forward to assisting you on your personal journey to become the health scientist or health sciences leader that you wish to be.

Ravi Misra, PhD

Dean, Graduate School of Biomedical Science

Professor of Biochemistry

Ravi Misra, PhD

Ravi Misra, PhD


Medical College of Wisconsin campus

In the vibrant metro Milwaukee area on the shore of Lake Michigan, the MCW flagship campus offers everything you would expect in an urban center, with friendly people and a variety of activities all year round to keep you busy when you’re not studying.

If you’re seeking an educational experience that offers access to and experience at some of the top hospitals in the country, including Froedtert Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Zablocki VA Medical Center and The BloodCenter of Wisconsin’s Blood Research Institute, as well as the ability to participate in the successful community academic collaborations funded through the Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program, look no further than MCW-Milwaukee. 


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The mission of MCW is to be a national leader in the education and development of the next generation of physicians and scientists; to discover and translate new knowledge in the biomedical sciences; to provide cutting-edge, interdisciplinary and compassionate clinical care of the highest quality; and to improve the health of the communities we serve.

MCW is a major national research center, and the largest private research institution in the state of Wisconsin, securing an average of $160 million in funding annually, including nearly $80 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

More than 400 students are currently enrolled in MCW’s Graduate School, a collegial atmosphere that boasts a 1:1 faculty to student ratio and an exceptionally collaborative environment with uninterrupted access to faculty.

To learn more about how MCW lives up to its mission, and the critical role our Graduate School plays within it, please review our 2017 Fact Sheet (PDF).


MCW 2016 Fact Sheet



The MCW Graduate School has received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) for graduate level studies leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in biochemistry, biophysics, biostatistics, cell and developmental biology, microbiology and immunology, pharmacology and toxicology, physiology, and public and community health. Additionally, MCW is accredited for studies leading to a Master of Arts degree in bioethics and Master of Science degrees in healthcare technologies management, bioinformatics, epidemiology, and a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree.

The MPH program is also individually accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) is an independent agency which accredits schools of public health and public health programs offered in settings other than schools of public health.

In 2011, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the accreditation body for all U.S. medical schools, awarded a full, eight-year accreditation to MCW – the longest period of accreditation possible.


Professional Associations, Accreditations, and memberships:

AAMC AAHC Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, Inc.  Medical College of Wisconsin, Inc. BBB Business Review




 As an MCW graduate student, you will be part of a diverse, international community that is focused on training future scientists and health science leaders with the knowledge and skills necessary to advance medical research and transform the future of health.

Participating in student outreach and undergraduate research programs at MCW is a great way for you to contribute to increasing the number of diverse students who share in your educational experience. Our leadership are active members on the Diversity and Inclusion Committee for the Graduate School, and are personally involved in the success of the Underrepresented Scholars in Biomedical Research (USBR) program.

Additionally, all MCW graduate level academic programs have been represented at conferences, graduate school and national fairs across the country. In fact, you will likely join faculty, students and staff that have attended key diversity fairs, including the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) and the Ronald E. McNair National Conference.

Non-Discrimination Policy: The Medical College of Wisconsin offers all its educational programs and services, including admissions, and all employment opportunities, conditions and benefits, including recruitment, selection, promotion, pay, use of facilities, and retirement, without discrimination, as defined by applicable federal and state laws, executive regulations and orders. MCW is committed to the principle of equal opportunity in education and employment. The Medical College of Wisconsin does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of age, race, creed, religion, color, disability, marital status, sex, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, arrest record, conviction record, membership in the national guard, state defense force or any other reserve component of the military forces of the United States or the State of Wisconsin or use or nonuse of lawful products off MCW’s premises during nonworking hours in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, employment policies, scholarship and loan programs, and other College administered programs and activities, but may favor Wisconsin residents in admissions. All communications and questions concerning this policy should be directed to:

Vice President Human Resources
Office of Human Resources and Affirmative Action
8701 Watertown Plank Road
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53226
(414) 955-4145


Success Rates


MCW’s Graduate School will prepare you as a leader, putting you on a pathway to contribute meaningfully to the body of scientific knowledge and improved public health, whether you want to advance scientific research and help pioneer treatments to eradicate society’s most devastating diseases, or if you’re focused on helping your friends and neighbors in your community lead healthier lives.

Upon earning your degree or certificate, MCW will assist you in finding a career where you can apply your knowledge and skill. The majority of our Graduate School alumni have continued their successful careers in academia, industry and government.

Success Rates (2007-2016)