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Endocrinology-Reproductive Physiology

Administrative Unit:Basic Research, Biotechnology, and Graduate Studies
College/School: College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, School of Medicine and Public Health
Admitting Plans:M.S., Ph.D.
Degrees Offered:M.S., Ph.D.
Minors and Certificates:Doctoral Minor

Faculty: Professors Bird (director) (Obstetrics and Gynecology), Abbott (Obstetrics and Gynecology), Bertics (Biomolecular Chemistry), Bosu (Medical Sciences/ Veterinary Medicine), Drezner (Medicine), Downs (Cell and Regenerative Biology), Ginther (Pathobiological Sciences/Veterinary Medicine), Golos (Comparative Biosciences), Jefcoate (Cell and Regenerative Biology), Levine (Neuroscience), Magness (Obstetrics and Gynecology), Martin (Biochemistry), Ntambi (Biochemistry/Nutritional Sciences), Parrish (Animal Sciences), Peterson (Pharmacy), Schuler (Comparative Biosciences/Veterinary Medicine), Shah (Obstetrics and Gynecology), Terasawa (Pediatrics), Thomson (Cell and Regenerative Biology) and Wiltbank (Dairy Science); Associate Professors Alarid (Oncology), Atwood (Medicine), Blank (Medicine), Duello (Obstetrics and Gynecology), Khatib (Dairy Sciences), Kling (Pediatrics), Liu (Surgery), Odorico (Surgery), Patankar (Obstetrics and Gynecology), Pelegri (Genetics), Watters (Comparative Biosciences/Veterinary Medicine), Xu (Oncology) and Zheng (Obstetrics and Gynecology); Assistant Professors Cezar (Animal Sciences), Davis (Medicine), Hernandez (Dairy Science), Jorgensen (Comparative Biosciences), Kessel (Pediatrics), Kreeger (Biomedical Engineering), Salih (Obstetrics and Gynecology) and Vezina (Comparative Biosciences/Veterinary Medicine)


The Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology (ERP) Program is a multidisciplinary degree-granting program designed to promote research in both endocrinology and reproductive biology, to provide training and experience for pre- and post-doctoral students interested in these fields, and to provide training in problems of endocrine physiology and reproductive physiology in animals and humans. The program trains master's and Ph.D. candidates for teaching and research careers in all aspects of the interrelated fields of endocrinology and reproductive physiology—basic, clinical and translational. Students have access to a full range of research facilities throughout campus. A joint M.D./Ph.D. degree is also offered by the School of Medicine and Public Health and student trainees are eligible to train for the Ph.D. in the ERP program.

Postdoctoral Fellows are encouraged to join the program as associate members and participate in the program's diverse activities. While postdoctoral positions are arranged directly with individual faculty members, ERP also seeks NIH support in this area. The program supports and mentors the training of both Ph.D. and M.D. fellows in translational studies.

The multidisciplinary research and the diverse interests of the faculty make possible many approaches to the study of both endocrinology and reproduction, providing the individual student with a wide selection of research training experiences. Research opportunities are available, but not limited to: endocrine molecular signaling, endocrine physiology in body function and dysfunction, stem-cell programming, gamete and embryo biology, pregnancy, lactation, neuroendocrinology and placenta development. Research models range from molecular and cellular all the way to whole animal including nonhuman primates and humans.

All students complete a core set of courses during the first two years of enrollment in the program including participation in the weekly seminar program. After fulfilling core course requirements, students have the ability to design a curriculum that meets individual research and career interests. Students also have multiple opportunities to present research work in courses, seminars and symposia, and at regional, national and international scientific meetings. The preliminary exam for Ph.D. candidates is based on the research project and is structured in the form of a competitive grant proposal. Part one of the exam is development of the written proposal and submission to the thesis committee for review. Part two is focused on the rebuttal and oral review of the comments. Students should aim to complete the preliminary exam by the start of the third year of study and defend the thesis in the fifth year.

All students are required to form a thesis committee during the first year of study and have an annual meeting with the members. A written progress report must be submitted annually to the program administrator.

Financial Aid

More than 95 percent of the program's enrolled students are supported by a research assistantship or fellowship. Incoming applicants are considered for competitive fellowships during the admissions process; no additional application is required. Additional fellowship support for minority and educationally disadvantaged students is also available (prospective students should contact the program administrator at the time of application). Teaching assistantships are discouraged until the student has passed the preliminary exam. Training-grant support may be considered in the third through fifth years of study for Ph.D. students, assuming the student meets citizenship criteria, satisfactory academic progress, has a project that is relevant to the mission of NICHD, and continued funding by the National Institutes of Health. Financial support generally includes tuition remission, monthly stipend check, and participation in the State of Wisconsin health insurance program. Benefit costs change on an annual basis; contact the program administrator for current rates. Support for international students varies by faculty advisor. International students offered admission will be required to submit a notarized financial statement prior to visa documents being issued.


Admission to the program is competitive; applications are due January 2 of each year for fall semester. Potential applicants will have a major in the biological sciences, a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.3/4.0, and appropriate preparatory courses in physiology, chemistry, biochemistry, biology, physics, calculus, statistics, organic chemistry, and genetics. Prior laboratory research experience is strongly recommended.

The application process includes the completion and submission of the online Graduate School application, payment of the application fee, submission of a personal statement for graduate study, receipt of GRE scores and TOEFL or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores (TOEFL and IELTS are for international applicants) by Educational Testing Service, and receipt of three letters of recommendation. Applicants are strongly encouraged to use the online reference feature in the Graduate School application system. Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended should be sent by postal mail to the program administrator.

Completed applications for fall entry are reviewed by a panel of faculty. Applicants who pass this first step will be contacted and have materials distributed to all faculty in the program for further consideration. Otherwise applications for spring or summer term are possible, but only by faculty invitation to accept the individual directly into the laboratory for training and with the approval of the admissions committee.

For more information: Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology Program, 1465 Medical Sciences Center, 1300 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53706; 608-265-5838; Program administrator, tabachmann@wisc.eduwww.erp.wisc.edu.