​​The Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE)

During the fall of the senior year, a Medical Student Performance Evaluation letter (MSPE) is written based on coursework for which evaluations have been completed and received in the Office of Student Affairs. The MSPE is written as part of a student's credentials for applying for residency training. The purpose of the evaluation is to provide the residency directors with an overall assessment of performance in the medical school coursework and the status of other graduation requirements. 

The MSPE Activity Tracker

Midway through 3rd year, each student will prepare for their MSPE by entering scholarship, publication, activities, service, and information into the UWSOM Service & Activity Trac​ker.  Each student should have this information up-to-date by May of the 3rd year.  

Sections of the MSPE:

1.    Written transcript of progress and academic accomplishments
2.    Unique Characteristics and Noteworthy Achievements
3.    Academic History (remediation, expansion, leaves of absence)
4.    Academic Progress: Basic Science, ICM I and II, 3rd year Required Clinical Clerkships evaluations, Clinical electives for which evaluations are received by September 1
5.    Summary Word
6.    Summary Paragraph, written by faculty letter writer

Section: The Word

Each student's MSPE will summarize the clinical performance with the assignment of a summary word: Outstanding, Excellent, Very Good, or Good. The summary word is calculated annually for each graduating class. If a student expands or takes a leave of absence or is a MD-PhD student, they will be compared with the class in the year they graduate.

The Summary Word is determined by:

  • The number of grades of distinction in the six required 3rd year clerkships
  • The competitiveness of the clerkships
  • The failure of a clerkship, which will result in the assignment of a "Good"

In the past five years, 8-15% have been described as outstanding, 30-36% as excellent, 30-36% as very good, 8-15% as good. An appendix describing the School’s curriculum, evaluation system, and other information related to our educational programs and policies is attached to each MSPE.

Section: The Summary Paragraph

The MSPE summary paragraph describes a student's overall performance as outstanding, excellent, very good or good. The percentage given of each summary word is included in the appendices which accompany the MSPE when it is sent to the residency programs to which the student is applying.

This assessment is based on basic science, clinical grades and progress in the level of competency as evidenced through the evaluation comments in the basic science courses and the required clinical clerkships. The percentage of grades given in the required basic science and clinical courses and the percentage given in each of the summary words are included in the appendices which accompany the MSPE when it is sent to the residency programs to which the student is applying. This section is written by an assigned faculty letter writer and summarized your overall progress.

Section: Unique Characteristics (175 words)

This section is written in 3rd person by the student and is 175 words or less. In this section, students can describe how they are unique (It's OK if this is redundant with their personal statement). Include significant accomplishments that are not already covered in the rest of the MSPE such as: service learning, dual degrees, or leadership roles. Give an explanation of extenuating circumstances during medical school, if necessary.

Avoid adjectives such as "the best" or "outstanding", anything you cannot talk about in an interview (i.e. too personal, too emotional), political/religious identifiers.

Enter into MSPE Activity Tracker at least ONE WEEK before MSPE appointment (or by July 1) whichever occurs earlier. You must submit your paragraph in order to receive your ERAS token (released on July 1).

The MSPE Letter Writer

The MSPE is compiled by the Student Affairs team and summarized by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs along with a team of selected faculty. Each student will meet with their assigned faculty during the month of June - August to review their draft MSPE and to discuss the unique characteristics section of their letter. Students are emailed rough drafts of their MSPE before they are finalized and uploaded to ERAS (Electronic Residency Application Service). A final draft is provided during the month of September for a final accuracy check prior to being uploaded to ERAS by October 1st when they become available to the programs. 

Any questions regarding this process should be directed to Sarah Wood.

Requesting a copy

If you are a graduate of the UW School of Medicine and need a copy of your Dean's MSPE/Dean's Letter sent somewhere, please email Student Affairs at, with the following information:

  • Name (Please include your full name, with any previous names used while enrolled.) 
  • Graduation Year 
  • Email address

Your request will be expedited within 3 business days after email is received. If there are any specific handling instructions, please be sure to include that in your email. For example, if you are applying to fellowship programs through ERAS, you may need to have your AAMC ID number placed on the document.

Distressed? Confused? In a unique situation?

Schedule an appointment with the Student Affairs Dean, Dr. Eacker, to discuss:

•    Expansions or leaves
•    Academic challenges
•    Health or personal issues
•    A "Plan B" option