​​The Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE)

The Medical Student Performance Evaluation letter (MSPE) is a required component of the residency application, written in accordance with AAMC recommendations and requirements. Its purpose is not to advocate for the student, but to provide a factual narrative and overall assessment of medical student progress and performance during medical school. The MSPE is used by residency directors, along with other application materials, to identify appropriate candidates for their residency programs.

Sections of the MSPE:

1.    Noteworthy Characteristics
2.    Academic History (remediation, expansion, leaves of absence, concurrent degrees)
3.    Academic Progress: professional performance, preclinical coursework (ICM/FCM evaluations), and clerkships
4.    Summary

Section: Noteworthy Characteristics

This section is written by the student in collaboration with their designated MSPE faculty advisor. The format is a bulleted list of no more than 3 “noteworthy” characteristics, each no longer than 2 sentences. More detailed information will be sent to students prior to meeting with their advisor.

Section: Academic Progress

This section includes the evaluations from each of the 3rd-year required clerkships, along with any 4th-year or elective clerkships for which evaluations are received before September 1. Evaluations may be edited by Student Affairs for grammar, spelling, redundancy, or length, but are not edited substantively.

Students should review their grades/evaluations after they are received from their respective clerkships. Any discrepancies should be addressed in accordance with the UWSOM’s grade appeal process and timelines. Student Affairs and the MSPE faculty advisors do not have the authority to adjust grades or the content of evaluations.

Section: Summary

Each student’s MSPE will summarize their clinical performance with the assignment of a summary word: Outstanding, Excellent, Very Good, or Good. The summary word is based on a student’s performance in the 3rd-year required clerkship performance as compared to the overall performance of the class. If a student expands, takes a leave of absence, or is an MD-PhD student, their word will be calculated with the class with which they completed their 3rd-year required clerkships. The failure of any required clerkship will automatically result in the assignment of “Good” as the summary word.

An appendix describing the school’s curriculum, evaluation system, and other information related to the UWSOM’s educational programs and policies is attached to each MSPE.

The MSPE Process

The MSPE is compiled by Student Affairs throughout the year. During June–August of the year in which the student applies for residency, they will be required to meet with a MSPE faculty advisor to write bullet points, assess their application preparedness, and complete a mock interview. Students are emailed a rough draft of their MSPE prior to their appointment so they may review it for accuracy.

A final draft is provided to students during the month of September for a final accuracy check prior to being uploaded to ERAS (Electronic Residency Application Service) for release on October 1st.

Students receive a copy of the final MSPE following October 1, and a copy is placed in their academic file.

Any questions regarding this process should be directed to Student Affairs.

Requesting a copy

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

  • Name (please include your full name, with any previous names used while enrolled)
  • Graduation year
  • Email address
  • Any specific handling instructions


Applying for Fellowship

Graduates applying for fellowship should contact Sarah Wood, associate director for student affairs – clinical phase, regarding uploading MSPEs and transcripts to the MIDUS system.

Transcripts should be ordered from the University of Washington registrar and sent to Sarah Wood via e-Transcript.

Distressed? Confused? In a unique situation?

Schedule an appointment with the associate dean for student affairs to discuss:

•    Expansions or leaves
•    Academic challenges
•    Health or personal issues
•    Parallel plan/plan B options

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