Sep 21, 2023

What is the MSPE? Here's What You Need to Know


As a residency candidate, one of the documents you will come across and need to complete your residency application is the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE).

The MSPE is a letter of evaluation of your medical school performance directly from your institution. It provides residency program directors a clear, honest, and objective summary of your academic performance, experiences, and personal attributes as a medical student. It also shows your school’s confidence in your knowledge, skills, and abilities to take on the responsibilities during your residency training.

How to Get an MSPE

The general first step to getting an MSPE is to meet with your dean or assigned faculty member who will write the letter. Specifics may vary depending on your medical school. But the meeting may have discussions about your fourth-year plans, the function of the MSPE, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and other application requirements.

All MSPEs are held when residency applications open in September. They are then released to residency programs on October 1st every year.

Your MSPE will be submitted by your medical school if it participates in the ECFMG Medical School Web Portal (EMSWP ERAS).

If you are an International Medical Graduate (IMG) and your institution is not part of the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS), you will need to obtain your MSPE from the school and submit it through the ECFMG OASIS. If you are unable to secure an MSPE, you will have to disclose this under the Additional Documents section of the ERAS. This is so you can get hold of the placeholder document.

female medical student in scrubs

What Goes into the MSPE

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) recommends that MSPEs should contain the following details:

  • Identifying information
  • Noteworthy characteristics
  • Academic history
  • Academic progress (including professional performance, preclinical coursework, clinical clerkships, and specialty)
  • Summary
  • Medical school information

If possible, ask your medical school for a copy of your MSPE. This is so you can review its accuracy before they submit it to the ERAS. Double-check the detail. If there is inaccurate or missing information, coordinate with your medical school officials on the revisions.

Keep in mind that the more detailed your MSPE is, the better for your residency application.

If you need guidance, the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) provides a MSPE template.


In 2016, the AAMC MSPE Task Force released a set of recommendations to standardize the writing and revising of MSPEs across all medical institutions. This outlines the expectations, such as comparative data and grading rubrics, that you will adapt in the letter.

The recommendations include:

  • Capping the MSPE to seven single-spaced pages in 12-point font.
  • Completing all six sections as noted above.
  • Enumerating details deficient and exemplary professionalism.
  • Highlighting six ACGME Core Competencies.
  • Including details on how they derive final grades (e.g., comparative data and grading schemes).
  • Limiting “Noteworthy Characteristics” to three items of the applicant’s attributes and experiences.

See the full 2016 MSPE Task Force Recommendations for detailed guidance on each section.

Getting into a residency program is essential to your medical journey. That’s why it’s beneficial to have accurate and complete requirements. This includes a glowing MSPE, that will help get you right on track.

If you need guidance with your residency application, interview, and other clinical experiences, C.H.H.A is here. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

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