The department is a diverse unit of researchers whose work spans the areas of suborganismal, organismal, and applied entomology. Research programs of the faculty are broadly interdisciplinary employing cutting edge technology in all areas. Individual faculty web pages provide in-depth descriptions of the diversity of research in entomology.
Suborganismal research in the department focuses on insect physiology and population genetics. Areas of specialization include the molecular action of insect hormones and the insect/microbiome interface. Studies of gene flow utilize various molecular methods. Genomic data are used to understand adaptation, gene flow on landscapes, the genetic basis of phenotypes, and the phylogenetic relationships of insect species.
Organismal: Entomology faculty members are leaders in the areas of basic ecology of insects in a variety of natural and managed systems, such as forests, lakes and agroecosystems. Studies in taxonomy, chemical ecology, spatial analysis, vector biology, behavioral ecology, and landscape ecology have strong representation in the department. Research examines how they affect crops and forests, influence ecosystem processes such as nutrient and carbon cycling and the "services" they provide in natural and managed ecosystems such as pollination and pest suppression.
Applied/Extension: Faculty in the department extend a long tradition of research on insects as they impact humans. Excellence in agricultural research continues in vegetable crops, field and forage crops and the turf and ornamental "green industry" where work has continued to advance the application of integrated pest management in agricultural systems. Basic research conducted by faculty in cropping systems also has implications for pest management, conservation, bioenergy, resource management. This research extends to global health issues focusing on arthropod borne diseases and insects as a novel food source.
Research in the department explores the interconnections across scales of biological organization, from molecular and cellular interactions to ecosystem-level studies, in both managed and natural systems, and from basic to applied research. Faculty members collaborate with colleagues in other departments in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and beyond the college and university.
Graduate education in the Department of Entomology provides many opportunities for collaborative research. Faculty members participate in joint instructional programs with other departments on campus and with scientists at other universities, in federal and state agencies, and in industry. Because several entomology faculty members are also adjunct professors in zoology, forest and wildlife ecology, molecular and environmental toxicology, and other departments, they may serve as primary advisers to graduate students majoring in those fields. Opportunities exist to conduct research in a variety of distant tropical and temperate regions, to gain experience in classroom instruction and individual mentoring, and to participate in outreach activities such as addressing K–12 classes, naturalist groups, and commodity producers.
Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress
To make progress toward a graduate degree, students must meet the Graduate School Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress in addition to the requirements of the program.
Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement
Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement
Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement
In addition to needing to complete a total of 30 credits, at least 15 of the credits must be taken in graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide.
Prior Coursework Requirements from: Graduate Work from Other Institutions
With Advisory Committee and Academic Affairs Committee approval, students are allowed to count no more than 14 credits of graduate course work from other institutions. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master's degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.
Prior Coursework Requirements from: UW–Madison Undergraduate
With Advisory Committee and Academic Affairs Committee approval, the student may apply up to 7 credits numbered 300 or above completed at UW–Madison toward fulfillment of minimum degree requirements. This work would not be allowed to count toward the Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement unless taken at the 700 level or above. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master's degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.
Prior Coursework Requirements from: UW–Madison University Special
With Advisory Committee and Academic Affairs Committee approval, the student may apply up to 15 University Special student credits as fulfillment of the minimum graduate residence or graduate degree credit requirements on occasion as an exception (on a case-by-case basis). UW–Madison coursework taken as a University Special student would not be allowed to count toward the Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement unless taken at the 700 level or above. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master's degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.
Credits per Term Allowed
Program-Specific Courses Required
Course requirements are detailed in Entomology's Ph.D. handbook, posted here.
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement
Other Grade Requirements
The Graduate School requires an average grade of B or better in all course work (300 or above, not including research credits) taken as a graduate student unless conditions for probationary status require higher grades. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester.
The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.
Advisor / Committee
Every graduate student is required to have an advisor. To ensure they are making satisfactory progress toward a degree, the Graduate School expects that students meet with their advisor on a regular basis.
An advisor generally serves as the thesis advisor. In many cases, an advisor is assigned to incoming students. Students can be suspended from the Graduate School if they do not have an advisor.
An advisor is a faculty member, or sometimes a committee, from the major department responsible for providing advice regarding graduate studies.
A committee often accomplishes advising for the students in the early stages of their studies.
Assessment and Examinations
Contact the program for information on required assessments and examinations.
Master's degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.
Contact the program for information on any language requirements.
The Graduate School sets minimum requirements for admissions. Academic program admission requirements are often more rigorous than those set by the Graduate School. Please check the program’s website for details.
Knowledge and Skills
- Develop a broad knowledge base of entomology, inclusive of suborganismal, organismal, and applied entomology.
- Knowledge of laboratory and/or field methodology.
- Recognize relationships between structure and function at appropriate levels- molecular, cellular, organismal or ecological.
- Explain and apply scientific methods including designing and conducting experiments and testing hypotheses.