Retailing and consumer behavior (RCB) leverages technology and research to understand and improve the global customer experience. This bachelor of science degree blends business and analytics with creativity, trend tracking, and technology. Students develop the skills to work in an industry that powers economies and offers ample employment opportunities, including online retailing and social commerce professions. Our experienced faculty guide RCB students through an inspiring and flexible curriculum that prepares them for careers in a dynamic and globally-focused industry.

Explore the world of commerce and technology from a people-first perspective. As a RCB major you’ll learn to research, improve, and better understand the global customer experience with the support and guidance of SoHE faculty, a team of industry experts and researchers. Coursework integrates analytics and statistics with retailing, consumer science, and business courses.

SoHE’s RCB graduates work for diverse and rapidly growing retailing companies around the globe. Technology and management jobs have been in high demand for several years and are only expected to continue their rapid growth.

RCB majors complete a required internship before graduating, allowing them to pursue their own personal interests and to develop a strong portfolio of skills and references that will propel them to launch successful careers.  


All prospective UW–Madison students must apply through the central Office of Admissions and Recruitment.

Students who indicate interest in the retailing and consumer behavior major on their UW–Madison application will be admitted to the retailing and consumer behavior major upon admittance to the university. In addition, students may indicate interest in retailing and consumer behavior when registering for Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR).


First-year students in good academic standing and first-semester transfer students may declare the retailing and consumer behavior major upon request. All other students must apply through a competitive application process.

The best way for interested students to receive advising or additional information is by attending a Becoming a SoHE Student Workshop.

Visit On-campus Student Application for application information and the October and February deadlines.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

Retailing & Consumer Behavior Requirements

A complete list of requirements is below. Students should follow the curriculum requirements in place at the time they entered the major. Curriculum checksheets from previous academic years are available online. This requirement list should be used in combination with a DARS report.

School of Human Ecology Requirements
MATH 112 Algebra3
Or higher (not MATH 130 or 141) unless exempt through placement exam
Select one of the following:
Introduction to Statistical Methods
Statistics for Sociologists I
Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences
Basic Statistics for Psychology
Statistics: Measurement in Economics
Quantitative Methods in Geographical Analysis
Arts and Humanities
Social Science
ECON 101 Principles of Microeconomics4
Select 6 credits designated Social Science breadth6
Physical, Biological and Natural Science9
Human Ecology Breadth3
Select one Human Ecology course from CSCS, DS, HDFS, or INTER-HE.
Consumer Science Courses
CNSR SCI 250 Retail Leadership Symposium 11
CNSR SCI 257 Introduction to Retailing2
CNSR SCI 201 Consumer Research & Analysis3
CNSR SCI 275 Consumer Finance3
CNSR SCI 657 Consumer Behavior3
CNSR SCI 564 Retail Financial Analysis3
CNSR SCI 555 Consumer Strategy & Evaluation3
Accounting Course
Select one course from the following:3
Accounting Principles
Introductory Financial Accounting
Fundamentals of Accounting and Finance for Non-Business Majors
Retailing and Consumer Behavior Depth
Select one course from the following:3
Retail Channel Strategy & Omni-Channel Retailing
The Global Consumer
Product Development Strategies in Retailing
Consumer Science Depth
Select 6 credits from TWO different Consumer Science Depth Option Areas (Not also used above in the Retailing and Consumer Behavior Depth category):6
I. Multidisciplinary-Applied Research
Advanced Consumer Analytics
Consumer Spending and Saving Over the Lifecycle
Consumer Policy Analysis
II. Promoting Well-Being
Consuming Happiness
Finances & Families
Building Financial Assets and Capability for Vulnerable Families
Financial Coaching
III. Ethics, Leadership, and Policy
Consumer Financial Services Innovation
Sustainable and Socially Just Consumption
Families & Poverty
The Consumer and the Market
The Global Consumer
Product Development Strategies in Retailing
Family Economics and Public Policy
High Impact Practice
CNSR SCI 603 Retailing Internship3
Select electives to bring degree credit total to 120
Total Credits70-71

CNSR SCI 250 Retail Leadership Symposium may be repeated for up to three credits. Credits in addition to the one required credit will be counted as elective credits.

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.
  1. Students will invoke interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to understand the interactions between individuals and their social and environmental contexts.
  2. Students will demonstrate the ability to harness, analyze and interpret relevant data for making real world decisions.
  3. Students will acquire professional and life skills related to workplace communication, teamwork, active listening and adapting to technology.
  4. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the global retail industry and how retailers can enhance consumer well-being.

Student Academic Affairs & Career Development

The Student Academic Affairs & Career Development Office (SAA) fosters undergraduate students' personal, academic, and professional development. Through advising, academic planning, and career education we support students as they navigate the college experience—from exploring our majors as prospective students to becoming SoHE alumni. 

Academic Advising

Each SoHE student is assigned to an academic advisor in the Student Academic Affairs & Career Development Office. SoHE academic advisors support academic and personal success by partnering with current and prospective SoHE students as they identify and clarify their educational goals, develop meaningful academic plans, and pursue their own Wisconsin Experience. 

To explore academic advising resources or schedule an appointment with a SoHE academic advisor, visit Advising in SoHE

Career Development

Active engagement in the career development process is a vital component of a student’s personal growth in college and future success as a life-long learner, professional, and global citizen. SoHE career advisors help prepare students for life post-graduation through individual and group advising and integration of career readiness throughout our curriculum.

To explore career development resources or schedule an appointment with a SoHE career advisor, visit Internship and Career Preparation.

Professors Bartfeld, Shim, Wong, Zepeda; Associate Professor Collins, Robb; Assistant Professors Addo, Ashton, Warmath; Faculty Associates Lepe, Murray, O'Brien, Olive, Whelan

For more information, visit the School of Human Ecology faculty and staff directory