Courses may not double count within the major (unless specifically noted otherwise), but courses counted toward the major requirements may also be used to satisfy a university requirement and/or a college requirement. A minimum of 15 credits must be completed in the major that are not used elsewhere. Students must complete a minimum of 31 credits from Introductory Biology, Foundation, Intermediate/Advanced, Seminar (options only) and additional lab/research courses.

Core Requirements

Mathematics and Statistics

Select one of the following:5-10
Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry I
and Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry II
Calculus and Analytic Geometry 1
Select one of the following: 13-4
Calculus and Analytic Geometry 2
Introduction to Statistical Methods
Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences


General Chemistry
Select one of the following: 15-9
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry II
Advanced General Chemistry
Organic Chemistry
CHEM 343 Introductory Organic Chemistry3
CHEM 344 Introductory Organic Chemistry Laboratory2
CHEM 345 Intermediate Organic Chemistry3


1st semester Physics; select one of the following:4-5
General Physics
General Physics
General Physics
2nd semester Physics, select one of the following:4-5
General Physics
General Physics
General Physics

Introductory Biology

Select one of the following options: 110-16
Option A:
Introductory Biology
Introductory Biology
Option B:
Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics
Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics Laboratory
Cellular Biology
Cellular Biology Laboratory
Organismal Biology
Option C:
Animal Biology
Animal Biology Laboratory
General Botany
Foundational Course 2
Select one of the following:3
Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics
and Cellular Biology 3
Plant Breeding and Biotechnology
Principles of Genetics
General Genetics 2
Microbial Genetics & Molecular Machines
Introduction to Biochemistry
General Biochemistry II

Intermediate/Advanced Courses

Minimum of 13 credits required and must include one approved lab course. Approved lab courses are indicated by footnote.

Students must take ANTHRO/​BOTANY/​ZOOLOGY  410 Evolutionary Biology. In addition, select one course from categories A or B below. Select one course from category C. Select one course from category D. Additional courses can be taken from A–E to satisfy the lab and/or 31-credit requirement.

A. Cellular and Subcellular Biology

AGRONOMY/​HORT  338 Plant Breeding and Biotechnology3
BOTANY/​AGRONOMY/​HORT  339 Plant Biotechnology: Principles and Techniques I 14
AGRONOMY/​BOTANY/​HORT  340 Plant Cell Culture and Genetic Engineering 14
AN SCI/​DY SCI  362 Veterinary Genetics2
BIOCHEM 501 Introduction to Biochemistry3
BIOCHEM 507 General Biochemistry I3
BIOCHEM 508 General Biochemistry II3-4
BIOCHEM/​NUTR SCI  510 Biochemical Principles of Human and Animal Nutrition3
BIOCHEM 551 Biochemical Methods 14
BIOCHEM/​M M & I  575 Biology of Viruses2
BIOCHEM 601 Protein and Enzyme Structure and Function2
BIOCHEM/​GENETICS/​MICROBIO  612 Prokaryotic Molecular Biology3
BIOCHEM/​GENETICS/​MD GENET  620 Eukaryotic Molecular Biology3
BIOCHEM/​BOTANY  621 Plant Biochemistry3
BIOCHEM 625 Mechanisms of Action of Vitamins and Minerals2
BIOCHEM/​PHMCOL-M/​ZOOLOGY  630 Cellular Signal Transduction Mechanisms3
BMOLCHEM 314 Introduction to Human Biochemistry3
BMOLCHEM 504 Human Biochemistry Laboratory 13
BMOLCHEM/​MICROBIO  668 Microbiology at Atomic Resolution3
BOTANY/​ENTOM/​PL PATH  505 Plant-Microbe Interactions: Molecular and Ecological Aspects3
BOTANY/​GENETICS/​HORT  561 Introductory Cytogenetics2-3
GENETICS 466 Principles of Genetics3
GENETICS 467 General Genetics 13
GENETICS 520 Neurogenetics2
GENETICS/​MD GENET/​ZOOLOGY  562 Human Cytogenetics2
GENETICS/​MICROBIO  607 Advanced Microbial Genetics3
MICROBIO 470 Microbial Genetics & Molecular Machines3
MICROBIO/​SOIL SCI  523 Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry3
MICROBIO/​M M & I/​PATH-BIO  528 Immunology3
MICROBIO 551 Capstone Research Project in Microbiology 12
MICROBIO/​ONCOLOGY/​PL PATH  640 General Virology-Multiplication of Viruses3
M M & I 341 Immunology3
NEURODPT/​NTP/​PHYSIOL/​ZOOLOGY  616 Lab Course in Neurobiology and Behavior 14
NTP/​NEURODPT  610 Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience4
NTP/​PHYSIOL  629 Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Memory3
NTP 655 Modeling Neurodevelopmental Disease3
NTP 675 Special Topics (Stem Cell in Neurobiology)1-3
NTP 675 Special Topics (Reproductive Neuroendocrinology)1-3
NTP 675 Special Topics (Molecular Mechanisms of Brain Damage)1-3
PHM SCI 558 Laboratory Techniques in Pharmacology and Toxicology 12
NEURODPT 533 Molecular Physiology2
PSYCH 601 Current Topics in Psychology (Epigenetics & the Brain)3
ZOOLOGY 470 Introduction to Animal Development3
ZOOLOGY/​PSYCH  523 Neurobiology3
ZOOLOGY 555 Laboratory in Developmental Biology3
ZOOLOGY 570 Cell Biology3
ZOOLOGY 604 Computer-based Gene and Disease/Disorder Research Lab 12
ZOOLOGY 625 Development of the Nervous System2

B. Organismal Biology

AN SCI/​DY SCI  373 Animal Physiology3
AN SCI/​DY SCI  434 Reproductive Physiology 13
AN SCI/​F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  520 Ornithology3
AN SCI/​F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  521 Birds of Southern Wisconsin 13
ANAT&PHY 335 Physiology 15
ANAT&PHY 337 Human Anatomy3
ANAT&PHY 435 Fundamentals of Human Physiology 15
ANTHRO/​NTP/​PSYCH/​ZOOLOGY  619 Biology of Mind3
BIOCORE 486 Organismal Biology Laboratory 12
BOTANY 300 Plant Anatomy 14
BOTANY 330 Algae 13
BOTANY/​PL PATH  332 Fungi 14
BOTANY/​F&W ECOL  402 Dendrology 12
BOTANY 500 Plant Physiology 13-4
CS&D 503 Neural Mechanisms of Speech, Hearing and Language3
DY SCI 305 Lactation Physiology 13
ENTOM/​ZOOLOGY  302 Introduction to Entomology 14
ENTOM 321 Physiology of Insects3
ENTOM 331 Taxonomy of Mature Insects 14
F&W ECOL 401 Physiological Animal Ecology3
GENETICS 545 Genetics Laboratory 12
GENETICS/​MD GENET  565 Human Genetics3
GEOSCI/​ZOOLOGY  542 Invertebrate Paleontology3
KINES 314 Physiology of Exercise 14
ANAT&PHY 338 Human Anatomy Laboratory2
KINES 721 Neural Basis for Movement3
MICROBIO 303 Biology of Microorganisms3
MICROBIO 304 Biology of Microorganisms Laboratory 12
MICROBIO 330 Host-Parasite Interactions3
MICROBIO/​BIOLOGY  525 Advanced Biological Laboratory Practices: A Research Experience 12
MICROBIO 526 Physiology of Microorganisms3
M M & I 301 Pathogenic Bacteriology2
M M & I/​ENTOM/​PATH-BIO/​ZOOLOGY  350 Parasitology3
M M & I 410 Medical Mycology2
NTP/​NEURODPT/​PSYCH  611 Systems Neuroscience4
NTP/​ZOOLOGY  620 Neuroethology Seminar2
NTP/​NEURODPT  630 Neuronal Mechanisms for Sensation and Memory in Cerebral Cortex3
NTP 675 Special Topics (Basic Sleep Mechanisms & Sleep Disorders)1-3
NTP 675 Special Topics (Functional Brain Imaging of Cognitive Disorders)1-3
NUTR SCI 431 Nutrition in the Life Span3
NUTR SCI 631 Clinical Nutrition I3
NUTR SCI/​PHM PRAC  672 Herbals, Homeopathy, and Dietary Supplements2-3
ONCOLOGY 401 Introduction to Experimental Oncology2
PATH 404 Pathophysiologic Principles of Human Diseases3
PL PATH 558 Biology of Plant Pathogens 13
PSYCH 406 Psychology of Perception3-4
PSYCH 601 Current Topics in Psychology (Neural Basis of Cognitive Control)3
PSYCH 414 Cognitive Psychology3
PSYCH 454 Behavioral Neuroscience3
PSYCH 513 Hormones, Brain, and Behavior4
PSYCH 606 Hormones and Behavior3
ZOOLOGY 303 Aquatic Invertebrate Biology3
ZOOLOGY 400 Topics in Biology (Mammalogy)1-3
ZOOLOGY 430 Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrates 15
ZOOLOGY 603 Endocrinology3-4
ZOOLOGY 611 Comparative and Evolutionary Physiology3
ZOOLOGY 612 Comparative Physiology Laboratory 12

C. Ecology

AGRONOMY/​BOTANY/​SOIL SCI  370 Grassland Ecology3
AGRONOMY/​ENTOM/​F&W ECOL/​M&ENVTOX  632 Ecotoxicology: The Chemical Players1
AGRONOMY/​ENTOM/​F&W ECOL/​M&ENVTOX  633 Ecotoxicology: Impacts on Individuals1
AGRONOMY/​ENTOM/​F&W ECOL/​M&ENVTOX  634 Ecotoxicology: Impacts on Populations, Communities and Ecosystems1
BOTANY/​ZOOLOGY  450 Midwestern Ecological Issues: A Case Study Approach2
BOTANY/​F&W ECOL  455 The Vegetation of Wisconsin 14
BOTANY/​ZOOLOGY  459 Ecological Techniques for Field Monitoring1-2
BOTANY/​F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  460 General Ecology 14
BOTANY/​ENTOM/​ZOOLOGY  473 Plant-Insect Interactions3
BOTANY/​ENVIR ST/​F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  651 Conservation Biology3
ENTOM 450 Basic and Applied Insect Ecology3
ENTOM 451 Basic and Applied Insect Ecology Laboratory1
ENVIR ST/​ZOOLOGY  315 Limnology-Conservation of Aquatic Resources2
ENVIR ST/​LAND ARC  361 Wetlands Ecology3
F&W ECOL 379 Principles of Wildlife Management3
F&W ECOL 550 Forest Ecology3
F&W ECOL/​LAND ARC/​ZOOLOGY  565 Principles of Landscape Ecology2
F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  660 Climate Change Ecology3
MICROBIO/​AN SCI/​BOTANY  335 The Microbiome of Plants, Animals, and Humans3
PL PATH 300 Introduction to Plant Pathology 14
ZOOLOGY 316 Laboratory for Limnology-Conservation of Aquatic Resources 12-3
ZOOLOGY 504 Modeling Animal Landscapes3-5
ZOOLOGY/​ENVIR ST  510 Ecology of Fishes3
ZOOLOGY/​ENVIR ST  511 Ecology of Fishes Lab 12

D. Evolution and Systematics

ANTHRO 302 Hominoid Evolution3
ANTHRO 304 Heredity, Environment and Human Populations3
ANTHRO/​BOTANY/​ZOOLOGY  410 Evolutionary Biology3
ANTHRO 411 The Evolution of the Genus, Homo3
ANTHRO 458 Primate Behavioral Ecology3
ANTHRO 603 Seminar in Evolutionary Theory3
ANTHRO 658 Ecological Models of Behavior3
BOTANY 305 Plant Morphology and Evolution 14
BOTANY 400 Plant Systematics 14
BOTANY 401 Vascular Flora of Wisconsin 14
BOTANY 422 Plant Geography3
BOTANY 563 Phylogenetic Analysis of Molecular Data3
ENTOM 432 Taxonomy and Bionomics of Immature Insects 14
ENTOM/​GENETICS/​ZOOLOGY  624 Molecular Ecology3
ENVIR ST/​F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  360 Extinction of Species3
GENETICS 468 General Genetics 23
GEOSCI/​ZOOLOGY  541 Paleobiology3
MICROBIO 450 Diversity, Ecology and Evolution of Microrrganisms3
PSYCH 449 Animal Behavior3
PSYCH 450 Primates and Us: Insights into Human Biology and Behavior3
PSYCH/​ZOOLOGY  550 Animal Communication and the Origins of Language3
ZOOLOGY 300 Invertebrate Biology and Evolution3
ZOOLOGY 301 Invertebrate Biology and Evolution Lab 12
ZOOLOGY 425 Behavioral Ecology3

E.  Applied Biology, Agriculture and Natural Resources

A A E/​AGRONOMY/​INTER-AG/​NUTR SCI  350 World Hunger and Malnutrition3
AGRONOMY 300 Cropping Systems3
AGRONOMY 302 Forage Management and Utilization3
AGRONOMY/​HORT  360 Genetically Modified Crops: Science, Regulation & Controversy2
AGRONOMY 377 Cropping Systems of the Tropics3
AGRONOMY/​HORT  501 Principles of Plant Breeding3
AMER IND/​ANTHRO/​BOTANY  474 Ethnobotany3-4
AN SCI/​DY SCI/​NUTR SCI  311 Comparative Animal Nutrition3
AN SCI/​DY SCI  313 Animal Feeds and Diet Formulation1
AN SCI/​DY SCI  320 Animal Health and Disease Management3
AN SCI/​DY SCI  361 Introduction to Animal and Veterinary Genetics2
AN SCI/​DY SCI  363 Principles of Animal Breeding2
AN SCI 503 Avian Physiology 13
AN SCI 512 Management for Avian Health 13
BIOCORE 587 Biological Interactions3
BIOLOGY/​GENETICS  522 Evolution Seminar Series-Undergraduate1
BOTANY 403 Field Collections and Identification1-4
DY SCI/​INTER-AG  471 Food Production Systems and Sustainability3
ENTOM 351 Principles of Economic Entomology3
ENTOM/​ZOOLOGY  371 Medical Entomology 13
ENTOM/​F&W ECOL  500 Insects in Forest Ecosystem Function and Management2
ENVIR ST/​POP HLTH  471 Introduction to Environmental Health3
ENVIR ST/​POP HLTH  502 Air Pollution and Human Health3
F&W ECOL 306 Terrestrial Vertebrates: Life History and Ecology 14
F&W ECOL/​HORT/​LAND ARC/​PL PATH  309 Diseases of Trees and Shrubs3
F&W ECOL 318 Principles of Wildlife Ecology3
F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  335 Human/Animal Relationships: Biological and Philosophical Issues3
F&W ECOL 410 Principles of Silviculture3
F&W ECOL 415 Tree Physiology3
F&W ECOL/​SURG SCI  548 Diseases of Wildlife3
F&W ECOL 561 Wildlife Management Techniques 13
FOOD SCI/​MICROBIO  324 Food Microbiology Laboratory 12
FOOD SCI/​MICROBIO  325 Food Microbiology3
FOOD SCI 532 Integrated Food Manufacturing 14
GENETICS/​HORT  550 Molecular Approaches for Potential Crop Improvement3
HORT/​LAND ARC  263 Landscape Plants I 13
HORT 370 World Vegetable Crops3
HORT 372 Colloquium in Organic Agriculture1
HORT 376 Tropical Horticultural Systems1
HORT 378 Tropical Horticultural Systems International Field Study2
HORT/​PATH-BIO  500 Molecular Biology Techniques 13
LACIS 440 Topics in Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies1-4
M M & I 554 Emerging Infectious Diseases and Bioterrorism2
MICROBIO/​SOIL SCI  425 Environmental Microbiology3
NTP/​MED PHYS  651 Methods for Neuroimaging Research 1, 33
NUTR SCI 332 Human Nutritional Needs3
PL PATH/​SOIL SCI  323 Soil Biology3
PL PATH 517 Plant Disease Resistance2-3
SOIL SCI 321 Soils and Environmental Chemistry3
ZOOLOGY 500 Undergraduate Neurobiology Seminar1


Undergradute Evolution Seminar (1 cr minimum)
BIOLOGY/​GENETICS  522 Evolution Seminar Series-Undergraduate1

Additional lab or Field Research

Select one of the following options:

  1. Take an additional lab or field instruction from categories A–E in the Intermediate/Advanced course lists.
  2. Complete a directed study in a biological science discipline.1
  3. Complete a thesis in biological science.1

Residence and Quality of Work

2.000 GPA in all major courses

2.000 GPA on 15 upper-level major credits, taken in residence 1

15 credits in the major, taken on the UW–Madison campus

Honors in the Major

Once students have declared the biology major, they may apply to pursue Honors in the Major. To apply, students must pick up an Honors form from either the L&S Honors Office at 1401 Observatory Drive or the Biology Major Office at 1550 Linden Drive.  A Senior Honors Thesis is required. Before enrolling in a Senior Honors Thesis course, the student must produce a two- to three-page, double-spaced thesis proposal that briefly introduces the biological problem and then describes the line of experimentation that is proposed for the thesis work. The student and faculty mentor must sign the proposal before it is submitted to the Biology Major Office.

Honors in the Major in Biology: Requirements1

To earn a B.A. or B.S. with Honors in the Major in Biology students must satisfy both the requirements for the major and the following additional requirements:

  • Earn a 3.300 overall university GPA
  • Earn a 3.300 GPA in the major/subject
  • Complete 13 credits of Foundation, and/or intermediate/advanced courses for Honors.
  • Complete an approved two-semester Senior Honors Thesis for a total of 6 credits.