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The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences provides opportunities for study in a wide variety of department majors and interdisciplinary programs or specializations. In some instances, majors and degrees are offered cooperatively with other schools and colleges at UW–Madison. Students are responsible for knowing academic requirements for graduation and should consult with an advisor regularly.

Freshmen are encouraged to declare a degree and major so that an advisor can be assigned in their area of interest, but students are encouraged to change majors if academic or professional goals change. However, incoming first-year students unsure about which CALS major to declare may opt to remain undeclared while exploring their options. Interested students should contact CALS Transitional Advising and Outreach Services for more information. In addition to their major, students may also elect to complete one or more certificate programs. See the Certificate Programs Offered—Official List for a complete list. Some of the certificate programs offered in CALS are available to students across campus, regardless of their major.

Academic and Career Advising

Regardless of your major, CALS has professionals to help students navigate their UW–Madison educational experience. The Office of Academic Affairs links students to the resources they need, and assists students who are exploring major and career options. All students have assigned academic advisors in their major, who, along with faculty mentors in those majors, provide CALS students more specialized academic, and pre-professional advising.

As the academic dean’s office for CALS, the Office of Academic Affairs assists students with university and college policies and procedures such as changing a major, transferring into CALS, awarding dean's list, interpreting degree audit for graduation, student appeals, and more.

CALS Office of Academic Affairs
116 Agricultural Hall
1450 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706
academicaffairs@cals.wisc.edu
608-262-3003

Dean on Call

The Dean on Call assists all CALS students with urgent issues and questions about academic policies and procedures. This service is available in person and remotely from 1-3pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays during the academic year and several days a week during the summer.  Come to 116 Agricultural Hall during Dean on Call hours OR complete the online Dean on Call form and a Dean on Call will be in contact with you as soon as the next Dean on Call drop-in hours are offered. See the CALS website for more information.

Career Services

CALS Career Services provides resources and advising for students to explore career interests and develop skills as they seek employment, internships, or admission to graduate or professional programs. Advising appointment and programming information can be found on the Career Services website.  Academic advisors and faculty in every CALS major provide specialized career and pre-professional advising.

Admission

CALS offers 24 majors in a broad area of topics encompassed within the life sciences and agriculture.  Options include “undecided” for those students who know they are interested in these areas but are uncertain about which specific major to choose.

Admissions for incoming first-year and transfer students is handled centrally through the UW-Madison Office of Admissions and Recruitment.  However, through this process you will be directly admitted into CALS if you choose a CALS major, including the CALS undecided option.  CALS majors do not have enrollment caps, and most do not have special admissions criteria.

All students, including incoming first-year and transfer students, with questions about study in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences are encouraged to contact the CALS Offices of Academic Affairs at 608-262-3003 or academicaffairs@cals.wisc.edu. Students are also encouraged to visit us.

For students transferring from another university or college, transfer credits are evaluated by the UW-Madison Registrar's Office after acceptance. Transfer students must complete all CALS degree requirements, including completing at least 30 credits at UW-Madison.

Students may also transfer to the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences from other schools and colleges at UW-Madison. For more information, contact the academic advisor in the major to which you are interested in transferring or the CALS Office of Academic Affairs (academicaffairs@cals.wisc.edu). Additional details are found here.

Opportunities to apply learning in the classroom to real-world settings is at the core of a CALS education. We offer a variety of CALS Signature Experiences for students in all majors to live the Wisconsin idea.

These opportunities fall into five major categories:

We want our students to make a strong start and every CALS first-year student can achieve that through a First-Year seminar to explore different areas of study and build a peer group. There are several seminars to choose from, including QuickStart, which allows students to begin their college career the summer before they arrive on campus.

CALS students learn through hands-on, real world experiences.  A majority of CALS students earn credit for internships and research experiences in labs.

Through peer advising and mentoring, student organizations and residential learning communities, students build their community and networks.

Students gain a global perspective by taking a course with an international focus and many students study abroad. In addition to general UW–Madison programs, CALS offers more than 34 study abroad programs led by our faculty.

Finally, many CALS students take advantage of the ability to customize their path of study by participating in an honors program, pursuing certificates or second majors, and choosing elective courses that match their interests and meet their goals.

Policies may be found on the Office of Academic Affairs KnowledgeBase.

All undergraduate students in CALS must satisfy a set of college and university requirements:

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.

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.

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Requirements

In addition to the University General Education Requirements, all undergraduate students in CALS must satisfy a set of college and major requirements. Courses may not double count within university requirements (General Education and Breadth) or within college requirements (First-Year Seminar, International Studies, Science, and Capstone), but courses counted toward university requirements may also be used to satisfy a college and/or a major requirement; similarly, courses counted toward college requirements may also be used to satisfy a university and/or a major requirement.

College Requirements for all CALS B.S. Degree Programs

Quality of Work: Students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.000 to remain in good standing and be eligible for graduation.
Residency: Students must complete 30 degree credits in residence at UW–Madison after earning 86 credits toward their undergraduate degree.
First Year Seminar1
International Studies3
Physical Science Fundamentals4-5
General Chemistry I
Chemistry in Our World
Advanced General Chemistry
Biological Science5
Additional Science (Biological, Physical, or Natural)3
Science Breadth (Biological, Physical, Natural, or Social)3
CALS Capstone Learning Experience: included in the requirements for each CALS major (see "Major Requirements")

Students are advised to complete introductory and basic course requirements (i.e., biological and physical sciences, chemistry, mathematics, communications, etc.) early in their academic programs.

Students must also satisfy a minimum of 15 credits in the selected major (these 15 credits may not be double counted with CALS or General Education requirements) and a Capstone course that meets the stated criteria (and may be included in the 15 credits toward the major).

CALS First-Year Seminar Requirement

Courses meeting the CALS first-year seminar requirement must meet most of the following criteria:

  • The course is designed specifically for first-year undergraduate students, to support their academic and personal transition to UW–Madison. For example, the course may acquaint students with academic, campus and community resources to assist in their transition through presentations, discussion, projects, or papers. Because students took this course, their transition to UW–Madison is more rapid and well supported.
  • Course enrolls fewer than 25 students or a significant portion of the course meets in groups of fewer than 25 students. A larger lecture course will be considered if students interact regularly in sustained and substantive small groups with a faculty member or well-prepared graduate student or peer. This interaction must go beyond review of material and question and answer and be an ongoing relationship.
  • Students receive frequent feedback from the instructor(s) on their academic performance and receive a grade in the course.
  • Students are put in circumstances that essentially demand they interact with faculty and peers about substantive matters. As a result of taking this course, students have gotten to know their instructor(s) and peers through meaningful course-related dialogue.
  • Students will experience diversity through meaningful dialogue with people who are different from themselves and/or engage with diversity through course content which addresses inclusivity, diversity and identity.
  • Students experience an integration of experiential and classroom learning. For example, students might be asked to attend a student organization meeting, meet with a faculty or staff member, or participate in research or service.
  • Students have opportunities to integrate, synthesize and apply knowledge while exploring big questions and big ideas.
  • The learning objectives for the course are aligned with the UW–Madison Essential Learning Outcomes.

Approved First-Year Seminar Courses

AFROAMER 271 Selected Topics in African American Culture 13
BIOCHEM 100 Biochemistry Freshman Seminar1
BSE 170 Product Design Practicum2
COUN PSY 115 Human Resources Development: Educational Effectiveness 21
COUN PSY 125 The Wisconsin Experience Seminar1
DY SCI 272 Pre-Capstone Seminar1
ENVIR ST 117 GreenHouse Roots Seminar1
F&W ECOL 101 Orientation to Wildlife Ecology1
GENETICS 155 Freshman Seminar in Genetics1
INTEGSCI 100 Exploring Biology2
INTEGSCI 110 BioHouse Seminar: Biology for the 21st Century1
INTEGSCI 140 Exploring Service in STEM1
INTER-AG 140 CALS QuickStart: Foundations1
INTER-AG 155 Issues in Agriculture, Environment, and Life Sciences1
INTER-AG 165 Introduction to International Issues in Agricultural & Life Sciences1
INTER-AG 175 WISE Seminar1
INTEREGR 170 Design Practicum3
INTER-HE 201 Belonging, Purpose and the Ecology of Human Happiness: EcoYou3
ILS 138 CRC First-Year Seminar: Foundations of a Liberal Arts Education1
LSC 155 First-Year Seminar in Science Communication1
First Year Interest Groups (All) 3

CALS International Studies Requirement

Required of all CALS majors, the intent of the International Studies requirement is to deepen student knowledge and understanding of international issues related to scientific and sociological themes in CALS; develop openness, awareness and respect with regard to other cultures; and prepare students to address global challenges as engaged employees and active citizens.

The following learning outcomes must be satisfied for courses to fulfill the international studies requirement:

  • Identify and explain, to diverse audiences, global issues pertaining to one or more CALS Priority Themes
  • Demonstrate critical thinking and comparative perspectives with respect to experiences or cultural approaches to international challenges

Courses that satisfy the 3-credit CALS International Studies requirement must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be connected to one or more of the CALS Priority Themes
  • Include substantial international comparative content
  • Include substantial non-U.S. content (typically >50% of the content or assignments or grade in the course)
  • Facilitate active student engagement consistent with the learning outcomes and university assessment criteria
  • Fulfill 3 credits (either by a single course or a pair of courses)

Approved International Studies Courses (Effective Fall 2019 unless otherwise noted)

The 3 credit requirement may be fulfilled as either a stand-alone 3 credit course or as a set of courses as listed below.
A A E/​ENVIR ST  244 The Environment and the Global Economy4
A A E 319 The International Agricultural Economy3
A A E/​AGRONOMY/​INTER-AG/​NUTR SCI  350 World Hunger and Malnutrition3
A A E 352 Global Health: Economics, Natural Systems, and Policy 24
A A E/​INTL ST  373 Globalization, Poverty and Development3
A A E/​INTL ST  374 The Growth and Development of Nations in the Global Economy3
A A E/​ECON  473 Economic Growth and Development in Southeast Asia3
A A E/​ECON  474 Economic Problems of Developing Areas3
A A E/​ECON/​INTL BUS  462 Latin American Economic Development3
A A E/​ECON  477 Agricultural and Economic Development in Africa3
AGRONOMY 377 Global Food Production and Health3
AN SCI/​DY SCI  370 Livestock Production and Health in Agricultural Development3
ASIAN/​E A STDS/​HISTORY/​POLI SCI  255 Introduction to East Asian Civilizations 23-4
C&E SOC/​SOC  341 Labor in Global Food Systems 13
C&E SOC/​ENVIR ST/​SOC  540 Sociology of International Development, Environment, and Sustainability3
CSCS 500 Global Health and Communities: From Research to Praxis3
DY SCI/​AGRONOMY/​INTER-AG  471 Food Production Systems and Sustainability3
ENTOM/​ENVIR ST  201 Insects and Human Culture-a Survey Course in Entomology3
ENTOM/​ZOOLOGY  371 Medical Entomology3
F&W ECOL/​ENVIR ST  100 Forests of the World 13
F&W ECOL/​ENVIR ST/​ZOOLOGY  360 Extinction of Species3
HORT 370 World Vegetable Crops3
LSC 251 Science, Media and Society 13
NUTR SCI/​AGRONOMY/​ENTOM  203 Introduction to Global Health3
PL PATH/​BOTANY  123 Plants, Parasites, and People3
PL PATH 311 Global Food Security3
HORT/​AGRONOMY  376
HORT 378
Tropical Horticultural Systems
and Tropical Horticultural Systems International Field Study
3
DY SCI/​AN SCI/​FOOD SCI/​SOIL SCI  472
DY SCI/​AN SCI/​FOOD SCI/​SOIL SCI  473
Animal Agriculture and Global Sustainable Development
and International Field Study in Animal Agriculture and Sustainable Development
3
The following study abroad courses fulfill the international studies requirement, but will require manual modification of a student’s degree audit through completion of a simple DARS Update Form. See https://cals.wisc.edu/academics/undergraduate-students/cals-international-studies-requirement/. Only the specific course numbers and titles listed are approved to meet the CALS International Studies requirement.
BIOCHEM 699 Special Problems (UW SCORE Cambridge International Research Program (England))3
BIOCHEM 699 Special Problems (UW SCORE Oxford International Research Program (England))3
BIOCHEM 699 Special Problems (UW SUPERG International Research Program (Germany))3
NUTR SCI/​INTER-AG  421 Global Health Field Experience (UW Mobile Clinics and Health Care in Uganda)3
NUTR SCI 375
NUTR SCI/​INTER-AG  421
Special Topics
and Global Health Field Experience (Sri Lanka Pre-departure Seminar and Community Health and Asset-Based Community Development in Sri Lanka)
3
NUTR SCI/​INTER-AG  421 Global Health Field Experience (UW Ghanaian Health and Food Systems: Human, Agricultural & Environmental Health)3
NUTR SCI 375
NUTR SCI/​INTER-AG  421
Special Topics
and Global Health Field Experience (Uganda Pre-departure Seminar and UW Agriculture, Health and Nutrition in Uganda)
3
NUTR SCI/​INTER-AG  421 Global Health Field Experience (UW Health, Education and Tanzanian Culture)3
MICROBIO 375
NUTR SCI/​INTER-AG  421
Special Topics
and Global Health Field Experience (Microbiology of Northern Thailand and Global Health Field Experience, Thailand)
3
MICROBIO 399 Coordinative Internship/Cooperative Education (UW Microbiology International Internships (Thailand))3

Students: See https://cals.wisc.edu/academics/undergraduate-students/cals-international-studies-requirement/ for circumstances under which exceptions will be considered and the appeal process.  Appeals will only be considered under special circumstances and if the course meets all the criteria above.

CALS Capstone Learning Experience Requirement

A CALS Capstone is a course in which students are required to integrate diverse bodies of knowledge to solve a problem or formulate a policy of societal importance with the intent of facilitating the transition to post-baccalaureate life. Capstone courses are approved by the college for each major.

A Capstone Experience should:

  • Develop problem solving skills
  • Expose the student to multidisciplinary approach
  • Develop teamwork and interpersonal skills, including the ability to communicate effectively to multiple audiences
  • Develop skills in accessing and using information resources (e.g., electronic databases, library resources, national repositories)
  • Address societal, economic, ethical, scientific, and professional issues
  • Communicate and extend the capstone experience via written, oral, and/or multimedia reports by each student

The Capstone Experience will normally be completed during the student's final 2 or 3 semesters. The intent is to have the student utilize and integrate their undergraduate learning into a culminating, or capstone, experience. Students should consult with their departmental faculty advisors for specific information regarding this requirement. Where appropriate, students should submit a copy of the final project materials to the campus library (via Minds@UW or similar).

Degrees Offered

The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences offers five bachelor of science (B.S.) degree programs:

B.S. Degree
B.S.–Agricultural Business Management
B.S.–Biological Systems Engineering
B.S.– Nutrition and Dietetics
B.S.–Landscape Architecture

Four of the college’s majors have specialized B.S. degree programs, as listed above.  The general B.S. degree program provides a broad and general foundation for the other majors in the college.

Multiple Degrees or Majors

Under certain circumstances it may be possible for a student to earn more than one undergraduate major or degree. It is expected that the programs be significantly different from each other and that approval for simultaneous majors or degrees be received prior to the student having earned 86 credits. More information is available below and via the Office of Academic Affairs.

Second Bachelor of Science Degree Requirements

Those with a bachelor of science (B.S.) or bachelor of arts (B.A.) degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison or other accredited institution may, if eligible, pursue a second bachelor's degree from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
Those who have been out of school for one semester or more must apply for admission (or readmission) with the regular undergraduate application. Continuing UW–Madison students do not need to submit this form. All candidates need an academic dean's permission from the Office of Academic Affairs to work toward a second bachelor's degree. A minimum of a 2.0 GPA is required. Several college majors require a higher GPA.

The following requirements for the second bachelor's degree must be met:

  • Students must complete a minimum of 30 credits in residence, of which 15 or more must be in the major field as specified by the major department. These credits are in addition to credits earned for the first degree.
  • Candidates must complete all university, college, major, and curricular degree program requirements. Credits earned for the first degree will apply toward appropriate requirements for the second. However, students must take at least 30 additional credits, as noted above. Students with their first B.S. degree from the college must select a new major or degree program.

All second-degree candidates must be accepted by the department offering their program of interest and have their program approved by the college before beginning the program.

Earning Two Undergraduate Degrees Simultaneously

A student who wishes to earn two undergraduate degrees simultaneously (in contrast to earning two undergraduate majors simultaneously) should consult with the Office of Academic Affairs as early as possible in their academic career regarding feasibility.
If the two degrees to be earned are within the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, at least 30 additional credits and all course and grade point requirements must be completed. Thus, a minimum of 150 credits (for most majors) would be required. Some courses may satisfy requirements for both degrees; however, students must complete 15 unique credits in each major. A student must have an advisor in both major fields. To work on two degrees simultaneously within the college, a student should seek permission as early as possible to ensure that it is feasible to complete both degrees.
If the two degrees to be earned are from two different colleges (one degree in Agricultural and Life Sciences and one degree in another school or college on this campus), the academic dean in both colleges must approve the student's plan. Note that not all colleges will allow dual degrees. Where allowed, the following academic policies shall be followed (additional policies may exist):

  1. Admission into the other college or school shall be based on that particular college or school admission criteria.
  2. A student may seek two baccalaureate degrees simultaneously (in contrast to two majors), each from a different college, provided that the two degree programs differ sufficiently so that the combined total requirements for the two degrees are at least 150 credits and that the student's program is approved by both colleges before the student has earned 86 credits. The degrees from each college will be awarded simultaneously.

Special applications and additional information pertaining to the earning of two undergraduate degrees simultaneously are on the CALS website and available from the Office of Academic Affairs, 116 Agricultural Hall.

Earning Two Undergraduate Majors Simultaneously

CALS permits undergraduates to pursue two CALS majors simultaneously. Both majors must be in the same degree program; two degrees must follow the policy outlined above. The following policies and procedures have been established for this program:

  1. The student must complete an application form and have approval in advance from their CALS major advisor, the advisor of their desired second major, and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Office of Academic Affairs in CALS. This approval must be granted before the student has earned 86 credits.
  2. The student must satisfy all requirements of both majors.  The student must meet all CALS general course requirements and the degree program requirements, as well as all major field requirements.

The diploma awarded will be based on the certification of completion of the degree. The transcript will note the completion of requirements for two or more majors.

Earning a non-CALS Major while Completing a Degree Program in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

The College of Letters & Science (L&S) and the School of Education permit undergraduates currently enrolled in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences to complete certain additional undergraduate majors offered by L&S or the School of Education and have this noted on the transcript.
The following policies and procedures have been established for this program:

  1. The student must have advance approval from their CALS major advisor, their non-CALS major advisor, and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Office of Academic Affairs in CALS. This approval must be granted before the student has earned 86 credits.
  2. The non-CALS major is not to substitute for any major in CALS.
  3. The student must satisfy all requirements of the non-CALS major, both the requirements established by the department (i.e., certain courses) and those established by the other school/college (e.g. for L&S, 15 credits of advanced work in the major in residence at UW–Madison), but is not required to complete the other school/college’s degree requirements. The student must meet all CALS general course requirements and the degree program requirements, as well as all major field requirements for the CALS major.
  4. Requests for substitutions or other modifications of the requirements of a given non-CALS major must be acted on by an academic dean of that school/college, in consultation with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in CALS, before enrollment in the course.

Earning a Global Health Additional Major while Completing a Degree Program in Another School/College at UW-Madison

Students in another school/college at UW-Madison are eligible to declare a Global Health major if they have fewer than 86 credits toward graduation, receive permission from their home school/college, and maintain a primary major in the home school/college.  The process for obtaining special permission to declare a Global Health major is dependent on the student’s home school/college.  Students must also contact the Global Health major advising unit about the steps required to declare an additional major and fulfill all the Global Health major requirements.

Student Services

The Office of Academic Affairs provides a variety of services for all CALS and CALS-interested students.  The office welcomes student questions and concerns around academics, careers, scholarships, study abroad opportunities, or other areas of student need.  Additionally, there are services and advising available for students who have unusual circumstances or needs, and to address the needs of those from under-served and under-represented student populations.

Academic Advising

Every student has an assigned advisor, and students are encouraged to consult their advisors regularly. In CALS, all students are assigned an advisor in their major field of study, or for undecided students in the Office of Academic Affairs.  These advisors assist students with choosing courses to match their interests and fulfill all requirements for graduation.  They also talk with students about their educational objectives, how to engage in the full Wisconsin experience, and planning for their future.

Students are encouraged to seek advice from university faculty and staff, in addition to their assigned advisor. There are many people on campus who are willing and able to help students; however, it is the student's responsibility to seek advice.

Career Services

The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences provides resources and advising for students to explore career interests and develop skills as they seek employment, internships, or admission to graduate or professional programs. Advising appointment and programming information can be found on the Career Services website. Academic advisors and faculty in every CALS major provide specialized career and pre-professional advising.

Many CALS students are interested in exploring professional careers in medicine, including veterinary medicine. For more information about preparing for health careers, visit the Center for Pre-Health Advising.

Scholarships and Financial Resources

CALS has an extensive scholarship program available to CALS students in addition to university scholarships, grants, loans, and employment available at the Office of Student Financial Aid.  One yearly application allows students to be considered for any scholarships administered by the college. Scholarship applications are available through the Wisconsin Scholarship Hub (WiSH), which can be found through the Student Services tab in MyUW or through the Finances section of Student Center.  Scholarships with a financial need component require a current Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file with the university.


In addition to scholarships, several short-term loan funds have been established for students in the college.  Applications for these short-term loans are available in the CALS Office of Academic Affairs.

STUDY ABROAD

Today's college graduates must be prepared for the international community in which they will live and work. Study and research abroad programs offer students unique opportunities to enrich their education by experiencing other cultures and broadening their understanding of agricultural and life sciences outside the United States. The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences offers 34 short- and long-term programs in more than 20 countries.  All programs carry UW-Madison academic credit, and many fulfill academic requirements.  CALS offers scholarships specifically for CALS study abroad students to reduce financial barriers to participation. For more information about study abroad opportunities, contact the CALS Study Abroad office (studyabroad@cals.wisc.edu).

Student Organizations

CALS students will find many organizations and clubs to meet their professional and personal interests. Student organizations provide a vehicle for students to gain leadership experience and develop professional skills. For more information see the Registered Student Organization (RSO) Directory in the Wisconsin Involvement Network (WIN) and CALS Student Organizations and Clubs.

Honors Program

The CALS Honors Program allows highly motivated students to continue challenging themselves through research and coursework. The objective of the Honors Program is to help students develop critical thinking and problem solving abilities through specialized courses and to provide students the challenge of designing, conducting, and reporting research in collaboration with faculty from one of the world’s leading research institutions.

Honors

CALS has two different avenues to earn an Honors degree designation. Students may complete either based on their interests and goals. Students are not allowed to complete both types of honors. In either option, a student must successfully complete a Senior Honors Thesis approved by the research mentor or committee.

Honors in Research
Students engage in the university’s great research tradition through the completion of two research projects: an introductory project and a senior thesis project. Students identify a faculty mentor to oversee their research efforts and support their progression through the program. In addition to the hands-on research experience, students are required to enroll in coursework directed at furthering their knowledge in quality and ethical scientific discovery. Students who successfully complete Honors in Research will receive an Honors designation on their diploma.

Honors in the Major
Students complete a specified number of Honors credits in a designated set of courses to gain advanced knowledge and inquiry within their major field of interest. A limited number of CALS majors offer this program option; more information is located on the Requirements tab for the major. Students who successfully complete Honors in the Major will receive an Honors designation on their transcript.

For complete information contact the Office of Academic Affairs, 116 Agricultural Hall, 608-262-3003.

Dean's List

Students who achieve at a high level academically are recognized by the dean. Selections to the Dean's List are announced at the close of each semester. The student's achievement for only the single semester is considered and is noted on the transcript. To be placed on the Dean's List, a student must have achieved at least a 3.5 GPA or above for the semester's study load of not less than 12 credits, on a regular grade basis (A, AB, B, BC, C, D, F), regardless of overall grade point average, and must not have received a grade of F or an Incomplete for any course, or a U (for a pass/fail course) or an N (for Credit/No Credit graded course that was not passed).

Criteria for "Graduated with Distinction" and "Graduated with Highest Distinction"

Students who have a cumulative GPA that places them in the top 20 percent of the graduating class in the college will graduate with "Distinction"; those in the upper 5 percent, with "Highest Distinction." These students must have at least 60 credits on the UW–Madison campus. The notations on the student's transcript will read "Graduated with Distinction" or "Graduated with Highest Distinction." The registrar determines which students meet these criteria.

Distinctive Scholastic Achievement

A preliminary list of those degree candidates who may be eligible for Graduation with Distinction is prepared by the registrar prior to commencement. These students are eligible to wear a cardinal stole with their caps and gowns at commencement. Inclusion on the Distinctive Scholastic Achievement list does not guarantee Graduation with Distinction, which is determined after final grades are awarded.