To declare this major, students must be admitted to UW–Madison and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS). For information about becoming a CALS first-year or transfer student, see Entering the College.

Students who attend Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) with the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences have the option to declare this major at SOAR.  Students may otherwise declare after they have begun their undergraduate studies. For more information, contact the advisor listed under the Advising and Careers tab.

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.

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")

Major Requirements

Mathematics and Statistics
Select one of the following (or may be satisfied by placement exam):5-6
and Trigonometry
Algebra and Trigonometry
Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry I
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to Statistical Methods
Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences
Introduction to Biostatistics
Statistical Methods for Bioscience I
Select one of the following:4-5
General Chemistry I
Chemistry in Our World (only for Natural Resources track students)
Advanced General Chemistry
Select one of the following options:10
Option 1 (recommended):
Introductory Biology
and Introductory Biology
Option 2:
Animal Biology
and Animal Biology Laboratory
and General Botany
Option 3:
Cellular Biology
and Cellular Biology Laboratory
and Principles of Physiology
and Principles of Physiology Laboratory
Wildlife Ecology
F&W ECOL 101 Orientation to Wildlife Ecology1
F&W ECOL 306 Terrestrial Vertebrates: Life History and Ecology4
F&W ECOL 318 Principles of Wildlife Ecology3
F&W ECOL 379 Principles of Wildlife Management3
F&W ECOL 561 Wildlife Management Techniques3
F&W ECOL 655 Animal Population Dynamics3
Plant Taxonomy
BOTANY 400 Plant Systematics4
or BOTANY 401 Vascular Flora of Wisconsin
Select one of the following:3-5
Physiological Animal Ecology (recommended)
Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrates
Comparative and Evolutionary Physiology
Select one of the following:3-5
Evolutionary Biology
Principles of Genetics
Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics
and Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics Laboratory 1
Wildlife Biology
Select one of the following:5-6
and Birds of Southern Wisconsin 2
Ecology of Fishes
and Ecology of Fishes Lab
Select 3 credits from breadth courses (below)3
Track Courses
Select one of the following:14-17
Natural Sciences Track
Natural Resources Track
Select one of the following (or see advisor):3
Complexity and Conservation of White-tailed Deer (formerly 375, Complexity & Conservation of White-tailed Deer)
Wildlife Research Capstone
Total Credits74-84

Breadth Courses

AGRONOMY/​BOTANY/​SOIL SCI  370 Grassland Ecology3
ENVIR ST/​LAND ARC  361 Wetlands Ecology3
ENVIR ST 375 Field Ecology Workshop3
F&W ECOL/​ENVIR ST/​ZOOLOGY  360 Extinction of Species3
F&W ECOL 375 Special Topics (Conservation Genetics, Wildlife-Habitat Relationships)1-4
F&W ECOL/​BOTANY  402 Dendrology2
F&W ECOL 404 Wildlife Damage Management3
F&W ECOL 424 Wildlife Ecology Summer Field Practicum (this course, taken for 2 credits, will complete the requirement)2
F&W ECOL/​ENVIR ST  515 Natural Resources Policy3
F&W ECOL/​SURG SCI  548 Diseases of Wildlife3
F&W ECOL 550 Forest Ecology3
F&W ECOL/​LAND ARC/​ZOOLOGY  565 Principles of Landscape Ecology2
F&W ECOL/​AGRONOMY/​ENTOM/​M&ENVTOX  632 Ecotoxicology: The Chemical Players1
F&W ECOL/​AGRONOMY/​ENTOM/​M&ENVTOX  633 Ecotoxicology: Impacts on Individuals1
F&W ECOL/​AGRONOMY/​ENTOM/​M&ENVTOX  634 Ecotoxicology: Impacts on Populations, Communities and Ecosystems1
F&W ECOL/​BOTANY/​ENVIR ST/​ZOOLOGY  651 Conservation Biology3
F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  660 Climate Change Ecology3
GEOG/​CIV ENGR/​ENVIR ST  377 An Introduction to Geographic Information Systems4
ZOOLOGY/​ENVIR ST  315 Limnology-Conservation of Aquatic Resources2
ZOOLOGY 316 Laboratory for Limnology-Conservation of Aquatic Resources2-3
ZOOLOGY 504 Modeling Animal Landscapes3-5

Courses used in this category cannot be double counted toward any other major requirement.


Natural Sciences Track

Select one of the following:5
Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry II
Calculus and Analytic Geometry 1
CHEM 104 General Chemistry II 15
Select one of the following:4-5
General Physics
General Physics
General Physics
Total Credits14-15

Natural Resources Track

Wildlife Resource Electives
Select two of the following:3-7
Special Topics (Wildlife-Habitat Relationships)
Special Topics (Forest & Climate Change Policy)
Wildlife Damage Management
Wildlife Ecology Summer Field Practicum
Natural Resources Policy
Conservation Biology Electives
Select one of the following:3
Extinction of Species
Conservation Biology
Climate Change Ecology
Forest Management Electives
Select one of the following:2-4
Principles of Silviculture
Insects in Forest Ecosystem Function and Management
Decision Methods for Natural Resource Managers
Forest Resources Practicum
Natural Resources Management Electives
Select one of the following:2-4
Environment, Natural Resources, and Society
People, Wildlife and Landscapes
Environmental Stewardship and Social Justice
Human/Animal Relationships: Biological and Philosophical Issues
Natural Resource Economics
Environmental Conservation
Environmental Economics
Environmental Law, Toxic Substances, and Conservation
Government and Natural Resources
Assessment of Environmental Impact
Total Credits10-18

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. Define and explain basic principles in biological sciences and major concepts in wildlife ecology including, population ecology, organismal biology, plant ecology/taxonomy, and genetics/evolution.
  2. Explain and discuss principles of wildlife management including natural resource legislation, policy, and applications.
  3. Explain and apply the scientific methods including designing and conducting experiments and testing hypotheses.
  4. Explain and demonstrate techniques for collection of data in laboratory and field settings, keep accurate records, and analyze data to address hypotheses.
  5. Demonstrate a style appropriate for communicating scientific results in written and oral form. Provide opportunity to develop these communication skills.

Four-year plan

Sample Wildlife Ecology Four-Year Plan—Natural Sciences Track

F&W ECOL 1011F&W ECOL 3793
F&W ECOL 3183MATH 113, 114, 171, 211, 217, or 2213-5
MATH 112, 113, 114, or 1713-5CHEM 103 or 1094
General Education Courses13-12General Education Courses10-9
 10-21 10-21
Total Credits 20-42
MATH 211, 217, or 2215ZOOLOGY/​BIOLOGY/​BOTANY  152 or BOTANY 1305
ZOOLOGY/​BIOLOGY/​BOTANY  151 (or ZOOLOGY 101 & ZOOLOGY 102)5Statistics Course3-4
CHEM 1045BOTANY 40124
 General Education Courses10-6
 15 12-19
Total Credits 27-34
PHYSICS 103, 201, or 2074-5F&W ECOL 3064
Breadth Elective Course3ZOOLOGY/​ANTHRO/​BOTANY  410 or GENETICS 4663
General Education Courses11-8General Education Courses10-7
 11-19 13-20
Total Credits 24-39
F&W ECOL 40133Capstone Course53
General Education Courses14-12General Education Courses16-12
 10-18 12-18
Total Credits 22-36

Sample Wildlife Ecology Four-Year Plan—Natural Resources Track

F&W ECOL 1011F&W ECOL 3793
F&W ECOL 3183MATH 113, 114, or 1713-5
MATH 112, 113, 114, or 1713-5CHEM 103 or 1094-5
General Education Courses13-12General Education Courses10-9
 10-21 10-22
Total Credits 20-43
Natural Resources Elective Course2-4Statistics Course3-4
General Education Courses3-11BOTANY 40124
 Wildlife Resources Course3
 10-20 15-16
Total Credits 25-36
Breadth Elective Course3F&W ECOL 3064
General Education Courses13-12Wildlife Resources Course3
 Forest Management Course33-4
 9-18 16-17
Total Credits 25-35
F&W ECOL 40143Capstone Course63
General Education Courses14-12ZOOLOGY/​ANTHRO/​BOTANY  410 or GENETICS 4663
 General Education Courses13-9
 10-18 12-18
Total Credits 22-36

Undergraduate Advising in Wildlife Ecology

All undergraduate students are assigned to an advisor when they declare the major. Students in the wildlife ecology major are required to meet with their advisor before they can enroll for the upcoming term. Undergraduate students are assigned to a faculty advisor and Allee Hochmuth, the Student Services Coordinator. If you have questions about advising or declaring the major, please contact Allee Hochmuth at

For more information about the wildlife ecology B.S. or the department in general, please contact Dr. Anna Pidgeon (

Careers and Professional Development

For more information on careers available to forest and wildlife ecology students please visit our Internship & Job Resources page. For more information on other academic, co-curricular, financial aid, and career opportunities and services available to forest and wildlife ecology students, please visit the CALS Career Services page. Students in the major are welcome to make an individual appointment with their advisor to discuss a number of career-related topics such as career exploration, search strategies, graduate school, and review of application materials (resume, CV, letters, etc.).


Bowe, Scott
Burivalova, Zuzana
Drake, David
Karasov, William
Kruger, Eric (chair)
Lutz, R. Scott
Ozdogan, Mutlu
Pauli, Jonathan
Peery, M. Zach
Pidgeon, Anna
Radeloff, Volker
Ribic, Christine
Rickenbach, Mark
Rissman, Adena
Stanosz, Glen
Townsend, Philip
Van Deelen, Timothy
Zuckerberg, Benjamin

Affiliated Faculty

Balster, Nick (Soil Science)
Lindroth, Richard (Entomology)
Marin-Spiotta, Erika (Geography)

Faculty Associate

Berkelman, James

Wildlife Ecology Summer Field Camp at Kemp Natural Resources Station

Every other summer, wildlife ecology students have the option of participating in the Wildlife Ecology Summer Field Camp at Kemp Natural Resources Station in northern Wisconsin as F&W ECOL 424 Wildlife Ecology Summer Field Practicum. The two-week field class emphasizes research and habitat management techniques through individual and group field work, tours, demonstrations, and lectures. Transportation and lodging are provided to the participants.

Independent Study Capstone

The majority of wildlife ecology majors complete one of the two capstone courses (F&W ECOL 577 Complexity and Conservation of White-tailed Deer or F&W ECOL 599 Wildlife Research Capstone), but students also have the option of completing an independent study capstone, typically F&W ECOL 699 Special Problems.


Even though it is not required for graduation, wildlife ecology students often elect to do a summer internship to gain additional skills. Students are encouraged to talk to their advisor about internship possibilities and departmental internship policies.

The Wildlife Society

There is a UW–Madison chapter of the Wildlife Society. For more information on the society please visit the Wildlife Society University of Wisconsin–Madison Student Chapter website or its Facebook Page.