Student performing equation on a chalkboard

This minor may only be completed by students admitted to Elementary Education options leading to certification in K-9 or Middle Childhood through Early Adolescence. A minor is not required to complete the K-9 certification program, but students may elect to complete one.

Minors provide a depth of study in a particular area of interest and also inform classroom instruction. The completion of a minor is required to teach middle school in some states and may benefit students particularly interested in teaching at this level.

Students may wish to consult with an advisor in the School of Education Student Services office, 139 Education Building, to discuss course selection and other issues related to this field of study. Current students can schedule a Student Services appointment online through the Starfish app in MyUW. Appointments can also be made through email at, by calling 608-262-1651, or in person.

Upon completion, the subject area of the minor will be posted on the UW-Madison transcript. Students will not receive an additional certification or license in the subject area as was possible prior to fall, 2022 program admission.  The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction does not offer content licenses in association with the K-9 educator license.

This minor may only be declared by students completing Elementary Education certification in either K-9 or Middle-Childhood-through-Early-Adolescence. The declaration form is located on the School of Education's Undergraduate Admissions page and can be submitted any time after admission into the program.

This minor is intended for Elementary Education majors wishing to enhance their content preparation in mathematics and science. It is particularly suitable for Elementary Education majors who intend to teach mathematics and science in the middle school.

A minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.75 is required, based on all minor coursework taken on the UW–Madison campus.

Mathematics Component

Students will contact a Student Services advisor or the Elementary Education Program Manager (see Contact Information) to choose a 12 credit group of mathematics courses that will

  1. Deepen their understanding of the reasoning, problem solving strategies, models, mathematical tools, structures, and principles, which underlie core elementary mathematics topics relevant to K-12 math education and related to fractions and rational numbers, proportional reasoning, measurement, algebraic thinking, Geometry and Measurement, and Algebra and Functions.
  2. Develop the important mathematical practices, or habits of mind, that can support the learning of mathematics. 

Science Component

The aim of the science component of this minor is for students to understand science as an intellectual activity. The goals of science and the diverse means by which scientific knowledge is generated and validated should be at the core of the science portion of this minor. Upon its completion, students should have had opportunities to understand some of the most powerful organizing ideas in the various scientific disciplines as well as how those ideas have been and are generated. Such an understanding should provide students with the fundamental tools and outlook necessary to teach the variety of science content typically taught in middle schools.

The committee that developed this science component has indicated that the primary purpose for the minor should be consistent with the goals of a liberal or general education, thus viewing the minor as an extension of the current liberal studies requirement. In addition to the 9 credits of science required for the liberal studies requirement, students completing this minor must also take 9 credits in science for the math–science dual minor. With these 18 credits it is possible to provide a minimal level of breadth and depth of science coursework. This minor is also expected to provide Elementary Education program students with a background in the sciences that are most commonly taught at the middle school level.

Complete the following requirements:

  • At least 18 credits from the courses listed below. Additional courses can be considered; please consult with an advisor in the School of Education Student Services office, 139 Education Building.
  • One course in each of three of the four science areas of biology, chemistry, physics, and earth and space science from the approved list, below. Integrated Liberal Studies 153 does not count in any of the areas, but can count toward the 18 credit total.
  • At least 6 credits of coursework from the courses listed below that are not marked with an asterisk (*). Courses with the asterisk are considered to be introductory level courses.

The following courses are approved for inclusion in the science component of the math/science minor:

ILS 153 Ways of Knowing in the Sciences *4

 Biology course options

All courses numbered 500 and above
All courses
BIOLOGY/​ZOOLOGY  101 Animal Biology *3
BIOLOGY/​ZOOLOGY  102 Animal Biology Laboratory *2
BIOLOGY/​BOTANY/​ZOOLOGY  151 Introductory Biology *5
BIOLOGY/​BOTANY/​ZOOLOGY  152 Introductory Biology5
BOTANY 100 Survey of Botany *3
BOTANY/​PL PATH  123 Plants, Parasites, and People *3
BOTANY/​BIOLOGY  130 General Botany *5
BOTANY/​BIOLOGY/​ZOOLOGY  151 Introductory Biology *5
BOTANY/​BIOLOGY/​ZOOLOGY  152 Introductory Biology5
BOTANY/​ENVIR ST/​ZOOLOGY  260 Introductory Ecology *3
All courses numbered 300 and above
ENTOM/​ENVIR ST  201 Insects and Human Culture-a Survey Course in Entomology *3
All courses numbered 300 and above
Forest and Wildlife Ecology
All courses numbered 300 and above
All courses numbered 400 and above
MICROBIO 101 General Microbiology *3
MICROBIO 102 General Microbiology Laboratory *2
All courses numbered 300 and above
Plant Pathology
PL PATH/​BOTANY  123 Plants, Parasites, and People *3
All courses numbered 300 and above
ZOOLOGY/​BIOLOGY  101 Animal Biology *3
ZOOLOGY/​BIOLOGY  102 Animal Biology Laboratory *2
ZOOLOGY/​BIOLOGY/​BOTANY  151 Introductory Biology *5
ZOOLOGY/​BIOLOGY/​BOTANY  152 Introductory Biology5
ZOOLOGY/​BOTANY/​ENVIR ST  260 Introductory Ecology *3
ZOOLOGY/​ENTOM  302 Introduction to Entomology4
ZOOLOGY/​ENVIR ST  315 Limnology-Conservation of Aquatic Resources2
ZOOLOGY 316 Laboratory for Limnology-Conservation of Aquatic Resources2-3
Courses numbered 350 and above

Chemistry course options

All courses numbered 500 and above
CHEM 103 General Chemistry I *4
CHEM 104 General Chemistry II5
CHEM 108 Chemistry in Our World *5
CHEM 109 Advanced General Chemistry *5
CHEM 115 Chemical Principles I *5
CHEM 116 Chemical Principles II5
All courses numbered 300 and above

Physics course options

PHYSICS 103 General Physics *4
PHYSICS 104 General Physics4
PHYSICS 107 The Ideas of Modern Physics *3
All courses numbered 200 and above

Earth and Space Science course options

ASTRON 103 The Evolving Universe: Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology *3
ASTRON 104 Our Exploration of the Solar System *3
ASTRON 150 Topics in Astronomy2
ASTRON 200 The Physical Universe *3
ASTRON 236 The History of Matter in the Universe *3
All courses numbered 200 and above
Atmospheric and Oceanic Studies
ATM OCN 100 Weather and Climate *3
ATM OCN 101 Weather and Climate *4
ATM OCN/​ENVIR ST/​GEOSCI  102 Climate and Climate Change *3
ATM OCN/​GEOSCI  105 Survey of Oceanography *3-4
ATM OCN/​ENVIR ST  171 Global Change: Atmospheric Issues and Problems *2-3
All courses numbered 200 and above
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  120 Introduction to the Earth System *3
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  127 Physical Systems of the Environment *5
All courses numbered 300 and above and designated as Physical Science
GEOSCI 100 Introductory Geology: How the Earth Works *3
GEOSCI/​ATM OCN/​ENVIR ST  102 Climate and Climate Change *3
GEOSCI/​ATM OCN  105 Survey of Oceanography *3-4
GEOSCI 110 Evolution and Extinction *4
GEOSCI 202 Introduction to Geologic Structures4
GEOSCI 204 Geologic Evolution of the Earth4
GEOSCI 304 Geobiology3
GEOSCI/​GEOG  320 Geomorphology3
GEOSCI/​G L E  370 Elementary Petrology3
GEOSCI/​GEOG  420 Glacial and Pleistocene Geology3
GEOSCI 430 Sedimentology and Stratigraphy3
GEOSCI/​G L E  455 Structural Geology4
GEOSCI 456 Geologic Field Methods2
All courses numbered 556 and above