The individual major is a program for undergraduate students who want to fulfill a specific academic goal that is not easily attained through a major in one or more departments. The major must meet a course of study that involves at least two departments and be targeted at a specific problem or academic interest identified by the student. A student proposal must be submitted and approved by the SoHE Undergraduate Program Council. Students are encouraged to begin working with faculty and advisors in the Advising & Career Center by the end of the sophomore year. Thirty credits must be earned in residence after the term in which the proposal is approved. The major will be guided by a committee of at least three faculty members (with no more than two faculty members from one department). 

Individual majors are intended to create a unique program of study that otherwise does not exist on this campus individually or in a combination of majors and certificate programs. Students should carefully explore all University of Wisconsin–Madison majors and certificate programs before pursuing an individual major. A proposal that essentially parallels an existing SoHE or campus major will not be approved.

Graduates of the individual major earn a bachelor of science in human ecology. The major will match the approved proposal title, which must have a human ecology focus.


Students must be in good academic standing and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 to be considered for an individual major. Any interested student should have completed at least two semesters (a minimum of 24 credits) in residence before submitting an application. Ideally, proposals will be made by the end of sophomore year or the beginning of junior year.

Proposing an Individual Major

After discussing their proposed plan with a SoHE advisor and ensuring they meet the application qualifications, students will begin building a faculty committee and developing a proposal. An individual major must be composed of at least two different SoHE academic departments. If a third department is selected, it may be from in or outside of SoHE. Students should develop a one-page abstract to share with faculty as they work to build their committee. Once the committee is formed, the student will select one committee member as the major advisor. The major advisor must be from the SoHE department in which the majority of courses for the program will be taken. The student will work with the faculty committee to develop the proposal and select all required courses for the individual major, the majority of which must be completed in SoHE. The student will then submit a formal proposal to the SoHE Advising & Career Center to be forwarded for action to the SoHE Undergraduate Program Council, which meets throughout the academic year.

Please contact the SoHE Advising & Career Center for the complete individual major proposal instructions.

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.

Individual Major Requirements

The student will work with the faculty committee to develop the individual major proposal and select all required courses, the majority of which must be completed in SoHE. If the Individual Major is approved by the SoHE Undergraduate Program Council, the student will complete all required courses as outlined with the faculty committee.

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.

There is no standard four-year plan for the Individual Major.

Students interested in pursuing an individual major should first meet with a SoHE academic advisor to ensure program eligibility and to discuss their area of interest and rationale. Appointments should be made by contacting the SoHE Advising & Career Center at 608-262-2608.

Visit the School of Human Ecology faculty and staff directory


Internships are a vital part of student career development and a highly valued component of the undergraduate curriculum in the School of Human Ecology. High-quality internships foster student development by bringing theories and classroom-based learning to life in real-world settings. In addition, internships give students the opportunity to explore careers related to their major, gain relevant experience in their field(s) of interest, and develop a better understanding of what is expected in a workplace by performing the tasks of a professional in that field.

For SoHE majors, internships are a requirement of our undergraduate curriculum. Students must have at least a junior standing (54+ credits) in order to pursue a 3-credit internship and must complete a minimum of 150 hours at the internship site. To be eligible, an internship must be educational in nature, directly relate to a student’s major and career goals, and be approved by the Advising & Career Center.

For some SoHE majors, additional course prerequisites may be required. For more information, visit SoHE Internships


School of Human Ecology student organizations include:

  • Apparel and Textile Association (ATA)
  • Badger$ense Financial Life Skills
  • Community & Nonprofit Leaders (CNPL) of UW–Madison
  • Financial Occupations Club for University Students (FOCUS)
  • Interior Design Organization (IDO)
  • Phi Upsilon Omicron (National Honor Society in Family and Consumer Sciences)
  • Student Retail Association (SRA)

For more information about registering as a SoHE student organization, please visit SoHE Student Organizations

Learn more about UW–Madison registered student organizations through the Wisconsin Involvement Network

Advising & Career Center 

The Advising & Career Center (ACC) 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 Advising & Career Center. 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


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

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


The School of Human Ecology awards many merit and need-based scholarships each year. The deadline to apply for scholarships is typically late January. To be eligible for these awards, scholarship recipients must be registered as full-time SoHE students.

Students who experience emergency financial situations may inquire about the availability of short-term loans through the SoHE Advising & Career Center. In addition, university scholarships, loans, and employment are available through the Office of Student Financial Aid (333 East Campus Mall; 608-262-3060).