Elementary courses in Polish are designed to meet the needs of students who begin to study the language in college as well as those who began to study the language in high school. One unit (year) of high school coursework is roughly equivalent to one semester of college work; all incoming students, however, who want to continue their study of  Polish are assigned to courses on the basis of placement tests. These tests may admit a student to a more advanced course, but give no credit toward graduation. However, retroactive credits can be granted in recognition of previous language study. Students should speak with their instructor regarding retroactive credits during the first week of class.

To declare a major in Polish, students should make an appointment with the undergraduate advisor.

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 Letters & Science Breadth and Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

Students pursuing a bachelor of science degree in the College of Letters & Science must complete all of the requirements below. The College of Letters & Science allows this major to be paired with either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science curriculum. View a comparison of the degree requirements here.


Mathematics Two (2) 3+ credits of intermediate/advanced level MATH, COMP SCI, STAT
Limit one each: COMP SCI, STAT
Foreign Language Complete the third unit of a foreign language
Note: A unit is one year of high school work or one semester/term of college work.
L&S Breadth
  • Humanities, 12 credits: 6 of the 12 credits must be in literature
  • Social Sciences, 12 credits
  • Natural Sciences, 12 credits: must include 6 credits in biological science; and must include 6 credits in physical science
Liberal Arts and Science Coursework 108 credits
Depth of Intermediate/Advanced work 60 intermediate or advanced credits
Major Declare and complete at least one (1) major
Total Credits 120 credits
UW-Madison Experience 30 credits in residence, overall
30 credits in residence after the 86th credit
Minimum GPAs 2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison
2.000 in intermediate/advanced coursework at UW–Madison


Non–L&S students who have permission from their school/college to pursue an additional major within L&S only need to fulfill the major requirements and do not need to complete the L&S breadth and degree requirements above.  Please note that the following special degree programs are not considered majors so are not available to non-L&S-degree-seeking candidates:  

  • Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics (Bachelor of Science–Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics)
  • Journalism (Bachelor of Arts–Journalism; Bachelor of Science–Journalism)
  • Music (Bachelor of Music)
  • Social Work (Bachelor of Social Work)


The Polish major requires study of the Polish language, Polish literature in translation, Polish literature in the original language, as well as culture and area studies, as detailed below:

Polish Language (complete three courses):9
Third Year Polish I
Third Year Polish II
Fourth Year Polish I
Fourth Year Polish II
Polish Literature in Translation (complete one course from each group):6
Polish Literature in Translation: 14th to the Mid-19th Century
Polish Literature (in Translation), Middle Ages to 1863
Historia literatury polskiej do roku 1863
Polish Literature in Translation: Late 19th and 20th Centuries
Polish Literature (in Translation) since 1863
Historia literatury polskiej po roku 1863
Polish Literature in the Original Language and Culture & Area Studies: 19
Zarys historii literatury polskiej 2
Topics in Slavic Literatures 3
Eastern Europe: An Interdisciplinary Survey
Polish Culture and Area Studies on Study Abroad
Slavic and East European Folklore
Representation of the Jew in Eastern European Cultures
Literatures and Cultures of Eastern Europe
Topics in Slavic Literatures in Translation 3
History of Poland and the Baltic Area
Total Credits24


  • 2.000 GPA in all courses counting in the major
  • 2.000 GPA on 15 upper-level major credits taken in residence
  • 15 credits in the major taken on the UW–Madison campus

Upper-Level Courses in the Major

The following courses are upper-level in the Polish major:

SLAVIC 277 Third Year Polish I3
SLAVIC 278 Third Year Polish II3
SLAVIC 302 Zarys historii literatury polskiej3
SLAVIC 307 Study Abroad in Poland1-4
SLAVIC 308 Polish Culture and Area Studies on Study Abroad1-4
SLAVIC 331 Fourth Year Polish I3
SLAVIC 332 Fourth Year Polish II3
SLAVIC/​FOLKLORE  444 Slavic and East European Folklore3
SLAVIC 470 Historia literatury polskiej do roku 18633
SLAVIC 472 Historia literatury polskiej po roku 18633
HISTORY 425 History of Poland and the Baltic Area3-4
LITTRANS 215 Polish Literature in Translation: 14th to the Mid-19th Century3
LITTRANS 471 Polish Literature (in Translation), Middle Ages to 18633
LITTRANS 473 Polish Literature (in Translation) since 18633


Students may declare Honors in the Major in consultation with the Polish honors advisor.


To earn Honors in the Major, students must satisfy both the requirements for the major (above) and the following additional requirements:

  • Earn a 3.300 University GPA
  • Complete 15 credits in SLAVIC, taken for Honors, with individual course grades of B or better, to include:
  • Complete 9 credits above SLAVIC 208, chosen from the following list1:
SLAVIC 277 Third Year Polish I3
SLAVIC 278 Third Year Polish II3
SLAVIC 301 Introduction to Intensive Polish3
SLAVIC 302 Zarys historii literatury polskiej3
SLAVIC 331 Fourth Year Polish I3
SLAVIC 332 Fourth Year Polish II3
SLAVIC 470 Historia literatury polskiej do roku 18633
SLAVIC 472 Historia literatury polskiej po roku 18633


With the permission of the Polish advisor, students who are not in any of the honors programs may work toward Distinction in the Major. Distinction in the Major may be granted for any student who has a 3.500 grade point average in the major, and who has submitted an acceptable senior thesis. 

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. (Polish language proficiency) Develop speaking, listening, writing, and reading skills and integrate these skills to communicate in Polish in a variety of social situations.
  2. Develop and apply writing skills and oral communication skills appropriate to liberal arts education in the context of Slavic studies.
  3. Develop and apply critical thinking skills inherent in the liberal arts tradition in the context of Slavic studies.
  4. Analyze and interpret works of literature in themselves and in the context of specific historical and cultural conditions.
  5. Demonstrate insight into Polish culture and civilization and apply this knowledge across disciplines such as history, political science, the arts, geography, business, economics, sociology, the sciences, gender studies, philosophy, law, folklore.
Communication A3GERMAN/​JEWISH  267 (meets Ethnic Studies requirement)3
Quantitative Reasoning A3-4Social Science Breadth4
Social Science Breadth4Biological Science Breadth3
 14 14
GNS/​FOLKLORE  200 (Communication B)3SLAVIC/​GEOG/​HISTORY/​POLI SCI  2544
Physical Science Breadth3Social Science Breadth4
Quantitative Reasoning B3Elective3
Elective3INTER-LS 2101
 16 16
Science Breadth3Polish Area Studies Course3
Electives6Science Breadth3
 15 15
Polish Area Studies Course3Polish Area Studies Course3
 15 15
Total Credits 120

Advising and Careers

For advising in Russian or Polish contact our Russian and Polish undergraduate advisor Anna Tumarkin.

For placement in Russian contact Anna Tumarkin.

For placement in Polish contact Ewa Miernowska.

For information on the Russian Flagship Program contact Laura Weigel or visit the program page.

For other undergraduate concerns, please contact our undergraduate coordinator:

Joanna Schuth, Undergraduate Coordinator
1306 Van Hise

For additional career advising, please contact:

SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science
711 State Street, Suite 300
Madison, WI 53703

L&S career resources

SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students leverage the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and liberal arts degree; explore and try out different career paths; participate in internships; prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications; and network with professionals in the field (alumni and employers). In short, SuccessWorks helps students in the College of Letters & Science discover themselves, find opportunities, and develop the skills they need for success after graduation.

SuccessWorks can also assist students in career advising, résumé and cover letter writing, networking opportunities, and interview skills, as well as course offerings for undergraduates to begin their career exploration early in their undergraduate career. 

Students should set up their profiles in Handshake to take care of everything they need to explore career events, manage their campus interviews, and apply to jobs and internships from 200,000+ employers around the country.

Professors David Danaher, Alexander Dolinin, Karen Evans-Romaine, Halina Filipowicz, Tomislav Longinovic, Irina Shevelenko, Manon van de Water

Associate Professor Andrew Reynolds

Assistant Professor Marina Zilbergerts

Faculty Associates Jennifer Tishler, Anna Tumarkin

Senior Lecturers Galina Lapina, Ewa Miernowska

Lecturer Alexandra Walter