The Evolutionary Biology Named Option allows biology majors to concentrate their studies in evolution and to have this reflected on their transcript. Since there is no evolutionary biology major available at UW–Madison, this is the only mechanism to indicate specialization in this rapidly growing and popular field. In taking this named option, students will be able to fulfill their intermediate/advanced biology requirement with courses that emphasize evolutionary biology, ranging from required courses in fundamental evolutionary biology to more advanced optional courses that cover a wide range of evolutionary biology topics. They will also take a seminar course in evolutionary biology.

Who should enroll in this option? Students with broad interest in the biological sciences who want to:
  • Prepare for graduate study in evolutionary biology or related fields
  • Prepare for professional studies (e.g. medical school, veterinary school, dentistry)
  • Concentrate their biological studies in evolutionary biology

Requirements for the Named Option

Students must complete a minimum of 31 credits of Biological Science courses within the Introductory Biology, Foundation Course, Upper-Level Breadth in the Major, Additional Lab or Field Research, and Evolutionary Biology Seminar requirements.   Unless specifically stated otherwise, courses may not be used to meet multiple requirements of the major. 

Core Requirements 

Mathematics and Statistics

Complete one of the following:4-10
Calculus and Analytic Geometry 1
Survey of Calculus
Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry I
and Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry II
Complete one of the following:3-4
Data Science Modeling I
Introduction to Statistical Methods
Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences
Total Credits7-14


General Chemistry (Complete one of the following):5-10
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry II
Advanced General Chemistry
Chemical Principles I
and Chemical Principles II
Organic Chemistry
CHEM 343 Organic Chemistry I3
CHEM 344 Introductory Organic Chemistry Laboratory2
CHEM 345 Organic Chemistry II3
Total Credits13-18


First Semester Physics (complete one of the following):4-5
General Physics
General Physics
General Physics
Second Semester Physics (complete one of the following):4-5
General Physics
General Physics
General Physics
Total Credits8-10

Introductory Biology

Complete one sequence:10-13
Option A:10
Introductory Biology
Introductory Biology
Option B:13
Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics
Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics Laboratory
Cellular Biology
Cellular Biology Laboratory
Principles of Physiology
Option C:10
Animal Biology
Animal Biology Laboratory
General Botany

Foundation Course (complete one of the following):

Students may use BIOCORE 381 and BIOCORE 383 toward both Introductory Biology and Foundation.

Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics
and Cellular Biology
GENETICS 466 Principles of Genetics3
GENETICS 468 General Genetics 23

Upper-Level Breadth in the Major

Minimum of 13 credits required as follows and must include one approved lab course.  (Approved lab courses are indicated by footnote). A course taken to meet the Foundation requirement may not also count as Upper-Level Breadth in the Major.

  • Complete the Evolutionary Biology course
  • Complete at least two credits from either category A or B.
  • Complete at least two credits from category C.
  • Complete at least two credits from category D.
  • Additional courses needed to reach 13 credits Upper-Level Breadth in the Major may be taken from any category (A, B, C, D, E).

Required Evolutionary Biology Course

ZOOLOGY/​ANTHRO/​BOTANY  410 Evolutionary Biology3

A. Cellular and Subcellular Biology

AGRONOMY/​HORT  338 Plant Breeding and Biotechnology3
AGRONOMY/​BOTANY/​HORT  339 Plant Biotechnology: Principles and Techniques I 14
AGRONOMY/​BOTANY/​HORT  340 Plant Cell Culture and Genetic Engineering3
AN SCI 336 Animal Growth and Development3
AN SCI/​DY SCI  362 Veterinary Genetics2
AN SCI 366 Concepts in Genomics3
BIOCHEM 501 Introduction to Biochemistry3
BIOCHEM 507 General Biochemistry I3
BIOCHEM 508 General Biochemistry II3-4
BIOCHEM/​NUTR SCI  510 Nutritional Biochemistry and Metabolism3
BIOCHEM 570 Computational Modeling of Biological Systems3
BIOCHEM/​NUTR SCI  560 Principles of Human Disease and Biotechnology2
BIOCHEM/​M M & I  575 Biology of Viruses2
BIOCHEM 601 Protein and Enzyme Structure and Function2
BIOCHEM/​GENETICS/​MICROBIO  612 Prokaryotic Molecular Biology3
BIOCHEM/​GENETICS/​MD GENET  620 Eukaryotic Molecular Biology3
BIOCHEM/​BOTANY  621 Plant Biochemistry3
BIOCHEM 625 Mechanisms of Action of Vitamins and Minerals2
BMOLCHEM/​MICROBIO  668 Microbiology at Atomic Resolution3
BOTANY/​ENTOM/​PL PATH  505 Plant-Microbe Interactions: Molecular and Ecological Aspects3
CRB 640 Fundamentals of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology3
CRB 650 Molecular and Cellular Organogenesis3
CRB/​B M E  670 Biology of Heart Disease and Regeneration3
DERM 601 Skin Biology and Skin Diseases3
GENETICS 466 Principles of Genetics3
GENETICS 467 General Genetics 13
GENETICS 520 Neurogenetics3
GENETICS 527 Developmental Genetics for Conservation and Regeneration3
GENETICS 588 Immunogenetics3
GENETICS 627 Animal Developmental Genetics3
GENETICS/​MD GENET  662 Cancer Genetics3
H ONCOL/​MED PHYS  410 Radiobiology2-3
MICROBIO 345 Introduction to Disease Biology3
MICROBIO 470 Microbial Genetics & Molecular Machines3
MICROBIO/​SOIL SCI  523 Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry3
MICROBIO 607 Advanced Microbial Genetics3
MICROBIO 626 Microbial and Cellular Metabolomics3
M M & I 341 Immunology3
M M & I/​PATH-BIO  528 Immunology3
NEURODPT/​ZOOLOGY  616 Lab Course in Neurobiology and Behavior 14
NTP/​NEURODPT  610 Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience4
NTP/​NEURODPT  629 Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Memory3
NTP 675 Special Topics (Stem Cell in Neurobiology)1-3
NTP 675 Special Topics (Reproductive Neuroendocrinology)1-3
NTP 675 Special Topics (Molecular Mechanisms of Brain Damage)1-3
ONCOLOGY/​M M & I/​PL PATH  640 General Virology-Multiplication of Viruses3
PHM SCI 254 Tiny Earth Genomics - Researching Uncultured Antibiotic-Producing Microbes 13
PHM SCI 558 Laboratory Techniques in Pharmacology and Toxicology 12
ZOOLOGY 370 General Molecular Biology3
ZOOLOGY 444 Neuronal Cell Biology in Health and Disease2
ZOOLOGY 470 Introduction to Animal Development3
ZOOLOGY/​PSYCH  523 Neurobiology3
ZOOLOGY 555 Laboratory in Developmental Biology 13
ZOOLOGY 570 Cell Biology3
ZOOLOGY 604 Computer-based Gene and Disease/Disorder Research Lab 12
ZOOLOGY 625 Development of the Nervous System2
ZOOLOGY 655 Modeling Neurodevelopmental Disease3

B. Organismal Biology

AN SCI/​DY SCI  373 Animal Physiology3
AN SCI 377 Integrative Animal Physiology Laboratory 11
AN SCI/​DY SCI  434 Reproductive Physiology 13
AN SCI/​F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  520 Ornithology3
AN SCI/​F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  521 Birds of Southern Wisconsin 13
ANAT&PHY 335 Physiology 15
ANAT&PHY 337 Human Anatomy3
ANAT&PHY 338 Human Anatomy Laboratory2
ANAT&PHY 435 Fundamentals of Human Physiology 15
ANTHRO/​NTP/​PSYCH/​ZOOLOGY  619 Biology of Mind3
BIOCORE 486 Principles of Physiology Laboratory 12
BOTANY 300 Plant Anatomy 14
BOTANY 330 Algae 13
BOTANY/​PL PATH  332 Fungi 14
BOTANY/​PL PATH  333 Biology of the Fungi2
BOTANY/​F&W ECOL  402 Dendrology: Woody Plant Identification and Ecology 13
BOTANY 500 Plant Physiology 13-4
CS&D 503 Neural Mechanisms of Speech, Hearing and Language3
DY SCI 378 Lactation Physiology 13
ENTOM/​ZOOLOGY  302 Introduction to Entomology 14
ENTOM 321 Physiology of Insects3
ENTOM 331 Taxonomy of Mature Insects 14
F&W ECOL 401 Physiological Animal Ecology3
GENETICS 545 Genetics Laboratory 12
GENETICS/​MD GENET  565 Human Genetics3
GEOSCI/​ZOOLOGY  542 Invertebrate Paleontology3
KINES 314 Physiology of Exercise 14
MICROBIO 303 Biology of Microorganisms3
MICROBIO 304 Biology of Microorganisms Laboratory 12
MICROBIO 330 Host-Parasite Interactions3
MICROBIO 526 Physiology of Microorganisms3
M M & I 301 Pathogenic Bacteriology2
M M & I/​ENTOM/​PATH-BIO/​ZOOLOGY  350 Parasitology3
NTP/​NEURODPT/​PSYCH  611 Systems Neuroscience4
NTP/​ZOOLOGY  620 Neuroethology Seminar2
NTP 675 Special Topics (Functional Brain Imaging of Cognitive Disorders)1-3
NUTR SCI 431 Nutrition in the Life Span3
NUTR SCI 631 Clinical Nutrition I3
ONCOLOGY 401 Introduction to Experimental Oncology2
PATH 404 Pathophysiologic Principles of Human Diseases3
PL PATH 558 Biology of Plant Pathogens 13
PSYCH 406 Psychology of Perception3-4
PSYCH 414 Cognitive Psychology3
PSYCH 454 Behavioral Neuroscience3
PSYCH 513 Hormones, Brain, and Behavior4
PSYCH 606 Hormones and Behavior3
ZOOLOGY 303 Aquatic Invertebrate Biology3
ZOOLOGY 430 Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrates 15
ZOOLOGY 603 Endocrinology3-4
ZOOLOGY 611 Comparative and Evolutionary Physiology3
ZOOLOGY 612 Comparative Physiology Laboratory 12

C. Ecology 

AGRONOMY/​BOTANY/​SOIL SCI  370 Grassland Ecology3
AGRONOMY/​ENTOM/​F&W ECOL/​M&ENVTOX  632 Ecotoxicology: The Chemical Players1
AGRONOMY/​ENTOM/​F&W ECOL/​M&ENVTOX  633 Ecotoxicology: Impacts on Individuals1
AGRONOMY/​ENTOM/​F&W ECOL/​M&ENVTOX  634 Ecotoxicology: Impacts on Populations, Communities and Ecosystems1
AN SCI 420 Microbiomes of Animal Systems3
BOTANY/​ZOOLOGY  450 Midwestern Ecological Issues: A Case Study Approach2
BOTANY/​F&W ECOL  455 The Vegetation of Wisconsin 14
BOTANY/​F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  460 General Ecology 14
BOTANY/​ENTOM/​ZOOLOGY  473 Plant-Insect Interactions3
BOTANY/​ENVIR ST/​F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  651 Conservation Biology3
ENTOM 450 Basic and Applied Insect Ecology3
ENTOM 451 Basic and Applied Insect Ecology Laboratory1
ENTOM 490 Biodiversity and Global Change3
ENVIR ST/​LAND ARC  361 Wetlands Ecology3
F&W ECOL 448 Disturbance Ecology3
F&W ECOL 550 Forest Ecology3
F&W ECOL/​LAND ARC/​ZOOLOGY  565 Principles of Landscape Ecology2
F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  660 Climate Change Ecology3
GENETICS 528 Banking Animal Biodiversity: International Field Study in Costa Rica1
MICROBIO/​AN SCI/​BOTANY  335 The Microbiome of Plants, Animals, and Humans3
PL PATH 300 Introduction to Plant Pathology 14
PL PATH 315 Plant Microbiomes 14
ZOOLOGY 304 Marine Biology2
ZOOLOGY/​ENVIR ST  315 Limnology-Conservation of Aquatic Resources2
ZOOLOGY 316 Laboratory for Limnology-Conservation of Aquatic Resources 12-3
ZOOLOGY 320 Field Marine Biology 13
ZOOLOGY 504 Modeling Animal Landscapes3-5
ZOOLOGY/​ENVIR ST  510 Ecology of Fishes3
ZOOLOGY/​ENVIR ST  511 Ecology of Fishes Lab 12

D.  Evolution and Systematics

ANTHRO 302 Hominoid Evolution3
ANTHRO 304 Heredity, Environment and Human Populations3
ANTHRO 411 The Evolution of the Genus, Homo3
ANTHRO 458 Primate Behavioral Ecology3
ANTHRO 603 Seminar in Evolutionary Theory3
BOTANY 305 Plant Morphology and Evolution 14
BOTANY 400 Plant Systematics 14
BOTANY 401 Vascular Flora of Wisconsin 14
BOTANY 422 Plant Geography3
BOTANY/​PL PATH  563 Phylogenetic Analysis of Molecular Data3
ENTOM 432 Taxonomy and Bionomics of Immature Insects 14
ENTOM/​GENETICS/​ZOOLOGY  624 Molecular Ecology3
ENVIR ST/​F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  360 Extinction of Species3
GENETICS 468 General Genetics 23
GEOSCI/​ZOOLOGY  541 Paleobiology3
MICROBIO 450 Diversity, Ecology and Evolution of Microorganisms3
MICROBIO 520 Planetary Microbiology: What Life Here Tells Us About Life Out There3
MICROBIO 525 Field Studies of Planetary Microbiology and Life in the Universe 13
PSYCH 449 Animal Behavior3-4
PSYCH 450 Primate Psychology: Insights into Human Behavior3
ZOOLOGY 300 Invertebrate Biology and Evolution3
ZOOLOGY 301 Invertebrate Biology and Evolution Lab 12
ZOOLOGY 415 Genetics of Human History3
ZOOLOGY 425 Behavioral Ecology3

E. Applied Biology, Agriculture and Natural Resources

A A E/​AGRONOMY/​NUTR SCI  350 World Hunger and Malnutrition3
AGRONOMY 300 Cropping Systems3
AGRONOMY 302 Forage Management and Utilization3
AGRONOMY/​HORT  360 Genetically Modified Crops: Science, Regulation & Controversy2
AGRONOMY 377 Global Food Production and Health3
AGRONOMY/​DY SCI  471 Food Production Systems and Sustainability3
AGRONOMY/​HORT  501 Principles of Plant Breeding3
AGRONOMY/​ATM OCN/​SOIL SCI  532 Environmental Biophysics3
AMER IND/​ANTHRO/​BOTANY  474 Ethnobotany3-4
AN SCI/​DY SCI/​NUTR SCI  311 Comparative Animal Nutrition3
AN SCI/​DY SCI  320 Animal Health and Disease3
AN SCI/​DY SCI  361 Introduction to Animal and Veterinary Genetics2
AN SCI/​DY SCI  363 Principles of Animal Breeding2
AN SCI 503 Avian Physiology 13
AN SCI 512 Management for Avian Health 13
BIOCORE 587 Biological Interactions3
BOTANY 403 Field Collections and Identification1-4
ENTOM 351 Principles of Economic Entomology3
ENTOM/​ZOOLOGY  371 Medical Entomology 13
ENTOM/​F&W ECOL  500 Insects in Forest Ecosystem Function and Management2
ENVIR ST/​POP HLTH  471 Introduction to Environmental Health3
ENVIR ST/​POP HLTH  502 Air Pollution and Human Health3
ENVIR ST/​LAND ARC  581 Prescribed Fire: Ecology and Implementation 13
F&W ECOL 306 Terrestrial Vertebrates: Life History and Ecology 14
F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  335 Human/Animal Relationships: Biological and Philosophical Issues3
F&W ECOL 410 Principles of Silviculture3
F&W ECOL 415 Tree Physiology3
F&W ECOL 458 Environmental Data Science3
F&W ECOL/​SURG SCI  548 Diseases of Wildlife3
F&W ECOL 561 Wildlife Management Techniques 13
FOOD SCI/​MICROBIO  324 Food Microbiology Laboratory 12
FOOD SCI/​MICROBIO  325 Food Microbiology3
FOOD SCI 532 Integrated Food Manufacturing 14
GENETICS 548 The Genomic Revolution3
GENETICS/​HORT  550 Molecular Approaches for Potential Crop Improvement3
HORT/​LAND ARC  263 Landscape Plants I 13
HORT 370 World Vegetable Crops3
HORT/​AGRONOMY  376 Tropical Horticultural Systems2
HORT 378 Tropical Horticultural Systems International Field Study2
M M & I 554 Emerging Infectious Diseases and Bioterrorism2
MED PHYS/​PHYSICS  265 Introduction to Medical Physics2
MED PHYS/​NTP  651 Methods for Neuroimaging Research3
MICROBIO 357 General Bioinformatics for Microbiologists3
MICROBIO/​SOIL SCI  425 Environmental Microbiology3
NUTR SCI 332 Human Nutritional Needs3
PL PATH/​SOIL SCI  323 Soil Biology3
PL PATH 517 Plant Disease Resistance2-3
SOIL SCI 321 Soils and Environmental Chemistry3

Additional Lab or Field Research

In addition to the Lab requirement, complete one of the following requirements: 

  • Complete one additional lab course from categories A–E in the Upper-Level Breadth in the Major course lists, or
  • Complete at least 2 credits of directed study in a biological science discipline, or
  • Complete a two-semester thesis in biological science.

Approved Directed Study Courses

To have Directed Study count for the Additional Lab/Field Research requirement students must first complete an Introductory Biology sequence. 

Special Problems
Independent Study
Independent Study
Special Problems
Special Problems
Directed Studies
Directed Study
Special Research Problems
Directed Study
Independent Study
Special Problems
Special Problems
Directed Study
Special Problems
Special Problems
Special Problems
Special Problems
Special Problems
Independent Study
Directed Study
Special Problems
Directed Study
Directed Studies in Molecular Biology
Directed Study
Directed Research in Neurology
Neurosurgery: Directed in Study in Research
Directed Study in Nursing
Special Problems
Directed Study
Special Research Problems
Directed Study
Independent Study
Directed Study
Independent Study
Advanced Independent Study
Independent Study
Independent Work
Special Problems
Independent Study
Special Problems
Directed Study
Independent Study

Approved Thesis Sequences

Approved Thesis sequences:
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Honor Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
and Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Thesis
and Senior Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Thesis
and Senior Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Thesis
and Senior Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Thesis
and Senior Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis in Human Oncology 1
and Senior Honors Thesis in Human Oncology 2
Senior Thesis in Human Oncology 1
and Senior Thesis in Human Oncology 2
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
First Semester Senior Thesis
and Second Semester Senior Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Thesis
and Senior Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Thesis
and Senior Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Thesis-Nutrition
and Senior Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis I
and Senior Honors Thesis II
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Thesis
and Senior Thesis

Evolutionary Biology Seminar

BIOLOGY/​GENETICS  522 Communicating Evolutionary Biology2-3

Residence and Quality of Work

  • 2.000 GPA in all BIOLOGY and major courses
  • 2.000 GPA on at least 15 credits of Upper-Level work in the major, in Residence 2
  • 15 credits in the major, taken on the UW–Madison campus



Course also approved for lab credit


Foundation and Upper-Level Breadth in the Major courses are considered Upper-Level for purposes of this requirement.

Four-Year Plan

This Four-Year Plan is only one way a student may complete an L&S degree with this major. Many factors can affect student degree planning, including placement scores, credit for transferred courses, credits earned by examination, and individual scholarly interests. In addition, many students have commitments (e.g., athletics, honors, research, student organizations, study abroad, work and volunteer experiences) that necessitate they adjust their plans accordingly. Informed students engage in their own unique Wisconsin Experience by consulting their academic advisors, Guide, DARS, and Course Search & Enroll for assistance making and adjusting their plan.

Four-year Plans for the Biology major are designed to support biological science major exploration and planning your academic career. Your specific program of study could, and probably will, look different. You should customize the Four-Year Plan to fit your unique interests at UW–Madison. Consult with your advisor about the best plan for you.

Sample Evolutionary Biology Option Four-Year Plan

CHEM 1034CHEM 1045
MATH 22115STAT 371 or 30113
Communication A3Literature Breadth3
Social Science Breadth3Ethnic Studies/Social Science Breadth3
 15 14
CHEM 3433CHEM 3442
Literature Breadth3CHEM 3453
Social Science Breadth3Humanities Breadth3
INTER-LS 2101Elective3
 15 16
Social Science Breadth3PHYSICS 1044
Electives5Humanities Breadth3
Declare the MajorElectives2-3
 15 15
Upper-Level Breadth in the Major3Upper-Level Breadth in the Major6
Upper-Level Breadth in the Major Lab or Field Research 3Additional Lab or Field Research2
 15 15
Total Credits 120

Follow the guidance of Math placement scores when choosing a Mathematics and/or Statistics course.


Students may complete one of three Introductory Biology sequences. See the Requirements tab for more information.