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College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

Biology

Biology Major Requirements

2536 Microbial Sciences Building, 1550 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706; 608-890-0677; info@biologymajor.wisc.edu; biologymajor.wisc.edu

The biology major is designed for students with broad interests in the biological sciences. It is intended primarily to: (1) prepare undergraduates for graduate studies in diverse areas of biology; (2) prepare certain pre-professional students (e.g., medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry) for advanced study in the health professions; (3) provide a broad exposure to biology for students who want a general science education as biologists, and (4) serve as initial preparation for students who later choose a more specialized major.

The major is offered by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and the College of Letters & Science. A similar major offered by the School of Education leads to certification in secondary education for students who want to become biology teachers.

Biology Major Requirements

Courses may not double count within the major (unless specifically noted otherwise), but courses counted toward the major requirements may also be used to satisfy a university requirements and/or a college requirement. A minimum of 15 credits must be completed in the major that are not used elsewhere.

Mathematics and Statistics

This major requires calculus. Prerequisites may need to be taken before enrollment in calculus. Refer to the Course Guide for information about calculus prereqs.

Math 221 or Math 171 and 217

Biology and Neurobiology Options:

One course required from: Math 222, Stat 301, 371, or 541

Evolutionary Biology Option:

One course required from: Stat 301, 371, or 541

Plant Biology Option:

One course required from: Math 222, Stat 301, Stat 371*
Stat 371 is recommended for Plant Biology Option 

Chemistry

Chem 103 and 104 or Chem 109
Chem 343 and 344 and 345

Physics

Physics 103, 201, or 207
Physics 104, 202, or 208

Required: 31 credits from Introductory Biology, Foundation, Intermediate/Advanced, Seminar (options only) and Capstone courses.

Introductory Biology

One of the following sequences:

A. Biocore 381, 383, 485, 587, and two of the following labs:
Biocore 382, 384, or 486

B. Biology/Botany/Zoology 151 and 152, plus one foundation course

C. Botany 130 and Zoology 101 and 102, plus one foundation course*

* recommended for Plant Biology Option

For AP Biology policy, as it applies to introductory biology in the biology major, see this link.

Foundation Courses (not required for students completing Biocore)
Biology and Neurobiology Options:

One course required from: Agronomy 338, Botany/Genetics/Zoology 466, Microbio 470, Biochem 501

Evolutionary Biology Option:

Botany/Genetics/Zoology 466 is required

Plant Biology Option:

One course required from: Agronomy 338, Botany/Genetics/Zoology 466, Biochem 501

Biology Major Options (see below for requirements):

Complete one of the following tracks:

A. Biology Major: No option

B. Biology Major: Evolutionary Biology Option

C. Biology Major: Neurobiology Option

D. Biology Major: Plant Biology Option

Capstone
Biology, Neurobiology and Evolutionary Biology Options

Two credits minimum required. With advisor approval, directed study or research-based senior thesis in a biological science discipline can count. The experience must be completed after the first year of an introductory biology sequence above. Also, a subset of laboratory courses has been approved for capstone. For additional information on capstone requirements or to view the approved course list, see this link.

Plant Biology Options

Two credits minimum required. With advisor approval, directed study or research-based senior thesis credits offered through one of the four participating plant science departments (Agronomy, Botany, Horticulture, Plant Pathology). Also, a subset of laboratory courses has been approved for capstone. For additional information on capstone requirements or to view the approved course list, see this link.

A. Biology Major Intermediate/Advanced Courses

Minimum of 13 credits required below.

One course must be taken from: a. Cellular and Subcellular Biology or b. Organismal Biology; one course from c. Ecology or d. Evolution and Systematics; and one course from an unused category from a, b, c, d or e. Applied Biology, Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Course(s) must include an approved laboratory course. See the Biology Major website for the specific courses that fulfill these requirements. 

B. Biology Major with Evolutionary Biology Option Intermediate/Advanced Courses

Minimum 13 credits and a minimum of four courses required: Evolutionary Biology 410; and one course from:

a. Cellular and Subcellular Biology or b. Organismal Biology
c. Ecology
d. Evolution and Systematics 

A course(s) from above, or from e. Applied Biology, Agriculture and Natural Resources, must include an approved laboratory course. See the Biology Major website for the specific courses that fulfill these requirements.

Seminar

Biology 675 Evolution Undergraduate Seminar 

C. Biology Major with Neurobiology Option Intermediate/Advanced Courses

Minimum 13 credits and five courses required: 

NTP/Psych/Zoology 523 Neurobiology
NTP/Psych/Zoology 524 Neurobi II: Intr-Brain & Behav

And one course from:
a. Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology
b. Systems Neurobiology
c. Ecology or d. Evolution and Systematics 

A course(s) from above, or lists e. Applied Biology, Agriculture and Natural Resources or f. Other Lab Courses, must include an approved laboratory course. See the Biology Major website for the specific courses that fulfill these requirements. 

Seminar

Neurosci 500 Undergraduate Neurobiology Seminar 

D. Biology Major with Plant Biology Option Intermediate/Advanced Courses

Minimum 13 credits and three courses required. Additional credits beyond the three required courses of 13 credits can come from any approved Biology Major course and will count toward the 31 credits of the major.

One course must be taken from:
a. Cellular and Subcellular Biology or b. Organismal Biology
c. Ecology or d. Evolution and Systematics
e. Applied Biology, Agriculture & Natural Resources 

A course(s) from above must include an approved laboratory course. See the Biology Major website for the specific courses that fulfill these requirements.

Seminar

Agron/Botany/Hort/Pl Path 375 Frontiers in Plant Biology



This page was revised 6/22/15.