Home < Schools, Colleges, and Programs < College of Agricultural and Life Sciences < Degrees, Majors, and Certificate Programs < Biology

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

Biology

Requirements for the Major
Neurobiology Option
Evolutionary Biology Option

1328 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.

Requirements for the Major

In addition to fulfilling all university and college requirements, students must fulfill the following requirements for the biology major.

1. Mathematics

Math 171 Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry I, 5 cr and
Math 217 Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry II, 5 cr OR
Math 221 Calculus and Analytic Geometry, 5 cr
AND
Math 222 Calculus and Analytic Geometry, 5 cr, OR
Stat 301 Introduction to Statistical Methods, 3 cr, OR
Stat 371 Introduction to Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences, 3 cr

2. Chemistry

a. General Chemistry
Chem 103–104 General Chemistry, 4 cr, 5 cr, OR
Chem 109 Advances General Chemistry, 5 cr

b. Organic Chemistry
Chem 343 Introductory Organic Chemistry, 3 cr, and
Chem 344 Introductory Organic Chemistry Laboratory, 2 cr, and
Chem 345 Intermediate Organic Chemistry, 3 cr

3. Physics

Physics 103 and 104 General Physics, 4 cr each, OR
Physics 201 and 202 General Physics, 5 cr each, OR
Physics 207 and 208 General Physics, 5 cr each

The total number of credits in sections 4, 5, and 6 must equal at least 31 credits.

4. Introductory Biology Courses

Option A
Botany/Zoology 151–152 Introductory Biology, 5 cr each, plus one foundational course

Option B
Biocore 301 (381, effective spring 2014) Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics, 3 cr
Biocore 303 (383, effective spring 2014) Cellular Biology, 3 cr
Biocore 323 (485, effective spring 2014) Organismal Biology, 3 cr
Biocore 333 (587, effective spring 2014) Biological Interactions, 3 cr
AND two of the following laboratory courses:
Biocore 302 (382, effective spring 2014) Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics Laboratory, 2 cr
Biocore 304 (384, effective spring 2014) Cellular Biology Laboratory, 2 cr
Biocore 324 (486, effective spring 2014) Organismal Biology Laboratory, 2 cr
[catalog update 8/23/13]

Option C
Zoology 101 Animal Biology, 3 cr
Zoology 102 Animal Biology Laboratory, 2 cr
Botany 130 General Botany, 5 cr
plus one foundational course

Foundational Courses
Agronomy 338 Plant Breeding and Biotechnology
Biochem 501 Introduction to Biochemistry
Biochem 503 Human Biochemistry
Botany/Genetics/Zoology 466 General Genetics
Microbio 470 (formerly 370) Microbial Genetics and Molecular Machines

5. Intermediate/advanced courses (13 credits minimum)

A minimum of three courses (at least 13 credits) at the intermediate/advanced level, selected from three of the five areas listed below, is needed to satisfy the biology breadth requirement. These courses must include at least one lab or field course with 3 hours or more per week of laboratory/field instruction. At least one course must be from category "a" or "b" and at least one course must be from category "c" or "d." The third required course may be selected from any of the five categories not previously chosen. The course or courses used to satisfy any category must be at least, or add up to, 2 credits.  Overall, the courses taken should span plant, animal and microbial biology topics.

a. Cellular and Subcellular Biology
b. Organismal Biology
c. Ecology
d. Evolution and Systematics
e. Applied Biology, Agriculture and Natural Resources

 

6. Laboratory or Field Research Experience (2 credits minimum)

Additional laboratory or field research experience is required. Two credits of directed study or research-based senior thesis in a biological science discipline can count.  With advisor approval, these courses can also fulfill the CALS requirements for a capstone experience.  699 credits received simultaneously or prior to introductory biology (section 4 above), such as those received for Biology 152, cannot fulfill these requirements.  Also, literature reviews or experiences that are focused on teaching assistance, even if the course number used is a 699 course, are not appropriate.  This requirement can also be fulfilled with one or more intermediate/advanced laboratory or field biology courses involving a total of at least 3 hours/week of lab or field instruction beyond that done for requirement 5.  "Hours/week" refers to a normal 16-week semester and courses taken in other formats may be substituted where the total time commitment is equivalent.  However, only a subset of the lab/field courses automatically fulfills the CALS requirement for a capstone experience.  See capstone policy and list of approved courses for more information.

The credits taken for requirements 5 and 6 must equal at least 15 and satisfy L&S college requirements for 15 course credits in the major in residence.

 

Neurobiology Option

The option in neurobiology allows biology majors to concentrate their studies in neurobiology and to have this reflected on their transcript. Since there is no neurobiology major available at UW–Madison, this is the only mechanism to indicate specialization in this rapidly growing and popular field.

Requirements for the Neurobiology Option

In addition to fulfilling all university and college requirements, students must fulfill the following requirements for the biology major with the neurobiology option.

1. Mathematics

Math 171 Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry I, 5 cr, and
Math 217 Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry II, 5 cr, OR
Math 221 Calculus and Analytic Geometry, 5 cr
AND
Math 222 Calculus and Analytic Geometry, 5 cr, OR
Stat 301 Introduction to Statistical Methods, 3 cr, OR
Stat 371 Introduction to Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences, 3 cr

2. Chemistry

a. General Chemistry Chem 103–104 General Chemistry, 4 cr, 5 cr, OR
Chem 109 Advanced General Chemistry, 5 cr

b. Organic Chemistry
Chem 343 Introductory Organic Chemistry, 3 cr, and
Chem 344 Introductory Organic Chemistry Laboratory, 2 cr, and
Chem 345 Intermediate Organic Chemistry, 3 cr

3. Physics

Physics 103 and 104 General Physics, 4 cr each, OR
Physics 201 and 202 General Physics, 5 cr each, OR
Physics 207 and 208 General Physics, 5 cr each

The total number of credits in sections 4, 5, 6 and 7 must equal at least 31 credits.

4. Introductory Biology Courses

Option A
Botany/Zoology 151–152 Introductory Biology, 5 cr each, plus one foundational course

Option B
Biocore 301 (381, effective spring 2014) Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics, 3 cr
Biocore 303 (383, effective spring 2014) Cellular Biology, 3 cr
Biocore 323 (485, effective spring 2014) Organismal Biology, 3 cr
Biocore 333 (587, effective spring 2014) Biological Interactions, 3 cr
AND two of the following laboratory courses:
Biocore 302 (382, effective spring 2014) Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics Laboratory, 2 cr
Biocore 304 (384, effective spring 2014) Cellular Biology Laboratory, 2 cr
Biocore 324 (486, effective spring 2014) Organismal Biology Laboratory, 2 cr
[catalog update 8/23/13]

Option C
Zoology 101 Animal Biology, 3 cr
Zoology 102 Animal Biology Laboratory, 2 cr
Botany 130 General Botany, 5 cr
plus one foundational course

Foundational Courses
Agronomy 338 Plant Breeding and Biotechnology
Biochem 501 Introduction to Biochemistry
Biochem 503 Human Biochemistry
Botany/Genetics/Zoology 466 General Genetics
Microbio 470 (formerly 370) Microbial Genetics and Molecular Machines

5. Intermediate/advanced courses (13 credits minimum)

Required:

Neurosci/Psych/Zoology 523 Neurobiology, 3 cr  AND
Neurosci/Psych/Zoology 524 Neurobiology II An Introduction to the Brain and Behavior, 3 cr

At least 13 intermediate/advanced level credits are needed to satisfy the biology breadth requirement. In addition to the above two required courses, students must take a minimum of three more courses: one from category "a," one from category "b" and one from categories "c" or "d." The course or courses used to satisfy any category must be at least, or add up to, 2 credits.  Three hours or more per week of laboratory/field instruction must be taken in intermediate/advanced courses taken from "a–f." Additional courses from "a–f" can be taken to fulfill the 31-credit requirement. 

a. Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology
b. Systems Neurobiology
c. Ecology
d. Evolution and Systematics
e. Applied Biology, Agriculture and Natural Resources
f. Other Lab Courses

6. Laboratory or Field Research Experience (2 credits minimum)

Additional laboratory or field research experience is required. Two credits of directed study or research-based senior thesis in a biological science discipline can count. With advisor approval, these courses can also fulfill the CALS requirement for a capstone experience. 699 credits received simultaneously or prior to introductory biology (section 4 above), such as those received for Biology 152, cannot fulfill these requirements. Also, literature reviews or experiences that are focused on teaching assistance, even if the course number used is a 699 course, are not appropriate. This requirement can also be fulfilled with one or more intermediate/advanced laboratory or field biology courses involving a total of at least  3 hours/week of lab instruction beyond that done for requirement 5. "Hours/week" refers to a normal 16-week semester and courses taken in other formats may be substituted where the total time commitment is equivalent. However, only a subset of the lab/field courses automatically fulfills the CALS requirement for a capstone experience.  See capstone policy and list of approved courses for more information. It is expected that most students who choose to concentrate in neurobiology will be interested in an independent research experience in one of the many laboratories on campus.  Indeed, all concentrators are strongly urged to do a senior thesis or independent research.

 The credits taken for requirements 5, 6 and 7 must equal at least 15 and satisfy L&S college requirements for 15 course credits in the major in residence.

7. Neurosci 500 Undergraduate Neurobiology Seminar (1 credit)

This seminar will provide a weekly research seminar given by UW–Madison faculty active in Neurobiology or by students in the major and directed specifically to undergraduates. It will give those biology majors who choose the neurobiology track an orientation to the wide range of research questions in modern neurobiology at UW–Madison as well as provide a weekly social gathering. This seminar is best taken in the second semester of the junior year or the first semester of the senior year.

Evolutionary Biology Option

The option in evolutionary biology allows biology majors to concentrate their studies in evolution and to have this reflected on their transcript. Since there is no evolution major available at UW–Madison, this is the only mechanism to indicate specialization in this rapidly growing and popular field.  In taking this 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.

1. Mathematics

Math 171 Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry I, 5 cr, and
Math 217 Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry II, 5 cr, OR
Math 221 Calculus and Analytic Geometry, 5 cr
AND
Stat 301 Introduction to Statistical Methods, 3 cr, OR
Stat 371 Introduction to Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences, 3 cr

2. Chemistry

a. General Chemistry
Chem 103–104 General Chemistry, 4 cr, 5 cr, OR
Chem 109 Advanced General Chemistry, 5 cr

b. Organic Chemistry
Chem 343 Introductory Organic Chemistry, 3 cr, and
Chem 344 Introductory Organic Chemistry Laboratory, 2 cr, and
Chem 345 Intermediate Organic Chemistry, 3 cr

3. Physics

Physics 103 and 104 General Physics, 4 cr each, OR
Physics 201 and 202 General Physics, 5 cr each, OR
Physics 207 and 208 General Physics, 5 cr each

The total number of credits in sections 4, 5, and 6 must equal at least 31 credits.

4. Introductory Biology Courses

Option A
Botany/Zoology 151–152 Introductory Biology, 5 cr each, plus foundational course

Option B
Biocore 301 (381, effective spring 2014) Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics, 3 cr
Biocore 303 (383, effective spring 2014) Cellular Biology, 3 cr
Biocore 323 (485, effective spring 2014) Organismal Biology, 3 cr
Biocore 333 (587, effective spring 2014) Biological Interactions, 3 cr
AND two of the following laboratory courses:
Biocore 302 (382, effective spring 2014) Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics Laboratory, 2 cr
Biocore 304 (384, effective spring 2014) Cellular Biology Laboratory, 2 cr
Biocore 324 (486, effective spring 2014) Organismal Biology Laboratory, 2 cr
[catalog update 8/23/13]

Option C
Zoology 101 Animal Biology, 3 cr
Zoology 102 Animal Biology Laboratory, 2 cr
Botany 130 General Botany, 5 cr
plus foundational course

Foundational Course
Botany/Genetics/Zoology 466 General Genetics

5. Intermediate/advanced courses (13 credits minimum)

Required:

Anthro/Botany/Zoology 410 Evolutionary Biology, 3 cr

A minimum of three additional courses at the intermediate/advanced level, selected from the areas listed below, are needed to satisfy the evolutionary biology breadth requirement. These courses must include at least one lab or field course with 3 hours or more per week of laboratory/field instruction. At least one course must be from categories "a" or "b," one must be from category "c" (Botany/Zoology 460 Ecology is recommended), and one must be from category "d." The course or courses used to satisfy any category must be at least, or add up to, 2 credits.  The courses satisfying these areas are the same as those accepted by the general biology major.

In accumulating other biology credits toward the 31 credit Biology requirement, students, in consultation with their advisors, will be encouraged to take additional intermediate/advanced courses from categories "a" through "e" related to evolutionary biology.

a. Cellular and Subcellular Biology
b. Organismal Biology
c. Ecology
d. Evolution and Systematics
e. Applied Biology, Agriculture and Natural Resources

6. Independent research or laboratory experience (2 credits, minimum)

Additional laboratory or field research experience is required. Two credits of directed study or research-based senior thesis in a biological science discipline can count.  With advisor approval, these courses can also fulfill the CALS requirement for a capstone experience.  699 credits received simultaneously or prior to introductory biology (section 4 above), such as those received for Biology 152, cannot fulfill these requirements.  Also, literature reviews or experiences that are focused on teaching assistance, even if the course number used ins a 699 course, are not appropriate.  This requirement can also be fulfilled with one or more intermediate/advanced laboratory or field biology courses involving a total of at least 3 hours/week of lab or field instruction beyond that done for requirement 5.  "Hours/week" refers to a normal 16-week semester and courses taken in other formats may be substituted where the total time commitment is equivalent.  However, only a subset of the lab/field courses automatically fulfills the CALS requirement for a capstone experience.  See capstone policy and list of approved courses for more information.

The credits taken for requirement 5, 6 and 7 must equal at least 15 and satisfy L&S college requirements for 15 course credits in the major in residence.

Biology 675 Undergraduate Evolutionary Biology Seminar (1 credit)

This seminar will involved attending the weekly research seminar given in the Evolution Seminar Series and then participating in a roundtable discussion. It will give those Biology Majors who choose the Evolutionary Biology Option an orientation to the range of research questions and methods used in Evolutionary Biology, as well as providing a weekly social gathering. This seminar is best taken in the second semester of the junior year or in the senior year.