College of Letters & Science
Biological Aspects of Conservation
Committee of Advisors: Professors Givnish (Botany), Hotchkiss (Botany/Environmental Studies), Ives (Zoology), Strier (Anthropology), Vander Zanden (Center for Limnology/Zoology), Waller (Botany), Zedler (Botany/Environmental Studies)
The major in biological aspects of conservation (BAC) is designed to provide students broad training in biological and related disciplines most relevant to conservation. The program emphasizes basic knowledge of natural history, whole organism biology, ecological interactions, and conservation biology. Aldo Leopold and Norman Fassett first initiated this major in the 1940s to prepare individuals for careers as game wardens, ranger naturalists, and museum workers. These opportunities continue and have expanded to include work in environmental education; forest, game, and part management; endangered species research and recovery efforts; and work with private conservation organizations. The major is also recommended for those seeking a liberal education in the intrinsic values of natural resources and those preparing for graduate study in the rapidly developing field of conservation biology (e.g., the M.S. Program in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development).
Because the program allows considerable flexibility, joint majors and the environmental studies certificate are practical and encouraged. To ensure a coherent and customized program, prospective majors are asked to consult an advisor as early as possible. Students contemplating graduate work in a biological discipline are advised to take Biology/Botany/Zoology 151 & 152; Botany/Forest/Zoology 460 General Ecology; and Anthro/Botany/Zoology 410 Evolutionary Biology. Such students are also encouraged to take Chem 103-104 or 109; general physics; Math 211 or 221; a statistics course such as 371, or 571; and Botany/Genetics/Zoology 466 General Genetics.
To declare the BAC major, students should go to 445 Henry Mall, Room 118 (608-262-9690) to meet with an advisor and fill out a major declaration form. Students are encouraged to use BAC faculty advisors primarily as resources to help with broad issues including making the most of the resources at the university, developing a cohesive set of courses for a degree, and career advice. The 445 Henry Mall office should be the primary place to stop for advice about DARS, transferring credits from other universities or programs, enrolling in honors, planning future semesters to make sure all requirements will be satisfied for graduation, and so on.
Students in the BAC major should try to obtain at least one summer of practical field experience by working in conservation or by taking course work at a biological field station. Volunteer or paid internships are available to many state and national parks and forests, state departments of natural resources, and private conservation organizations (e.g., The Nature Conservancy). Students who wish to obtain academic credit for such an experience should arrange in advance to take a Directed Study course (see III. Other Electives) during or immediately after the internship. A maximum of 10 credits of directed study (698, 699), senior honors thesis (681, 682), senior thesis (691,692), or internships (F&W Ecol 399, Zoology 677) will count toward the major.
Requirements for the Major
BAC majors must take at least 50 credits in the major. At least 3 of these credits must be social science taken from elective (III) courses. In addition, students must satisfy the college B.A. or B.S. requirements.
The BAC honors curriculum requires: (1) 16 honors credits in the major; (2) 6 to 8 credits of Senior Honors Thesis, 681/682 (Botany, Zoology, Environmental Studies, or other appropriate department with approval of BAC faculty) OR 6 credits of graduate seminars in appropriate departments (600 or higher, with approval of BAC faculty). Honors students must earn a 3.3 overall cumulative GPA in all courses taken at UW-Madison at the time of graduation.
At least 23-27 credits
Biology/Botany/Zoology 151-152 Introductory Biology, 10 cr (recommended)
or at least 10 cr from Biocore/Biology 301, 302, 303, 304, 323, or 324
or Biology/Botany 130 General Botany and Biology/Zoology 101-102 Animal Biology, 10 cr
Chem 103 General Chemistry, 4 cr (for those who might take more chemistry)
or Chem 108 General Chemistry, 5 cr
or Chem 109 Advanced General Chemistry, 5 cr (for those who might take more chemistry)
Atm Ocn/Geol 105 Survey of Oceanography, 3-4 cr
or Envir St/Geol 106 Environmental Geology, 3 cr
or Envir St/Geog 120 Global Physical Environments, 3 cr
or Envir St/Geog 127 Physical Systems of the Environment, 5 cr
or Geol 100 General Geology, 3 cr
or Geol 107 Life of the Past, 3 cr
or Geol 202 Introduction to Geologic Structures, 4 cr
or Geol 204 Geologic Evolution of the Earth, 4 cr
Stats 301 Introduction to Statistical Methods, 3 cr
or Stats 371 Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences
Ecology and Evolution
Students are required to take courses from at least two of the following three areas and are encouraged to take courses in all three areas:
Botany/Forest/Zoology 460 General Ecology, 4 cr
Geol 110 Evolution and Extinction, 3 cr
or Anthro/Botany/Zoology 410 Evolutionary Biology, 3 cr
Envir St/F&W Ecol/Zoology 360 Extinction of Species, 3 cr
Choose at least 12 credits from approved course list.
To fulfill the 50-credit requirement, students may take additional courses in categories I or II or choose any of the additional courses listed here. At least 3 of these credits must be social science taken from elective (III) courses. See course list.