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College of Letters & Science

General Academic Information

Academic Probation and Drop
Academic Semester Summary Period (Final Examinations)
Air Force, Army, and Naval ROTC
Appeals
Associate Degree Policy
Attendance
Audit
Breadth Requirement, Course Designations and
Certificate Programs
Change of Grade/Grade Appeal
Class Standing
College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)
Completing Prerequisite Course Work
Concurrent Registration/Concurrent Enrollment
Course Designations and Breadth Requirement
Course Level
Course Overlaps
Credit by Course Examination/Retroactive Credit (Retrocredit)
Credit by Departmental Examination
Credit Limitations from Non-Degree-Granting Accredited Institutions
Credit Load
Credit/No Credit Courses
Cross-listed Courses
Dean's List
Degree and Diploma Information
Directed/Independent Study
Distance Learning and Correspondence Study
Distinction in the Major
Drop (DR) Notation
Dropped Status
Examinations for Placement
Failures
Final Examinations (Academic Summary Period)
Foreign Language: Substitutions for Students with Certain Disabilities
General Education Requirements
Grade Appeal/Change of Grade
Grading System
Graduate Courses
Graduation with Distinction
Incompletes
International Students and Non-Native Speakers of English
No Work (NW) Grade
Pass/Fail
Pre-Medicine
Pre-Law
Prerequisite Course Work, Completing
Pre-Veterinary Medicine
Probation and Drop, Academic
Probation, Removal from
Q Grade
Registration Changes
Removal from Probation
Repeat of College Courses
Repeat of High School or College Course Work for Credit
Residence Requirement
ROTC
Scholastic Awards
Second Undergraduate Degree
Senior-Graduate Status
Senior Thesis
Transfer Students
Transfer Students Who Have Earned an Associate Degree from a UW System College
Transfers Within the University
Withdrawals

Students who matriculated to college before May 21, 2007, are required to complete different degree requirements from those described in this edition of the catalog unless they opted into the newer degree requirements. Continuing students should refer to the Undergraduate Catalog that was in force at the time of their first matriculation to college-level study. ("Matriculation" refers to the first time a student enrolls in a college or university degree program.) Previous catalogs are located in the Catalog and Bulletin Archive. Students who began their college studies before May 21, 2007, should review the requirements that apply to them. For some students, it may be to their benefit to consider transferring to the new degree requirements. For more information about L&S degree requirements, see College of Letters & Science Degrees.

College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)

The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) enables those students who have attained college-level competency outside the classroom to take examinations for college credit or placement. The General Examinations measure undergraduate achievement in five basic areas of liberal arts education: English composition, humanities, mathematics, natural sciences, and social sciences-history. The Subject Examinations measure achievement in undergraduate courses. Both sets of examinations are aimed at the public-at-large, returning service personnel, and entering freshmen. Credit will be granted for the General Examination according to the criteria established ONLY to freshmen before they have earned more than 15 degree credits in a residence program or elsewhere. Only a limited number of departments accept CLEP Subject Examination credits. A continuing student with no more than 15 completed degree credits may register for the General or Subject Examination(s) by contacting the Office of Testing and Evaluation Services, 608-262-5863. For further information, consult an L&S academic dean at 608-262-0617 or the Office of Admissions and Recruitment, 608-262-3961.

Examinations for Placement

English. All students must take English placement tests to determine level of competence unless competence has been successfully demonstrated prior to enrollment through course work (including AP and IB credits). On the basis of their test scores, most students will be required to enroll in and successfully complete a Communication Part A course. (See College of Letters & Science Degrees and General Education Requirements.) This course should be completed within a student's first 30 credits after enrollment.

Non-native speakers of English assigned to courses in English as a Second Language on the basis of their English as a Second Language (ESL) assessment test should see International Students and Non-Native Speakers of English.

Foreign Language. Students at UW–Madison who plan to resume the study of a foreign language begun in high school must take the UW System placement examination in that language and consult the foreign language department advisor for appropriate course placement.

Before enrolling in a level either higher or lower than the level of placement indicated by the examination, students should consult the foreign language department advisor. Without regard to any work taken in high school, students may enroll for degree credit in any course offered for degree credit by the college, provided they meet its prerequisites and provided they have not already received college credit for this course or an equivalent course or a higher level course in the same subject by course completion or examination.

This placement procedure permits students who are not confident about their high school foreign language work to retake that work in college before proceeding to more advanced study of that language. Students who feel they are ready to work at a higher level than that indicated by the placement test may do so. In no case may students receive degree credit more than once for the same level college work.

Mathematics. Entering freshmen are required to complete the appropriate placement test in mathematics. This test determines minimum math competency and placement. Students who do not demonstrate minimum competency in math will be required to complete additional non-degree-credit math courses within the first 30 credits after enrollment.

The results of the placement test in mathematics are binding. Students continuing in mathematics must enroll in the level of mathematics course that is indicated by the examination. However, students who feel their placement examination results are not valid or appropriate may appeal the placement by conferring with the undergraduate advisor in the mathematics department. If the advisor agrees, the student may carry a course below or above the placement indicated for degree credit provided previous college credit has not been granted by course completion or examination.

Associate Degree Policy

Effective summer/fall 2012, all new transfer students with an associate degree from either a UW System (UWS) institution or one of the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) schools that award a liberal arts associate degree (i.e., Madison College, MATC–Milwaukee, Nicolet, Chippewa Valley, Western) will have their General Education Requirements (GER) breadth requirements satisfied in all undergraduate schools/colleges on the UW–Madison campus.  See Will my associate degree help me satisfy my General Education Requirements? for more details.

WTCS transfer students should be aware that only liberal arts associate degrees that are approved by both WTCS and UW System Administration are eligible for this provision. Students with associate degrees in technical fields will not have their GER breadth requirements satisfied.  Also, students who earned their associate degrees at a non UW System or Wisconsin Technical College System school will not be eligible for this provision.

UWS and WTCS transfer students with qualifying liberal arts associate degree will have satisfied the following requirements:

  • Natural Science —two courses for a total of 6 credits
  • Humanities/Literature/Arts—6 credits
  • Social Studies—3 credits

Note:

  • Students in L&S should be aware that the liberal arts associate degree will not fully satisfy the L&S breadth requirements.
  • Course-level transfer of credit may be used, where appropriate, to meet additional General Education and L&S requirements.

Repeat of High School or College Course Work for Credit

Students who enter the College of Letters & Science with degree credit for academic work will not receive additional degree credit for repeating that course, for taking an equivalent course, or for taking a lower-level course in a sequence after completing a higher course in that sequence (e.g., a student who has received credit for Math 221 could not take Math 112 for credit).  See Is it possible to retake a course that I have already passed or received degree credit for? for more information.

Credit by Course Examination/Retroactive Credits (Retrocredits)

The College of Letters & Science will award degree credit for foreign language work successfully completed in high school under certain circumstances and if an additional foreign language course is taken at UW–Madison. Students who qualify will automatically receive retrocredits approximately two months after all grades have been posted for all students. This benefit is available to freshmen, and can be exercised when the following conditions are met:

  1. The course has been approved to award retroactive language credit. Incoming freshmen who completed college language courses in high school may earn retroactive credits by completing the next course in the sequence at UW–Madison.
  2. The course is completed within the first 30 credits of the undergraduate career.
  3. The course is the first completed college course in that language and the student earns a grade of B or higher. There are no exceptions to this policy.  Regardless of the number of degree credits earned, incoming freshmen are eligible to earn retroactive credits during their first two semesters. Otherwise, 29 degree credits is the most students can have and still earn retrocredits. These 29 credits do not included Advanced Placement (AP), CLEP, International Baccalaureate credits, credit by departmental examination, or retrocredits already awarded (for example, when a student is awarded retrocredits for another language learned).
  4. Students who have earned AP credit in a language or completed college language courses while in high school may also earn retroactive credit by taking the next appropriate course in the sequence under the conditions described above.
  5. The course must be designated appropriate for earning retroactive credits by the individual department (s).  Not all language courses are eligible for students to take in order to earn retroactive credits.  The student should contact the appropriate department for more details or check the department for specific information.
  6. The student must earn the appropriate grade ("B or better") in order to qualify for retroactive credits. 
  7. Transfer students are eligible to earn credits by course examination if they enroll in their first college-level language course on the UW–Madison campus before they have earned 30 credits (including credits transferred). There are no exceptions to this policy.
  8. A student can earn retroactive credits in more than one language as long as s/he is within the 29-credit limit and meets the other requirements listed above to earn retroactive credits. 
  9. A native speaker of a language may not earn retroactive credit in his or her native language.

If a student meets all of the conditions listed above, retroactive credits should appear automatically on a student's transcript by the beginning of the following semester (e.g., if the language was completed in the fall semester, the retroactive credits should appear on a student's record by the beginning of the spring semester). If retroactive credits do not appear on a qualified student's records by the end of the fourth week of the following semester, the student should fill out a Retroactive Language Request Form and submit that form to the office of the academic dean at the student's particular school or college. For students earning an undergraduate degree in the College of Letters & Science, the form should be turned to L&S Academic Deans' Services located in Suite 110 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Drive. Non-L&S degree-seeking candidates should speak with the undergraduate academic service unit in the school or college for more guidance.

  • Retroactive credits (retrocredits) will not automatically be posted for students who have already earned retrocredits.  If a student is still eligible to earn retrocredits and wishes to receive retrocredits for another language(s), s/he will need to fill out the Retroactive Language Request Form and deliver it to the L&S Academic Deans' Services Office in 110 Ingraham Hall if the student is an L&S undergraduate. For further information, contact L&S Academic Deans' Services at 608-262-0617.

For more information about retroactive credits, refer to Retroactive Credit Policy for Foreign Languages and Is it possible for an L&S undergraduate to earn retrocredits?

Credit by Departmental Examination

The College of Letters & Science allows degree credit, as well as placement credit, for the mastery of some L&S course work as demonstrated by appropriate achievement tests. The intent of these examinations is to increase opportunities for obtaining degree credit for college-level work done in high school or elsewhere.

Credit may be earned on the basis of an examination given by a department when a student has demonstrated possession of knowledge equivalent to what would be learned in a specific course taught in that department. The credit given is for knowledge possessed by the student regardless of where they have gained that knowledge. Examinations for credit must be administered as soon as possible, but in any case before the end of the student's first semester in residence following the experience that provided the knowledge to be tested.

Any department wishing to do so may give degree credit by examination for any of its elementary- or intermediate-level courses other than Honors courses and Directed Study.

Students who wish to establish credit by department examination must take a separate examination for each course in which credit is sought.

Departments will indicate which, if any, of their courses covering work that may have been taken in high school may permit degree credit on the basis of appropriate national tests taken in high school. In addition, general degree and specific subject credit may be obtained by examination under the College Level Examination Program (CLEP). (See College-Level Examination Program.)

In no case may students receive degree credit more than once for the same college-level work. If degree credit is obtained for a given course by taking an examination, the student may not enroll in the course for degree credit, and vice versa.

Credits earned by examination do not count toward the residence requirement. Students are encouraged to take departmental examinations for credit prior to earning 90 degree credits (including the semester in which the 90th credit is earned) in order to avoid complications with the residence requirement. It is possible for students to fulfill all or part of the college foreign language requirement without receiving credit.

The provision for credits by examination offers students an opportunity to complete the baccalaureate degree requirements in less than four years should they so desire. Students wishing to take examinations to earn credit should contact the department office.

Repeat of College Courses (Retaking College-level Courses on a Refresher Basis)

Credit will not be granted for the same course twice. Students who wish to refresh their knowledge may repeat courses, but not for credit. All instances of that course will calculate in the semester GPA and in the university cumulative GPA. Repeated courses do not calculate in L&S requirements for quality of work (GPA minimums for Intermediate/Advanced work and GPA requirements in the major).

Credits carried on a refresher basis count toward the maximum credits permitted each term. Grades in refresher-basis courses count only in the university grade point average, which may be significant in determining a student's probationary status and eligibility to continue. Repeating a course will not remove the prior grade(s) earned for that course from the student's record.  Please refer to Is it possible to retake a course that I have already passed or received degree credit for? 

Transfer students must be particularly careful to avoid taking courses on the Madison campus that duplicate courses taken at another institution. Credit will not be given twice for the same or similar courses, nor will credit be given for a lower level course in a sequence if students have already received credit for a higher level course in that sequence (e.g., a student who has received credit for Math 221 could not take Math 112 for credit). Students should carefully check the Evaluation of Transfer Credits prepared by the Office of Admissions and Recruitment and should consult an advisor or academic dean before enrolling. 

First-year students (freshmen) should also be mindful of the fact that they will not receive credit again for any course(s) they have already received credit for via AP or college courses they took during high school and transferred to UW–Madison.

Course Overlaps

A course is said to "overlap" with another course when it repeats some or all of the instructional content of the other course, but is assigned a different course number. Courses may overlap totally or partially, depending on their level, breadth, and/or applicability to degree requirements. The two courses combined cannot exceed the maximum credits for which either of the two is offered. Credit for overlapping courses will be adjusted in DARS.

Attendance

It is expected that every student will be present at all classes. Students are required to be present at the opening of the semester and to remain until the work of the semester  (which includes the final examination period) is completed. Note that any excused or unexcused absences may have a negative impact on a student's final grade in a course.  See What is the class attendance policy for students at UW–Madison? for more details.

Completing Prerequisite Course Work

The College of Letters & Science recognizes that some courses which meet general degree requirements (e.g., language, math, ESL) require prior knowledge in that subject. For purposes of distinguishing between necessary prerequisites and electives, course work that is regarded as prerequisite to courses meeting general degree requirements is considered "necessary" and not purely elective.

Class Standing

Students are classified by year according to the number of credits and grade points they have earned:

Freshman: fewer than 24 credits
Sophomore: at least 24 credits and 48 grade points
Junior: at least 54 credits and 108 grade points
Senior: at least 86 credits and 172 grade points

These credits and grade points must be in courses that count toward a Letters & Science degree.

Course Designations and Breadth Requirement

All L&S undergraduate students are required to fulfill the L&S Breadth of Exploration in the Liberal Arts and Sciences.   The L&S Breadth includes:

  • Humanities : 12 credits (of which 6 credits must be Literature)
  • Social Science: 12 credits
  • Natural Science: 12 credits

NOTE: Although all L&S undergraduates must complete a minimum of 12 natural science credits in order to graduate, there are differences between the B.A. and B.S. natural science breadth requirement.

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) candidates must complete a minimum of one 3-credit Biological Science course and one 3-credit Physical Science course.  The additional 6 credits can be any combination of natural, biological or physical science credits to bring the total to 12 credits.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) candidates must complete a minimum of 6 credits of Physical Science and 6 credits of Biological Science.

For more information about L&S Breadth, refer to B.A./B.S. Degree Requirements worksheet.

Only those courses with that have both a specific Breadth designation  and "C" in the "L&S Credit Type" section of the Course Guide  under Additional Info count toward the breadth requirement.  The following types of courses do not count toward the breadth requirement:

  • elementary-level courses in mathematics;
  • elementary- and intermediate-level courses in foreign language or courses in conversation and composition in a foreign language;
  • English composition;
  • directed study/independent study courses;  
  • practical and skill courses such as elementary-level courses in journalism, public speaking, acting, and theater production; courses in art; and courses in music performance;
  • free elective coursework (see Non-L&S Courses and L&S Degree Credit for more information);

The following types of courses are inappropriate for satisfying the breadth requirement, and so lack breadth designation:

  • courses that are highly specialized or narrowly pre-professional in nature; and
  • internships, practicums, directed study, tutorials, senior theses, and other courses whose content is negotiated between students and faculty on an individual basis.

Courses with a breadth designation of I (Interdivisional) count as elective credit only and do not satisfy the breadth requirement. Courses designated as N (Natural Science) partially satisfy the natural science requirement but not the specific physical or biological sciences course requirements. If a course can meet more than one breadth designation, students may select the division in which they want that course to count for purposes of the breadth requirement; however, the course may be counted only once and in only one division.

The following is a list of symbols located in the "geBLC" column of the former Timetable, the UW–Madison Transfer Equivalency Database (TED), and the Transfer Information System (TIS).   These symbols are still used to designate course attributes in L&S.  The symbols are as follows:

Letters in the "g" column (or the Gen Ed designation in the "Gen-Ed" section of the Course Guide under Additional Info) identify a course which counts toward either the Communication requirement or the Quantitative Reasoning requirement for general education as follows:

a—course counts toward the Communication Part A requirement.
b—course counts toward the Communication Part B requirement.
q—course counts toward the Quantitative Reasoning Part A requirement.
r—course counts toward the Quantitative Reasoning Part B requirement.

The symbol "e" in the "e" column (or "yes" in the "Ethnic" section of the Course Guide under Additional Info) identifies a course that counts toward the L&S Ethnic Studies requirement.

Symbols in the "B" column (or the breadth designation in the "Breadth"section of the Course Guide under Additional Info) show how courses count in meeting the breadth requirement for the L&S B.A./B.S. degrees.

B—Biological Science. Counts toward the Natural Science requirement.
H—Humanities
I—Interdivisional. Does not satisfy any breadth requirement
L—Literature. Counts toward the Humanities requirement
N—Natural Science. Satisfies the Natural Science requirement but not the Biological or Physical Science requirements
P—Physical Science. Counts toward the Natural Science requirement
S—Social Science
W—Either Social Science or Natural Science
X—Either Humanities or Natural Science
Y—Either Biological Sciences or Social Science
Z—Either Humanities or Social Science

Symbols in the "L" column (or the level designation in the "Level" section of the Course Guide under Additional Info) show course level. Sixty credits of advanced and intermediate level courses are required for the L&S B.A./B.S. degrees.

E—Elementary
I—Intermediate
A—Advanced
D—Intermediate or Advanced

Symbols in the "C" column are:
C—courses which count for degree credit in L&S and which count as part of the 100 credits in L&S for students under the 1971 degree requirements or for the 108 Liberal Arts and Science (LAS) credits for students under BABS07.

For more information about breadth, see Breadth: Ways of Knowing

General information for faculty members on the process for getting a course approved for L&S breadth can be found at Guidance Regarding Breadth Designations

Course Level

Each L&S course and each approved non-L&S course have been evaluated for level—Elementary (E), Intermediate (I), Advanced (A), or Intermediate/Advanced (D). Course levels are indicated with each course listed in this Catalog and in the Course GuideOnly courses that carry the "C" designation in the Course Guide under the "L&S Credit Type" will count toward level in L&S for students.   

Directed/Independent Study

Directed/Independent Study offers the student an opportunity to work with a faculty member on an individual study program. A student who is stimulated by a particular concept or problem encountered in a course can pursue and develop that interest in depth through a Directed Study project. Such individualized study can make a valuable contribution to a student's educational experience.

Directed Study courses are made available by departments on the basis of a student's preparation and motivation and a faculty member's willingness to accept the student in such an endeavor.  See L&S Undergraduate Directed/Independent Study Course Guidelines for more detailed information.

Departments may offer Directed Study at the elementary, intermediate, or advanced level under the following course numbers:

198 or 199. Directed Study courses numbered 198 or 199 have a credit range of 1 to 3 credits, are considered elementary level, and are intended for freshmen and sophomores, though, in exceptional cases, juniors and seniors may be appropriately admitted if the nature of the course so allows.

298 or 299. Directed Study courses numbered 298 or 299, including supervised reading in foreign languages and in subjects related to students' major fields, have a credit range of 1 to 3 credits and are considered intermediate level.

698 or 699. Directed Study courses numbered 698 or 699 (and other courses with numbers ending in 98/99, between 398 and 699) have a credit range of 1 to 6 credits, are considered advanced level, and are offered primarily for juniors and seniors. However, in unusual cases, freshmen and sophomores with exceptional preparation and motivation may be admitted. At this level, it is a prerequisite to have had previous or concurrent exposure to the subject on an intermediate level.

Directed Study courses with a number ending in 98 (e.g., 198, 698) are carried on a Credit/No Credit (Cr/N) basis. No grades are awarded for these courses. The student earns credit for the course if the instructor is satisfied with the work the student has performed. If not, there is no Failure; the student simply is not awarded any credit for the course. Not all departments offer Directed Study courses on a Cr/N basis. Courses ending in 99 are graded. (See Grading System in the Enrollment and Records section of this catalog.)

Prior to registration and before the end of the second week of classes, students are responsible for making all arrangements with the faculty member who agrees to direct their work. The student and faculty member should prepare a study plan, determine the time and place for regular meetings, the number of credits to be earned, and how to enroll in the course.

Notes:

  • Directed Study courses do not satisfy basic or breadth requirements.  Thus, Directed Study courses cannot be used to fulfill any degree requirements such as B.A./B.S. Foreign Language, General Education Requirements (Comm A, Comm B, QR A, QR B, Ethnic Studies), or L&S Breadth (Humanities, Natural Science, Social Science).
  • Directed Study courses may generally be repeated for credit if course content is not duplicated.
  • Undergraduate students cannot take or earn degree credit for graduate-level Directed Study, Independent Reading, Independent Study, or Individual Enrollment courses (e.g., 799, 899, 999).
  • All Directed Study courses (graded or not) count toward the maximum number of credits that may be counted in the major if taken in the major department.
  • Many majors strictly limit the number of Directed Study credits that can be earned in the major.
  • Directed Study courses are not intended as placeholder credits for registration purposes, and students with special rules for full-time status should consult the undergraduate deans before enrolling in Directed Study courses after the enrollment period.
  • Directed Study courses may not be taken on a pass/fail basis.

Directed Study courses taken in non-L&S departments may be counted as Liberal Arts and Science (C) courses provided that they are offered at the 300-or-above level. Because these experiences are intended to provide intensive, one-on-one experiences with faculty, departments are not allowed to use Directed Study courses to teach group instruction courses.

Graduate Courses

All courses numbered 700 and above are graduate courses and considered advanced (A). Undergraduate students who receive passing grades in graduate courses will be awarded undergraduate degree credit.

  • L&S students who enroll in L&S graduate courses may count those credits toward completion of their Liberal Arts and Sciences credit requirement. These credits may be used to satisfy the requirements related to mastery of intermediate/advanced level work, but since these courses do not carry breadth designations, they do not satisfy breadth requirements.
  • L&S students who enroll in non-L&S graduate courses may count those credits as part of their free electives in the degree. These credits may not be used to satisfy breadth or level requirements.
  • Grades earned by undergraduates who complete graduate courses will be included in all relevant grade point average calculations (see Quality of Work Requirements for the list of areas in which these averages are calculated). Most graduate courses restrict enrollment to students who have graduate standing, or who have received the instructor's consent to enroll.
  • Undergraduate students cannot take or earn degree credit for graduate-level Directed Study, Independent Reading, Independent Study, or Individual Enrollment courses (e.g., 799, 899, 999).

Provided that an instructor wishes to allow undergraduates to enroll in a graduate course, students who wish to enroll in the courses should meet with the instructor, who can evaluate whether or not the student should be allowed to register. This decision is made at the instructor's discretion, based on such considerations as whether or not the student has met course prerequisites, is prepared to perform graduate-level work in the course, and is likely to successfully complete the course. Instructors are not obligated to accommodate undergraduate student requests to enroll in graduate-level courses. Furthermore, it should be noted that all students in graduate-level courses are expected to be held to a similar performance standard with respect to quality, quantity, and type of work performed.

Credit Load

Full-time student status (12–18 credits). The usual study load of a student is about 15 credits per semester, with an ordinary range of 12 to 18 credits. Please note that international students and athletes must be enrolled for a minimum of 12 credits in the fall and spring semesters. For more information, please contact International Student Services (608-262-2044) or the Fetzer Student Athlete Academic Center (608-262-1787).  For students receiving financial aid, federal regulations require any student receiving financial assistance to maintain academic progress and be working toward a degree.  See satisfactory academic progress (SAP) for more details.

Light load (less than 12 credits). A program of fewer than 12 credits may be carried without the specific authorization of an academic dean. However, students are encouraged to consult a dean regarding the decision to carry a light load. A light load may affect a student's eligibility for financial aid (including Social Security and Veterans' benefits), dependent health insurance, international student visa status, University Housing accommodations, or athletic eligibility.

Heavy load (19 or 20 credits). Students who have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better at the University of Wisconsin–Madison may enroll for 19 or 20 credits. Additional fees per credit are assessed for all credits above 18. Under no circumstances may a student carry more than 20 credits in one semester. See credit overload/heavy program for more information. L&S students who wish to take an overload and qualify to take 19 or 20 credits should fill out the Credit Overload Request.  For more assistance, please stop by 110 Ingraham Hall, or call 608-262-0617 during regular business hours.

Summer Sessions Credit Load (a maximum of 12 credits). In general a student may carry 1 credit per week of instruction during the summer session. The overall limit for summer work is 12 credits (or 13 with special permission). The credit limit per summer session is the number of weeks of the session. Thus, a student can earn only 3 credits in a 3-week summer session.  A student needs permission from an academic dean to carry one (1) additional credit per weeks in a session (e.g., four (4) credits in a 3-week session). An academic dean's permission usually requires a 3.00 cumulative GPA.

Students must carry courses for the number of credits assigned to the courses in the Course Guide.

Registration Changes

Students may make changes in their registration (add and/or drop courses, change sections in a course, or change the number of credits in a course) via My UW–Madison according to the deadlines published by the Office of the Registrar each semester and summer session.   For more specific information about this process, please refer to Course Change Request.   Students are strongly encouraged to check current registration and verify they are properly enrolled in the correct courses using My UW–Madison. For general questions about this process, contact your undergraduate advisor or L&S Academic Deans' Services at 608-262-0617. 

Students who enroll for a course must either complete the course or drop it by the deadline for dropping courses.

Audit

A student may enroll in a course on an audit basis only with prior consent of the instructor of the course. As an auditor, the student is considered a passive learner and may not recite in class or take examinations. Courses with laboratory or performance skills may not be audited. Regular class attendance is expected. Courses audited carry no degree credit and are not graded. The credit value of courses carried on an audit basis is included in the semester program load for purposes of determining fees and maximum credits carried. Courses carried on an audit basis may have an impact on students applying for scholarships or other forms of financial assistance.  Students should contact the unit/agency administering the scholarship or Student Financial Services for more guidance.  Students should also contact their insurance company to determine whether auditing a course (or courses) will have an impact on their coverage.  See What does it mean to audit a course? for more details.

Students who wish to change their registration in a course from a credit basis to an audit basis must do so within the first four weeks of the semester by submitting a Course Change Form (available at this link) to Suite 110 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Drive. Students will not be able to submit or cancel a request to audit a course after the fourth week of the fall or spring term. (For modular and summer session courses, audit requests must be submitted by the Friday of the week in which the session is one-fourth completed). Audits may affect a student's eligibility for financial aid (including Social Security and Veterans' benefits). Students should consult an advisor in the Office of Student Financial Aid for more detailed information.

Academic Semester Summary Period (Final Examinations)

Following the regularly scheduled instructional period each semester is an eight-day summary period. Usually the first day of the summary period is for individual study and review, and no classes or exams are to be scheduled during this designated period. The last seven days are prescheduled to include one two-hour summary block for each course of two or more credits. This two-hour block shall be used for an examination or for other instructional activities as deemed appropriate by the instructional unit offering the course. During the two weeks preceding the summary period, examinations covering the content of the entire course cannot be given. Take-home examinations are due at the scheduled two-hour block.

Faculty policy prohibits giving or taking final examinations earlier than the time assigned in the Course Guide. Students may arrange a make-up examination at a later date only if the professor is willing and if there is a valid reason for missing a final examination. (See Incompletes.)

Students are required to attend all of their final exams.  Leaving prior to the final examination period and not taking finals will have a negative impact on a student's final grade in a course or courses.  See attendance for more information.

General Education Requirements

The University of Wisconsin–Madison General Education Requirements (GER) are courses that provide for breadth across the humanities and arts, social studies, and natural sciences. All students except those who matriculated at a college or university prior to May 20, 1996, must satisfy the university-wide General Education Requirements. The requirements consist of:

For more information regarding the UW–Madison General Education Requirements, see General Education Requirements and Undergraduate Study at UW–Madison: General Education Requirements.

Grading System

The general quality of a student's work is expressed in terms of a grade point average (GPA). It is based on the total number of credits carried, whether passed or not. Semester grades are reported by letter only; plus and minus signs are not authorized. The highest possible GPA is 4.0, representing A grades in every course; the lowest possible is 0.0. For a detailed explanation, see valid instructor assigned grades.

For more information on the grading system, also see the section on undergraduate grades and grade point average (GPA) on the registrar's website.

Credit/No Credit Courses

Credit/No Credit courses are designated in the Course Guide. The transcript for the course will indicate either CR (meaning the student earned credits for the course) or N (meaning the the student did not earn any credit for the class).  Refer to the explanation of Credit/No Credit in this catalog.

Cross-listed Courses

Cross-listed courses are courses offered under more than one department.  Courses designated as cross-listed must be assigned the same number in each department (e.g., African/Soc 277).  Students completing two majors may count cross-listed courses (i.e., courses listed in both major departments) in partial satisfaction of the requirements for both majors.  For more information, see What is a cross-listed course? How is it different from a "meets-with" course?

Pass/Fail

Continuing students with a 2.5 grade point average, new freshmen, and new transfer students are eligible for pass/fail course work. Any student who takes a pass/fail course must earn at least a C to receive credit for the course. Final grades for these courses will be indicated as satisfactory (S) or unsatisfactory (U) without any computation of grade points for those courses into the semester or cumulative grade point average. The grade of S shall be recorded by the registrar in place of instructors' grades of A, AB, B, BC, or C. The grade of U shall be recorded by the registrar in place of instructors' grades of D or F. Neither the S nor the U is used in computing the grade point average. The pass/fail option is the student's choice and the instructor reports the grade without knowing whether or not the student is taking the course on a pass/fail basis.

Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors who meet the eligibility requirement may carry one (1) pass/fail course per term including the summer session. Seniors who meet the quality requirement may carry two (2) pass/fail courses per term including the summer session. Students may carry a maximum of ten courses on a pass/fail basis.  For more information, see What does it mean to take a course pass/fail? 

Notes:

  • Students must submit pass/fail requests via their Student Center link by the end of the fourth week of fall and spring semesters. (For modular and summer session courses, pass/fail requests must be submitted by the Friday of the week in which the session is one-fourth completed). Students may not cancel or add the pass/fail option after the deadline for submitting Pass/Fail Option Forms. All requests to add or cancel pass/fail must be submitted via the Course Change request in the Student Center by the appropriate deadline. For more information about the pass/fail process, refer to What does it mean to take a course pass/fail? and Pass/Fail Option.
  •  Students cannot cancel a Pass/Fail request after the deadline if s/he needs the course to fulfill a major or degree requirement at a later date.  It is the student's responsibility to determine whether or not s/he can take a course on a Pass/Fail basis. 
  • Pass/Fail and Course Change Requests can be accessed through a student's Student Center in My UW–Madison by clicking Course Change Request via Course Enrollment, Term Information. For more information about requesting the Pass/Fail option, refer to this link on the registrar's website.
  • Only elective work may be carried on a pass/fail basis. Thus, pass/fail cannot be declared or used to fulfill the following requirements:
    • Major or major department coursework (even if all major requirements have been fulfilled)
    • Breadth (humanities, literature, social science, natural science)
    • Foreign language
    • Math
    • Ethnic Studies
    • General Education Requirements (Comm A, Comm B, QR A, QR B)
    • A maximum of ten (10) pass/fail courses may count toward graduation
  • Courses carried on a pass/fail basis cannot fulfill any other college requirements except for the 60 intermediate/advanced level credits and 108 Liberal Arts and Science (LAS) credits needed to graduate.
  • Courses crosslisted within a student's major department may not be carried on a pass/fail basis.
  • Directed Study courses may not be taken on a pass/fail basis.
  • Students may not carry pass/fail work in their major department even though they do not intend to use this course work in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the major.
  • Pass/fail work may not be used as part of the course work offered in satisfaction of the individual major.
  • Students may not take foreign language courses on a pass/fail basis until the foreign language requirement for their degree program has been satisfied.
  • Students pursuing certificate programs should check with the certificate advisor(s) about policies concerning pass/fail for certificate program courses since many certificate programs do not allow coursework to be taken for pass/fail. 

For further information, deadline dates, and instructions for registration stop by the College of Letters & Science Academic Deans' Services in Suite 110 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Drive, or call 608-262-0617 for more assistance.

Failures

Students who have earned a grade of F may repeat the failed course in residence. The original grade of F remains permanently on a student's record and is averaged into the semester and overall grade point average (GPA). The failure will be counted as zero grade points per credit in computing the GPA. If a student repeats the failed course, the course will appear on the student's transcript twice with the original grade of F recorded and the new grade also recorded. Both grades will be counted in determining all applicable quality of work requirements. Multiple failures in the same course all count in the GPA and will appear on a student's permanent records.   See Can I retake a course that I have failed? for more details.

A course failed in residence at UW–Madison may be repeated for credit at any other educational institution.  However the new grade earned out of residence will not have an impact on the student's UW–Madison GPA.

Drop (DR) Notation

The Drop (DR) notation appears on students' records if they drop a class or classes after the last day to drop courses or withdraw without a DR or W grade notation appearing on students' transcripts.  For the specific deadline for dropping classes so a DR will not appear on a student's records, see Deadlines at a Glance on the Office of the Registrar website.  Please note that L&S does not backdate drops to erase them from a student's academic records or extend the drop deadline so that the DR will not appear.

The drop notation will only show that a student has dropped a course(s) before the official drop deadline.  A "DR" on a student's academic record does not have any negative implications for students when they are applying to graduate schools or seeking employment.

Incompletes

An Incomplete may be reported for a student who has carried a subject with a passing grade until near the end of the semester and then, because of illness or other unusual and substantiated cause beyond the student's control, is unable to take or complete the final examination or is unable to complete some limited amount of term work.

An Incomplete is not given to a student who stays away from a final examination unless it is proven to the instructor that the student was prevented from attending as indicated above. In default of such proof, if the term work has convinced the instructor that the student cannot pass, the grade shall be F.

Any course taken by an undergraduate in the College of Letters & Science which is graded as an Incomplete must be completed by the end of the fourth (4th) week of classes of the student's next semester in residence on this campus. If the work has not been completed by that deadline, the grade will lapse into a Failure, unless the time limit has been extended by a grade change form signed by the course professor before the end of the fourth (4th) week of classes. Extended Incompletes (EI) must be removed and replaced with the final grade by the last day of classes or they will lapse into Failures.

Incompletes incurred in any summer session must also be removed within the next semester in residence under the same rules. Once an Incomplete is given, the work missing must be finished or the grade becomes a Failure. Incompletes incurred in the last semester of residence may not be removed after five years of absence from the university without permission of an academic dean in advance.  Such Incompletes remain on the record but do not lapse into Failures.

For further information, What does it mean if my instructor gives me a grade of incomplete? on the L&S website and Incompletes on the registrar's website.

Failures

Students who have earned a grade of F may repeat the failed course in residence. The original grade of F remains permanently on a student's record and is averaged into the semester and overall grade point average (GPA). The failure will be counted as zero grade points per credit in computing the GPA. If a student repeats the failed course, the course will appear on the student's transcript twice with the original grade of F recorded and the new grade also recorded. Both grades will be counted in determining all applicable quality of work requirements. Multiple failures in the same course all count in the GPA and will appear on a student's permanent records.   See Can I retake a course that I have failed for more details.

A course failed in residence at UW–Madison may be repeated for credit at any other educational institution.  However the new grade earned out of residence will not have an impact on the student's UW–Madison GPA.

Q Grade

A "Q" grade is assigned by an instructor when there is a discrepancy between the work completed by a student and the student's official registration. The Office of the Registrar will post the temporary Q grade/mark to a student's record until the discrepancy is resolved. A student will receive a Q in one of three situations: (1) a student registers for a variable-credit course and completes the work that is appropriate for a different number of credits; (2) a student registers for Honors credit and does not complete the Honors portion of the work; and (3) a student does not register for Honors but completes the Honors work appropriate for an Honors designation. In each of the three cases, students will need to work with the instructor to correct the situation before a grade can be reported. The correct grade will need to be forwarded by the instructor to L&S Academic Deans' Services in 110 Ingraham Hall; 608-262-0617.  For more information, see Valid Instructor Assigned Grades.

No Work (NW) Grade

Students will receive a grade of No Work (NW) on their official records if they enrolled in a course and then never attended. Instructors may award this grade only when the instructor has no evidence that the student ever attended or submitted any work. Any student who does attend for part of the semester/term and then stops participating is not eligible to receive a grade of NW. The No Work notation does not have an impact on a student's semester/term or cumulative GPA. For more information, see Valid Instructor Assigned Grades.

A course failed in residence at UW–Madison may be repeated for credit at any other educational institution; however the new grade earned out of residence will not have an impact on the student's UW–Madison grade point average (GPA).

Withdrawals

Withdrawal from school means dropping all courses currently in progress for the term in which the withdrawal is processed. Before the first day of classes in a term, students may remove themselves from classes by dropping all of their courses via My UW–Madison.

After the first day of classes and through the withdrawal deadline published in the Deadlines at a Glance section on the registrar's website (Office of the Registrar), L&S undergraduate students may withdraw from school by submitting a withdrawal request through their Student Center.   For more detailed information, refer to What does it mean to withdraw from the university?

Students who find it necessary may withdraw at any time during the first 12 weeks of a semester without needing special permission to return for a later term. Summer deadlines for withdrawal are published in the summer by the Office of the Registrar. Students are encouraged to confer with a dean regarding the possible effects of withdrawal upon their academic work.

Students who have neglected their classes, or who have earned unsatisfactory grades, or who have a pattern of withdrawals may need permission of an academic dean to return at a later date.

Letters & Science undergraduate students wishing to withdraw after the deadline must obtain permission from an academic dean by setting up an individual appointment through L&S Academic Deans' Services (608-262-0617). Failure to obtain this permission results in the recording of Failures for all courses.

Academic Probation and Drop

Every student is expected to maintain at least a C average (2.0 grade point average) on all work carried, whether passed or not, in each semester or summer session. Failure to earn this minimum grade point average will result in a status of probation, strict probation, or dropped, as shown below.

Every student can determine his or her academic status at the end of each semester or summer session based on the probationary status when the term began and the grade point average earned during that term.

  1. If a student is not on probation and:
    1. earns a grade point average in a semester or summer session is 1.0–1.99:  placed on probation.
    2. earns a grade point average in a semester or summer session is less than 1.0: placed on strict probation.
  2. If a student is on probation and:
    1. earns a grade point average in a semester or summer session is 1.5–1.99: placed on strict probation.
    2. earns a grade point average in a semester or summer session is less than 1.5: dropped for at least one year.
  3. If a student is on strict probation and the grade point average is less than 2.0: dropped for at least one year.

If a student is dropped for one year, the student must stay out of school for a minimum of twelve (12) months.  For more information on Academic Probation and Drop, refer to What exactly is the L&S Academic Probation System?

Removal from Probation

Any student on probation or strict probation will be automatically cleared of probation at the end of any semester or summer session when all three of the following criteria are met:

(1) the semester's grade point average is 2.0 or better on any number of credits;

(2) the cumulative grade point average is at least 2.0; and

(3) the academic record contains no grade(s) of Incomplete.

Dropped Status

Students whose grade point averages (GPA) place them in dropped status may, with an academic dean's permission, be readmitted on strict probation after being away the required year and after showing their academic dean they are in a position to successfully complete their degree. For more information, contact L&S Academic Deans' Services at 608-262-0617. Also refer to What exactly is the L&S Academic Probation System?.

Appeals

Exceptions for Students in Dropped Status. A student who has been dropped for academic reasons may appeal for readmission. Students dropped at the end of fall semester who wish to continue in school in the spring semester must appeal for readmission the week before spring semester classes begin. Students dropped at the end of spring semester who wish to continue in school for the summer or fall semester must appeal for readmission the week before the beginning of the first three-week summer session begins for students who wish to take summer classes, or before the eight-week summer session begins for students who do not wish to take summer courses. Students dropped at the end of a summer session who wish to continue in school for the fall semester must appeal for readmission the week before fall semester classes begin. Additional information concerning appeals is available from the L&S Academic Deans' Services unit (Suite 110 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Drive, 608-262-0617) or on its website at Information on Appealing your "Dropped for One Year" Status.

Exceptions to Basic Degree Requirements. A student wishing to request an exception to a basic degree requirement must first confer with an academic dean. Only in extremely rare and unusual circumstances will any exception be made, and then only by the Faculty Appeals Committee.

Exceptions to Major Requirements. A student wishing to request an exception to a requirement in the major must first confer with the advisor or chair of the department. If the department supports the request, a signed DARS exception form must be sent by the academic department or unit to L&S Academic Deans' Services (Suite 110 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Drive).

Exceptions to College Rules. A student wishing to request an exception to college rules should consult an academic dean. The dean will consider the request on an individual basis and make a decision to grant or to deny the request. If the request is denied and if the student wishes to pursue the matter further, the student may appeal the decision to the L&S Undergraduate Academic Services Review Board, an appellate board composed of academic deans.

Change of Grade/Grade Appeal

A change of grade is allowed only if there has been a clerical error. If an L&S undergraduate student believes a clerical error has been made in the awarding of the final grade for a course, the student should first meet with the instructor of the course to determine whether such an error has occurred. Requests for a change of grade must be signed by both the instructor of the course and the chair of the department. Students who believe they have been unfairly graded in a course should follow the appeal procedure established by the department in which the course grade was given. The appeal procedure typically requires the student to first meet with the instructor of the course to discuss the issue, followed by a meeting with the department chair or department committee. If the issue is still unresolved after the department appeal procedure is completed, the student's last recourse would be to appeal to one of the Associate Deans in the College of Letters & Science based on the discipline of the course in question. Appeals of final grades must be initiated within the semester immediately following the term in which the course is taken. For more information, see What is the process for appealing a grade for an L&S undergraduate student? 

Dean's List

The Dean's List is established at the end of each fall and spring semester. To be eligible for the Dean's List in a given semester, students must complete a minimum of 12 graded credits in that semester with a minimum GPA of 3.600 for students who are classified as freshmen (fewer then 24 credits) and sophomores (at least 24 credits), or 3.850 for students who are classified as juniors (at least 54 credits) and seniors (at least 86 credits). An entry, "Dean's List," appears on the student's grade report and on the transcript. Students who have P grades for their senior thesis (regardless of whether they have 12 other graded credits), as well as students with unresolved grades of NR, I, and Q are not eligible for the Dean's List. (Please note that the college does not "round up" for the purpose of tabulating the GPA for the Dean's List.)

Foreign Language: Substitutions for Students with Certain Disabilities

Several occasionally offered courses may be required as a substitution to the foreign language requirement. If a substitution is approved, students are encouraged to file a formal and complete application with the Disabilities Curricular Accommodations Committee early (for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, no later than the fourth week of their third semester in residence; for senior transfers, no later than the fourth week of their first semester in residence, excluding summer sessions). The committee meets once during the fall semester and once during the spring semester. It does not meet in the summer.

Students who are approved for a foreign language substitution package are strongly urged to meet with the dean's representative from the committee as soon as possible to assure registration in some limited-enrollment courses that might be part of the package. The meeting can be scheduled by calling 608-262-0617 or stopping by suite 110 Ingraham Hall at 1155 Observatory Drive.

Students who have not been previously diagnosed as learning-disabled or hearing-impaired should plan three to four months to schedule required testing and to receive results and interpretation of the testing.

Contact the McBurney Disability Resource Center for current information about the tests required. Results of the specified tests taken within the previous four years are acceptable; retesting is required if test results are not at least this current.

For persons with a hearing loss, certain criteria must be met to apply for a substitution to the foreign language requirement. Contact the McBurney Disability Resource Center for details.

The Foreign Language Substitution Package is designed to fulfill the faculty's intention of requiring foreign language as part of the college curriculum. Specifically, the Foreign Language Substitution Package provides—as does the foreign language requirement—students with information about the structure of a language, as well as the literature and culture of the people indigenous to that language.

The following information applies to all students pursuing the L&S 2007 degree requirements. Students who matriculated to their first college or university degree program before May 21, 2007, or who do not opt into the 2007 degree requirements, should consult previous catalogs for relevant information. 

If approved, the substitution to the B.A. foreign language requirement includes four (4) courses:

  1. One (1) course having to do with language in general (selected from an approved list of classes). Students should select one (1) course from the following list:
    1. Linguis (Linguistics) 101, 365
    2. Com Dis (Communicative Disorders) 240
    3. English (English) 201, 203, 300, 301, 302, 303, 305, 307, 315, 317, 333
  2. Three (3) courses related to a country, region, or a group of countries sharing a common language (selected from an approved list of classes). Students must select one course from a, b, and c:
    1. Literature
    2. History or culture
    3. General elective

If approved, the substitution to the B.S. foreign language requirement includes three (3) courses:

  1. One (1) course having to do with language in general (selected from an approved list of classes). Students should select one (1) course from the following list (select one course from either a, b, or c):
    1. Linguis (Linguistics) 101, 365
    2. Com Dis (Communicative Disorders) 240
    3. English (English) 201, 203, 300, 301, 302, 303, 305, 307, 315, 317, 333
  2. Two (2) courses related to a country, region, or a group of countries sharing a common language (selected from an approved list of classes). Students must select one course from both a and b:
    1. Literature
    2. History or culture

Courses used to meet the substitution must be approved by the designated academic dean.

These courses cannot fulfill any other college requirements except for:

  • the 60 Intermediate (I)/Advanced (A) level credits and,
  • the 108 Liberal Arts and Science (LAS) credits needed to graduate

Students must submit five (5) copies of all required materials to the Disabilities Curricular Accommodations Committee in L&S Academic Deans' Services (Suite 110 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Drive, 608-262-0617) by the end of the fourth (4th) week of the semester (fall or spring semester) in which they would like to present their case for review. Applications are not accepted or reviewed during the summer.

Students may be tested for a nominal fee at the Department of Communicative Disorders or the Psycho-Educational Clinic on campus. If they choose, students may be tested by private psychologists or learning disabilities specialists qualified to administer and interpret the required examinations.

After obtaining the necessary documentation, students must write a letter requesting a substitution to the foreign language requirement to the Disabilities Curricular Accommodations Committee. This letter should provide background information and reasons why they feel such an exception should be warranted. It also must indicate if they have ever studied a foreign language (with a letter from their foreign language instructor, if possible). The letter should also explain techniques the student uses to cope with his/her learning disability or hearing loss. If the request is approved, students who have completed and passed a foreign language course or courses prior to appealing to the Disabilities Curricular Accommodations Committee may use a maximum of two college semesters (or two high school years) in the same language toward the substitution package. Foreign language courses will count toward the substitution package as follows:

  1. first semester or equivalent meets the general language requirement (one course having to do with language in general, 1 above);
  2. second semester or equivalent in the same language meets the history/culture requirement (2b above).

Also, if the request is approved, students who complete only one semester in a single language may select a "language area" of their choice for the remainder of the substitution package. Students who complete two consecutive semesters in a single foreign language must select that language as their "language area" in completing courses for the remainder of the substitution package. This preserves the "depth" of the foreign language requirement itself by requiring a significant amount of work in a single language.

Credit Limitations from Non-Degree-Granting Accredited Institutions

Of the credits required for graduation, not more than 72 may be carried at non-degree-granting accredited institutions. However, of the last 60 credits earned before graduation, not more than 12 may be carried at these non-degree-granting accredited institutions.

Distance Learning and Correspondence Study

Distance learning and correspondence study (e.g., independent learning) offer a learning opportunity for students unable to attend classes on campus. Information and a complete list of courses offered through the University of Wisconsin System is available at the University of Wisconsin Independent Learning, or by phone at 1-877-895-3276 (info@learn.uwsa.edu). Students should speak with a College of Letters & Science advisor if they wish to include independent learning courses among the courses required to complete their degree. Such courses must be completed before seeking admission for residence study at UW–Madison. Distance learning and correspondence work do not count as residence credit unless taught through UW–Madison.

To find out whether or not courses taken out of residence will transfer back to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, students will need to work with the Office of Admissions and Recruitment.  Information about transferring credits back to UW–Madison can be found at Office of Admissions and Recruitment website.  More information about transfer credits and establishing equivalents can be found at transfer credit.

Concurrent Registration/Concurrent Enrollment

In some rare circumstances, and only with prior approval of an academic dean, students may enroll to earn degree credit concurrently at UW–Madison and any other accredited postsecondary school, including the UW–Extension.

Requests for approval should be made prior to the end of the second week of classes of the semester in which dual registration is desired (UW–Madison calendar). Correspondence courses must be completed during the semester in which concurrent enrollment is allowed.   To request permission for concurrent enrollment, please refer to Concurrent Enrollment Request.

Transfer Students

Transfer students must complete all Letters & Science degree requirements. Once admitted, transfer students should obtain a copy of their DARS report, which will explain how their transfer credits will apply toward L&S requirements. DARS reports can be requested from the Degree Audit section of the registrar's office or accessed via My UW–Madison.

Students can transfer only a limited number of credits from non-degree-granting accredited institutions and correspondence courses. See Credit Limitations from Non-Degree-Granting Accredited Institutions.

Transfer students who have more than 30 degree credits are ineligible to earn retroactive credits in a foreign language on the UW–Madison campus. See Credit by Department Examination.

Advisors for freshman and sophomore students are in the L&S Academic Advising Services (608-262-5858) in Suite 155 Middleton Building, 1305 Linden Drive, and the Cross-College Advising Center (608-265-5460) in 10 Ingraham Hall. Junior and senior transfer students should meet with an advisor in the department in which they intend to major.

Transfer students should note that the L&S degree requirements have changed recently. Those students who matriculated before May 21, 2007, are eligible to complete the degree requirements in force at the time they began their college-level studies. (See Catalog Year and Degree Requirements for more information.)

Because some requirements in force before this edition of the Undergraduate Catalog differ substantially from the requirements articulated here, transfer students are strongly encouraged to refer to the catalog in force at the time of their first matriculation to college. (See past catalogs to review the requirements that apply.) For some students, it may be to their benefit to consider transferring to the new degree requirements; they may consult this link on the L&S website or their academic advisor if they wish to consider this option.

Transfers within the University

Continuing UW–Madison students must have a minimum 2.0 cumulative grade point average and a UW–Madison grade point average of at least 2.0 in their most recent semester of work in order to transfer into the College of Letters & Science. First-semester and new transfer students without a UW–Madison grade point average may transfer into Letters & Science provided they meet university admission requirements (three units of math and two units of a single foreign language). Students admitted to the university with admission deficiencies must remove those deficiencies before they are eligible to transfer into L&S. For more information on transferring into L&S or signing up for a Transfer Workshop, call 608-262-5858 or refer to this link.

Students transferring into one of the general courses from a special course (chemistry course, AMEP, etc.), or from another college/school of the university to the College of Letters & Science will receive no more than 18 credits per semester toward graduation for work already completed, unless a 3.0 grade point average was earned the previous semester or the semester the overload was carried. Then a maximum of 20 credits from that term may be transferred. These transferring students will receive credit for studies in another college/school, but will be subject to the conditions of the Liberal Arts and Science Credits requirement. (See Liberal Arts and Science Credits.)

Transfer Students Who Have Earned an Associate Degree from a UW System College

Students who have earned an approved Associate Degree in Arts and Sciences at a UW System College, and who transfer to UW-Madison, will be considered as having fulfilled the breadth requirements (humanities, social science, and natural science) in the College of Letters & Science. General Education, foreign language, and mathematics requirements are not satisfied by the Associate Degree. Students who plan to earn specialized degrees in Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics (AMEP), Chemistry Course, and Music should consult with their major advisor regarding requirements which will be considered complete by earning the associate degree.

To earn a degree from the College of Letters & Science, students who have an associate degree in arts and sciences must satisfy all degree requirements outside the breadth requirements. These requirements include all credit rules (see College of Letters & Science Degrees) and the ethnic studies requirement.

Senior Thesis

Any senior who so desires may write a senior thesis. A thesis may not carry less than 4 or more than 8 credits and must be carried over a two-semester period. A senior thesis must represent treatment of some phase of the student's work in the major; the subject requires approval by the student's advisor and the faculty member in charge of the field of concentration (usually the department chair). Thesis students enroll for thesis course numbers 691 and 692 (students in the Honors Program enroll in 681 and 682 for a minimum of 6 credits and a maximum of 8 credits in total).  Students must complete both 691 and 692 or 681 and 682 of the two-semester course sequence. 

Students enrolled in  a 691/692 or 681/682 senior thesis sequence will receive a grade of  "P" (Progress) for the first half of the senior sequence (691 or 681) until they complete both semesters.  This designation of "Progress" is a temporary grade used only for courses that span more than one semester/term (typically a senior thesis).  When the course is completed, a final grade replaces the P for each term.   The "P" does not count in any GPA computation.  In addition, the "P" grade does not count for credit until it is replaced by a final grade.

Senior-Graduate Status

A senior within 6 credits of graduation with a 2.75 GPA or better may apply to the Graduate School for admission on a senior-graduate basis. Application for this status is made through the Graduate School office. If recommended by the department and approved by the Graduate School office, the student enrolls with the BA–4 or BS–4 classification and remains under the jurisdiction of the College of Letters & Science. Senior-graduates may carry a maximum of 12 credits including undergraduate work. Senior-graduate status is valid for one semester only.

Scholastic Awards

Graduation with Distinction. The award of "Graduation with Distinction" will be noted on the transcript of students who have earned a grade point average that places them within the top 20% of the students graduating that term in their college/school provided 60 or more credits have been earned at UW–Madison. The Office of the Registrar performs a preliminary calculation for students declaring intent to graduate and then makes a temporary posting that is included in the program for commencement.  However, the final notation of Graduation with Distinction depends upon last term grades, as calculated by the registrar and relative to the performance of all students in that particular graduating class.

Distinction in the Major. This award is granted at graduation, upon the recommendation of a department to the dean, to any student not earning the Honors Degree who has done superior work in the major and who has passed a comprehensive examination on that work. The comprehensive examination may be omitted for the student with a 3.5 grade point average in the major who successfully completes special work prescribed by the department. The award is noted on the student's transcript.

Thesis of Distinction. This award is granted at graduation, upon recommendation of a department to the dean, to any student not earning the Honors Degree who has written an exceptionally good or original thesis, without consideration of the student's record in other work. The chair of the department appoints a committee of at least two members, including the thesis advisor, to read the thesis and make an appropriate recommendation. These theses are retained in the department. The award is noted on the student's transcript.

L&S Scholarships. For details about scholarships for L&S students, see L&S Scholarships. For further information about financial assistance, contact the Office of Student Financial Aid, 608-262-3060.

Pre-Medicine

Pre-medicine is not a major. College of Letters & Science students who wish to prepare for a career in medicine should enroll in courses which lead to completion of degree requirements in any major and simultaneously fulfill the pre-medical requirements of the medical school of their choice. Students considering a pre-medical program should go to the Center for Pre-Health Advising where they will receive information and advice as needed. See Center for Pre-Health Advising for more information.

See this link for information about courses that support the required and suggested course work for medical school. Students should keep in mind that this is a general guideline and requirements differ among medical schools.   

  • UW–Madison School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH), prerequisites can be found here.
  • For students planning to take the MCAT prior to March 2015, see this link for an academic planning guide.
  • For students planning to take the MCAT after March 2015, see this link for an academic planning guide.

Pre-Law

For more information, see the section on pre-law in this catalog. See also the Center for Pre-Law Advising and the Pre-Law for Badgers websites for more information.

Pre-Veterinary Medicine

Pre-veterinary medicine is not a major at UW–Madison. Students interested in pursuing a career in veterinary medicine are encouraged to choose a major of interest that can be pursued simultaneously while completing the 60 credits of required course work. Students may select an academic major in any school or college to be eligible for admission. One major does not have an advantage over another with respect to admission to veterinary school. For more information about pre-veterinary medicine and planning course work, contact the Academic Affairs Office, School of Veterinary Medicine, Room 2268, 2015 Linden Drive, 263-2525, or the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Room 116 Agricultural Hall.

Degree and Diploma Information

The College of Letters & Science offers the following degrees:

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Music*
  • Bachelor of Arts–Journalism*
  • Bachelor of Science–Journalism*
  • Bachelor of Social Work
  • Bachelor of Science–Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics*
  • Bachelor of Science–Chemistry (major for this degree is chemistry course rather than chemistry)*

*These specialized degree programs have requirements for completion distinct from the L&S BA/BS requirements.  Students who complete these requirements are awarded these degrees in lieu of the general Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science. More L&S degree information is available at this link.

A UW–Madison undergraduate diploma lists only the degree title. Diplomas do not list major(s) or certificate(s) students complete as undergraduates. Major and certificate information is located on a student's official UW–Madison transcript.

  • If a student is completing a bachelor of science degree with majors in history and economics, the degree on the student's diploma will be Bachelor of Science.
  • If a student is completing a bachelor of arts degree, majoring in psychology and journalism, the degree on the student's diploma will be Bachelor of Arts–Journalism.

Second Undergraduate Degree

Students are not permitted to earn two undergraduate liberal arts degrees. Students interested in earning a second undergraduate degree must consult an academic dean in the College of Letters & Science Academic Deans' Services (608-262-0617; Suite 110 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Drive). Please note that students who already have a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in general are not able to earn another B.A. or B.S. since two-thirds of their course work for the second degree will be the same.  Thus, a student who has a liberal arts degree with a science major is usually not considered a likely candidate for a second degree in the College of Letters & Science if the student wants to come back to do a second liberal arts degree in another humanities, social science, or natural science major.   Students who have earned a Music degree (MUS), for example, might be able to earn a B.A. or B.S..

Students admitted as candidates for a second undergraduate degree are subject to the L&S Academic Probation and Drop system. Requirements for admission to candidacy for a second degree are:

  1. An undergraduate degree earned at UW–Madison or elsewhere. The second degree should be substantially different from the first degree.  In other words, a student who has a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree would not be able to earn another B.A. or B.S. degree. Thus a student who already has a liberal arts degree with a liberal arts major such as Chemistry or Biology is not considered a likely candidate for a second liberal arts degree in the College of Letters & Science (L&S) if the student wants to come back to do a second liberal arts degree with another major offered within L&S such as Computer Science, Mathematics, or Spanish.
  2. Satisfaction of all basic admissions requirements to UW–Madison, including geometry.
  3. Submission of transcripts from all schools attended (especially if the first degree was not earned a UW–Madison). One set of transcripts must be sent to the Office of Admissions and Recruitment at UW–Madison and a second set of transcripts must be brought to the meeting with the academic dean in L&S Undergraduate Academic Services.
  4. Minimum of 3.0 GPA on first undergraduate degree program.  Course work at all colleges attended (including UW–Madison, if applicable) is used to calculate this GPA.
  5. A dean will check for math and foreign language deficiencies.
  6. Admission to the proposed major (completed major/certificate declaration form or department letter).   Please note that obtaining an endorsement from the department does not guarantee acceptance for a second undergraduate degree if the student does not meet the other criteria listed above.   If a student is lacking admission to or recommendation from the major department, the student could register as a University Special Student but may not register in the College of Letters & Science. 
  7. Written permission from an L&S academic dean.

To earn a second undergraduate degree from UW–Madison, students must:

  1. Satisfy all Letters & Science degree requirements.
  2. Satisfy all Quality of Work requirements.
  3. Complete at least 30 credits in Letters & Science at UW–Madison after the first degree has been awarded, regardless of whether or not the first degree was an L&S degree. Note that the second degree must be significantly different from the first.
  4. Complete a minimum of 108 Liberal Arts and Science credits which may include courses completed during the student's first degree program.

Residence Requirement

L&S students must complete 30 degree credits in residence after their 90th degree credit to complete the L&S residence requirement. Credit is considered "in residence" if it is earned for UW–Madison course work, including courses take in a study program program administered by UW–Madison. Courses that do not count as "in residence" include:

  • UW–Extension and other transfer credit
  • Courses completed at other UW system schools
  • Courses taken abroad through another institution
  • AP (Advanced Placement) credit
  • Credit by examination
  • Retroactive credit

To satisfy this requirement, degree candidates who have accumulated 90 credits must complete at least 30 more degree credits in residence before they may graduate.

Students must also complete at UW–Madison at least 15 credits in upper-level courses in their major(s).  For more information, see Residence Requirement in the Major.

International Students and Non-Native Speakers of English

English as a Second Language. Students for whom English is a second language must have a facility in English adequate for university work. Results of the ESL assessment test may require students to take one or more English courses in English as a Second Language.

An undergraduate non-native speaker of English tested and assigned to courses in English as a Second Language satisfies the General Education Communication Part A requirement through successful completion of English 118. Courses numbered English 110, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, and 122 do not carry degree credit in Letters & Science. Students may, however, be eligible to receive a total of 6 degree credits for English as a Second Language course work only with the specific authorization of an academic dean and only after successful completion of English 118.

Students transferring credit for English composition from another university are not eligible to receive any degree credit for English as a Second Language course work carried after successful completion of English 118.

Degree Requirements. In general, international students must complete the same degree requirements as any other entering student. The College of Letters & Science makes some exceptions to this policy: it may waive the foreign language requirement for the B.A. and B.S. degrees for students who are native speakers of a foreign language.

For the purpose of exemption from the foreign language requirement, a "native speaker" is a student who graduates from or completes a major portion (the equivalent of at least five semesters) of a secondary school in a non-English-speaking school system. Exemption is not automatic. Students who believe they may qualify for an exemption should contact the Office of Admissions and Recruitment or an L&S academic dean to determine how their language background may be applicable toward the foreign language requirement.

Students whose native language is not English may not receive degree credit for work in their native language through Credit by Examination except for literature credit.

Special Advisor. International students can receive advising information from their department advisors. The Office of International Student Services (716 Langdon Street, Room 217, 608-262-2044; iss@studentlife.wisc.edu) can also offer assistance and advising in noncurricular matters such as visa-related issues.

Air Force, Army, and Naval ROTC

All prospective students and enrolled students desiring to enroll in military science ROTC units should write to or consult the appropriate office for information regarding regular course offerings, summer camp programs, and scholarship availability. Some Air Force, Military Science, and Naval Science courses are designated as courses that satisfy L&S Liberal Arts and Science requirements; these courses are designated with a C in the Course Guide. L&S students who are enrolled in ROTC units may elect to use credits earned in courses without the C designation as free electives in the degree. (L&S students are allowed to count up to 12 credits of free electives in the degree; see Non-L&S Courses and L&S Degree Credit for more information.)

For more information, see Military Training Programs.