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School of Human Ecology

Undergraduate Study in Human Ecology

B.S. Degree Program
Requirements Common to All Majors in the School
Requirements for Graduation
Dean's Honor List
Graduation with Distinction
Honors Convocation
Honors Program

B.S. Degree Program

Curricular options across departments provide professional training for many human ecology-related occupations. The official list of majors with their associated degrees shows the breadth of education available to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the School of Human Ecology. All undergraduate students who complete degree majors graduate from the school with a bachelor of science degree.

Students entering a SoHE bachelor of science degree program will be required to earn a minimum of 120 credits. Previously enrolled students interested in requesting a catalog year change to adopt the 120-credit rule will need to meet with an academic advisor to determine if there are benefits to such a request. Students who opt for a catalog year change will be required to meet all curriculum requirements of the newer catalog year.


Nine undergraduate majors are available in the school. Students should consult the following general education and department specific requirements for each major. Curriculum checksheets for each major are available online through Student Academic Affairs. Checksheets are updated annually and include all graduation requirements for students entering the major during a given academic year. Students who need to change to a more recent checksheet should contact their advisor.

The majors are:

Requirements Common to All Majors in the School

General Education Requirements

General education requirements must be met by all students whose first college matriculation date is May 20, 1996, or thereafter.

General Studies, 40 credits minimum

Communication A, Literacy Proficiency

3 credits at first-year level dedicated to reading, listening, and discussion with an emphasis on writing

Communication B, Enhancing Literary Proficiency

3 credits of more advanced course work

Communication, 2–3 credits

Speech communication

Humanities, 9 credits

Literature, 3 cr
Additional humanities, 6 cr
American or English literature or comparative literature; or literature in translation; or, if in a foreign language, literature courses beyond the intermediate level.

The school will accept as humanities credit courses from the following areas or departments: art, art history, classics, English, foreign languages (including beginning languages), cultural history, history of science, integrated liberal studies, literature (including comparative literature), music (including applied music), philosophy, communication arts, studies of cultures—e.g., African studies, East Asian studies, Hebrew and Semitic studies, South Asian studies, Scandinavian studies.

Social Sciences, 9–15 credits

Sociology, 3 cr
Psychology, 3 cr
Anthropology, 3 cr
Economics, 3–4 cr

Sciences, 9–12 credits

Biological, Physical, and Natural Sciences, 9 credits
Although this is the overall school requirement for this area, most majors require additional credits or courses.

Human Ecology Breadth Requirement, 3–9 credits*

3–9 credits in the School of Human Ecology taken outside the major

Ethnic Studies, 3 credits

Students are required to complete a 3-credit ethnic studies course.

Major Requirements and Electives

Minimum total for graduation: 120 credits with no fewer than 25 credits taken within the School of Human Ecology.

Requirements for Graduation

The bachelor of science (B.S.) degree granted by the School of Human Ecology requires a minimum total of 120 credits, with a minimum of 25 credits in the school. To remain in good scholastic standing, students must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0. A 2.0 cumulative GPA must be earned by the end of the senior year in order to be recommended for a B.S. degree. Some majors may require a higher GPA for graduation.

A bachelor of science degree and state of Wisconsin teacher license for majors in family, consumer and community education requires 120 credits and a cumulative grade point average of 2.5, with a cumulative grade point average of 2.75 required in the major courses.

The School of Human Ecology will graduate a student at the end of the semester (spring, summer, or fall) in which all SoHE major requirements are complete. Graduation will not be postponed for incomplete additional major(s), certificate program (s), specialization(s), study abroad, or honors program(s). It is the student's responsibility to prepare for graduation and to ensure that all graduation requirements have been met. Students expecting to graduate and/or participate in commencement exercises should declare their intent through the My UW Student Center while registering for their final semester of courses. The Student Academic Affairs Office offers information sessions each semester, approximately eight weeks before graduation. It is essential that students follow graduation procedures for a diploma to be awarded. Advisors in the Student Academic Affairs Office are available to answer questions related to graduation requirements.


Information about participating in the commencement ceremonies at UW–Madison is available from the Office of the Secretary of the Faculty or by attending the Wisconsin Alumni Association "Countdown to Commencement." Each semester the complimentary SoHE Dean's Breakfast for Graduating Seniors is held before the commencement ceremony. Invitations are sent to graduating seniors with information about how to register for the breakfast. It is the student's responsibility to register for the breakfast, to invite family members to attend the ceremony, and to indicate the number of guests who will attend.

Dean's Honor List

At the end of each semester the names of all students with a grade point average of 3.25 or higher in at least 12 graded credits for that semester will be included on the Dean's Honor List. Students earning a grade point average of 3.75 or higher will be given recognition of Dean's High Honors. The dean's list will be posted in the School of Human Ecology. A notation of "Dean's Honor List" or "Dean's High Honors" will be entered on the student's transcript.

Graduation with Distinction

"Graduation with Distinction" will appear on the transcripts of students who have earned a cumulative grade point average that places them within the top 20 percent of students graduating that term in their school or college with 60 credits or more at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Students in the top 5 percent will receive the designation "Graduation with Highest Distinction." The registrar determines whether students meet these criteria. Notations citing graduation distinction will be made on the diplomas and transcripts of students who complete degree requirements.

Honors Convocation

Whenever an honors convocation is scheduled, students will be invited to participate in the honors convocation if they are expected to graduate and either have a cumulative grade point average that places them in the top 20 percent of the students in the college or school in which they are enrolled and have earned 60 credits or more at the University of Wisconsin–Madison or are candidates for an honors degree—whether or not they are in the top 20 percent of their class.

Honors Program

The School of Human Ecology Honors Program provides an opportunity for students to pursue course work in greater depth than is possible in regular courses. The honors program is a schoolwide program open to students regardless of major. Honors program members are eligible to enroll in courses offered for honors-only credit, to participate in campuswide activities for honors program students, and to apply for special research-funding opportunities. Upon completion of the honors program requirements and degree requirements, the student will receive an honors degree from the School of Human Ecology. The transcript for a SoHE honors student who does not complete all honors degree requirements will have the honors designation next to honors courses completed.

For additional information about the Honors Program including admission, requirements, credits, and honors thesis, contact the Student Academic Affairs Office, School of Human Ecology, 1194 Nancy Nicholas Hall, 1300 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706; 608-262-2608.