The Biology major is designed for students who are interested in a broad exposure to the concepts and methodologies of the biological sciences, as well as those interested in a more specific sub-discipline. It is a great choice for students interested in post-graduate careers in any biological science or health profession. It is also appropriate for students who think that a good knowledge of biology and the scientific process will help them in a non-biological career. This major may be completed in the College of Agricultural & Life Sciences or the College of Letters & Science.

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Named Options within the Major

Evolutionary Biology

Student and professor in lab with microscopes

The Evolutionary Biology Option allows Biology Majors to concentrate their studies in evolution and to have this reflected on their transcript. Since there is no Evolutionary Biology Major available at UW-Madison, this is the only mechanism to indicate specialization in this rapidly growing and popular field. Students will take courses that emphasize evolutionary biology, ranging from a required courses in fundamental evolutionary biology to more advanced optional courses that cover a wide range of evolutionary biology topics. They will also get to take a one-credit seminar course in evolutionary biology.

Who should enroll in this Option?

Students with broad interest in the biological sciences who want to:

  • Prepare for graduate study in evolutionary biology or related fields
  • Prepare for professional studies (e.g. medical school, veterinary school, dentistry)
  • Concentrate their biological studies in evolutionary biology

Plant Biology

Woman carrying tub of harvested plants

The Plant Biology Option allows Biology Majors to focus their studies on plant science and to have this reflected on their transcript. The Plant Biology Option allows students to pursue a course of study within the Biology major and explore plant biology at the same time. Students in this option can fulfill their requirements with courses that emphasize various aspects of plant science, including anatomy, physiology, genetics, crop production, disease resistance, and molecular techniques in plant improvement. Students also participate in a one credit seminar called Frontiers in Plant Science taught by two faculty from plant science departments.

Who should enroll in this Option?

Students with broad interest in biological sciences who also want to:  

  • Prepare for graduate work in a plant science field
  • Prepare for advanced study or graduate work in a natural or environmental science field
  • Concentrate their studies on the biology of plants