Degree Requirements

University General Education Requirements and College Breadth Requirements

UW-Madison General Education Requirements – for specific requirements, see the Undergraduate Catalog.

a. Communication — The University has written and oral communication skill requirements (Part A and Part B).

 b. Quantitative Reasoning — The University has quantitative reasoning skill requirements (Part A and Part B).

 c. Ethnic Studies
(3 cr.) — The ethnic studies requirement is intended to increase understanding of the culture and contributions of persistently marginalized racial or ethnic groups in the United States, and to equip students to respond constructively to issues connected with our pluralistic society and global community.

College of Letters and Sciences (L&S) — For general B.S. degree requirements, see the L&S section in the Undergraduate Catalog.

 a. Foreign Language — Three years of high school or the third level in one language.

 b. Mathematics — Two 3 credit courses at the Intermediate level (satisfied by courses in major)

 c. Breadth
— Exploration in the Liberal Arts & Sciences

    1. Humanities — classified H,L, X, or Z (12 credits -- 6 credits must be from Literature)
      2. Social Studies — classified S, W, Y, or Z (12 credits)
        3. Natural Science — satisfied by courses in major (16 credits)

      College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) —For general B.S. requirements, see the CALS section in the Undergraduate Catalog.

       a. Social Sciences and Humanities — Total 9 credits

        1. Humanities — classified H, L, X, or Z (6 credits)
          2. Social Sciences — classified as S, W, Y, or Z (3 credits)

         b. International Studies — 3 credits (see CALS list of approved courses). Course may also meet other curricular requirement.

         c. First-Year Seminar — 1 credit (see CALS list of approved courses)

        Major requirements For Both CALS and L&S

        A minimum of 25 credits (22 credits for students taking Chem 109 and 329 or 327), including general chemistry and quantitative analysis (Chem 103, 104, 327), at least 8 credits of organic chemistry (343 and 345) including a laboratory (344), and 5 credits of Physical Chemistry (565 and 563)*. Students who are advised to do so on the basis of an excellent high school chemistry and math background can meet the general and quantitative chemistry requirement by completing Chem 109 and 329. Students who complete Chem 115 and 116 will be exempt from analytical chemistry (Chem 327 or 329).

        *In fall 2013, the physical chemistry requirement was reduced to 4 credits (565, or 563 and 561).  Please consult the undergraduate advisor regarding applicable requirements based on your major declaration date.

        One year of calculus-based college physics, preferably courses 207-208 (prerequisite for Physical Chemistry).

        Math 221 and 222 (or 275 and 276) are required, and for students planning on graduate school, Stats 301 or 371 is highly recommended.

        A minimum of 16 credits of courses in biology. This requirement can be satisfied by taking Biocore 301, 303, 323, 333 plus any two Biocore labs or by taking 16 credits of Biology including one year of Introductory Biology (Zool. 151 and 152) and advanced courses from Genetics (466), Bacteriology (303, 304), Botany, Physiology, Zoology or any approved 300 level Biology course.  See the Advanced Biology Courses page for all courses that could count towards the advanced biology requirement

        A minimum of 8 credits, to be selected from 500 and 600 series courses offered in the department. Must include Biochem 651 and either A) Biochemistry 507/508 or B) Biochemistry 501 plus 2 additional Biochemistry credits.


        Suggested electives would include additional study in foreign language or additional chemistry, biology or mathematics courses; for example, additional physical chemistry, advanced analytical chemistry, advanced calculus, differential equations, statistics, advanced genetics, bacteriology and other biology courses. Students planning on graduate work in Biochemistry should take second semester physical chemistry.

        Biochemistry Courses

        The recommended sequence of courses includes Biochem 507 or 501 in the first semester of the junior year, and 508 (if taking 507) in the second semester of the junior year, Biochem 651 in the fall or spring of the senior year, and additional biochemistry courses if needed to make a total of at least 8 credits in any of the last three semesters. This sequence will give the student some contact with the department in his/her junior year, and, along with their chemistry courses, provide a strong background for graduate work in biochemistry or biological sciences.

        Students should be aware that some of the biochemistry courses are not offered every semester and to consult Course Guide for offering of courses other than the general biochemistry courses. The courses which have been most often used by undergraduates to satisfy the remainder of their requirement have been Biochem. 510, 550, 575, 621, 625, and 630.

        Students planning on a senior thesis should note that it must be taken for at least 2 credits each semester of the senior year and that a minimum of 3 to 4 hours per week per credit will be required. A higher number of hours per week may be set by the supervising faculty member. It is also the responsibility of the student to have arranged with a member of the department to supervise his/her project before signing up for these credits. Some practical research laboratory experience is highly desirable. Biochemistry majors should consider part-time or summer jobs in Biochemistry or related departments. There are also a number of NSF sponsored summer programs at various universities that provide excellent training.

        Also check the course descriptions for [Biology] [Chemistry] [Physics] & [Math]


Copyright 2014 – This page last modified 9/18/2013

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