Tools for a Successful Start in the Biosciences
UW-Madison offers numerous opportunities for students to make a smoother transition to campus. Several of these opportunities are highlighted below. Sometimes a particular major might have a first-year seminar or student organization focused to a particular program. Visit the Choosing a Major section for further major-specific opportunities.
Before Classes Start
MadBiology Bootcamp: offers incoming first-year students a pre-college taste of the biosciences at UW-Madison. Designed specifically for first-generation college students and others who may benefit from extra preparation, this program builds social connections as well as knowledge and skills.
Wisconsin Basecamp: UW–Madison’s optional wilderness-based orientation program for incoming freshmen and transfer students. The self-supporting program offers a variety of outdoor-based trips for students the summer before they start at UW-Madison.
Courses for First-Year Students
Exploring Biology (Biology 375): a two-credit course specifically designed for first-year students interested in the biosciences. It exposes students to the richness of bioscience research at UW–Madison, gives an overview of the "big ideas" of biology, and helps students learn more about career options in the biosciences. Students sign up for Exploring Biology at SOAR, just like any other course.
First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs): a learning community of about 20 students with similar interests who are enrolled in a cluster of classes together. The courses for each FIG are linked by a common theme. Some examples of themes are Bioenergy: Sustainability, Opportunities, and Challenges; Global Food Security; and The Physiology of Human Performance. Students sign up for FIGS at SOAR.
Wisconsin Experience Seminar (CP 125): a one-credit course open to all new freshmen and transfer students (in designated sections) that will complement the rest of your coursework, familiarizing you with the university, life as a new student, and campus resources. Students who enroll in this course tend to report greater satisfaction with their first-year at UW–Madison. Students sign-up for CP 125 at SOAR.
Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (URS): helps first-year undergraduates get hands-on experience in research or other creative endeavors by working closely with UW faculty and research staff. This experience is a two-semester-long commitment with applications opening in May for the Fall term. Students need to apply to the program directly for admission.
Finding a Mentor
Creating Excellence in Leadership in Science (CELS): a mentoring program for undergraduate students at UW–Madison, founded by the CMB (Cellular and Molecular Biology) Graduate Program Diversity Committee. The program has multiple goals, including introducing undergraduate students in the biological sciences to the culture of science and the laboratory research atmosphere and establishing a mentoring relationship with graduate students pursuing their Ph.D. in the biological sciences. For more information or to apply, email email@example.com