Planning Your Academic Pathway
Choosing a Major
With over 30 different majors in biological science disciplines, UW–Madison offers are a tremendous number of pathways to a degree in the biosciences. Some are very focused and others provide a broader overview. Majors are also associated with a school or college within the University, which adds requirements beyond the major and gives a particular "flavor" to the student experience.
Depending on the college or school you are in, you may have been required to declare a major upon entering UW–Madison or you may not be required to declare a major until much later in your undergraduate career. Even if you have declared one major, you can still explore other options. Many students switch to another major once they have a better idea of where their interests and the available options intersect.
To explore your academic options across campus, make use of the available advising resources. Declaring a major will increase the advising resources that are available to you and allow advisors to be more proactive in supporting you. Before you declare, you may need to be more proactive yourself in seeking assistance.
Introductory Biology Courses
Introductory courses can also help you explore your options and find out where your particular passions are in biology. In addition to the introductory courses required by your major (which many students don't take until their sophomore year), there are first-year courses that can get you involved in biology right away and allow you to explore.
If you're looking for more of a challenge, consider the honors options. There are options within particular majors, and there is also an intercollege honors program in biology, which provides a four-semester introductory biology sequence.
Beyond the Classroom
To enrich your academic pathway and really prepare yourself for a career or graduate or professional school, consider getting involved in beyond-the-classroom activities such as research, service, international studies, leadership, and internships. Student groups, learning communities, and other opportunities for networking and community can also provide key support for your studies. Sometimes the most fulfilling and formative experiences happen outside the classroom.
Career and Graduate and Professional School Resources
Exploring careers and post-graduate options isn't just valuable at the end of you academic career, it can help you shape your pathway so that it really suits your talents and goals. Visit the Careers and Graduate School pages of this site for more information and links. For professional school information, contact the Center for Pre-Health Advising.