Welcome to the Department of Biological Sciences at UWM. For additional information, please refer to the guidelines for admission into UWM for: Incoming Freshman or Transfer Students. You may also be interested in the information on financial assistance to students and their families.
This program provides a strong foundation in all areas of biology and the natural sciences, including course, laboratory and research opportunities in evolution, aquatic and terrestrial ecology, behavior, microbiology, cell and molecular biology, physiology, developmental biology, neurobiology and biotechnology. Curricula can be tailored to fit the unique interests and professional goals of the student. The Department of Biological Sciences provides the basic requirements for entrance into a variety of fast-growing careers related to biology, the bio-medical health professions, as well as preparation for graduate school.Course of Study
The biological sciences major requires a minimum of 34 credits in biology, of which 26 credits must be taken at the advanced (300 and above) level, with at least 15 of those advanced credits taken in residence at UWM. Students must complete at least 18 credits in laboratory courses. No more than 8 credits in 100-level courses in biological sciences may be applied toward the major, and students may not combine 150, 202, and 203 for more than 9 credits toward the major. Students must maintain an average GPA of 2.5 in biological sciences courses attempted at UWM. In addition, students must attain a 2.5 GPA on all major credits attempted, including transfer work.
Understanding biology depends on a strong background in the natural sciences. Accordingly, one semester of college mathematics (at the level of Math 105 for a Bachelor of Arts or Math 211, 221, 225/226, or 231 [calculus] for a Bachelor of Science), one year of physics lecture (Physics 120 and 122 or equivalent), one semester of physics lab (121 or above), and either the introductory survey of organic chemistry with lab (Chem 341, 342) or the two-semester organic sequence with one lab (Chem 343, 344, 345) are required. Students who plan to attend graduate or professional schools are advised strongly to take the one-year sequence of organic chemistry with lab, a course in biochemistry, and two semesters of calculus.
The following Biological Science courses are required:
- Biological Foundations I & II (Bio Sci 150 & 152) (4cr. each) which provide a broad introduction to biology and the major. To build on this foundation we require the following Gateway Courses:
- Genetics (Bio Sci 325) 3cr
- and either
- General Ecology (Bio Sci 310) 4cr
- or both
- Cell Biology (Bio Sci 315) 3cr
Laboratory in Genetics and Cell Biology (Bio Sci 316) 1cr
- Research Requirement: one of Bio Sci 611, 670, 671, or CES 490 (a senior seminar); Honors 686, 687, or 689 (Honors research, project, or thesis); or Bio Sci 698 or 699 (independent study).
- Electives to reach a total of 26 upper division credits and 18 credits in laboratory courses.
Within the biological sciences major, it is possible to concentrate on a particular area of biology, such as plant or animal sciences, molecular biology, animal physiology, ecology, evolution, or environmental biology. Prospective biological science majors are requested to consult with a faculty advisor as early as possible, preferably after completion of BioSci 152, in order to outline an appropriate course of study. A list of faculty advisors related to a student's area of interest is available below or from the Biological Sciences Department office. All students should consult their advisor at least once each semester.
Procedures for Processing a Declaration of Major:
- Obtain and complete a Declaration of Major Form from the Department of Biological Sciences office (Lapham Hall S181).
- Select a Departmental Advisor in your area of interest and set up an advising appointment by sending an email to your prospective advisor.
- Take the Declaration of Major Form and an up-to-date student copy of your transcripts to your advising appointment. After this initial meeting, you should meet regularly with your Departmental Advisor to discuss your progress.
- Return the signed form to the office staff in Lapham Hall S181. The staff will obtain the Department Chair’s signature and forward the form to the College of Letters and Science.
- The student must also meet each semester with their College of Letters & Science advisor (in Holton Hall) who will monitor their progress towards completion of the L&S requirements.
Students interested in ecology can choose the interdisciplinary major in Conservation and Environmental Science:
Honors in the Major
Students in biological sciences who meet all of the following criteria are awarded honors in the major upon graduation:
1. 3.5 cumulative GPA in all UWM graded credits;
2. 3.75 GPA in UWM courses counting toward the major;
3. complete a laboratory or field research independent study (Bio Sci 698 or 699) or internship (Bio Sci 489 or Env St 489).
Students who believe they may qualify for honors in Biological Sciences should apply to the Department during their last semester of study.