CALS Curriculum FAQ

What is the new degree structure and what does it mean?

The four “general” Bachelor of Science degrees previously offered by CALS (BS Natural Sciences, BS Natural Resources, BS Agricultural Sciences, and BS International Ag & Natural Resources) have been collapsed into a single Bachelor of Science degree with streamlined requirements (see below for details), effective beginning in the Fall 2011 term. Students will no longer be admitted to the four general BS degrees.

The four “professional” BS degrees continue to be offered by CALS (BS Ag Business Management, BS Biological Systems Engineering, BS Dietetics, and BS Landscape Architecture) but include new college requirements (see below for details).

Where can I find the new curriculum sheets?

Curriculum sheets are posted at Curriculum Sheets & 4 year plans. Students with questions should consult their advisors. Advisors with questions should contact their department’s curriculum committee chair.

When will new DARS reports be available?

“What-if” DARS reports are available for all of the majors in the college under the BS degree.

When will new DARS reports be available?

“What-if” DARS reports are available for all of the majors in the college under the BS degree.

Will anyone be forced to switch to the new requirements?

No student will be forced to switch to the new requirements, though many students may find it to their advantage to do so. Students should consult their advisors to make an informed decision.

When can students switch to the new requirements?

Continuing students are currently able to switch to the new curriculum. New students will automatically enter under the new requirements.

How do students switch to the new requirements?

Download and complete the Curriculum Change Form from the Academic Affairs forms page. Please note that you will not be permitted to switch back to the old curriculum once this form is submitted.

What changes will I see in the new requirements?

For most continuing students the key changes are a reduction from 124 to 120 required degree credits and a change in the Economics and Social Science requirement (Economics is no longer required by the college, but Economics will be accepted for Social Science credits; note that some majors continue to require Economics courses). Many other requirements may appear in a different form on curriculum sheets and in DARS (e.g., they have moved from being a degree requirement to a major requirement), but this should not affect students’ actual course plans. Some majors have changed more than others, and so be sure to consult your advisor or department curriculum committee chair for details on your program.

What about the new First-Year Seminar Requirement?

New first-year students who enter UW-Madison are required to take a First-Year Seminar course (from a list of approved courses, including InterAg 155 and many others). Continuing CALS students who switch to the new requirements and students transferring into CALS after their first year, at least for the time being, are exempted from this requirement.

What should I do if I have a question that isn’t answered here?

Students should begin by contacting their advisors; faculty and staff should begin by contacting their curriculum committee chair in the department. Additional assistance and information is available via the Office of Academic Affairs at