FAQs

Here is a list of questions students commonly ask. You should always feel free to come to 116 Ag Hall to see the Dean on Call if you have any questions.

How do I change my major to a different major in CALS?

CALS students can change majors within the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences by completing a Change of Major form. Students should:

  1. Print out a DARS report from MyUW to see the “what if” requirements of the new major.
  2. Talk to an advisor in the department of the new major to review requirements.
  3. Print off Change of Major form and obtain an advisor’s signature
  4. Submit form to the Academic Affairs office located in 116 Ag Hall.

How do I declare a double major or dual degree?

Applicants and Incoming Students
There are various combinations of dual degrees and majors you can pursue, but all follow the same process:

  1. Print out a DARS report from MyUW to see the “what if” requirements of the new major or degree
  2. Talk to an advisor in the department of the new major or degree to review requirements.
  3. Print off the appropriate form and obtain the required signatures
  4. Submit form to the Academic Affairs office located in 116 Ag Hall.

Refer to the Undergraduate Catalog for specific policies and contact the Dean on Call if you have any questions.

What happens if my academic progress is not satisfactory?

Students with unsatisfactory performance will have an academic action notation on their grade report and transcript. The type of action taken depends on the GPA and the number of semesters of poor academic performance. A detailed explanation of the academic actions for CALS is available in the Undergraduate Catalog.
If you are concerned regarding your academic progress, contact your advisor or the Dean on Call.

How can I appeal if I am unhappy with an action that has been taken on my record?

First, talk to your advisor. Discuss your situation and a plan of action. Students with unusual circumstances may appeal to the Scholastic Policies and Actions Committee (SPAC). If you wish to request a substitution or have your case heard by SPAC, you should speak to the staff in the Office of Academic Affairs to learn of the committee meeting times, deadlines to file an appeal, and to make an appointment. Appeals may be written or in-person. Students will need to submit a SPAC request to the committee prior to their appearance explaining their request and the reason for it. Students should also ask their advisors to provide a letter indicating their assessment of the situation.

Under what circumstances may a late drop or withdrawal be considered?

A Dean’s permission to drop a class after the deadline is granted only under highly unusual circumstances beyond the student’s control. Examples would be serious illness or injury resulting in substantial class time missed, death of a close relative, and serious family emergencies.

What do I do if the results of an exam that may affect my decision to drop a class will not be returned in time to make a good decision before the drop deadline?

If you will not be able to make a decision on dropping a course by the end of the 9th week of class you should see your advisor, prior to that date. Discuss your situation with your advisor. If your advisor agrees with your need to defer the decision on dropping a class until after the end of the 9th week you should visit the Office of Academic Affairs and discuss your situation with a Dean. The Dean’s decision on how to proceed will be made on a case-by-case basis for each student. Any decision to allow a deferral for a drop must be made prior to the drop deadline and must have an advisor’s support. Otherwise we will assume that you have had ample time to make a decision and we will not extend the deadline except under the most unusual cases and only for circumstances over which you have no control.

How do I take a class pass/fail?

Continuing students with at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA, new freshmen, and new transfer students may elect one pass/fail course each semester, with a maximum of sixteen (16) credits during their undergraduate career. Courses graded with the pass/fail system cannot be used to satisfy any of the university, college, degree program, or major requirements.

  1. Go to your Student Center in MyUW and click on the Student Center link.
  2. Click on Course Enrollment on the left hand side under Academics.
  3. Click on the upper right hand tab entitled “Term Information”.
  4. Click on the Course Change Request.
  5. Your classes will appear with checkboxes next to them. Click the box of the class you wish to declare Pass/Fail.
  6. This will expand and give options. Choose Add Pass/Fail (or “Remove” to remove Pass/Fail).
  7. Click save and print.

You do not need to print the form and obtain your advisor’s signature, even if prompted. You will be notified via email regarding the status of your request.

Note: After approval, the student cannot change the grading back to the conventional (A, AB, etc.) basis. The grade is excluded from the GPA. Students are warned that although a grade of D carries credit under the conventional system, it carries no degree credit when it is converted to a grade of U under the pass/fail privilege. Students in pre-professional programs for veterinary medicine, medicine, and graduate studies are cautioned not to take work that is required or recommended for their desired programs on a pass/fail basis.

Can I change my advisor?

CALS students may request a change of advisor at any time. Download and complete a Major and Advisor Declaration from the Academic Affairs Forms page. Take this form to your department office and tell them that you want to change advisors; they will assign you a new advisor. Meet with your new advisor and have him/her sign the Declaration form. Then return the form to 116 Ag. Hall.

Can I take more than 18 credits?

CALS students need to obtain permission from their advisor(s) and the Office of Academic Affairs by completing the credit overload request form. For each credit over 18 (or the maximum allowed during summer session), you will be assessed a per credit charge. See the Office of the Registrar’s Tuition & Fees for more information on fee assessment.

How do I get authorized for 299, 699 or other Independent Study classes?

Students wishing to take independent study classes will need to get permission from the faculty advisors. The faculty members will give the student the name of the person in his or her department who is responsible for entering the authorization for students for independent study classes into the registration system. Once this has been done, that person will give the student the 5 digit registration number and the student will need to add the class using the Student Center in My UW.

How do I enroll for credit in an unpaid field study, internship, or independent study course over the summer term?

Students are responsible for initiating and developing arrangements with the instructor. Students make the request to the instructor, who may accept or decline. The arrangements should be made by the course add deadline, usually the end of the second week for fall and spring semesters, and varying dates throughout the summer sessions. The student and the instructor prepare a written study plan (see section E of full policy) and determine the time and place for regular meetings, the number of credits to be earned, and how to enroll in the course.

Students who enroll late need additional approvals. Enrollments after the course add deadline (the end of the second week of class in fall and spring semesters; consult appropriate sources for summer sessions) but within the first half of the semester require approval from the instructor and departmental administration. Students who enroll after the semester is more than half completed must have the approval from the instructor, the departmental administrator or designee, and an academic dean. The written study plan is one document that will be used as a basis for approval. Approval should only be given if the study plan is appropriate for the amount of work that can be accomplished at the late date in the semester, recognizing that the work for the specified number of credits must now fit into a compressed time frame.

A student may not enroll for directed study for a prior semester once the semester has ended, including work completed over the summer term. Exceptions may be made for students who were enrolled in other directed/independent study courses or group instruction courses in the prior semester that were converted to directed/independent study courses; requires dean’s office approval.

For more information, please visit the complete Policy on Directed/Independent Study for Undergraduates.

How do I get authorized to take a business course?

CALS students with the following program codes: ABM (Ag Business Management), ADI (Dietetics), ASB (Ag Sciences, Business option) and ALS with a business track (General CALS BS in Food Science and Soil Science) are required to complete business courses.Students with these academic majors will have the opportunity to enroll after the School of Business, but before the general campus based only on their academic code. Note: Priority-enrollment only applies to the following School of Business courses: AcctIS 211 & 301, GenBus 300 & 301, Finance 300, Marketing 300 and MHR 300 & 305.

How do I apply for CALS scholarships?

Apply through Scholarships@UW-Madison. Filling out one application allows you to apply for all the scholarships that CALS awards. The scholarship application window for the following academic year generally runs from November 1 through February 1.

How do I transfer into CALS from another program on the UW-Madison campus?

Students will be considered for transfer into the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences from other schools and colleges at UW–Madison if they:

  • are in good academic standing with the college or school in which they are enrolled,
  • meet any special requirements as specified by the intended major, and
  • have earned fewer than 86 credits, which is the threshold for senior status.

Students who have been dropped by another college or school must be readmitted to that college or school before being considered for transfer into the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. However, being readmitted for transfer purposes by another school or college does not guarantee acceptance by CALS.

Ideally, transfers should be initiated in advance of the semester in which enrollment is planned. However, students may transfer between approximately the second and twelfth week of classes. Students may only transfer during the summer session if they are enrolled in summer courses. The window of time in which transfers are permitted is determined by the Registrar. Consult the Office of Academic Affairs for details.

How do I apply Short Course credits to my four-year degree?

If you are a BS degree student who has taken Farm and Industry Short Course classes, or are a current Short Course student planning to pursue a four-year degree from CALS, you may apply a maximum of 15 Short Course credits toward your degree. To do this, request a transcript from the Short Course office (116 Ag Hall, 608-263-3918) and ask to have your credits transferred.

How can I get pre-med, pre-vet, pre-law, or other pre-professional advising?

The Center for Pre-Health Advising provides advising services for all students planning to enter health related professional programs such as medical, veterinary, dental, PA, and PT programs. The Letters & Science Advising Center offers pre-law advising for all undergraduates at UW-Madison.

What are the CALS field trip policies?

The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences encourages departments and faculty to offer field trips and other experiences that will enhance student learning. Departments may schedule and organize the field trips as appropriate for the course. Funds for field trips have been added to department supply and expense budgets.It is the policy of the College that if a field trip is a required part of a course, the requirement must be stated in the Course Guide. The student may not be charged an extra fee to cover the costs of travel. The student may be required to pay personal costs of food or lodging.

What are the CALS policies on special fees for courses?

  • CALS adopts, in total, the UW System policy on Special Course Fees (General Administrative Policy Paper 29, 10/23/91).
  • Section III-B of the UW System policy describes the situations in which a special course fee MAY be charged. CALS adopts the following additional conditions that must be met in order to charge a special course fee:
    • Teaching the course must require an extraordinary cost, well beyond the level that can reasonably be funded by the normal supply and expense budget of the department.
    • These extraordinary costs cannot be covered as “incidentals” to the course, as specified in Section III-D of the UW System policy.
    • The course clearly cannot be offered without the special charge.
  • In dealing with requests for a special course fee, the dean will make a written determination, acting as the designee of the UW Madison Chancellor under Section IV of the UW System policy.

What are university-wide policies I should also be aware of?