Majors & Certificates

A major defines a student’s primary area of study. Incoming undergraduate students are encouraged to declare a major to ensure they are assigned an academic advisor specializing in their area of interest. Changing majors during the course of studies is not uncommon, and is encouraged if academic or professional goals change. First-year students who are undecided about their path may opt to remain “undeclared” while exploring their options, in which case they would be assigned a transitional advisor until a major is declared.  Information about each major, requirements and courses are available through the Guide.


A certificate is a series of courses in a related discipline that can be completed in addition to a major, generally requiring fewer courses. Certificates at UW-Madison are similar to minors at other universities. Below is a list of certificates that are administered through CALS, but there are 65 certificates across campus, most of which are available to CALS students.


…But you know that you have an interest and an aptitude for the life sciences or agricultural sciences? You have come to the right place!

As a first-year student in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences you can explore our majors as an “undeclared” student. You will be assigned an advisor who specializes in working with students who are narrowing down their interests on their way to declaring a major. In your first semesters, you can complete college-level requirements while taking courses to determine where your passions lie.

Contact CALS Academic Affairs at or 608-262-3003.