Apply to CALS!

We are so excited that you are interested in applying to CALS! Make sure you select a CALS major as your first choice major when applying!

UW-Madison has a central Office of Admissions and Recruitment for all students that reviews and processes all applications for the university.

First-year applicants can apply using either the Common Application or the UW System Application. There is no preference between applications. Transfer students can apply using the  UW System Application.

Application deadlines vary based on application type, you can review a full list of application deadline and decision timelines on the Office of Admissions & Recruitment website.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) for first-year and transfer applicants can be found at the bottom of this page. If you are interested in applying as a re-entry student or second degree student, please review the information provided on the Office of Admissions & Recruitment website.

Looking for more information about CALS? Check out our visit us page for more ways to connect with CALS.

Quick Facts


Academic Majors plus an undecided option


CALS students participate in internships, co-ops, employment or volunteering

> $1.2M

In CALS Scholarships Awarded Annually


Countries Students can choose from to study abroad

CALS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I create a strong application?expand_more

  • Select a CALS major as your first choice major on the application
  • In the essay asking why you want to attend UW-Madison, be sure to describe why you want to study in CALS
  • In the activities section, list all relevant experiences you have, anything that you have done outside of classes including volunteering, student organizations, working for your family farm or business, translating for your family, other work experience, etc.

The Office of Admissions & Recruitment provides additional information on application requirements and what they look for in their holistic application review process.

Which major should I select on my application to increase my chances of being admitted to UW-Madison?expand_more

CALS programs do not have admissions quotas and admissions decisions at UW-Madison are not based on the major or degree program a student has indicated interest in on their application. While decisions are not based on major, we do strongly encourage students who are interested in studying in CALS to list a CALS major as their first choice major on the application.

Does UW-Madison accept AP/IB/CLEP/A-Level scores and dual enrollment credit?expand_more

Yes! Once you are admitted, university staff will begin working to evaluation your test scores and any college coursework to create your transfer credit evaluation. This evaluation will be used during the Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) program to help advisors support you as you enroll for your first-semester courses.

Can I be pre-medicine, pre-law, or pre-veterinary through CALS?expand_more

Yes! There is no pre-health “major” at UW-Madison. Instead, students have the flexibility to choose a major that most interests them and they complete coursework for a health professions or law program alongside that major. We have students in every CALS major that pursue pre-medicine, pre-law, pre-veterinary medicine, and a variety of other health professions programs. These students find support from their major advisors, career advisors, and the Center for Pre-Health Advising or Center for Pre-Law Advising to ensure they are gaining the experience needed to be strong applicants for professional programs.

Can I visit CALS? How do I learn more about CALS?expand_more

Yes! Please review our visit us page for detailed information on how to participate in our in-person or virtual information sessions, to schedule a group visit, or to connect to one of our CALS Ambassadors!

Why CALS? What makes CALS unique?expand_more

CALS is unique in our intentional integration of in-classroom and co-curricular activities to support development of our students into leading scientific minds who are suited to take on the toughest challenges faced by society. We do this through our five signature experiences: make a strong start, gain a global perspective, customize your path of study, learn through hands-on real world experiences, and build your community and networks. We have a strong team of academic advisors and faculty who specialize in supporting students in CALS areas of study and because we are a smaller college, students are more likely to build personal relationships with staff and faculty in our college.

Do you still have questions? Contact our CALS Student Ambassadors at or plan a visit!

I’m interested in a major that is offered in both CALS and Letters & Science (L&S). What is the difference?expand_more

Biology, biochemistry, and environmental sciences are considered “shared majors” which are offered in both CALS and L&S. The major-specific requirements are the same regardless of college but the CALS college level requirements are more focused on the sciences and students are required to take fewer literature, humanities, and social science coursework. As long as you have completed the UW-Madison minimum world language requirements for admission, you will not be required to take additional world language as a CALS student. Students in both colleges have the same potential job outcomes and opportunity to gain admittance to graduate and professional schools, including medical school.

So how do you pick the right college for you? Learn more about what makes CALS unique and review this shared majors comparison document.

For in-depth questions, please contact

Transfer Student Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How will my credits transfer to UW-Madison?expand_more

The Office of the Registrar evaluates credit for incoming transfer students. They do not pre-evaluate courses for prospective students, but students can utilize Transferology to see how courses may transfer to UW-Madison. If you are admitted to the university, you will receive a detailed transfer credit evaluation that outlines exactly how your credits will transfer to UW-Madison and you will work with an advisor during the Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) program to create a first semester schedule based on your prior credits. Students can also earn Credit by Exam.

For help in finding and interpreting UW-Madison equivalencies that you find on Transferology, check out the guide to Understanding Transferology Equivalencies.

Tip: Save your syllabi for every course at your current institution! They may be needed if you wish to appeal an evaluation decision.

What resources and support are available for UW-Madison transfer students?expand_more

CALS transfer students get access to academic, career, and study abroad advising from day one to support you as you adjust to UW-Madison and to help you get the most out of your UW experience and prepare you for your life after graduation. Transfer students also have access to campus-wide resources including tutoring, volunteering opportunities, the Center for Pre-Health Advising, Center for Pre-Law Advising, over 1000 student organizations (including 30+ based in CALS!), University Health Services, Recreation and Wellbeing, and more!

UW-Madison’s Transfer Transition Program is another resource that is available to all prospective and admitted transfer students. They have a wealth of resources to help make your transfer as smooth as possible including a study space and tutoring at the Transfer Engagement Center (TEC), community building events exclusively for transfer students, and connections across campus to help support transfer students.

I have specific questions about the transfer admissions process or application. Who can help me?expand_more

If you still have questions about these processes after reviewing the Office of Admissions & Recruitment’s website, you can schedule a 30-minute virtual meeting with a Transfer Admissions Counselor to discuss specific questions. Please note: they are not able to provide academic advising during this meeting.

What courses should I take prior to transferring?expand_more

Students are encouraged to complete general education and breadth coursework in areas like humanities and social sciences if possible. Students are strongly encouraged to use Transferology to identify courses at their first institution that have already been approved to transfer to UW-Madison as a starting point for coursework in foundational math and science areas.

You can schedule a 30-minute virtual meeting with a Transfer Admissions Counselor to discuss specific questions you may have about transferring credit.

Ready to apply?

Have Questions?

Contact our CALS Student Ambassadors by emailing, filling out this form, or planning a visit!

Office of Academic Affairs

116 Agricultural Hall
1450 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706

Office Hours: 7:45am – 4:30pm

For current & prospective student general inquiries:
Phone: 608.262.3003