Wildlife Ecology Undergraduate Learning Goals

  1. Define and explain basic principles in biological sciences and major concepts in wildlife ecology including population ecology, organismal biology, plant ecology/taxonomy, and genetics/evolution.
  2. Explain and discuss principles of wildlife management including natural resource legislation, policy, and applications.
  3. Explain and apply the scientific methods including designing and conducting experiments and testing hypotheses. 
  4. Explain and demonstrate techniques for collection of data in laboratory and field settings, keep accurate records, and analyze data to address hypotheses.
  5. Demonstrate a style appropriate for communicating scientific results in written and oral form. Provide opportunity to develop these communication skills. 

Return to top

How to Declare

To declare the Wildlife Ecology major students must contact the Student Services Coordinator (Sara Rodock, 608-262-9926, 276 Russell Labs, 1630 Linden Dr, appointment link for current UW-Madison students). From there students will need to go to Room 116 Agriculture Hall to declare the major. Current College of Agricultural and Life Science (CALS) students will just need to fill out a declaration form. Students in another college (Engineering, L&S , etc) will need to attend a transfer session. For general information on admissions to the University of Wisconsin-Madison please visit the Undergraduate Admissions website

Return to top

Wildlife Ecology Major Requirements

Current Wildlife Ecology Major Requirements

Wildlife Ecology students complete the CALS degree requirements, the common major requirements and one of two tracks. The Wildlife Ecology major tracks are Natural Sciences and Natural Resources. The Natural Sciences track allows students to complete 14-15 credits of basic math and science courses that might be useful for graduate school or wildlife biologist certification through the Wildlife Society. The Natural Resources track allows students to complete 14-17 credits of courses focused on management, resources and conservation.

The course requirements for the major include:

  • Mathematics and Statistics: Math 112/113 or 114 or may be satisfied by placement exam; Stats 224, 301, 371, 541 or 571 (8-9 credits)
  • Chemistry: Chem 103, 108* or 109 (4-5 credits), *only for natural Resources students
  • Biology: Biology 151 and 152, or Zoology 101/102 and Botany 130, or Biocore 383, 384, 485, 486 (10 credits)
  • Wildlife Ecology Core: complete all of the following categories
    • Wildlife Ecology: F&W Ecol 101, 306, 318, 379, 561 and 655 (17 credits)
    • Plant Taxonomy: Botany 400 or 401 (4 credits)
    • Anatomy/Physiology: Comp Bio 404, F&W Ecol 401, Physiology 335, Zoology 430 or 611 (3-5 credits)
    • Evolution/Genetics: Zoology 410 or 466, students who take Biocore may use Biocore 381 and 382 (3-5 credits)
    • Wildlife Biology: Zoology 520/521 or Zoology 510/511 (5-6 credits)
  • Breadth: Agronomy 370, Envir St 361, 375, F&W Ecol 360, 375 (Conservation Genetics; Wildlife-Habitat Relationships; Climate Change Ecology), 402, 404, 424, 515, 548, 550, 565, 632, 633, 634, 651, Zoology 315, 316, 504, 535 or 548 (needs to total 3 credits)
  • Track Courses: complete one of the tracks below
    • Natural Sciences: Math [221, 217 or 221] and Chem [104 or 109] and Physics [103, 201 or 207] (14-15 credits)
    • Natural Resources: Wildlife Resource elective [2 of 3 from F&W Ecol 375 (Wildlife-Habitat Relationships), 404 and/or 515] and Conservation Biology [F&W Ecol 360 or 651 or 375 (Climate Change & Ecology)] and Forest Management [F&W Ecol 410, 452, 500, 652 or 658] and Natural Resources Management electives [specific courses are listed on the curriculum sheet pdf below] (14-17 credits)
  • Capstone: F&W Ecol 590, 599, 375 (Complexity & Conservation of White-tailed Deer) or independent study (3 credits)

For more information on the major please consult the following resources (all links below are PDF documents):

Return to top

Wildlife Ecology Summer Field Camp at Kemp Natural Resources Station

Every other summer Wildlife Ecology students have the option of participating in the Wildlife Ecology Summer Field Camp at Kemp Natural Resources Station in northern Wisconsin as F&W Ecol 424 Wildlife Ecology Summer Field Practicum. The two week field class emphasizes research and habitat management techniques through individual and group field work, tours, demonstrations and lectures. Transportation and lodging is provided to the participants.

For more information on the summer field camp opportunity please check out the 2015 Summer Camp Brochure and application.  The deadline to apply for the 2015 summer field camp is February 13, 2015.

Return to top

Undergraduate Advising in Wildlife Ecology

All undergraduate students are assigned to an advisor when they declare the major. If you were not assigned an advisor, do not know who your advisor is, would like to talk to someone about switching advisors, or if your advisor is not available, please contact our Student Services Coordinator, Sara Rodock (email, 608-262-9926 or appointment link for current UW-Madison students).

Undergraduates in Wildlife Ecology are required to meet with their advisor before they can enroll for the upcoming term. Please remember to bring a DARS report with you to any advising appointment. You can request a DARS through your student center in MyUW. Although drop-ins and emergencies can be accommodated by someone in the department, the student is best served if they make an appointment with their assigned advisor.

For more information about the Wildlife Ecology BS or the department in general, please contact the Student Services Coordinator, Sara Rodock (email, 608-262-9926 or appointment link for current UW-Madison students).

Return to top

AP Biology Policy

The Forest and Wildlife Ecology department’s policy states that a student who receives a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Biology test (or a 4 on the IB Biology test) may bypass the first course in their biology sequence. Students should either enroll in Zoology 152 or Botany 130 as their first biology course at UW-Madison. Please note that the Wildlife Ecology program prefers the Zoology 151 and 152 biology sequence over other sequences. Students who elect to participate in the Biocore sequence will be required to take all of the Biocore courses.

Return to top


Even though it is not required for graduation, Wildlife Ecology students often elect to do a summer internship to gain additional skills. Students are encouraged to talk to their advisor about internship possibilities, departmental internship policies and how to receive credit (F&W Ecol 399) for an internship. The Forest and Wildlife Ecology department strongly encourages all students pursuing an internship to use the following two forms:

Students should note that any internship done for credit will require a faculty sponsor to enroll in a section of F&W Ecol 399 Coordinative Internship/Cooperative Education.

Return to top

Independent Study Credits

Any student completing either F&W ECOL 299 or 699 credits are required to complete the Forest & Wildlife Ecology Independent Study Agreement form with their independent study instructor.  A copy of this form should be kept by both the student and the instructor.  The only exception is for students using the independent study credits for their capstone, those students should use the capstone agreement form below.

Independent Study Capstone

The majority of Wildlife Ecology majors complete one of the two capstone courses (F&W Ecol 599 or F&W Ecol 375 White Tailed Deer Management), but students also have the option of completing an independent study capstone, typically F&W ECOL 699.  Students who wish to pursue this option will need to submit the independent study capstone form to their faculty advisor in order to receive permission to use the independent study option towards the capstone requirement for graduation.

Return to top

Awards and Scholarships

There are a number of awards and scholarships available to Wildlife Ecology undergraduates. For a listing of these funding opportunities please visit our Awards and Scholarships page.

Return to top

The Wildlife Society

There is a UW-Madison chapter of the Wildlife Society. For more information on the society please visit the Wildlife Society University of Wisconsin-Madison Student Chapter website.

Return to top

Careers and Professional Development

For more information on careers available to Forest & Wildlife Ecology students please visit our Internship & Job Resources page. For more information on other academic, co-curricular, financial aid, and career opportunities and services available to Forest & Wildlife Ecology students, please visit the CALS "Building Your Career" page. Students in the major are welcome to make an individual appointment with Sara Rodock (appointment link for current UW-Madison students) to discuss a number of career related topics such as career exploration, search strategies, graduate school, and review of application materials (resume, CV, letters, etc.).

Return to top

Last updated: August 3, 2016 (GD)

Drupal 6 Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux