What is Entomology?

Insects have dominated the planet for more than 350 million years. More than a million species are known – millions remain undiscovered. At any given moment, 200+ million insects live for every human on Earth; over 70% of all animal species are insects. They have achieved something that has eluded humans – sustainable development. Insects are the primary consumers of plants, yet they are also the dominant pollinators, thus insuring plant reproduction. They play a critical role in disease transmission (e.g. malaria, plague) yet the service they provide to ecological maintenance in unparalleled.

Entomologists conduct insect-based research in numerous areas including general biology, natural history, systematics, ecology, behavior, molecular biology, physiology, development and medical and agricultural entomology. Emerging areas include invasive species, biodiversity, pollination ecology, forensics, and genomics.

The Bachelor’s of Science degree in Entomology gives students an extensive background in the basic sciences, including biology, chemistry and physics, while giving students the opportunity to take upper-level courses in entomology.

Undergraduate Major Information

Please use the links below to jump to specific sections

How to Declare  |  Degree & Major Requirements  |  Undergraduate Independent Study  |  Undergraduate Advising  |  Careers & Professional Development

How to Declare

To declare the Entomology 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.

Current Degree and Major Requirements

Students who major in Entomology complete both the CALS general education requirements as well as the major requirements.  The Entomology major requirements are designed to give students a basic background in math and the sciences which then allows the students to focus 15 credits in Entomology.  The University General Education, CALS, and Entomology Major requirements have some overlap and students are strongly recommended to work with an advisor on course selection.

University General Education Requirements

  • Breadth – Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth – Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits
  • Breadth – Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communications Part A and B
  • Ethnic Studies
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A and B

Courses that meet these requirements can be identified through enrollment tools or the Guide.

CALS Requirements

  • Graduation Requirements: minimum 2.0 GPA, 30 credits in residency, total 120 credits
  • First Year Seminar
  • International Studies
  • Physical Science Fundamental: CHEM 103, 108, or 109
  • Biological Science: 5 credits
  • Additional Science: 3 credits
  • Science breadth: 3 credits

Entomology Major Requirements

These are the Entomology requirements as of Fall 2017, students who declared prior to Fall 2017 have two options.  To pursue the curriculum at the time of their declaration or switch in to the new curriculum.  In either case students in this situation should contact the Student Services Coordinator for assistance.

  • Mathematics: MATH 112/113, 114, 171 or placement exam and MATH 211, 217, 221, or STAT 371
  • Chemistry: CHEM 103/104 or 109
  • Biology: each of the following categories must be satisfied
    • Introductory Biology: BIOLOGY 151/152, or ZOOLOGY 101/102 & BOTANY 130, or BIOCORE 381/382/383/384
    • Biological Breadth: 12 additional credits from any biological or physical science course (at least 8 credits must be 300-level or 200-level courses with the intermediate-level designation).
  • Physics: PHYSICS 109, 107, 109, 115, 201, or 207
  • Entomology Core: students must complete 15 credits of Entomology courses include ENTOM 302 and at least 3 credits from two of the categories listed below, students may use up to three credits of independent study or special topics towards the 15 credits (ENTOM 375, 399, 681, 682, 691, 699)
    • Organismal: ENTOM 331, 432, 450/451*, 468, 473, 632/633/634, 701
    • Suborganismal: ENTOM 321, 505, 624
    • Applied: ENTOM 350, 351, 371, 450/451, 500
  • Capstone: ENTOM 468 or independent study (ENTOM 681, 682, 691, 699) as approved by the faculty advisor; up to three credits of capstone may be double counted towards the Entomology Core

*ENTOM 450/1 can count in their the organismal or applied categories, not both.

Additional information regarding the Entomology major and a template 4-year plan is available in the Guide.

Undergraduate Independent Study

Students who wish to receive Entomology 299 Independent Study or 699 Specials Problems credits will need to fill out the Independent Study Agreement Form.  Students should begin the form and then work with their supervisor or instructor on the specific information for their project.  Both the student and faculty member should keep a copy of the form.

Undergraduate Advising in Entomology

Undergraduate students are assigned to two advisors, the Entomology undergraduate faculty advisor Dr. Dan Young and Sara Rodock (appointment scheduling link).  However, since the vast majority of Entomology BS students do independent research during their undergraduate career, it is important to meet with other Entomology faculty members to learn about all of the research possibilities.

Undergraduates in Entomology are strongly urged to meet with their advisor before they enroll for the upcoming term.

For more information about the Entomology BS or the department in general, please contact Dr. Dan Young or the Student Services Coordinator, Sara Rodock (email or 608-262-9926).

Careers and Professional Development

For more information on careers available to Entomology 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 Entomology BS students, please visit the CALS Career Resources 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.).