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  |  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 Entomology 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.  This major will give students the same background as more general biological science majors, but also allow student to focus their upper-level courses and participate in a smaller department.

Current major requirements include:

  • Mathematics: Math 112/113, 114, 171 or placement exam and Math 211, 217 or 221
  • Chemistry: Chem 103/104 or 109 and Chem 341/2 or 343/344/345
  • Physics: Physics 103/104 or 201/202 or 207/208
  • Biology: each of the following categories must be satisfied
    • Introductory Biology: Biology 151/152, or Zoology 101/102 & Botany 130, or Biocore 301/302/303/304
    • Genetics: Genetics 466
    • Biological Breadth: 3 additional credits from any course coded as “biological science” or “physical science” in the course guide, a course in ecology or botany is recommended
  • 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, 468, 450/1, 473, 632/633/634, 701
    • Suborganismal: Entom 321, 472, 505
    • Applied: Entom 351, 371, 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

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

  • Entomology Curriculum Sheet and 4-Year Plan: contains information about the general BS degree requirements inCALS and all of the courses needed to complete the Entomology major.
  • Entomology Course Titles: since the above documents only include department name and course numbers we have compiled a list of the titles in this document.

Entomology Requirements: previous curricula

Students who declared the Forest Science major prior to Fall 2011 can find their curriculum sheets on the CALS website.

For more information on CALS and UW-Madison requirements please also visit the UW-Madison Undergraduate Catalog.

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 “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.).