The College of Letters and Science is the largest academic unit of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Study of the liberal arts and sciences provides a broad base of knowledge and an array of skills cited by employers as critical to professional success, even more than the major: critical thinking, problem solving, oral and written communication, ability to work well with others, and adaptability to change.

Departments and Programs

Graduate Policies and Regulations

The Graduate School policies and regulations can be found at Graduate School Policies.  Please refer to the specific program for program policies and regulations.

Undergraduate Policies and Regulations

Semester Course Load (UWM Policy)

Students in Letters and Science may carry a maximum of 18 credits in a regular semester. In extraordinary circumstances, an overload may be granted to a student with a high GPA who has no outstanding incompletes. Students should contact their Letters and Science advisor for instructions on requesting an overload. Additional fees are assessed for credits beyond 18.

Bachelors of Arts and Bachelors of Science Degree Requirements (Letters & Science Policy)

Specific degree requirements for the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Sciences degrees are listed on on the individual pages for those majors.

Students are cautioned to meet with their advisor(s) regularly to ensure they understand all requirements they need to complete in order to graduate, including major requirements, UWM general education requirements, Letters and Science breadth requirements, and Letters and Science degree requirements. Students should not rely on pre-printed sample plans as those are intended as samples only and may not apply to every student's exact circumstances.

Declaration of an Intended Major (Letters & Science Policy)

Students who are not yet eligible to declare a major formally may declare an intended major in an academic discipline of interest to them. The declaration of an intended major is encouraged as soon as a student finds they are interested in a particular area. This action permits the department to identify students to whom to send information concerning programs, scholarships, opportunities (e.g., internships), and other matters relating to the area of study. Students may declare an intended major by completing a brief form available online or from the L&S Advising Office (HLT 142).

Declaration of a Major (Letters & Science Policy)

Students must declare a major by contacting the appropriate academic department or program. Specific information on how to declare a major can be found on that program's web site. Failure to declare the major before 75 credits have been earned may result in a delay of graduation. Some departments or programs specify course and/or GPA requirements that students must satisfy prior to declaring the major.

Major GPA Requirement (Letters & Science Policy)

The College requires that students attain at least a 2.0 GPA in all credits in the major, including courses attempted at UWM and courses taken elsewhere and transferred to UWM. Individual departments or programs may require higher GPAs for graduation. Some departmental majors require courses from other than the home department. Contact your major faculty advisor for information on whether those credits will count as part of the major GPA.

Cumulative GPA Requirement (UWM Policy)

To be eligible for a bachelor's degree, students must attain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 on all credits that count toward a degree, including any transfer work. 

Major and Minor Residency Requirement (Letters & Science Policy)

The College requires that students complete at least 15 credits of their major in upper-division (numbered 300 or above) courses at UWM in order to earn that major from UWM. 

The College requires that students complete at least 9 credits of their minor in upper-division (numbered 300 or above) courses at UWM in order to earn that minor from UWM.

Degree Residency Requirements (Letters & Science Policy)

In order to provide maximum flexibility while preserving the institutional identity of a UWM degree, the College requires students to:

  1. Take the last 30 credits of their program at UWM, or
  2. Take 45 of the last 60 credits at UWM, or
  3. Take at least 90 of the 120 credits needed for a degree at UWM

Credits earned through credit-by-examination, retroactive credit in foreign languages, and the College Level Examination Program do not count toward residency, but they also do not interrupt residency.

Transfer Credit Limitations and Requirements (Letters & Science Policy)

Students who transfer to UWM from a UW two-year college, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Madison Area Technical College, or Nicolet Technical College may transfer up to 72 credits taken at a two-year school.

Students who transfer to UWM from a junior college outside Wisconsin must earn the final 48 credits at UWM or in another bachelor's-degree-granting college or university in accord with the requirements stated above.

Research Requirement (Letters & Science policy)

Within their major, students must complete a research experience approved by the L&S Faculty.

Major Requirements (Letters & Science policy)

To complete a major, students must satisfy all the requirements of the major as stated in the department or program entry in this catalog. Students who declare their majors within five years of entering the UW System as a degree candidate may satisfy the requirements outlined in any catalog issued since the time they entered. Credits used to satisfy the major also may be used to satisfy other degree requirements.

Committee Interdisciplinary Major

The Committee Interdisciplinary Major (CIM) is designed to meet the individual needs of the students. Upon request by a student, a committee of three or more individuals from two or more academic units may develop a major based on that student’s abilities and needs. All committee majors must be approved by the major academic units involved. The CIM requires a minimum of 30 credits, of which at least 15 must be in upper-division (numbered 300 or above) Letters and Science courses taken in residence at UWM. The CIM must include coursework in at least two L&S academic units. Most academic units outside the College also may be selected as part of the major. However, at least 18 credits in the major must be earned in Letters and Science courses. Non-L&S courses selected as part of a CIM will not count toward the 90 L&S credits required for the degree, but they will satisfy part of the 30 elective credits available to L&S students.

To propose a CIM, students should obtain a “Declaration of Committee Interdisciplinary Major” form from the Office of Student Academic Services. They must prepare a written statement defining the goals of their proposed major, and then identify three individuals from two or more academic units who are willing to function as the major oversight committee.One individual may be an academic staff member, but at least two must be faculty members. Academic staff members of CIM committees must be approved by the CIM committee chair and the Assistant Dean for L&S Student Academic Services. At least two committee members must be from L&S. A member of the L&S faculty serves as committee chair and major advisor. The student and committee members together identify the courses that will be required for the major. The declaration form is completed and signed by the committee chair and then sent for approval to the chair/director of every academic unit in which courses in the major will be taken. Students present the completed declaration form to the Office of Student Academic Services at any time between the 15th and 75th credit. An academic advisor, in consultation with the Assistant Dean for Student Academic Services, will either approve or deny the proposal. Should the proposal be denied, the student and the committee chair will receive a written explanation of the denial. Students may appeal a denial to the L&S Academic Policies and Curriculum Committee. The proposal also may be reworked and resubmitted.

Minors (Letters & Science Policy)

The completion of a minor is optional. The College requires that students attain at least a 2.0 GPA in all credits in the minor, including courses attempted at UWM and any courses taken elsewhere and transferred to UWM for the minor. Individual departments may require higher GPAs for graduation. Students must complete at least 9 credits of upper-division (numbered 300 or above) courses in the minor at UWM in order to earn the minor from UWM.

Minimum Number of Cumulative Credits (UWM Policy)

To complete a bachelor's degree, 120 degree credits are required.

Other Credit Requirements, Bachelor of Arts (Letters & Science Policy)

For the Bachelor of Arts degree, as part of the 120 total credits needed, students must complete at least 36 credits in upper-division (numbered 300 or above) courses offered by the College of Letters and Science.

At least 90 credits of the 120 total credits must be completed in courses offered by the College of Letters and Science, allowing students to take as electives up to 30 credits in courses offered by other schools and colleges at UWM. There is no limit to the number of credits that may be taken in one department. No more than 6 credits from a single course outside the College may be counted toward the degree. A maximum of 12 credits in military science courses may be counted toward the degree as non-L&S electives. No more than 6 credits of field experience taken outside the College and no more than 6 credits in sport and recreation courses may be counted toward the degree. No “life experience” credits may be counted toward the degree.

Other Credit Requirements, Bachelor of Science (Letters & Science Policy)

For the Bachelor of Science degree, as part of the 120 total credits needed, students must complete at least 36 credits in upper-division courses (numbered 300 or above) offered by the College of Letters and Science. At least 30 of these 36 credits must be from natural science curricular areas or other courses approved as advanced natural sciences.

At least 90 credits of the 120 total credits must be completed in courses offered by the College of Letters and Science, allowing students to take as electives up to 30 credits in courses offered by other schools and colleges at UWM. There is no limit to the number of credits that may be taken in one department. No more than 6 credits from a single course outside the College may be counted toward the degree. A maximum of 12 credits in military science courses may be counted toward the degree as non-L&S electives. No more than 6 credits of field experience taken outside the College and no more than 6 credits in sport and recreation courses may be counted toward the degree. No “life experience” credits may be counted toward the degree.

Eligibility for Prior Degree Requirements (Letters & Science Policy)

A student who declares their major within five years of entering the UW System as a degree candidate at any campus may choose to satisfy the requirements in force at the time of the declaration of major. Alternatively, a student may choose to satisfy any set of requirements that was in place at any time since they first entered the UW System as a degree-seeking student. Students are advised to consult with their advisor to determine whether an earlier set of requirements would be more advantageous.

Similarly, returning students who have been out of school for a long amount of time, should consult their advisor about which set of requirements may apply and which would be the best path for their specific circumstances.

Second Baccalaureate Degree Requirements (Letters & Science Policy)

Students who already hold a bachelor's degree from UWM or from another university who wish to earn a second baccalaureate degree can do so by satisfying all current requirements for that undergraduate degree in the College of Letters and Science. The second bachelor's degree must be a different degree than the first bachelor's degree (e.g. a student who holds a bachelor of science degree may seek a bachelor of arts degree, but a student who already holds a bachelor of arts degree may not seek a second bachelor of arts degree).

Coursework previously completed, whether at UWM or elsewhere, may be used to satisfy requirements. However, students must complete a minimum of 30 credits at UWM after the date upon which the first degree was awarded. If more than 30 credits are needed to complete all degree requirements, the last 30 credits must be completed at UWM. Of these 30 credits, at least 24 must be in courses offered through the College of Letters and Science. And, at least 20 of the 30 credits must be in upper-division courses, numbered 300 or above. Students must satisfy the current requirements for the chosen major.

Post-Baccalaureate Second Major or Additional Major Requirements (Letters & Science Policy)

Students who already hold a bachelor's degree from UWM or from another university who wish to add an additional major to their credentials can do so by completing only the requirements for that major. Students are not required to complete an entire second degree. Students who opt for this path will leave UWM with certification that they have completed an additional major that can then be listed on a resume along with their original degree (e.g. "Bachelor of Arts with a psychology major from the University of Illinois, with a second major in sociology from UWM").

All credit and grade point average requirements currently in effect for the selected major are enforced. This means that students must complete a minimum of 15 advanced credits (numbered 300 or above) at UWM, and they must complete the version of the major in effect at the time of declaration. Students participating in the program must provide transcripts of all prior non-UWM work. Those with a prior degree are admitted with senior standing. Completion of the major is certified by the major department and recorded on an official UWM transcript.

Changing Majors (UWM Policy)

Current UWM students with a major outside of the College of Letters and Science who wish to change to a major within the College of Letters and Science, may do so at any time as long as they are in good academic standing (minimum 2.0 GPA). Complete this form, schedule an appointment with a Letters and Science advisor by calling (414) 229-4654, and bring the form to your appointment. Students should carefully note that degree requirements differ significantly between the different Schools and Colleges at UWM and a thorough discussion with an advisor is recommended before making this change, especially if the student is several years into his/her college career.

If you are not currently in good standing, you may still make an appointment with an advisor to discuss ways to raise your GPA and classes you can take prior to transferring into L&S.

Make a Program Change (Add, drop, withdraw, etc.) (Letters & Science Policy)

Many changes can be made on a self-service basis directly in PAWS up to two weeks after the start of a class. After that point in time, students should consult the Letters and Science advising website for instructions on how to make a program change; there are different instructions depending on how many weeks have past since the start of the semester. 

Grade Appeal Policy (Letters & Science Policy)

Students should review the Letters and Science policy for grievances and grade appeals.

Academic Probation and Academic Drop (UWM Policy)

Students with a cumulative GPA below a 2.0 are placed on academic probation. While on academic probation, if the next semester's GPA remains below a 2.0, the student will be dropped for one semester. However, if the student's semester GPA is at least a 2.0 but the cumulative GPA remains below a 2.0, the student may continue attending UWM on probation. The probation status will be removed when the cumulative GPA rises to a 2.0 or higher.

Return from Academic Drop (UWM Policy)

Students may appeal to return after being dropped by contacting their advisor. Appeals will only be considered if significant and extenuating non-academic reasons can be presented. Students may be asked to provide verifiable documentation of medically-related or other circumstances.

A student who is allowed to return will be placed into a final probation status.A student who is on final probation who earns a semester GPA of at least 2.0 will be allowed to continue on final probation until the cumulative GPA rises above a 2.0. However, if a student fails to earn at least a 2.0 semester GPA, they will be dropped for two years.

Incomplete Policy (Letters & Science Policy)

Students should review the Letters and Science policy for incompletes.

Concurrent Enrollment (Letters & Science Policy)

Students should review the Letters and Science concurrent enrollment. Concurrent enrollment refers to taking classes at both UWM and another university during the same semester. Permission is required for Fall and Spring concurrent enrollment; permission is not required to concurrently enroll in more than one university during the summer.

Repeat Policy (UWM Policy)

Students should review UWM's policy on repeats. The policy can be found on the campus' OneStop website under the section called "Enrollment Policies."

Academic Advising and Admissions Advising

The College of Letters and Science provides general academic advising for all students with a major in the College, particularly as it relates to campus' general education requirements and the College's degree requirements. We also provide specialized advising for pre-professional students (pre-med, pre-dental, pre-pharmacy, etc.) regardless if their major is in Letters and Science or not. Prospective students, including high school students and students seeking to transfer to a program in Letters and Science may also receive advising from our admissions counselors. 

Upon admission, students are assigned an advisor in the College advising office. Academic advising is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by appointment. Appointments outside of these times may be available and phone appointments are available for online students. The advising office is located on the first floor of Holton Hall. Current students should call (414) 229-4654 to schedule an appointment or use the Student Success Collaborative website to make an appointment with your assigned advisor; online scheduling is only available if you already have a Letters & Science advisor assigned to you. Prospective students should call (414) 229-7711 or email let-sci@uwm.edu.

When students declare a major, they will receive an additional faculty advisor located within the major department who will assist with requirements for that major. Students should read the "Declaration of Major" information on the website of the major that they are interested in. In some cases, the student will need to choose a faculty advisor as part of the declaration process.

All students are cautioned to consult their Letters & Science academic advisor AND their major advisor prior to each registration period to ensure they understand all requirements. Do not rely on pre-printed sample plans, as they are intended to be samples only and may not be right for your particular situation.

Undergraduate Opportunities

Online Coursework and Online Majors

The College of Letters and Science offers a variety of coursework online or in a blended format (partially online and partially in-person). No distinction is made between an "online" student and an "in-person" student; students register for any combination of course formats that they wish to take. Almost all students choose to take at least one online class during their college career. All coursework is taught by the same faculty members and is of the same rigor whether it is online or in-person. 

As of January 2018, there are six majors and minors available entirely online: communication, history, Jewish studies, political science, psychology, and sociology.

Independent Learning Program

The University of Wisconsin System offers online independent learning opportunities to students at all campuses whereby they can earn college credit.

Letters and Science students may take advantage of this program in one of two ways:

1. Students who meet the following criteria may be able to take a UW Independent Learning course for free:

  • enrolled full-time in either fall or spring semester
  • will also enroll in one or more UW Independent Learning course during the first two weeks of the fall or spring semester
  • will complete the UW Independent Learning course during fall or spring semester rather than completing it at-your-own-pace
  • will be taking a class or classes through UW Independent Learning that are not offered by UWM online (for example, foreign language courses)
     

If you meet these criteria, you should petition to take a UW independent Learning course for free by contacting the Assistant Dean for Student Academic Services, Cindy Piercy at cindy@uwm.edu. Include in your email your name, student ID, and information about the class(es) you seek to take through the UW Independent Learning program.

2. Students can also choose to pay out-of-pocket for UW Independent Learning courses if they are part-time students or wish to take an Independent Learning course during summer term or UWinteriM term. Letters and Science imposes a one-year time limit to complete any UW Independent Learning class to have it count for credit. 

All students should consult with their advisor prior to registering for a UW Independent Learning course to make sure they understand any other restrictions related to repeating a course that was previously taken or our concurrent enrollment policy.

Credit for Demonstrated Equivalent Preparation (non-foreign language)

Under certain circumstances, a department may grant credits toward graduation for knowledge or abilities attained through previous work, i.e., coursework or other systematic study as determined by the department. Although the College of Letters and Science places no limit on the number of credits that may be obtained in this way, departments, if they choose to do so, may set limits on the number of credits they will grant.

Departments other than foreign language departments may grant a student credits toward graduation for a University course in which they request and pass a special University examination. An examination for credit must be based on work equivalent to a course given at UWM, and the credits granted will be for the corresponding course. In order to justify the request for an examination for credit, the student must present evidence of previous preparation to the department. Permission for such examinations must be secured in advance from the Dean of the College upon recommendation of the department chair. Examinations for credit will be taken at a time specified by the department. In general, a student may not take such an examination if any previous enrollment in the target course appears on the student's record, whether or not the course was completed.

Credit for Demonstrated Equivalent Preparation (retro credits for foreign language)

Foreign language departments may allow students to receive credit for prerequisite language courses at the 100 and 200 level upon completion of higher-level entry courses in that language. For example, a student whose placement test score allows them to start at the Third-Semester Spanish, for example, would receive the credits for First-Semester Spanish and Second-Semester Spanish if they successfully complete Third-Semester Spanish with a B or better. As a general policy, a grade of B or above is required, but individual departments may set a higher grade requirement. Only the grade in the completed course is computed into the grade point average; no GPA points are calculated for the retro credits. A student who earns below the required grade in the starting course becomes, thereafter, ineligible for "retro" credits in the language involved.

The number of credits that can be earned in this way is limited to a maximum of 16 in any one language.

Credits granted for the courses skipped will be equal to the credit value of those course(s) or a maximum of 4 credits for each, whichever is smallest. Students may not be granted "retro" credits for courses at the 300 level and above, except where the fourth-semester course in a regular language sequence is numbered 300 or above.

In the foreign languages, retro credits also may be granted to transfer students under the following circumstances:

  • Retro credits granted by another institution will be accepted at UWM if they were granted based on a course that generates retro credits at UWM and if the student has earned the grade that is required at UWM.
  • A transfer student coming from an institution that does not grant retro credits but who took a foreign language course that transfers as a qualifying course at UWM may apply for retro credits if the student satisfies UWM standards for receiving retro credits.

In both cases, the number of retro credits awarded will be limited to the number of credits students at UWM are granted for each prerequisite course.

Students who want more information should contact the chair of the appropriate language department.

First-Year Seminars

The First-Year Seminar Program gives freshmen the opportunity to participate in a small learning community during their first semester, helping to ease the transition to college.

Limited to just 20 first-year students, each seminar provides a unique opportunity for students to get to know their professors and fellow students. In this small seminar setting, the professor serves as a mentor, coaching and helping students to achieve success. First-year seminars emphasize the development of collaboration, teamwork, written and oral communication skills, creative and analytical thinking, and skills for college success.

Seminars are offered in a wide variety of interest areas across the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Most first-year seminars are offered for three credits and can be applied to degree requirements. See the Schedule of Classes for a list of first-year seminars taught in the current semester.

For more information, contact your advisor or our admissions counselors at (414) 229-7711 or let-sci@uwm.edu.

Independent Study

Certain departments allow qualified students to register for independent study. Credits are awarded for academic activities pursued outside the formal classroom setting under the supervision of a member of the Letters and Science faculty or instructional academic staff. The activities may include reading, research, or special projects. In most departments, independent study is offered at the lower (course number 199) and upper levels (course number 699), although both levels are not available in all departments.

In order to apply for lower-level independent study, students must have a 2.5 GPA or above on all credits attempted at UWM. The upper-level independent study course carries a prerequisite of junior standing and a 2.5 UWM GPA. Departments may opt to set higher GPA prerequisites. To ascertain class standing and cumulative GPA for new transfer, special, and summer-only students, a transcript of all previous college work must be submitted. Some independent study courses may have departmental prerequisites in addition to these college-wide prerequisites. Departments do not have the authority to waive college-wide prerequisites. To see if a particular department offers independent, see that department's course listings in this catalog.

Students interested in an independent study should work with the individual they have chosen as their supervising instruction to prepare a study proposal describing the plan of study. The study proposal must be approved by the department chair and forwarded to the Office of Student Academic Services via your Letters and Science advisor.

Internships and Experiential Opportunities

Students are strongly encouraged to enhance their classroom knowledge with experiential knowledge gained through work, volunteer, and internship experiences. These experiences are vital to career exploration and for building a resume prior to graduation.

Students find internships through a variety of sources: some use their own network to find opportunities, some majors provide assistance or host a job board, and some organizations will post opportunities with the UWM Career Planning and Resource Center. Students should explore all avenues, including speaking with both their major advisor and their Letters and Science advisor, to find experiential learning opportunities.

Some internships may be available for college credit or for pay, or a combination of both. Students should inquire of all details and arrange for proper registration for credit if that is an option with their major advisor.

Research Experience (Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR))

Many programs in the College of Letters and Science work closely with the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) to offer research experiences for undergraduates. Research spans the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities and highly-motivated students can contribute to the creation of knowledge, sometimes even achieving professional publication alongside of faculty members.

As early as the first year in college, students can work side-by-side with faculty members and graduate students on research projects. Opportunities can include credit, pay, or a combination of both. 

OUR staff will help students identify possible research projects and arrange for students to meet with the faculty members. Students can browse current opportunities at their website.

Certificate Programs

Certificates are similar to minors in terms of the number of credits required. Where a minor consists of all coursework from the same department, a certificate draws on classes from multiple areas all centered around a common theme such as Asian Studies.

All certificate programs are open to current students pursuing a degree in any area, including areas outside of the College of Letters and Science. Some certificates are also open to non-degree seeking students or students who already hold a bachelors's degree either from UWM or from another university. Interested students should check with the director of the certificate program to learn about any prerequisites or other requirements.

Scholarships

The College as well as its many individual programs and departments have a limited number of scholarships and awards for high-achieving students. Students should visit our scholarship page to learn more about available scholarships and deadlines. In general, new freshmen scholarships are given out between December and February for the following Fall (e.g. January of 2018 for a Fall 2018 start date). Many continuing student scholarships are given out 4 to 6 months ahead of the term in which the student will receive the funding (e.g. April of 2018 for the Fall 2018 semester).

Courses Approved for the L&S Breadth Requirement

Courses Approved for the L&S International Requirement

Courses Approved for the L&S Research Requirement

Letters & Science: Humanities Courses

Letters & Science: Natural Sciences Courses

Letters & Science: Social Sciences Courses

Honors Courses 

Administration

Scott Gronert
Dean 

Dave Clark
Senior Associate Dean 

Daad Saffarini
Associate Dean, Natural Sciences

James Moyer
Associate Dean, Social Sciences

Jasmine Alinder
Associate Dean, Humanities

Deanna Alba 
Assistant Dean, College Relations, Marketing, Communication, PR

Mike Darnell
Assistant Dean, Curriculum, Governance, and Assessment

Patricia Kissinger
Assistant Dean, Unit Business Representative

Cindy Piercy
Interim Assistant Dean, Student Academic Services

Craig Wesley
Assistant Dean, Administrative Affairs and Personnel