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Administrative Unit:Zoology
College/School: College of Letters & Science
Admitting Plans:M.A., M.S., Ph.D.
Degrees Offered:M.A., M.S., Ph.D.
Minors and Certificates:Ph.D. Minor

Faculty: Professors Hardin (chair), Bement, Blair, Carpenter, Engels, Epstein, Goldberg, Ives, Jeanne, Karasov, Kitchell, Lindroth, Marler, Porter, Snowdon, Stanley, Stretton, Strier, Turner; Associate Professors Amann, Auger, Bleiweiss, Currie, Gammie, Gratton, Grinblat, Halloran, Hawks, Lee, McConnell (adjunct), Vander Zanden; Assistant Professors Berres, Coen, Damschen, McIntyre, Orrock, Payseur, Peckarsky, Yasukawa


The Department of Zoology offers graduate work leading to the master of arts or the master of science and the doctor of philosophy in zoology. Facilities and staff are available for advanced study in a wide variety of zoological fields including aquatic and terrestrial ecology, conservation biology, cell/molecular/developmental and neurobiology, endocrinology, ethology, genetics, evolution and systematics, comparative physiology, and physiological ecology.

In addition to a broad range of well-equipped laboratories, research facilities include advanced microscopy facilities (www.microscopy.wisc.edu), limnological laboratories on campus (Lake Mendota) and in northern Wisconsin (Trout Lake), the University Arboretum, the Zoological Museum and Molecular Systematics Laboratory, and a specialized biology library. An arrangement is maintained with the University of Minnesota for summer course work and research at the Lake Itasca Biological Station. In addition, a scholarship is available for summer work at a marine biological station, and students can participate in field ecology courses in Costa Rica run by the Organization for Tropical Studies.

Joint Degree 

Doctoral students may elect a joint degree (two programs) which combines zoology with another biological program. The requirements for such candidates will be determined by the certification committee (which includes members of both programs) in accordance with regulations established by the Graduate School.

Ph.D. Minor 

Graduate candidates who elect zoology as a minor subject must fulfill the course requirements specified by the minor professor or the graduate advisory committee.

Financial Aid 

Financial support may be provided through a limited number of teaching and research assistantships and by federal, industrial, and privately sponsored fellowships and traineeships. Applications for such support should be made to the department chair by December 31 for admission in the fall semester. Applicants are strongly urged to write a letter of introduction to the faculty member(s) who would most likely supervise their graduate research before the admission competition exercise (no later than December 31). For details, see information for prospective students on the department Web site.


The department will accept applicants who have an adequate background for advanced work in one or more of the subdisciplines listed above and for whom a faculty member is willing to serve as major professor. All applicants must take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). It is required of fellowship and traineeship applicants; teaching and/or research assistantships are not awarded without GRE scores.

Applicants are expected to have completed the following college courses: a year of physics, three semesters of chemistry including organic, and at least one course that emphasizes organisms other than animals. In addition, prospective students in zoology are required to take two of the following courses before beginning their advanced work in the department: calculus, statistics (or biometry), and quantitative analysis. A knowledge of these subjects is helpful in all lines of zoological research and is required for some. Deficiencies in these courses must be made up during the first year of graduate study.

The department faculty strongly believes that graduate education should be distinguished from undergraduate education in recognition of individuality and emphasis on responsibility in graduate students. This philosophy requires flexibility and is not well served by the imposition of many formal requirements to be met by all students. Rather, more emphasis is placed on the role of advisory committees in devising programs of breadth and depth appropriate for individual students with due regard to areas outside of biology which are important for the student's effectiveness in the chosen field.

For more information: Joan Ersland, Graduate Secretary, Department of Zoology, 145 Noland Hall, 250 North Mills Street, Madison, WI 53706, 608-262-1051 or 608-262-1379; zoology@ls.wisc.edu; jrersland@wisc.edu; www.wisc.edu/zoology.