College of Science and Health (SAH)

Dean: Karen Palmer-McLean
Administrative Specialist: Robert Goldman
105 Graff Main Hall;
(608) 785-8218
Assistants to the Dean: Carla Burkhardt, Guy Herling
124 Mitchell Hall;
(608) 785-8156


Biology, Chemistry, Nuclear Medicine Technology, Computer Science, Exercise and Sport Science, Geography/Earth Science, Health Education and Health Promotion, Health Professions, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant Studies, Radiation Therapy, Mathematics, Microbiology, Clinical Laboratory Science, Physics, Recreation Management and Therapeutic Recreation

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Science
Master of Public Health
Master of Science
Doctor of Physical Therapy (through UW PT Consortium)
Master of Software Engineering

Majors and Minors

Athletic Training - BS
Biochemistry BS
*Biology BA/BS
    Aquatic Science Concentration
    Biomedical Science Concentration
    Cellular and Molecular Concentration
    Environmental Science Concentration
*Chemistry BA/BS
    ACS Certification
    Business Concentration
    Environmental Science Concentration
Clinical Laboratory Science BS r /> Community Health Education - BS
*Computer Science BS
Exercise and Sport Science - BS
with emphases in:
    Physical Education
    Sport Management
*Geography´┐Ż BA/BS
    Environmental Science Concentration
    *Geographic Information Science Concentration
*Mathematics BA/BS
    Applied Emphasis
    *Education Emphasis
    *Statistics Emphasis
*Microbiology BA/BS
    Biomedical Concentration
    Business Concentration
    Environmental Concentration
Nuclear Medicine Technology BS
*Physics BA/BS
    *Astronomy Emphasis
    Computational Physics Emphasis
    Optics Emphasis
    Biomedical Concentration
    Business Concentration
Radiation Therapy BS
*Recreation Management - BS
*School Health Education - BS
Therapeutic Recreation - BS

*also offered as minors

Dual Degree Programs

Biology/Physical Therapy
Computer Science/Engineering
Physics/Physical Therapy
Psychology/Occupational Therapy

Minors (only)

Computational Science
Earth Science
Inclusive Recreation


Coaching Competitive Athletics
Adapted Physical Education
Strength and Conditioning

Certificate Programs

Geographic Information Systems
Medical Dosimetry

The College of Science and Health houses high quality major and minor programs in the natural and physical sciences, mathematics and computer science, exercise science, recreation, and in selected allied health professions. The college's combination of programs provides both applications for the sciences and a strong science base for the allied health offerings. These programs also collectively provide many scientific literacy offerings within the university's General Education program.

All major programs offer undergraduate research experiences and/or professional internship experiences through collaborative agreements with external agencies.

Sequences and requirements are listed in the Undergraduate Program and Course Description section of the catalog.

In addition to the major and General Education requirements, all students in the College of Science and Health must complete a core curriculum which emphasizes diverse indepth study outside of the major.

Core Curriculum

B.S. and B.A. students graduating from the College of Science and Health are required to take two natural laboratory science courses selected from the General Education laboratory science category (II.C.) and from BIO 203, BIO 204, BIO 210, CHM 104, ESC 221, ESC 222, PHY 104, or PHY 204, and they either must take two mathematics courses or one math course and one computer science course from the math/logical systems category of the General Education requirements (I.B.). One of the two science courses must be from a department outside of the student's major department.

(Note: Math courses can be pairs, i.e. 150 & 151; MTH/CS majors can use 2 science courses from same department.)

In addition:

  1. For the Bachelor of Science degree, students must complete

    1. a major from the college plus a minor (or a second major) from any college


    2. a major from the college plus 18 credits at the 300 or 400 level in courses outside the major department from any college. Internship credits generally do not count toward this college core option.
  2. For the Bachelor of Arts degree, students must complete a major from the college plus proficiency in a foreign language at the 202 level or an ESL proficiency score of 80 or above on the La Crosse Battery of exams for nonnative speakers of English. (Contact the English as a Second Language Institute for eligibility and regulations.)


    1. a minor in the College of Liberal Studies


    2. 15 credits at the 300 level or above in the College of Liberal Studies. Internship credits generally do not count toward this college core option.
  3. Students participating in the following programs are exempt from the college core requirements.
    • Chemistry with a Business Concentration
    • Clinical Laboratory Science
    • Exercise and Sport Science Athletic Training
    • Exercise and Sport Science - Fitness
    • Exercise and Sport Science Physical Education Teaching
    • Exercise and Sport Science Sport Management
    • Health Education and Health Promotion Community Health Education
    • Health Education and Health Promotion School Health Education
    • Nuclear Medicine Technology
    • Radiation Therapy
    • Recreation Management Therapeutic Recreation


Students are provided the opportunity to complete requirements in a variety of pre-professional fields on the campus prior to applying to other colleges and universities for admission to their professional programs. Pre-professional program requirements vary widely; some require a degree while others do not. Students are expected to be aware of the requirements of the school to which they plan to apply; therefore, they need to select their course work carefully. Pre-professional advisers on the campus can be of assistance to students in designing a curriculum in such programs. Pre-professional advisers and their contact information can be found at or by inquiring at the College of Science and Health Office, 105 Graff Main Hall.


Pre-chiropractic students enroll at UWL for at least two years (60 credits) before being admitted to professional chiropractic schools; however, most students entering chiropractic programs have more than 60 credits, and many chiropractic colleges strongly recommend a bachelor's degree. Students should sample liberally from the General Education curriculum with some emphasis in biology and chemistry. Minimal academic qualifications include one year of biology, one year of general chemistry, one year of organic chemistry, one year of physics, one year of English, one semester of social science or humanities.


The usual pre-professional education requirements for admission to dental school stipulate two academic years of liberal arts study; however, many of the dental schools in the United States require three years of college education, and most prefer baccalaureate degree candidates. Dental school requirements in pre-professional curricula vary but a freshman year basically includes: BIO 105 and 303; CHM 103 and 104; ENG 110; PHY 103 and 104 or 203 and 204 and a course in mathematics.

The pre-dentistry adviser should be consulted as to full curriculum requirements. Admission to dental school is based on grade point average, interviews, aptitude tests and letters of recommendation. An aptitude test is taken in the year preceding application to dental school.


Most of the basic mathematics, chemistry and physics courses that the prospective engineer needs in the first two years of an engineering curriculum can be taken at UWL, and a wide choice of electives is also available. In the first two years, every pre-engineer should complete three semesters of calculus, two semesters of chemistry and two semesters of physics. Since requirements vary with the engineering school and the particular major, students should see the pre-engineering adviser in the chemistry, computer science, mathematics, or physics department as early as possible. The adviser can furnish information about specific majors within engineering schools. Engineering curricula require four or more years of study; therefore, students spending the first two at UWL will need to spend two or more years at an engineering school to complete degree requirements.

Pre-Forestry (Natural Resources, Conservation, Wildlife Management)

A curriculum is available to meet the needs of the majority of students who will later major in such diverse fields as wildlife management, forestry and conservation education. However, students entering one of these fields are reminded that most forestry schools set their own requirements for admission, and thus it is imperative that exact requirements be obtained from current catalogs of the schools to which students plan to transfer to complete their professional training. Generally, the requirement for admission with junior standing to professional school is 60 semester hours.

In some cases students will find it advantageous to earn a bachelor's degree before entering the professional program. Students may do so by continuing for two more academic years at UW-L and fulfilling requirements prescribed for that degree. Students electing to follow this plan should allow extra years to complete graduate work in the professional school. Students are urged to contact the university's pre-forestry adviser early in their first semester.


Minimal academic requirements to qualify for admission to medical school include a number of courses as part of, or in addition to, a regular academic major leading to a baccalaureate degree. Pre-medicine requirements include eight semester hours in biology (general and advanced zoology); 16 semester hours of chemistry including one year of general and eight semester hours of organic; one semester of mathematics; eight semester hours of physics; and six semester hours of English. Academic preparation in all of these areas is available at UWL. Although the majority of premedical students major in chemistry, biology or microbiology, the student may major in any field of interest as long as the minimal requirements are satisfied.

Admission to medical school is highly competitive, and admission decisions are based on factors such as overall grade point average, grade point average in the required science courses, performance on the national Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), usually taken in the spring of the junior year, nonacademic credentials (activities and work experiences), letters of evaluation from faculty, and a personal interview.


Students may take pre-nursing courses at UW-La Crosse in preparation for transfer to a school that offers a nursing program. Pre-nursing students need to be aware of the requirements of the nursing program to which they plan to transfer. See for more information and links to area schools of nursing.

UW-Madison, in conjunction with Gundersen-Lutheran Medical Center in La Crosse, offers the professional nursing curriculum in La Crosse to students selected to attend UW-Madison's "Western Campus." More information on this program is available at the Web site above and at

Pre-Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists are health professionals who work with individuals to maximize performance in their everyday life tasks when impacted by injury, disease, or other health risk. Occupational therapists are part of a healthcare team that may also include physicians, physician assistants, physical therapists, speech pathologists, and recreational therapists. "Occupation" refers to those everyday meaningful tasks that individuals do each day. The goal of occupational therapy is to help individuals successfully engage in these goaldirected, purposeful tasks that comprise daily life.

Undergraduate students interested in occupational therapy must declare an undergraduate major. In addition to declaring an undergraduate major, students may select pre-professional occupational therapy as a secondary area of interest. A dual degree agreement is available for psychology in which students receive both a bachelor of science and a graduate occupational therapy degree from UW-La Crosse. The total length of time for both degrees is approximately five and one-half years. It is important that students selecting this option work with their major adviser early and declare their intent officially.

General admission requirements for the UW-La Crosse occupational therapy graduate program include:

  • an undergraduate degree or completion of an undergraduate degree prior to starting the program (except for declared dual degree students);
  • completion of all prerequisite course work including BIO 312, 313; PHY 125; PSY 212; MTH 145 with required minimum grades attainment of at least a 3.00 cumulative GPA;
  • completion of 10 hours of clinical experience supervised by an OT. Information about the OT program, admission criteria and selection process is available at


Students should plan to spend at least two years in undergraduate study; most successful applicants have three or four years of undergraduate work. A typical program includes BIO 105 and 303; CHM 103 and 104; PHY 103 and 104, or 203 and 204; ENG 110 and a course in mathematics. Additional courses may be needed for a pre-optometric program. Consult the adviser for complete undergraduate curriculum requirements. The Optometry Admission Test (OAT) must be taken before or during the semester in which students apply for admission to a school of optometry.

Pre-Osteopathic Medicine

The statement in the section on pre-medicine applies equally to pre-osteopathic medicine. Medical school and osteopathic curricula are nearly identical, and the practice of medicine by graduates of either type of school is essentially identical. Osteopathy is best considered an alternative within medicine rather than an alternative to medicine.


Most pharmacy programs offer the "Doctor of Pharmacy" degree. The programs involve a pre-pharmacy curriculum of about 70 credits that can be taken at UWL. The professional program that is taken at a College of Pharmacy is an additional four years. The pre-pharmacy curriculum is set by the individual colleges of pharmacy but generally consists of BIO 105, 312, 313, 306 or 315; CHM 103, 104, 303, 304 and 305; PHY 103 and 104; MTH 207, plus non-math, non-science General Education courses. It is very important to work with the pre-pharmacy adviser as program requirements change frequently.

Pre-Physical Therapy

Undergraduate students interested in physical therapy must declare an undergraduate major. Typical majors include biology, exercise & sport science, psychology, and physics but other majors are equally appropriate and feasible with appropriate planning. In addition to declaring an undergraduate major, students may select pre-professional physical therapy as a secondary area of interest. Dual degree agreements are available for biology and physics in which students receive both a bachelor of science and a graduate physical therapy degree from UW-La Crosse. The total length of time for both degrees is approximately five and three-quarter years. It is important that students selecting this option work with their major advisor early and declare their intent officially.

General admission requirements for the UW-La Crosse physical therapy graduate program include:

  • an undergraduate degree or completion of an undergraduate degree prior to starting the program (except for declared dual degree students);
  • completion of all prerequisite course work including BIO 105, 312, 313; CHM 103, 104; PHY 103 or 203, 104 or 204; any psychology course; any sociology course; and MTH 145
  • attainment of at least a 3.00 cumulative GPA;
  • completion of required volunteer experiences with letters of recommendation; and
  • completion and submission of Graduate Records Examination (GRE) scores.

The program typically considers conducts and early and general admissions screening of completed applications. Please consult the admissions section of the physical therapy program Web site for specific application instructions and deadlines.

Pre-Physician Assistant Studies

Physician assistants (PAs) practice medicine with physician supervision. To become a PA, students must be admitted to an accredited PA education program. Like many PA programs across the country, the UW-L Gundersen Mayo PA program is a graduate program, though there remain a number of undergraduate physician assistant programs at other institutions. Thus, undergraduate students interested in the UWL program must declare a primary undergraduate major in another field in order to complete a baccalaureate degree. Pre-physician assistant studies then may be selected as second major and PA faculty members may be selected as academic advisers.

Prerequisite requirements are quite variable among the 130 PA programs across the country. For the UWL graduate PA program, at a minimum the following prerequisite requirements apply:

  • Biology: At least 14 semester hours of biology including at least two lab courses: BIO 312 and 313; MIC 230; one of the following BIO 306, 406, 408, 413, 424, 432, 443, 465, 466, MIC 406
  • Chemistry: A minimum of 11 semester hours of chemistry including at least two of these courses which must include a laboratory: CHM 103 or 104; CHM 300, or CHM 303 and 304; CHM 325, or CHM 417 and 418 or BIO 315 or 435
  • Mathematics: A minimum of two semesters including: MTH 151 or 207; MTH 145 or 305
  • Psychology: one of the following: PSY 100, 210, 212, 304, 310, 311,
  • Academic Aptitude: A minimum cumulative GPA on all post-high school courses of 3.00. A minimum science GPA of 3.00. Submission of GRE scores is required.
  • Health Care Experience: Prior direct patient care health experience is expected. Such experience provides evidence of a career commitment to healthcare as a PA.

Application to the UWL Gundersen Mayo PA program should be made during the summer prior to the senior year. Pre-PA students should consider making application to several PA programs and carefully review the specific requirements of the programs in which they are interested. Many programs, including the UWL Gundersen Mayo Program, utilize the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) and require a program specific supplemental application.


A podiatrist is a medical specialist who has unlimited licensure to practice on the ankle and foot. Requirements for admission to a school of podiatric medicine are the same as those listed in the pre-medicine section.


The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse offers courses that satisfy the requirements for admission to any school of veterinary medicine. Requirements generally include courses in biology, microbiology, chemistry, physics, English composition, mathematics and social sciences and humanities. Several majors at UWL (particularly biology, microbiology and chemistry) provide an excellent basis for meeting course requirements while pursuing a bachelor's degree. Applicants are also required to take the graduate record exam (GRE) and have documented animal work experience. Check veterinary schools' Web sites for most current information. The pre-vet adviser acts as a resource for pre-vet students and more information can be found at