College of Letters and Sciences
Outdoor teaching


Contact Us

Kerry Katovich
Department Chair
Phone: 262-472-5132
Location: Upham Hall 309

Amber Kammeraad
Department Associate
Phone: 262-472-1092
Location: Upham Hall 320

Related Majors and Minors
Nathaly  Cormier

Nathaly Cormier

Assistant Professor

Department(s): BIOLOGY

Upham Hall 205 |

(262) 472-1308

Kirsten  Crossgrove

Kirsten Crossgrove

Associate Professor, Associate Professor (Sv)

Department(s): BIOLOGY

Upham Hall 353 |

(262) 472-1678

Kris  Curran

Kris Curran

Professor, Professor (Sv)

Department(s): BIOLOGY

Upham Hall 355 |

(262) 472-5144

Ellen S Davis

Ellen S Davis

Associate Professor

Department(s): BIOLOGY

Upham Hall 361 |

(262) 472-5141

Susan  Devries

Susan Devries

Assistant Professor, Assistant Professor (Ss)

Department(s): BIOLOGY

Upham Hall 309 |

(262) 472-5137

Elisabeth A Harrahy

Elisabeth A Harrahy

Associate Professor

Department(s): BIOLOGY

Upham Hall 305 |

(262) 472-1086

Amber L Kammeraad

Amber L Kammeraad

Department Assistant

Department(s): BIOLOGY

Upham Hall 320 |

(262) 472-1092

Joshua M Kapfer

Joshua M Kapfer


Department(s): BIOLOGY

Upham Hall 352 |

(262) 472-1069

Kerry R Katovich

Kerry R Katovich

Associate Professor, Associate Professor (Sv)

Department(s): BIOLOGY

Upham Hall 311 |

(262) 472-5132

Nadine L Kriska

Nadine L Kriska

Lecturer 2

Department(s): BIOLOGY

Upham Hall 319 |

(262) 472-2264

Robert K Kuzoff

Robert K Kuzoff

Associate Professor, Associate Professor (Ss)

Department(s): BIOLOGY

Upham Hall 307 |

(262) 472-5142

Stephen J Levas

Stephen J Levas

Associate Professor


Upham Hall 303 |

(262) 472-6200

Anneke Els Lisberg

Anneke Els Lisberg

Associate Professor, Associate Professor (Sv)

Department(s): BIOLOGY

Upham Hall 203 |

(262) 472-5138

Brian J O'Neill

Brian J O'Neill

Associate Professor, Associate Professor (Ss)

Department(s): BIOLOGY

Upham Hall 357 |

(262) 472-1085

Heather R Pelzel

Heather R Pelzel

Associate Professor

Department(s): BIOLOGY

Upham Hall 320A |

(262) 472-5134

Andrea  Romero

Andrea Romero

Associate Professor


Upham Hall 363 |

(262) 472-1455

Nicholas P Tippery

Nicholas P Tippery

Professor, Professor (Sv)

Department(s): BIOLOGY

Upham Hall 350 |

(262) 472-1061

Daryle A Waechter-Brulla

Daryle A Waechter-Brulla


Department(s): BIOLOGY

Upham Hall 248 |

(262) 472-5131

Do you want the best possible preparation for graduate school or a post-graduate professional program such as medicine or veterinary medicine?

Do you want recognition, beyond simply your GPA, of your abilities and the high level of effort you put into your studies? If the answer is yes to one or both of these questions, then you may belong in the Biology Honors Emphasis. This emphasis can be shaped to fit your area of interest and are built around the Cell-Physiology or Ecology-Evolution and Behavior emphases. You will pursue a more rigorous selection of courses (built with the prerequisites of graduate schools/professional schools in mind) and finish with a thesis based on a year-long research project (there is some flexibility in the required courses based on your area of interest). This emphasis does not have a minor. The Physical Sciences minor is essentially part of the emphasis. We developed this emphasis with two goals in mind:

1. To provide the best possible preparation for students interested in research or competitive professional programs.

2. To provide a challenging program that will highlight our best students so we can help them reach even their most ambitious goals.

To enter one of these emphases you need a 3.4 GPA and you need to maintain it throughout your degree. If you were to not be able to accomplish this, you would be moved to the emphasis of your choice and may be assigned the Physical Science minor.

If you are interested in the Honors Emphasis, you should discuss this with a faculty member that you would like to work with at this level. You should consider if you are able to meet the eligibility and whether this program would be a good fit for you. It is best to declare an Honors emphasis early in your time at UW-Whitewater so you can get through the course requirements expeditiously. For more information on this emphasis, please carefully read over the checklists available at these links:

Information for Students Currently Enrolled in an Honors Emphasis:

It is best to take a semester of Bio 498 (1 credit) and Bio 498R (1-2 credits) by your junior year in connection to this.

In your senior year, you will need to register in the usual way for your thesis, Biology 499. You should enroll for 1-2 credits of Biol 499 in your first semester of thesis work then for 1-2 credits in your second semester (note you may only have up to 6 credits of research/thesis count for your emphasis). In addition to working on your research project, you are required in your first thesis semester to produce a proposal. By the mid-point of the semester, you are required to turn in your proposal to your faculty mentor (instructor of the Bio 499 credits may differ, they are only managers of the assigned credits); your thesis mentor should have reviewed at least two drafts of your proposal by this point and you should have made the recommended revisions. Your proposal must then be formally approved by your mentor, and two additional faculty members chosen by you and your mentor. By the middle of your second thesis semester, you are required to submit your thesis to your mentor and two additional faculty members who will constitute your examination committee. As with your proposal, your mentor should have reviewed at least two drafts of your thesis prior to its submission to the committee. It is recommended that you get feedback on early drafts from your committee members also, in which case you should submit drafts to them some weeks before the final draft is due. You will orally defend your thesis in front of your examination committee during the exam period; you and your mentor are responsible for scheduling this defense.

Honors related opportunities and links:

Financial support for your research can be obtained from many places, including the Undergraduate Research Program and Biology Honor Society, all of which have supported our students in the past. Be sure not to miss grant deadlines!

Ecology Club

P.H.A.T Club

Biology students have opportunities for gaining practical experience in a variety of areas. They may participate in a field practicum through an intern program that earns up to 6 credits toward the degree. Paid internships are available with state, federal and private agencies in field or laboratory situations.

We also encourage students to develop new internship partnerships based on their interests. Please contact your advisor or the Biology department to discuss options.

When applying for an internship please fill out the Internship application form and return this form to the Biology Main Office (Upham 320) and the Departmental ADA will accept this application.  The form must be received before the start of the semester if the internship is requested for credit.  For more information, contact the Biology ADA.

Potential Internship Opportunities:

Health Care

General Lab Experience



University lab Experiences




Visit the Biology office in Upham Hall for information on more internships.

An introduction to the Marine Biology and Freshwater Ecology Emphasis

Biology Department - University of Wisconsin – Whitewater

UWW offers students in Wisconsin and surrounding states a unique opportunity to obtain a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology, with an emphasis in Marine Biology and Freshwater Ecology in collaboration with our sister institution, Deakin University, in Australia. UWW sends approximately 10-15 student each year to this program.

Basic curriculum

  • 3 years at UWW – See Marine Biology and Freshwater Ecology checklist
    • General Education
    • Foundation in Biology

While at Whitewater, students take courses that focus on various aspects in the fields of Ecology (including Aquatic Ecology), Organismal Biology, and Evolution. Much like the Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior emphasis, many of the associated courses have indoor or outdoor laboratory components, which focus on the applied aspects of this profession. All students are required to take a “Field Methods In Ecology” course, which is team taught by Ecology Faculty and exposes them to various techniques used in ecological work. Available courses include “Aquatic Toxicology”, “Water Resource Management” and advanced Ecology courses. Students in this emphasis are not required to have a minor, as additional coursework is completed at Deakin University.

  • 2 semesters at Deakin University – Typically after junior year
    • Students choose courses with consultation of program manager
    • Assortment of electives in a wide variety of subjects
    • Required to take Marine Invertebrates or Marine
    • Botany

Each Deakin class is 1 unit. Equivalent to 3 credits at UWW. Need 4 classes to maintain full-time status at UWW. This additional coursework focuses on aquatic biology (particularly related to marine ecosystems) over a wide range of topics from Fish and Marine Mammal Biology to aquaculture. Students in this emphasis are also strongly encouraged to take‐part in undergraduate research with faculty. Such endeavors have frequently resulted in professional presentations and publications. There are also very popular study abroad courses which travel to Yellowstone National Park and Ecuador (see links under “Trips”). Many students within this emphasis are active in the student Ecology Club, which frequently takes part in professional volunteer opportunities and trips to museums, zoological gardens and State Natural Areas. Please be sure to review the UWWhitewater/Deakin University Marine Biology Facebook page for more information.

How to prepare for going to Australia 

GPA requirement

UWW Biology requires 2.75/4.0 GPA to be accepted into the program. If a student falls below a 2.75 GPA an appeal can be made to a committee made up of UWW faculty (generally biology professors).  Deakin requires a 2.6/4.0 for international students.  Deakin has refused students below a 2.6 in the past.

Last semester at UWW

Each student must speak with the program manager (currently Dr. Bruce Eshelman) within the first 2 weeks. This meeting will begin the paperwork process required to attend Deakin University. Students also choose classes they will take at Deakin.

Cost of the program

Per unit cost - International students are charged for each unit of coursework they take. UWW students get a bit of a break on the cost.  Fees are reduced for each student depending on the number of students enrolled in Deakin that year.

Exchange rate  Students need to factor in the exchange rate of US Dollars to Australian Dollars. This is often the biggest factor determining total cost and recent history has shown this can vary up to ~10% over the course of a year.

Example tuition 2017-2018 – First semester Deakin Program fees $7,449.02 USD. Second semester estimated around $6,400 USD.  This is only tuition. We anticipate an increase for future semesters.

Example Room and Board – A recent student (2018-2019) received a quote of $10,608 AUD ($8,313 USD) for 12 months of room and board. Students usually live in campus dormitories during their time in Australia, but many students have chosen to live off campus. Meal plans are available, but the dorms have kitchenettes, so student can cook for themselves.

The following is a list of annual scholarships available to students majoring in Biology. Students with outstanding academic records are encouraged to review this list, fill out the appropriate application form(s) which are available via the links below, and submit the application to the Department of Biology. Selections are usually made in late February/early March with the award ceremony (Science/Mathematics Student Honors Reception) held in April. Recipients are expected to attend the ceremony. All scholarships are received upon registration the following fall and/or spring semester.​​

Application deadline for all awards is February 28 (If the 28th is a Saturday or Sunday, applications will be due that Monday)

Joseph & Madeline Chopp Scholarship

The Joseph and Madeline Chopp Scholarship offers incoming freshman and continuing Biology students tuition and research support. The scholarship, supported by generous gifts in memory of the former faculty member and his wife, rewards academic excellence while promoting hands-on research opportunities. Incoming Freshman must be full-time biology students with an overall high school GPA of 3.5 or better. Preference will be given to students who have received honors or awards in high school or have been active in community service projects. If incoming freshman recipients maintain full-time status, continue as biology majors, and achieve a 3.2 GPA they will be eligible for continuation of the Chopp award through their sophomore year. The continuing freshman awards are $2500. Upperclassmen applicants must maintain full-time status for the period covered by the scholarship, have a 3.4 GPA or better while at UWW, demonstrate progress towards a degree as measured by an academic advisor within the Biology department, and participate in extracurricular professional development. They must also complete an essay as determined by the faculty of the Biology department indicating why they wish to study in this field. The upperclassmen award of $2000 carries an additional $500 to support undergraduate research projects.

J.A. Cummings Biology Scholarship

The Jack Cummings Biology Scholarship is made possible by Dr. John A. "Jack" Cummings' family. Professor Cummings, an UW-Whitewater alumnus served this university for 29 years from 1961 to 1990. Since quality teaching is the number one mission of this university, it is of paramount importance to attract talented and dedicated undergraduates into the teaching profession. The purpose of this scholarship is to provide financial assistance to a capable and deserving biology student interested in the teaching profession and to reward academic excellence. The qualified candidate is 1) enrolled at UW-Whitewater as a Biology major and 2) a junior at the time of application. Preference will be given to those candidates who have dedicated themselves to pursue a career in teaching biology. In making their selection, the scholarship committee will consider a candidate's academic record, interest in teaching biology, personality, potential for success, and accomplishments. The award given to the top candidate is a scholarship of $500-$600 for the following semester.

Y.W. Fok Memorial Scholarship

Dr. Joseph and Eva Fok dedicate this scholarship to the memory of Joe's father, Y.W. Fok. Joe Fok, a 1971 graduate of UW-Whitewater, was an Obstetrics and Gynecology physician in the Madison, Wisconsin area. The scholarship will be awarded to full-time UW-Whitewater sophomore, junior or senior students who are pursuing a major in the sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Geology/Geography). An overall academic GPA of 3.5 or above is required. Preference will be given to those who are active in organizations. The scholarship may be renewable, but must be applied for each academic year.

Willard Gross Memorial Scholarship

Contributions from the family, colleagues, friends, and students of Willard Gross have made this memorial scholarship possible. The scholarship commemorates the dedication Dr. Gross exhibited toward his students and the University from 1968 until his death in 1990. The purpose of this scholarship is to provide a financial award to capable and deserving biology students and to encourage and reward academic excellence. Candidates must be enrolled at UW-Whitewater as Biology majors and must have junior status at the time of application. The scholarship committee will consider each candidate's scholarship, interest in pursuing a career in biology (specifically areas of ecology), personality, potential for success and need. The top candidate receives $500 to help with course expenses the following semester.

Dr. Dan and Jean Sable Scholarship

Dan and Jean Sable provide a scholarship for an outstanding biology student who is a member of Tri-Beta and is interested in pursuing a career in aquatic biology. Dr. Dan Sable taught in the Department of Biology for 31 years and served as departmental chair for three years. A generous gift makes possible a $100-$200 scholarship that may be applied to either undergraduate or graduate educational expenses.

Silver-Savage English/Environmental Scholarship

The Silver/Savage Environmental Scholarship is given by ardent supporters of liberal education, Donna Silver and George Savage: Donna, through her work at UW System and George, as Languages & Literatures faculty at UW Whitewater. This scholarship is made possible through George's mother, Nellie Savage, a teacher, church elder, leader of the local American Field Service, and world traveler. Nellie married Dr. William C. G. Savage, a veterinarian, whose interest in science and nature began early as an avid birdwatcher. This scholarship is created in the spirit of consilience between the two cultures, humanities and sciences. To that end, the scholarship is granted to a candidate with a declared major or minor in English and a declared major or minor in Environmental Science/Studies or Biology: one of the degrees must be English. The award will be granted for the academic year following the application. The award will be judged by the Chair of Language & Literatures and one faculty member, one Environmental Studies/ Science or Biology faculty, and a representative of the Silver/ Savage family.

Approximate Award Amount: $3,000 tuition credit.
Not Renewable.

James S. and Susan R. Schlough Scholarship

This scholarship, established by James S. and Susan R. Schlough, is offered to UW-Whitewater junior and senior students majoring or minoring in Biology. Dr. Schlough is an emeritus professor of the Department of Biology having taught from 1965 until his retirement in 1995. During that time he served as chair of both the Biology and English Departments. He is also a member of the Science Alliance. The purpose of this merit scholarship is to promote undergraduate research in the biology. A 3.0 GPA is required as well as a faculty recommendation. Awardees will be selected by the Chair of the Department of Biology.

Donald J. Stevenson, MD. Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship, given in memory of Dr. Donald J. Stevenson, by his wife, Skye Stevenson, is awarded to a deserving junior or senior who is pursuing a degree in the medical sciences. Applicants must demonstrate academic achievement, have at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA, and demonstrate need. Dr. Stevenson earned his degree at UWW in 1936, in addition to participating in football, basketball and track. He earned a medical degree in 1943 from Northwestern Medical School, served in the Army Medical Corps during WWII, and then as a Pathologist for the Madison, WI General Hospital and as a Professor of Clinical Pathology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


A.A. Upham Scholarship for Science

This scholarship is made possible by the late Ethel Upham, daughter of A.A. Upham, a former science teacher at the University. Her desire was that this scholarship would be used to encourage outstanding students to continue their studies at UW-Whitewater in Biology, Chemistry, or Physics. When selecting the top candidate, the scholarship committee considers each candidate's academic record, professional goals, and relevant work experience. The A.A. Upham Scholarship usually includes a certificate and up to $400 to help defray the cost of courses taken the following semester.

UW-Whitewater Foundations Scholarship for Outstanding Junior
from the College of Letters and Sciences

The UW-Whitewater Foundation would like to recognize one outstanding student from each college on an annual basis. Selection will be based on a GPA of 3.5 of more, involvement in college academic activities, student leadership, financial need, and potential for success in major area of study. The $1000 scholarship is dispersed equally between the fall and spring semesters of the student's senior year. Each department nominates one candidate to the committee.

Pisani Yellowstone Scholarship

The Pisani Yellowstone Scholarship was established by Ryan and Nicole Pisani. These former students, who met during the summer Yellowstone course, want to encourage others to experience this life-changing class. The $500 award provided by the Pisanis' is matched by Motorola Mobility, Inc., Ryan's employer. Applicants must be science major, sophomore, junior or senior standing and enrolled in the summer Yellowstone course.

Dr. Dionne A. Harrell Scholarship

The Dionne A. Harrell Scholarship was established by Dr. Dionne A. Harrell ’93.  This scholarship shall be made only to students enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater who have an interest in attending veterinary school.  A preference will be given to students who are “first generation” college students and an ethnic minority.  Student must maintain an overall academic GPA of at least 3.0 The scholarship may be renewable, but must be applied for each academic year.


Ecuador Trip Biology

Marine Biology and Freshwater Ecology Major

Health Careers

Medical School Minimum Requirements
General Biology with lab, one semester minimum: Bio 141, Biology I, Plant Focus followed by Bio 142, Biology II, Animal Focus is recommended, but the one semester course Bio-120, Biological Foundations, is acceptable for non-biologists.

Advanced biology with lab, one semester: Any biology w/ lab Bio 251, Genetics, or higher is acceptable. For students not majoring or minoring in Biology, Bio 361, Human Anatomy and Physiology I is required with Bio 362, Human Anatomy and Physiology II, recommended as a supplement.General chemistry with lab, two semesters: Chem. 102 and 104 are required.Organic chemistry with lab, two semesters: Chem. 251, 252 and 261 (lab) are required.General physics with lab, two semesters: Physcs.. 160, 161, 162, 163 is strongly recommended, Physcs. 170 to 174 acceptable if two semesters of calculus (Math 253 and Math 254) accompany it.Mathematics: Math 152, Elementary Functions is required.

PreMed Information Flyer

Additional Recommended Courses

  • Chemistry 456: Biochemistry
  • Mathematics 253: Calculus and Analytic Geometry

Grade Point
For serious consideration by medical schools, your GPA must be well above 3.0, the mean GPA for all matriculating students is around 3.7.

All of these courses should be completed one full year prior to your application to medical school, typically in the senior year. You should see Dr. Mesner for an application for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) in February 1.5 years before you plan to start medical school. The application is online through the American Association of Medical Colleges' MCAT site. The MCAT should be taken that April or August. You submit medical school application material over the summer the same year. You can find the electronic application form through the American Association of Medical Colleges Application Service  AMCAS site.

There is a growing interest among students in healthcare careers. The UWW departments have already helped many students prepare for entry into professional programs.

The pages here are designed to help advisors, students, and families find pertinent information about healthcare careers. Some faculty at UWW already have prepared pages related to career preparation, and you will find links to those sites. 

The federal government maintains a comprehensive site through the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Healthcare Occupations ( that includes information on over 40 careers, including information on salaries and employment outlook.

Categories of Careers

Healthcare occupations are usually divided into categories by role. The list below has examples of occupations that UWW students have entered and also a few other options students might wish to investigate on their own.

  • Diagnosis and Treatment Careers: Chiropractors, Dentists, Optometrists, Physicians, Podiatrists, Veterinarians
  • Associated Careers: Dietitians & Nutritionists, Genetic counselors, Nurse practitioners, Pharmacists, Physician assistants
  • Adjunctive Careers: Technologists, Technicians, Assistants, and Aides
  • Rehabilitation Careers: Occupational therapist, Physical therapist, Respiratory therapist, Speech-language pathologist and audiologist
  • Administrative Careers: Hospital and Geriatric Facility Directors
  • Affiliated Careers: Medical Scientists, Educators, and Information Workers


The list of careers are occupations that UWW students have successfully pursued, or ones that our students are qualified to enter but perhaps are not aware of.

Athletic Trainer - Athletic trainers are health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to provide preventative services, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions.

Audiologist - An audiologist evaluates, diagnoses, and assists people with hearing disorders.

Chiropractor - Pain relief through non-invasive manipulation of spine and joints.

Cytotechnologist - Collection and preparation of tissue samples, microscopic examination of samples for pathological conditions, such as cancer.

Dentist (DDS) - Care of mouth, including teeth and gums; examine, evaluate, treat, prevent diseases and disorders, perform surgery.

Dietitians & Nutritionists - Develop and implement food and nutrition programs with individuals or for institutions (schools, hospitals, etc.), provide counseling and education, conduct research.

Genetic Counselor - Working with individuals and families to understand inherited conditions and deal with the resulting challenges.

Nurse - Diagnosis and therapy of diseases, preventive health services, order lab tests and x-rays; many NPs will have a specialty.

Occupational Therapist - Working with people with disabilities to perform daily tasks of life, helping people with injuries be able to return to work.

Optometrist (OD) - Primary caregivers for eyes: examination and care of people's eyes, including prescription of glasses and contacts, surgery, monitoring eyes for complications due to other medical conditions (diabetes, high blood pressure).

Pathology Assistant - Assist medical examiner with autopsy, either in hospital (for medical review) or in the morgue(for forensic review); conduct gross examination of specimens.

Pharmacist (DPH) - Preparing and dispensing prescription medications; compounding individualized or veterinary prescriptions; research and development; long-term care; monitoring compliance.

Physical Therapist (PT) - Working with patients, using a variety of treatment techniques, to restore function, decrease pain, recover after injury or surgery, and educate.

Physician (MD) - Care of humans; can be primary care (family practice), internal medicine, pediatrics; can be highly specialized. A physician is typically a doctor of allopathic medicine (MD); the job includes diagnosis and treatment of any human disease, injury, or other condition. A doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) is also a licensed physician; the DO can practice medicine, perform surgery, and prescribe medications.

Physician Assistant (PA) -  Diagnosis and therapy of diseases, preventive health services, order lab tests and x-rays; working under supervision of MD or DO.

Podiatrist - Examination, diagnosis, and treatment of health of the foot, ankle, and lower limb.

Radiation Therapist - Design and conduct actual radiation exposure for cancer treatment; control amount and location; prepare, maintain, and calibrate equipment; prepare and handle radioactive source materials.

Recreation Therapist - A Recreation Therapist is a professional who plans, directs, and coordinates recreation-based treatment programs for people with disabilities, injuries, or illnesses. Recreation therapists help people recover basic physical and mental abilities; build confidence; reduce depression, stress, and anxiety; and socialize effectively.

Respiratory Therapist - Treat, manage, and rehabilitate people with diseases of the lungs and cardiovascular system, provide supportive care to patients undergoing surgery.

Speech Language Pathologist - An audiologist evaluates, diagnoses, and assists people with hearing disorders.

Veterinarian (DVM) - Treatment and care of animals; may include or focus on routine health, diagnosis, surgery, treatment, behavior.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook
Saul Wischnitzer and Edith Wischnitzer, 2011. Top 100 Health-Care Careers: Your Complete Guidebook to Training and Jobs in Allied Health, Nursing, Medicine, and More, 3rd ed. JIST Works, Indianapolis, IN.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in veterinary medicine, please read this page carefully. Included
here are tips for successfully gaining admission to vet school, coursework requirements, and links to other
sites that may be helpful to you. Please note that this information applies to people hoping to become
veterinarians. If you wish to be a veterinary technician (vet tech) or similar, you may want to consider a
technical school instead.
What is the "Pre-Vet" Program at UWW?
First and foremost, there is no such thing as a "Pre-Vet" major at UW-Whitewater, or any other reputable
university. The University does not offer a degree program in Pre-veterinary medicine. If you pursued a
course of study that consists only of the minimum coursework required for admission to most vet schools
(largely consisting of basic science credits from Biology, Chemistry and Physics), such a program will not
satisfy the requirements for completion of a bachelor's degree from UW-Whitewater. Incoming students
should speak with the pre-vet advisor in Biology to discuss appropriate choice of major and
Choice of Major and Minor
Although a bachelor's degree is technically not required for admission to most vet schools, few students are
accepted to vet school without one, and we advise that students consider completing the requirements for a
degree at UW-Whitewater. A bachelor's degree in the sciences is not necessary, however. Schools of
veterinary medicine admit students who have degrees in art, literature, political science, business, etc.
Students with degrees in fields other than the sciences, however, must still also complete (and do well in)
the science coursework to satisfy vet school admission requirements. For these reasons, most pre-vet
students opt to major in biology, typically choosing the 54 unit Pre-Biomedical Professions Emphasis,
which does not require a minor, but which incorporates the necessary credits in chemistry and physics.
Alternatively, students may choose the 40 unit cell/physiology emphasis, which requires a minor (most
students opt for a Chemistry or Physical Science minor). Again, however, other major and minor
combinations are possible.
Successful Admission to Vet School
Admission to a vet school is a highly competitive process. Minimally, you should strive to achieve the
following goals to make yourself a good prospect for admission to a professional program in Veterinary
• Maintain a minimum 3.5 grade-point average (GPA)
• Score well on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test
• Gain significant experience working with directly with veterinarians (job shadowing), including
experience with both large- and small-animal vets. Plan ahead. Vet schools are typically looking
for a prospective student to have hundreds of hours of such experience. Also, part of the
application process will require strong letters of recommendation from veterinarians – they can
only write a strong letter if they know you well, and they can only know you well if you have
spent a good deal of time with them.
• Other experience with animals is a plus and can help you stand out as a candidate, but does not
replace job shadowing. Such experiences might include internships, work at a zoo, farm, shelter,
animal training facility (e.g., stables, track), undergraduate research or other experiences above
and beyond care of your own pets.
• Successful completion of minimum coursework requirements as specified by the vet school of
choice. Although you should visit the website of any school you are considering, the Association
of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) also compiles this information, which can
be found at this address:
• See below for more information on applying to veterinary medical schools.
Minimum Course Requirements
The following table indicates those UW-Whitewater courses that are required for admission to the
University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Veterinary Medicine (the school of choice for most UWW
students). If you are considering applying to other vet schools, please consult them directly (or see the link
above) for information about their requirements for academic preparation.
Requirement Credits UWW Courses which fulfill requirement
Statistics 3 Usually Biology 303 OR Psychology 215, but other 3
credit stats courses will also suffice
General Biology
(zoology) 5 Biology 141 AND 142
Genetics 3 Biology 251
General Chemistry 8 Chemistry 102 AND 104
Chemistry 3-4 Chemistry 251
Biochemistry 3 Chemistry 454 OR Biology/Chemistry 456
Physics 6
Physics 140 AND 141 (4 cr. each)
OR Physics 180 AND 181 (4 cr. each)
Social Sciences/
Humanities 6 No specific coursework defined as long as minimum
number of credits are earned in this discipline
Composition 3-6 English 101 OR 102 OR 105
Recommended by
UW-Madison --- ------------------------------------------
Anatomy 3 Biology 340
Microbiology 3 Biology 311
Physiology 3 Biology 345
Cell/Molecular 3 Biology 253 (recommended) OR Biology 363
As you can see from studying this table, completion of the minimum coursework requirements will require
at least two-three years of study at UW-Whitewater. In addition, some of these courses have pre-requisites
of their own. Please consult the UW-Whitewater Undergraduate Catalog for complete details about course
pre-requisites and other academic requirements (available online). Also, here is a link to the UW-Madison
School of Veterinary Medicine.
How and When to Apply for Vet School
Application to most vet schools is through a centralized service, and applications are completed online at
the AAVMC website. There is also a wealth of other helpful information at this website. Here is a link to
the homepage: Applications are typically due by October 1st or 2nd each year; the
GRE must be taken by that date as well. Most students take the GRE in the spring of their junior year or
early summer before their senior year, and apply through AAVMCA in October of their senior year. (If you
apply to UW-Madison, they will also send you a supplementary application, due sometime in November.
Matriculation is for the following Fall Semester.) You should be aware that each year, only about 80 seats
are reserved for new students at UW-Madison, and most of these are reserved for residents of the state of
UWW Pre-Vet Student Advisor
Dr. Ellen Davis
Upham 361
(262) 472-5141

Faculty Research

Looking for a Biology faculty member to do research with?  Check out some examples below!  Also, click on an individual name to get more information, see pictures, and read student testimonials!

Nathaly Cormier

The long-term goals of my research are to decipher the molecular mechanisms involved in the early events of mammalian fertilization and develop molecular assays to identify the factors that increase the freezability/fertility potential of cryopreserved semen used for animal and human artificial insemination (AI). We are currently working on three main projects in my lab: 1) “Characterizing amyloid structures in ejaculated spermatozoa of bovine, Rh monkey and human ejaculate, and examining their physiological function during fertilization”, 2) “Characterizing the functional role of the sperm protein zonadhesin during bovine capacitation and acrosome reaction”, and 3) on “Characterizing amyloid structures in the seminal plasma of different mammalian species using atomic force microscopy”. This type of research requires cell biology, microscopy and molecular biology and biochemistry techniques.

Kirsten Crossgrove - Molecular biology/genetics/development. My lab studies development in free-living and parasitic nematodes. I am particularly interested in understanding the genetic pathways involved in responding to environmental changes like the movement of a parasite from mosquito to human host.

Kristen Curran - Molecular biology/Development/Circadian Rhythm.  We use the African Clawed Frog (Xenopus laevis) to address two questions.  First, when during development do embryonic organs attain a circadian rhythm and become synchronized with the external environment?  Second, do circadian genes play other roles during the development that are not related to timing a 24 hour day?

Ellen Davis - Animal behavior. Main focus is conflict, particularly sexual conflict, but also courtship, mate choice, dominance, sexual coercion, sexual selection, evolution and the hormonal basis of behavior.    

Susan DeVries-   Behavioral endocrinology/ecoimmunology. My lab examines interrelationships between reproductive behavior, steroid hormones. and aspects of immune functions in wild populations of the Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis).

Elisabeth Harrahy - Aquatic ecology and environmental toxicology. Occurrence and fate of contaminants in the environment and effects of contaminants on aquatic organisms.

Josh Kapfer - I am a Certified Wildlife Biologist ® and broadly interested in vertebrate ecology and conservation.  I have conducted research on fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals, but the majority of my past work has focused on amphibians and reptiles.  I am particularly interested in habitat selection, spatial ecology, population biology and behavioral ecology. 

Kerry Katovich - Insect biodiversity, their natural history and identification.   My primary work is focused on a large group of scarab beetles called the Macrodactylini.  I also have interests in several other beetle, true bug and fly groups.  Students in my lab have also worked on conservation and restoration ecology projects involving insects.  

Nadine Kriska - Insect identification and natural history.  My primary focus is in the family Scarabaeidae, especially those groups we refer to as dung beetles.  I am also interested in the role dung beetles play in dung removal in pastures.

Robert Kuzoff - Medical Bioinformatics. Undergraduate researchers in our lab explore medically significant variation in human genomes, transcriptomes, and proteomes. Additionally, we study variation in viral and bacterial pathogens and its consequences for human health. 

Stephen Levas

Anneke Lisberg - My lab studies the social and communicative uses of chemical signals in domestic dogs.

Pete Mesner - Molecular Cell Biology/Tumor Cells/Mitochondria. My lab studies aspects of cell metabolism, organelle function, and programmed cell death. I am interested in understanding how tumor cells are adapted to survive in harsh conditions and in helping define the function of known, but presently unstudied, proteins of the mitochondrial proteome.

Brian O'Neill - Food webs, ephemeral ecosystems, aquatic ecology, aquatic invertebrates . My lab focuses on the complexity of food webs and trophic structure. Our research aims to bridge across system permanence and create a framework describing what drives trophic structure, how it is controlled, and how it is modified with human interactions.

Heather Pelzel - Molecular biology/epigenetics/cell death. My lab studies the early epigenetic changes that take place in apoptotic neurons. My principal focus is to examine histone deacetylases and determine their role in the death of retinal neurons.  

Andrea Romero

Nicholas Tippery - Plant structure, diversity, evolution, and reproductive biology. I also work on projects that deal with invasive aquatic plant species and restoration ecology. 

Meg Waraczynski - Behavioral neuroscience, with focus on understanding the neural circuitry underlying the computation of survival value of environmental stimuli by the mammalian brain.  


The University's convenient location at the southern end of the Kettle Moraine State Forest - as well as on-campus nature preserves, including woodland and prairie areas - offers students opportunities for ecological field studies. Other extraordinary facilities include Upham Hall, which recently underwent a $40-million renovation transforming it into one of the nation's state-of-the-art science centers. The renovated facility features four 60-seat classrooms, one 100-seat lecture hall, one 185-seat lecture hall, wired classrooms, modern research laboratories, and 34,000 square feet of new space. Facilities and lab space include a greenhouse, animal care facility, multiple cold rooms, chemical and cell culture hoods, and numerous -80 degree freezers. Students also have the opportunity to take accredited courses through our international partners in Australia, as well as enroll in multiple travel study courses throughout the United States and abroad.

Equipment - Department of Biology


Bruker Dimension Icon Atomic Force Microscope with ScanAsyst Bruker Dimension® Icon® Atomic Force Microscope with ScanAsystTM - This state-of-art AFM allows undergraduate researchers to image samples with atomic resolution by 'touching' the sample with a nano tip, as well as conduct numerous other assays. This microscope is also used in our Bionanotechnology course (Bio 496). Find out more »
Olympus IX2-UCB Spinning Disc Confocal Microscope Olympus IX2-UCB Spinning Disc Confocal Microscope - This fluorescence confocal microscope allows undergraduate researchers to image multiple fluorophores in a sample within a single optical plane. This microscope is also used in our Biotech Lab Methods II (Bio 364) course. Find out more »
Olympus BX41 Clinical Microscope Olympus BX41 Clinical Microscope - This fluorescence microscope is housed within our cell culture room and allows undergraduate researchers to monitor cells in culture in real time. Find out more »
Olympus IMT2-RFL Microscope Olympus IMT2-RFL Microscope - This microscope allows undergraduate researchers to image fixed samples with high resolution. This microscope is also used in our Genetics course (Bio 251).
MVX10 MacroView Research Macro Zoom Flourescence Microscope MVX10 MacroView Research Macro Zoom Fluorescence Microscope - This microscope allows undergraduate researchers to image multiple fluorescence signals within whole organisms. This microscope is also used in our Developmental Biology course (Bio 341). Find out more » 
JEOL - JSM-6390LV Scanning Electron Microscope JEOL - JSM-6390LV Scanning Electron Microscope - This microscope allows undergraduate researchers to view samples with high resolution (3nm). Find out more » 


Imaging & Scanning

Typhoon FLA 9500

 Typhoon FLA 9500 - is a top-of-the-line variable mode laser scanner with modular access to the optical components, providing both versatile and flexible imaging for precise quantitation of proteins, nucleic acids, and other biomolecules. Find out more >>

ImageQuant LAS 4000  ImageQuant LAS 4000 - is a digital imaging system for sensitive, quantitative imaging of gels, blots, and colonies. ImageQuant LAS 4010 Fully equipped imager that in addition performs ultraviolet (UV) and visible (RGB) fluorescence imaging. Find out more >>
Kodak Gel Logic 2200 Imaging System Kodak Gel Logic 2200 Imaging System - This imaging system allows undergraduate researchers to image gels by producing highly sensitive digital imaging of low light signals, including chemiluminescence and fluorescence. This imaging system is used in our Genetics course (Bio 251).
DigiDoc-It Imaging System DigiDoc-It® Imaging System - This imaging system allows undergraduate researchers to image gels by producing highly sensitive digital imaging for fluorescence, colorimetric, and other assays. Find out more »
BioDoc-It Imaging System BioDoc-It® Imaging System - This imaging system allows undergraduate researchers to produce a basic photo image of their gels for lab book documentation. This imaging system is used in our Genetics course (Bio 251). Find out more »
Nanosight The NanoSight NS500 with DLS  The NanoSight NS500 Instrument with DLS - provides an easy-to-use, reproducible platform for specific and general nanoparticle characterization.With the NS500 you can analyze the presence, size distribution, concentration and fluorescence of all types of nanoparticles from 10nm to 2000nm depending on the instrument configuration and sample type. Find out more >>



DNA Amplification

Applied Biosystems 7300 Real-Time PCR System Applied Biosystems 7300 Real-Time PCR System - This real-time PCR instrument allows undergraduate researchers to monitor DNA amplification as it is occurring and perform a wide variety of other assays by using advanced multicolor detection capabilities. This instrument is used in our Biotech Lab Methods I course (Bio 254). Find out more »
Applied Biosystems GeneAmp PCR System 2700 Applied Biosystems GeneAmp PCR System 2700 - This PCR instrument enables undergraduate researchers to amplify their DNA of interest. This instrument is used in our Genetics course (Bio 251) and Biotech Lab Methods I (Bio 254).



Glomax Multi Plus Detection System Glomax Multi + Dectection System is a modular, easy to use and cost effective multimode reader that allows undergraduate students to detect luminescence, fluorescence, and absorbance. 
Thermo Scientific Nanodrop 2000 Spectrophotometer Thermo Scientific Nanodrop 2000 Spectrophotometer - This micro-volume spectrophotometer allows undergraduate researchers to measure the absorbance of 1-2μl volume samples to determine nucleic acid, protein, and other concentrations with high sensitivity. This instrument is used in our Genetics course (Bio 251) and Biotech Lab Methods I course (Bio 254). Find out more »
Thermo Scientific Nanodrop 3300 Spectrophotometer Thermo Scientific Nanodrop 3300 Spectrophotometer - This micro-volume spectrophotometer allows undergraduate researchers to measure the emission of 1-2μl volume samples to aid in characterization, microscopy, and other applications. Find out more »
Beckman DU 640 Spectrometer Beckman DU 640 Spectrometer - This traditional spectrophotometer enables undergraduate researchers to determine the absorbance of a diverse set of samples for various applications. This instrument is used in our Biotech Lab Methods I course (Bio 254).
Hofer DNA Quant 200 Fluorometer Hofer DNA Quant 200 Fluorometer - This instrument allows undergraduate researchers to determine DNA and RNA concentrations of samples. Find out more » 


Flow Cytometry

Hofer DNA Quant 200 Fluorometer The BD Accuri C6 - is a personal flow cytometer that is easy to use, simple to maintain, and affordable.The analytical power and versatility of today's laser-based flow cytometry systems have unlocked the mysteries of cell biology and empowered entirely new fields of research. As a result, flow cytometry has become a staple of modern laboratories around the world. Innovations in ease of use reflected in the BD Accuri C6 make these powerful capabilities more accessible to a new generation of flow cytometry users. Find out more >>


Cell Culture

NuAire Cell Culture Hood NuAire Cell Culture Hood - This piece of equipment allows undergraduate researchers to culture their eukaryotic cells for various experiments and assays. It is used in our Biotech Lab Methods II course (Bio 364).
Labconco Purifier Class II Biosafety Cabinet Labconco Purifier Class II Biosafety Cabinet (delta series) - This hood provides undergraduate researchers with a sterile environment to prepare media, dishes, and other samples. This hood is used in our Genetics course (Bio 251) and Biotech Lab Methods I course (Bio 254). Find out more »



Beckman L7-65 Ultracentifuge Beckman L7-65 Ultracentrifuge - This water cooled ultracentrifuge allows undergraduate researchers the ability to separate plasmid DNA or other samples requiring high g force. Find out more »
Eppendorf Centrifuge 5804R Eppendorf Centrifuge 5804R - This refrigerated bench top centrifuge allows undergraduate researchers to separate a high (volume) range of samples for general applications. Find out more »
Fisher Scientific Accu Spin R Centrifuge Fisher Scientific Accu Spin R Centrifuge - This centrifuge offers undergraduate researchers a compact, high speed centrifuge for general laboratory applications. 



Biorad BioLogic Biofrac Fraction Collector BioRad BioLogic BioFrac Fraction Collector - This chromatography system brings high performance, versatility, and ease of use, to allow undergraduate researchers to perform biomolecule purification. Find out more »

Specimen Collections

The Department of Biology Natural History Specimen Collection contains thousands of catalogued plant and animal specimens. These include both teaching and research specimens that are available for student and professional use. Although most of the specimens housed in the collection were taken in southern Wisconsin, the collection contains specimens from throughout the United States. 

The collection is divided among several areas of natural history:

Plants: Herbarium specimens




Reptiles and amphibians



Fossils and other biologically relevant rock specimens

Plants: The herbarium collection consists of approximately 6,000 mounted plant specimens. There is a significant student collection for plant taxonomic study. In addition, there are specialized collections of Wisconsin sedges and cattails due to the work of Dr. Galen Smith. The botanical specimens are curated by Dr. Nicholas Tippery (

Vertebrates: The UW-W Department of Biology is fortunate to have many taxidermy mounts, primarily birds, prepared in the mid -1800's by the famed naturalist Thure Kumlein ( see here). The vertebrate collections have also been expanded by past faculty of the UW-W Department of Biology, most notably Willard Gross (freshwater fish), Jack Cummings (a sizeable collection of marine fish), mammals (George Seeburger). There is also a collection of several hundred herpetological specimens. The vertebrate collection is curated by Dr. Joshua Kapfer (

Invertebrates: The invertebrate collection consists of both mounted and jarred specimens (including a sizeable marine invertebrate collection). The invertebrate collections are curated by Dr. Nadine Kriska (

Use of the collections:
Individuals and small groups may view displayed specimens when Upham Hall is open. For further information about access to the collections or taxa databases, please contact the appropriate curator.

Specimen Donations:
We accept donation of biological collections, specimens, and taxidermy mounts if they are accompanied with appropriate data (particularly the location and date of collection), and if the specimens were collected legally. We prefer to have collection permit numbers or hunter tags associated with the specimens, if possible. Further inquiries about possible donation of specimens should be directed towards the curators or collection manager (Biology Department,

The future of the collections:
Funds were donated by Dr. Jack Cummings and family to help support the collection. Although several taxonomic groups have been digitally catalogued, endeavors are currently underway to create digital databases of all remaining taxa groups. 

Decisions about the well-being of the collections are made by the Biology Department's Specimen Collections Committee. The current members include:

  • Dr. Elisabeth Harrahy
  • Dr. Joshua Kapfer
  • Dr. Kerry Katovich
  • Dr. Nadine Kriska
  • Dr. Nicholas Tippery

Biology Collections Image 2

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