Ask Abe: Schools and colleges at UW–Madison

An Alum

How many schools and colleges are there within UW–Madison?

Abe

Trying to house nearly 5,000 courses, 230-some undergraduate majors and certificates, and 160-plus departments in just one college would be nearly impossible. That’s why UW–Madison is divided into eight main undergraduate schools and colleges and four main professional schools. Undergraduates can choose to study in the College of Agricultural & Life Sciences (CALS), Wisconsin School of Business, School of Education, College of Engineering, School of Human Ecology, College of Letters & Science (L&S), School of Nursing, and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. Some schools and colleges such as L&S are further divided. L&S houses the Mead Witter School of Music, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, School of Social Work, School of Library and Information Studies, and the La Follette School of Public Affairs. The Graduate School offers master’s and doctoral degrees within those eight schools, and professional-degree seekers can also study in the Law School, the School of Medicine and Public Health, the School of Veterinary Medicine, and the School of Pharmacy (which also offers one bachelor’s track). On April 4, 1889, the Wisconsin state legislature passed a law allowing the UW to be divided into four initial colleges — for letters and science, mechanics and engineering, agriculture, and law — with the provision that others could be added.