The Heart of a Great University

The College of Letters & Science is the liberal arts college, home to the humanities, the natural, physical and biological sciences, and the social sciences. UW’s “fearless sifting and winnowing” philosophy was born right here. GO BIG. GO BOLD. GO L&S.

I feel like I’m ready to be here on this campus. I feel like my contribution, big or small, is going to be here.

If I could give freshmen one piece of advice I'd tell them that while academics are certainly important, you're here for an education in life as well.

If I had not given myself a few semesters to explore all my interests and passions, I never would have discovered what I now know is the perfect major for me.

I have never considered my scholarly pursuits to be divorced from a commitment to the public good.

Find Your Path

Latest from L&S

Your words in print

Undergraduate journals published at UW-Madison span disciplines from science to history to poetry. They’re a great place for students to submit thoughtful writing and experience the process of working with editors to refine their work for a larger audience. The Wisconsin Undergraduate Journal Association brings together eight on-campus publications that showcase student scholarship.

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Chasing Hollywood dreams

For communication arts students Ali Walton and Ryan Holtz, a life-changing summer internship is capped with a star-studded celebration. 

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Military historian John Hall to serve Joint Chiefs of Staff

A dedication to both scholarship and service has defined the career of John Hall, the Ambrose-Hesseltine Associate Professor of U.S. Military History in the UW-Madison Department of History. A new appointment as a historian for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Department of Defense will allow him to continue the dual pursuits.

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Wisconsin Winnowers

L&S draws students from all 72 counties in the state. Below, meet a few Wisconsin students using a strong liberal arts education as the foundation for their futures.

Dahlia Tesfamichael, Greenfield, WI

After turning down Harvard to attend UW-Madison, Dahlia spent her first year on campus studying chemistry and Spanish and participating on the speech and debate team. “I’m excited to see where my experience at Madison and where my education at Madison can take me,” she says. “Because I have absolute faith that it will take me so far, to so many places.”

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Sam Gee, Madison, WI

When choosing a college, Sam considered smaller liberal arts schools but worried they wouldn’t offer enough access to research. UW-Madison’s Honors Program became an ideal fit because it’s let him take smaller classes, conduct his own research and work closely with faculty, particularly in the history department. “It really opened up worlds for me,” he says. “I like the way of looking at history through big ideas, and big ideas through history.” 

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Doha Awad, Glendale, WI

Doha focused on math and chemistry courses during her inaugural semester at UW-Madison. And she participated in a global health-focused first-year interest group, or FIG — a good fit, as she’s considering going on to medical or pharmacy school.

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Nate Kornetzke, Kiel, WI

During his first year on campus, Nate lived in the environmentally focused GreenHouse Learning Community at Leopold Residence Hall. The math major was most looking forward to “meeting new people and living in a new place” at UW-Madison.

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Jerry Xiong, Milwaukee, WI

For this economics major, a highlight of campus is the welcoming atmosphere of the Center for Academic Excellence, a 50-year-old program that supports historically underrepresented students. “I would be in the CAE space almost every day,” Jerry says. “CAE has provided me a support system of reliable staff that can help me with job opportunities, internships, advising — almost anything.”

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Avery Aurand, Lake Geneva, WI

After dropping her conservation biology major, Avery was looking for a new path. She found her next steps in pairing geography and journalism. “Geography is the study of the world around us, and journalism is putting it into words and sharing it,” she says.

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Jessie Howard, Franklin, WI

The end of her freshman year saw Jessie was debating her path. Recognizing that she likes speaking with people — even in a foreign language — she decided to major in German and take pre-physical therapy courses. “It is totally possible to major in the liberal arts and still go to grad school in the sciences, and that’s exactly what I intend to do,” she says.

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Michael Bellart, Muskego, WI

His first year at UW-Madison, the history and political science major enrolled in a first-year interest group, or FIG, focused on Jerusalem. Michael enjoyed finding connections in past and current events. “It was awesome to talk about Christianity’s historical interactions with both Islam and Judaism,” he says.

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Cesar Martinez, Appleton, WI

Through the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program, Cesar studied vesicle trafficking, investigated the impact of stroke and probed the epigenetic role of a protein. While different in focus, these lab experiences helped him recognize that he enjoys culling different perspectives — an important realization as he plans a career in health care. 

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Katherine Piel, Wauwatosa, WI

With a desire to learn how to present herself and her skills to potential employers, Katherine enrolled in Taking Initiative, the signature career-prep course of the L&S Career Initiative. “My common threads were leadership, communication and service,” says the communication arts and environmental studies major. 

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What can philosophy bring to mathematics?

Double Major Hannah DeBrine, talks about how studying both Math and Philosophy helps broaden her perspective.

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