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.

“Through literature, I can ask and explore larger questions, such as what it means to be a woman of color, or the roles culture and family play in identity.”

"There is this stereotype that you have to come to college with a degree in mind and a career track to follow. Well, I am pure proof that this is not true."

"The type of learning a liberal education instills is not one that ends after some phase, but is a desire for a continuous acquisition of knowledge that often adds, challenges or confirms prior beliefs."

“There's something really valuable about having knowledge in a lot of different subjects. You become much more of an asset to society when you can wrap your mind around different points of view.”

Find Your Path

Latest from L&S

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.

Read More »

Making their way, finding their place

During the six-week Summer Collegiate Experience (SCE) program, incoming students get a sneak peek into university life and gain confidence in knowing UW-Madison is where they belong. 

Read More »

A happy homecoming for Russ Schafer-Landau

After a two-year stint at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Parr Center for Ethics, the metaethics expert is glad to be back at the UW-Madison philosophy department. 

Read More »

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.”

Read more

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.” 

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.”

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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. 

Read more

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. 

Read more

Summer classes: American Sign Language

There’s plenty of interaction, but absolutely no talking in one class at UW-Madison this summer, as this group of students take Communication Sciences & Disorders course 424: Sign Language I. We hear why these students feel attending college during this time of year in Madison is such a great choice. More than fourteen thousand people are expected to attend classes this summer, during what many used to consider a quiet time at the university.

Support L&S

An L&S education is not only broad, but deep, allowing our graduates to make a good living and live a good life.  The support and dedication of our alumni and friends is critical to our mission.