Academics

Undergraduate Majors & Certificates

Within our top-ranked academic departments, you can choose from 12 undergraduate majors that not only will prepare you for the engineering career you want, they’ll give you excellent skills and amazing experiences you never thought you’d need! Here’s a list of our majors, by department—and if you’re still trying to decide which major is right for you, check out our “choosing a major” page.

Biomedical Engineering

Bachelor of Science, Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical Engineering is the application of engineering tools to solve problems in biology and medicine. It is an interdisciplinary engineering discipline practiced by professionals trained as engineers, who often work in teams including engineers, physicians, biologists, nurses and therapists. Biomedical engineers assert their expertise in designing new medical instruments and devices, applying engineering principles to understanding and repairing the human body, and for medical decision-making. Fields of study in biomedical engineering include bioinstrumentation, medical imaging, biomechanics, biomaterials, cell and tissue engineering, and health care systems.

Chemical & Biological Engineering

Bachelor of Science, Chemical Engineering

Ranking: 7

Chemical engineers create products, solve technological problems, and improve our quality of life. Chemical engineers can deal effectively with problems involving chemical, biological, and physical phenomena. They have made great contributions to developing the chemical, petroleum, pharmaceutical, electronics, and other process industries. Opportunities for chemical engineers lie in the areas of energy resources, materials, pulp and paper manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, plastics, personal care products, synthetic fibers, food processing, waste treatment, pollution abatement, public health and biotechnology.

Civil & Environmental Engineering

Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineering

Ranking: 13

Civil engineering deals with the science and art of engineering applied to the human environment and natural resource needs. The environment has long been the province and concern of civil engineers. Involved in planning our cities, communities, and larger regional areas, civil engineers build our world. They conceive, design, and construct public works such as highways, streets, bridges, water distribution and wastewater collection systems, and wastewater and industrial waste-treatment plants. Civil engineers respond to society’s ecological and environmental problems by joining with other engineers, as well as with physical, biological, and social scientists, to protect our natural resources and create a better physical and social environment for all people.

Bachelor of Science, Geological Engineering

Geological engineering integrates geology and engineering. Geologists study Earth’s origins, composition, and evolution. Engineers apply scientific principles to practical ends, such as designing and constructing structures. Geological engineers help find the best ways to use Earth’s resources to solve technical problems while protecting the environment. They may also be involved in discovering and maintaining alternative forms of energy. A geological engineer might be hired to design or investigate manufactured structures in rock or soil such as dams, tunnels, and underground power plants; help mitigate naturally occurring phenomena; or develop safe and environmentally sound subsurface openings for mineral extraction, energy storage, or waste disposal.

Electrical & Computer Engineering

Bachelor of Science, Computer Engineering

Ranking: 14

Computer engineers design, develop, and manage systems that process, store, and convey information. These systems include computers, networks, digital systems and any device or system with an electronic “brain”. They also conduct research on ideas for new computer technologies. Computer engineers are heavily involved in the growing Internet and E-commerce areas and also develop the computer-aided design tools that are used in every other type of engineering. A computer engineer typically has the hardware background of an electrical engineer and the software background of a computer scientist.

Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineers create and innovate electrical and electronic components and systems. They also conduct research on ideas for new technologies. Examples include electric power generation and distribution, mobile communications, robotics, biomedical devices and systems, alternative and sustainable energy sources, automotive electronics, electric and hybrid-electric transportation systems, consumer products, data processing tools, and electronic sensors and sensing systems. The electrical engineer is also concerned with the devices that make up such systems: transistors, integrated circuits, antennas, computer memory devices, and fusion plasma confinement devices.

Engineering Physics

Bachelor of Science, Engineering Mechanics

Ranking: U.S. News and World report doesn't rank engineering mechanics programs.

To an engineer, mechanics refers to the branch of physics dealing with the physical laws governing forces, motion, energy, and the deformations of materials under load. Engineers with expertise in mechanics are essential for the design of many projects, from nuclear reactors and energy storage systems to aircraft, automobiles and other mechanical systems. An exciting direction in engineering mechanics at UW-Madison is the astronautics option within the BS degree program. Students who choose this option will learn to apply the laws of physics to problems of rocket guidance and space flight, including orbits of the planets and moons, and the building and control of space stations.

Bachelor of Science, Engineering Physics

Ranking: U.S. News and World report doesn't rank engineering physics programs.

Engineering Physics provides students opportunities to study emerging technologies. Students in this major participate in original research in the technical focus area of their choice. The available focus areas will change as technology progresses. At present, students can select from nanoengineering, plasma science and engineering, and scientific computation Graduates in Engineering Physics are well-suited for careers in high-tech start-up companies, research and development in traditional engineering firms, and pursuing advanced graduate degrees.

Bachelor of Science, Nuclear Engineering

Ranking: 2

Since the discovery of fission 50 years ago, a new field using energy from the atom’s nucleus has developed and electricity is being produced commercially in a several-hundred-billion-dollar industry. Applications of radioactive tracers have been made to medicine, science, and industry. Radiation from particle accelerators and materials made radioactive in nuclear reactors is used worldwide to treat disease, provide power for satellite instrumentation, preserve food, sterilize medical supplies, detect faults in welds and piping, and polymerize chemicals.

Industrial & Systems Engineering

Bachelor of Science, Industrial Engineering

Ranking: 8

Work on real problems for real companies while you learn in one of the best IE programs in the country. Whether it's helping a hospital redesign emergency department workflows to make sure the sickest patients get treated quicker, helping a small manufacturing company worried about its bottom line redesign its processes to do more with less.

Materials Science & Engineering

Bachelor of Science, Materials Science and Engineering

Everyone uses and consumes materials of all kinds: metals, ceramics, polymers, composites, semiconductors, and superconductors. Materials scientists and engineers create new materials and develop processes to improve existing materials to suit the needs of everyday life. These materials can help conserve energy, make engines run more efficiently, improve high-resolution TVs, make faster computers, improve sensors for automobiles, and create environmental controls. The study and development of materials is one of the most rapidly growing areas in all of science and engineering.

Mechanical Engineering

Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Ranking: 16

As an undergraduate working toward your bachelor’s degree, you learn the science and engineering principles of designing and building machines, structures, components, powertrains, pumps, compressors, turbines, engines, power plants, furnaces, refrigerators, air conditioners, and more. In addition to the formal classes, you can join exciting student project teams that build robots, human-powered vehicles, and experimental cars.

Photo of ag engineering buildingBiological Systems Engineering

Bachelor of Science, Biological Systems Engineering

In addition to the engineering majors offered through the College of Engineering, the Department of Biological Systems Engineering in the UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences also offers an engineering degree for undergraduates. Biological systems engineering is a discipline based on engineering principles with emphasis on the production and processing of food, fibers, and materials of biological origin. The program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org. Learn more through the department website.

Certificate Programs

In addition to our engineering majors, you also can choose from a broad range of certificate programs that are designed to enhance your education, expand your skillset, and make you a more versatile, marketable engineer. Students need to be in good standing with the College of Engineering to apply for a certificate program. Certificates need to be completed concurrently with your engineering major.