University of Wisconsin Madison College of Engineering

Frequently asked

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When do I get an advisor in CBE?

After you are admitted to the department. Before that, if you have advising questions specific to CBE, you should contact Dr. Andrew Greenberg or Professor Regina Murphy.

Who is Dr. Greenberg and how do I contact him?

Dr. Andrew Greenberg is the Associate Faculty Associate. He can be contacted by email (, phone (608-890-1534) or in person (2037 Engineering Hall). 

Drop in advising

Dr. Andrew Greenberg holds weekly drop in advising Monday through Thursday and online drop in advising on Fridays.  Times for drop in advising change from semester to semester.  Available times are posted on Dr. Greenberg's office door (2037 Engineering Hall).

Can I pick my own advisor?

Yes. If you prefer to have an advisor other than the one you were assigned, you can switch, provided that your new advisor has agreed to the switch. Contact Dr. Andrew Greenberg to let him know.

How does advising work in CBE?

The department sets aside some time (usually 10 days to 2 weeks) every semester as an advising period. Typically, this is just before registration begins. Shortly before the advising period, you should receive an email from Dr. Andrew Greenberg and from your advisor. Each advisor does things slightly differently, but generally speaking advisors post advising hours when they will be available in their office. You should plan to meet with your advisor during the posted advising hours.

How should I prepare for a meeting with my advisor?

Print out and examine your DARS before your meeting, and check to make sure that there are no discrepancies. Make a list of the courses you are thinking about taking. Think about what elective courses you are interested in, or whether you would like to pursue a particular area of emphasis such as, biotechnology, or materials. Make a list of other questions you'd like to discuss with your advisor. Feel free to ask your advisor for advice about course choices, course sequencing, time to graduation, study skills, test-taking strategies, double majoring, summer jobs, career options, co-op options, study abroad, graduate school, liberal studies concentration options, ….

What if I forget to see my advisor during the advising period?

You will have an advising hold placed on your registration, and you will not be able to register until your advisor removes the hold.

Study abroad, transfers and co-ops

Should I co-op? How do I get a co-op?

Students are strongly encouraged to participate in the co-op program. The experience you receive helps you in the classroom, and gives you a big advantage when you are interviewing for permanent jobs. Contact John Archambault in the Engineering Co-op Office, M1002 Engineering Centers Building.

What if I take classes at another university or college? Can I transfer the credits?

It depends. Approval of transfer credits is obtained through Bonnie Schmidt in the Engineering General Resources office (1150 Engineering Hall). Students considering a semester abroad should contact Professor Root, who advises students for overseas studies and course transfers. Never take a course first and simply assume that it will be approved for degree transfer. It is always best to get permission first.

What if I'm on co-op or on an international exchange program?

You can handle all advising by email or by phone.

Grade requirements, classes and course loads

Are there any unique grade requirements for CBE students?

All CBE students MUST get a minimum grade of C in CBE 250, CBE 211, CBE 311 and CBE 320. If you get a D or and F in these classes you need to retake it; generally, you should retake the class before moving further in the curriculum. You should discuss retaking classes with your advisor. All students are subject to the College requirements regarding GPA and PCR required for graduation. Refer to the College of Engineering website (

Can I substitute courses?

Sometimes, but you always need your advisor's approval first. Pick up a copy of the Course Substitution Form from Dr. Greenberg’s office, Engineering Hall 2037, think about why the course substitution makes sense for educational and career reasons, and then meet with your advisor to discuss your reasons for wanting to substitute a course. Never take a course first and simply assume that your advisor will later approve the substitution! Even if your friend was able to substitute a course, you may not be able to, because of differing circumstances.

Can I take fewer than 12 credits?

If it is your last semester on campus and you need fewer than 12 credits to fulfill all graduation requirements, you can register for fewer than 12 credits. Many students like to do this because they are busy interviewing for jobs or visiting graduate schools during their last semester. You MUST obtain permission by filling out a part-time status form, that you can get from the dean’s office (Room 2630 Engineering Hall). You should do this no later than the first 2 weeks of the semester. There are a few other situations where you will be allowed to drop below 12 credits; contact the dean’s office.

Which mathematics elective should I take, Math 319 or 320?

Math 320 is preferred over Math 319, but either choice is OK.

I cannot fit Chem 329 into my schedule. Is Chem 327 OK?

Chem 329 is a required course.  Chem 327 is not OK to substitute. Note: CBE 250 discussion is optional; you can take CBE 250 and Chem 329 in the same semester.

Are there courses outside of CBE that can be taken as CBE electives?

Yes, there are numerous courses that students can take as CBE engineering electives. Some popular choices are ME 417, ME 418, BSE 542, and BSE 642. You must have your advisor's approval for course substitutions. You should get approval BEFORE taking the class.

Do the courses I take for my liberal studies concentration need to all be from the same department?

No, the concentration must comprise closely related topics, but the courses need not all be in the same department; however, if the courses are not all from the same department, you will need your advisor’s approval, and supporting documentation to satisfy the concentration requirement.

What are the most popular ethnic studies courses?

Some of the top choices in the last few years are: (1) Sociology 134, (2) Anthro 104, (3) Folk Lore 210, (4) Folk Lore 230, and (5) Folk Lore 329.

Can Stat 301 substitute for Stat 324?

No. However, with advisor approval, you may substitute Stat 311 for Stat 324.

How do I sign up to take courses Pass/Fail?

Print out two copies of the form available on the website (, have your advisor sign both copies, then bring to Dr. Andrew Greenberg in CBE or the dean’s office. The last date to convert to/from Pass/Fail is listed in the timetable.

Research opportunities

How do I get involved in undergraduate research?

Visit the department website and read about the faculty research areas. Talk to your TAs — they are researchers too! After you have decided a few areas of research you are interested in, make appointments with professors to discuss your interests, background, and qualifications. A good time to do this is during advising period, just before registration for the following semester. Availability of research positions varies from semester to semester. You may be able to get credit (CBE 599 or CBE 699) or pay. It can take some effort and time on your part to find a research position, but it’s worth it.