L&S Second Undergraduate Degree

This section is for students interested in pursuing a second undergraduate degree in the College of Letters & Science.


To be eligible as a candidate for a second undergraduate degree in the College of Letters & Science, a student’s first undergraduate degree must not be a liberal arts degree.  Students are not permitted to earn two undergraduate liberal arts degrees at UW-Madison.  The College of Letters & Science seeks to ensure that seats are not taken away from eligible Wisconsin residents who have not yet earned their first undergraduate degree.   

The second degree must be substantially different from the first degree. In general, students who already have a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree are not able to earn another B.A. or B.S. degree, regardless of major, as the major makes up less than one-third of the course work for the degree.   For example, a student who has a liberal arts degree with a science major is usually not considered a likely candidate for a second degree in the College of Letters & Science if the student wants to come back to do a second liberal arts degree with another humanities, social science, or natural science major. However, students who have earned a professional performance music degree (B.M.), for example, might be able to earn a B.A. or B.S., even though at UW-Madison these are all liberal arts degrees, because the requirements for this music degree are substantially different than those for the B.A./B.S.   

Students with these degrees from UW-Madison’s College of Letters & Science are usually eligible to earn a second undergraduate degree (B.A/B.S) in the College of Letters & Science eligible L&S degrees  

  • BLA (Landscape Architecture)
  • B.M. (Music Performance) 
  • B.S. AMEP (Applied Mathematics, Engineering, and Physics) 

Students who started an additional major but did not declare it prior to graduating  are not eligible to return as a second-degree student to finish up coursework for the 2nd or additional major. 

Eligibility is determined as part of the admissions process. To obtain a final decision on your eligibility, please submit an application at apply as a second degree student

Admissions Process 

Students interested in applying as candidate for a second undergraduate degree in the College of Letters & Science should complete the second degree student application at the UW-Madison Office of Admissions and Recruitment website.   

As part of the admissions process, students are admitted to a specific major and may be required to consult with a representative from that major.  If this is required, the applicant will be contacted. 
NOTE: Certain majors may limit or prohibit admission of second undergraduate degree candidates.  Currently the Computer Science major does not admit any second-undergraduate-degree candidates, regardless of the nature of their prior degree, because other appropriate options are available.  Computer science recommends that students explore the Professional Capstone Certificate Program or the Professional Master's Program.   Contact the Professional Programs Coordinator for more information: pcp-admissions@cs.wisc.edu, 608-264-0712.

Admitted second-degree students may only change their major with permission from L&S Undergraduate Academic Deans' Services.  

Before you Apply

We recommend that students research carefully before embarking on a second undergraduate degree.  Clearly identify your goal(s) and be sure that you need a second undergraduate degree to reach them.  Often, for instance, it is possible to prepare for graduate school in a new field by taking courses as a non-degree seeking (“special”) student or in a certificate program.  (Our Computer Science Department, for instance, offers a Professional Capstone Certificate expressly to help people transition to the field, including to prepare for grad school.) 
Admission to pursue a second degree in the College of Letters & Science is rare; in most years, fewer than a dozen students are admitted. 

Additional Resources:

For Educational Planning 

For Career Advice

For UW Alumni 

For All 

  • Academic/career advisor in the UW major you are considering (find this information in the UW Guide
  • Career advisor at your undergraduate school 
  • Professionals in the field you hope to enter 

Keywords2nd undergrad degree, second undergraduate degree, liberal arts degree, L&S second undergraduate degree, second degree, 2nd degree, second bachelor's degree, 2nd bachelor's degree   Doc ID109226
OwnerTori R.GroupL&S KB
Created2021-02-18 18:53:55Updated2022-04-14 07:01:15
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