Undergraduate Broad Field Natural Science

In Broad Field Natural Science, you’ll gain a broad understanding of science across the disciplines of Biology, Chemistry, Geoscience and Physics. The curriculum is designed to give you a solid foundation of science content and processes while still allowing you to customize your in-depth exploration in a particular discipline within science and engineering. The Broad Field Natural Science major serves as a starting point for advanced study in the sciences, preparation for professional schools, and combines well with other majors and minors to prepare you for work in fields such as Education, Communications, or Political Science.

This major is recommended for students planning to become secondary (high school) science teachers. Current DPI regulations allow new science teachers to teach all of the various science courses. This major will give you an overview of each of the disciplines, and also an opportunity to focus on a particular area of interest.


Program Highlights

  • You’ll take a year-long introductory sequence of courses in all four science areas. From there, you’ll specialize in one science content area. 

  • Working with your advisor, you’ll choose courses to build the kind of specialty that you’re most interested in and find most compelling. 

  • All classes are taught by our distinguished faculty, even introductory-level courses. 

  • You’ll have access to the entire collection of upper-level science courses, enabling you to customize your science exploration, with access to all of the College’s equipment and faculty expertise for conducting original research. 

  • Our relationships with UW-Madison and Madison College allow you to take classes in areas of specialty that we might not currently offer.  

  • Our relationship with Madison College has led to the development of the Broad Field Science with Civil Engineering degree which produces graduates with both broad science knowledge and job-ready engineering skills. 

Career Outcomes

More resources, options, and opportunities in Greater Madison allows for a greater ability to make your college experience, and your career, as individual as you are. The thriving science and technology business sectors in the area offer opportunities for work and internships throughout the entire year. Opportunities for field and laboratory research are abundant. 

Our graduates become engineers, science writers, journalists specializing in science issues, and lawyers or public servants who can intelligently engage with science issues. If you aspire to be a teacher, this degree prepares you to teach across the science disciplines and integrate your learning. 

Secondary Education Program

For students wishing to become high school science teachers, the Broad Fields Natural Science major is recommended. Choose a concentration in the discipline you most want to teach. You can also consider adding a minor, if you have more than one area of interest.

Students must be licensed to teach science in the state of Wisconsin. At Edgewood, you can earn that teaching license through the Accelerated Secondary Program (ASP). This is a 5th year post-baccalaureate program that includes all of the education coursework you need to earn a teaching license. The credits earned through the ASP program can be applied towards a master’s degree in Education.

Students in this program will begin by taking two graduate level courses in the spring of their senior year. (This is a good deal because you are still paying the undergraduate tuition rate!) Additional courses are completed in the Summer and Fall terms, and you are ready to do student teaching the following Spring. Once you complete the student teaching, you will have earned your teaching credentials and can look for a job!

At any time you can return to Edgewood College to complete the remaining 12 credits required for the Master’s Degree. Master’s degree classes are designed to be completed while you are working. Many are online, and others are offered in the evenings/weekends/summer.

More information about the ASP program can be found here.

Facilities and Instrumentation

The science departments are located in the Sonderegger Science Center, which is well-equipped thanks to the Sonderegger Endowment Fund that allows us to purchase high-quality equipment for teaching and research.

The Geoscience Department has a teaching collection including 400 mineral samples, 400 rock samples, 700 fossils and 200 maps used in many classes. Additional equipment is available for independent research including a soil corer, lapidary wheel, stream tables, groundwater models and basic field supplies. All programs in Geoscience are designed to be flexible to allow you to explore the topics you find interesting. Including field classes and independent projects.

Our new Fabrication Laboratory (Fab Lab) provides you access to high-tech equipment including:

  • Multiple 3-D printers with different printing capabilities
  • A high-powered laser cutter capable of cutting or etching most woods and plastics
  • 3D scanner
  • Electronic and soldering equipment
  • Hand tools and project space
  • 2- and 3- dimensional design software

Coming soon:

  • CNC machine
  • Injection molding

The facility provides resources and opportunities for student-directed projects and is open to students from across campus, not just science majors. Workshops and training sessions open to anyone are offered on a regular basis. 

Our Physics Department is also home to a 20” Obsession Dobsonian telescope. The telescope currently resides at the Ernest Hupenden Painted Forest, near Reedsburg, WI. This rural location is ideal for observing the night sky. The telescope is used by students in our Astronomy class and for student project. Additionally, our department hosts public observing nights at the Painted Forest in the summer and fall. 

The Chemistry Department has purchased a number of high-quality, industry relevant scientific instruments. The faculty and staff are prepared to teach students how to use these state of the art instruments.  Through course work, research projects, and collaborations with other departments, you have access to the following instruments: High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometer (GC-MS), Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR), Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), UV-Vis Spectrometers, and X-ray Fluorescence instruments.

The Biology Department has a wide variety of equipment for use in the classroom and for independent research such as qPCR for conducting DNA analyses, fluorescence microscopes for exploring the microbial world, and Biopac equipment for collecting physiological data. The department also has an Anatomage table for studying human anatomy and physiology using virtual cadavers.

Office of Science Outreach

The Office of Science Outreach expands the resources and expertise of our science faculty and students from the labs and classrooms in the Sonderegger Science Center out into the community. 

Our goals are to share the excitement of discovery, foster understanding of the natural world, improve personal lives through increased knowledge and awareness of science and technology, and support the next generation of scientists and engineers.  We host an annual Family Science Night, offer summer science programs for K-12 students and partner with schools and community organizations to ensure that ALL children have the confidence and preparation to pursue careers in STEM fields. 

Faculty Spotlight

Links of Interest
Full Catalog
Biological Sciences Fact Sheet
Biological Sciences