Pre-Admission Application: Biocore typically begins in the fall of your sophomore year, and is contingent on prerequisite coursework in Chemistry (Chem 103/104, or 109). However, we recognize that some first year students may have fulfilled this requirement with equivalent coursework while in high school. Therefore, we offer an opportunity to apply for Biocore early (during summer prior to first year) for planning purposes.

When to start Biocore? Most students at UW Madison begin biology coursework (and specifically Biocore) in their sophomore year. We do admit a small number (2-5) of well-prepared freshman and are considered ‘early start’ students. The criteria for ‘early start’ freshman students are more rigorous than for regular sophomore year start since we know that there are many aspects (some planned and expected/ some unexpected) that are an important part of the freshman experience when transitioning to college. Therefore, freshman should be well-prepared for the academic work (biology and chemistry content and skills) and accelerated pace, so that you can have time for other freshman year experiences. If you would like to explore ‘early start’, fill out application (link) and contact Biocore Director Heidi Horn ( to set up an advising meeting.  An advising meeting is important to discuss your goals and interests (academic and non-academic). If you meet admission criteria, and your goals, academic fit and the timing is right, pre-admitted students may begin Biocore freshman year while openings are available.

Criteria for PreAdmission Applications:

  • Two years of high school biology with the second year being Advanced Bio or AP Bio (exam score 5)
  • Two years of high school chemistry with the second year being Advanced Chem or AP Chemistry (exam score 5)

Application Materials:

  • High School transcript in PDF form
  • Personal statement: Describe something that inspires you or something that you have learned recently.  Previous student have written about hobbies, athletic experiences, community service, books, music, TED talks, etc.  This doesn’t need to be grand, but it’s your chance to tell us about your challenges and growth as a learner.  Try to tell us something new other than what we can find in your transcript.  Personal statements should be no more than 400 words.

Biocore Pre-Admission Application will be available in May 2022 for Fall 2023: Application 

Questions about Biocore?

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