College of Arts and Sciences

Microbiology is the study of the smallest living organisms (bacteria, algae, fungi, and protozoa) and viruses. Because of their simplicity and rapid growth rates, microorganisms are readily amenable to study in the laboratory. Because their cellular processes closely resemble those of higher organisms, they are ideally suited for fundamental studies of biological structure, physiology, metabolism, genetics and development. The Microbiology department at the University of Washington works mainly in cutting edge research in Bacteria and Viruses.

Major category: Minimum requirements

Minor available

Topic: Health, Natural sciences

Applicant type


Freshmen can apply to the UW to begin autumn quarter or winter quarter (U.S. applicants only)

Read more about applying to the UW as a freshman, including details for programs that provide high school students with college credit (like Running Start).


Quarters of general admission to UW: autumn / winter (U.S. applicants only) / spring

Preparation for the major is a factor in transfer admission.

  • Use the information below to help you prepare for this degree
  • Visit MyPlan to run a degree audit.
  • Use the UW Equivalency Guide to find out how courses taken at a Washington state community or technical college will transfer to the UW.
  • UW college and school graduation requirements

Department admission information

  • Departmental application deadline:
  • You must enroll at the UW before applying to this major. Please contact the department for additional details.

This major has minimum admission requirements.

Cumulative GPA of 2.0 overall, and a cumulative GPA of 2.50 in the prerequisite biology and chemistry courses listed below.

Biology 200 requires a minimum 2.3 GPA.

A minimum of 75 credits applicable to graduation, with a minimum 2.50 GPA in prerequisite chemistry and biology courses.

Read more about applying to the UW as a transfer student.

Courses required for the major:

  • BIOL 180 NSc — Intro Biology I
  • BIOL 200 NSc — Intro Biology II
  • BIOL 220 NSc — Intro Biology III

One of the following chemistry sequences:

  • CHEM 142 NSc RSN – General Chemistry I
  • CHEM 152 NSc RSN – General Chemistry II
  • CHEM 162 NSc RSN – General Chemistry III
  • CHEM 143 RSN – Accelerated General Chemistry
  • CHEM 153 RSN – Accelerated General Chemistry
  • CHEM 145 NSc RSN – Honors General Chemistry
  • CHEM 155 NSc RSN – Honors General Chemistry
  • CHEM 165 NSc RSN – Honors General Chemistry

One of the following chemistry courses:

  • CHEM 223 NSc – Organic Chemistry Short Program
  • CHEM 237 NSc – Organic Chemistry
  • CHEM 335 NSc – Honors Organic Chemistry

Courses recommended for the major:

Suggested First- and Second-Year Courses:

  • PHYS 114, PHYS 115, OR PHYS 121, PHYS 122; one of the following:
    • MATH 112 NSc RSN – Application of Calculus to Business and Economics
    • MATH 124 NSc RSN – Calculus with Analytic Geometry I
    • Q SCI 381 NSc RSN – Introduction to Probability and Statistics
    • STAT 311 NSc RSN – Elements of Statistical Methods


  • MICROM 410, the first microbiology course for majors, is taken after completion of BIOL 200 and organic chemistry (CHEM 223 or CHEM 237). To graduate in four years, a student must complete introductory biology and organic chemistry before autumn quarter of the junior year.
  • MICROM 301, and MICROM 302, offered to non-majors, serve as introductory courses, but cannot be used to fulfill graduation requirements for a major in microbiology. MICROM 301 is a prerequisite for students applying to nursing, physical therapy, or dental school.


Entering transfer information:

Total undergraduates: 178
Total from Washington community colleges: 28

Entering transfer GPA (from WA community colleges):

3.75 – 4.00: 9
3.50 – 3.74: 5
3.25 – 3.49: 8
3.00 – 3.24: 4
2.75 – 2.99: 2
2.50 – 2.74: 0
2.49 and below: 0

Career outcomes