College of the Environment

The undergraduate program in Oceanography provides students with an interdisciplinary science background that prepares them for a broad range of careers. Students can pursue a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts or a Minor in Oceanography. Oceanography partners with other departments to support interdisciplinary minors in Marine Biology, Climate and Arctic Studies.

Major category: Open

Minor available

Curricular options: B.A., B.S. Biological Oceanography, B.S. Chemical Oceanography , B.S. Physical Oceanography, B.S. Marine Geology & Geophysics

Topic: Natural sciences, Engineering-option

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).


Preparation for the major is a factor in transfer admission. Use the information below to help you prepare for this degree

Department admission information

  • Departmental application deadline: Students in good academic standing may declare the major at any time, including on their application for admission to the UW.
  • Please contact the department for details about the application process.

Students are strongly encouraged to prepare for the major before transfer.

It is critical for transfer students to complete as many of the core STEM prerequisites as possible before transferring to have a reasonable chance of meeting with success in the degree and graduating within satisfactory progress credit/quarter limits.

Calculus, general chemistry, and either the biology or physics sequences are recommended for completion before the autumn quarter of the junior year.

Courses recommended for the major:

  • BIO 180 NSc – Introductory Biology
  • BIO 200 NSc – Introductory Biology
  • MATH 124 NSc RSN – Calculus with Analytic Geometry I
  • MATH 125 NSc – Calculus with Analytic Geometry II
  • PHYS 121 NSc RSN – Mechanics

One of the following:

  • ESS 101 NSc – Introduction to Geology and Societal Impacts
  • ESS 210 NSc – Physical Geology
  • ESS 211 NSc – Physical Processes of the Earth

One of the following:

  • CHEM 120 NSc RSN – Principles of Chemistry I
  • CHEM 142 NSc RSN – General Chemistry

One of the following:

  • BIO 220 NSc – Introductory Biology
  • MATH 126 NSc – Calculus with Analytical Geometry III
  • PHYS 122 NSc – Electromagnetism
  • CHEM 152 NSc RSN – General Chemistry (if CHEM 142 is taken)

Entering transfer information:

Total undergraduates: 108
Total from Washington community colleges: 4

Entering transfer GPA (from WA community colleges):

3.75 – 4.00: 1
3.50 – 3.74: 1
3.25 – 3.49: 1
3.00 – 3.24: 1
2.75 – 2.99: 0
2.50 – 2.74: 0
2.49 and below: 0

Career outcomes