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Marine Biology

College of the Environment

Marine Biology involves the study of life processes of organisms inhabiting saltwater environments — from genetics and evolution to physiological traits and ecosystem functioning. The major examines the marine aspects of biodiversity, ecology and ecosystems and organismal processes, along with impacts from ocean change.

Major category: Open

Topic(s): Natural and environmental sciences

Degree requirements

Applicant type

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).

Marine Biology is an open major. You may declare this major at any time after enrolling at the UW as long as you are in good academic standing. Visit the department website for more information.

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

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: 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.
After notification of admission and before registration, new students should visit or email the Student Services Office at for help in planning their programs.

Recommended courses for first-year students: FISH 250; English composition; calculus; CHEM 120 and OCEAN 295; BIOL 180.

Learn more about Marine Biology on the department website.

Contact a Marine Biology adviser with any questions: or (206) 543-7426

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

Courses recommended for the major:

  • English Composition
  • BIO 180 NSc – Intro Biology
  • BIO 200 NSc – Intro Biology
  • BIO 220 NSc – Intro Biology
  • MATH 124 NSc RSN – Calculus I
  • CHEM 120 NSc RSN – Principles of Chemistry I1
  • CHEM 220 NSc RSN – Principles of Chemistry II2

Entering transfer information:

Total undergraduates: 381
Total from Washington community colleges: 21

Entering transfer GPA (from WA community colleges):

3.75 – 4.00: 8
3.50 – 3.74: <5
3.25 – 3.49: 5
3.00 – 3.24: <5
2.75 – 2.99: <5
2.50 – 2.74: <5
2.49 and below: <5

Career outcomes

See list of all majors