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College of Arts & 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 UW works mainly in cutting-edge research in bacteria and viruses.

Major category: Minimum requirements

Topic(s): Health, 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).

Microbiology is a minimum requirements major. You may declare this major after enrolling at the UW and completing the prerequisites. 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: Must enroll at the UW before applying to the major.
Please contact the department for details about the application process.

  • 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

Entering transfer information:

Total undergraduates: 150
Total from Washington community colleges: 27

Entering transfer GPA (from WA community colleges):

3.75 – 4.00: 6
3.50 – 3.74: <5
3.25 – 3.49: 6
3.00 – 3.24: 8
2.75 – 2.99: <5
2.50 – 2.74: <5
2.49 and below: <5

Career outcomes

See list of all majors