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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

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

Topic(s): Engineering option, 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).

Oceanography 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.
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.

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

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: 100
Total from Washington community colleges: 16

Career outcomes

See list of all majors