Writing Courses – You may be surprised how important writing is to both college success and careers in marine science. Seek out opportunities to write whenever you can. Writing classes are one way to develop this skill, but writing for your school’s newspaper or blog or keeping a journal can also help to improve your writing.
Optional Courses – Some high schools offer specialized courses in environmental science and marine biology. These courses are a great way to explore different fields of interest. Some that we recommend:
AP Marine Biology
AP Environmental Science
OCEAN 101 – Oceanography of the Pacific Northwest (available in certain Washington high schools through the UW in the High School program)
ESRM 150 – Wildlife in the Modern World (available in certain Washington high schools through the UW in the High School program)
In addition to coursework, an important part of preparing for a degree in marine science is getting out into the marine environment and getting your hands wet! Get hands-on experience early through volunteer work or internships in the field. If you live you live miles from the nearest ocean, consider volunteering at your local aquarium or getting involved in other environmental/biological opportunities closer home.
Juniors or Seniors starting the application process are encouraged to schedule a visit to campus.You can meet with an academic adviser, tour the campus. Other activities such as class visits, info sessions, or lab tours may also be available depending on the time of year.
Community or Technical College
To prepare for a successful application and transfer from a community college, refer to the following worksheet:
Students are not required to complete an associates degree to apply, but it is recommended to complete as many of the basic science and math courses listed on the worksheet above prior to admission. Students can match course numbers on the planning worksheets to those from Washington State community or technical colleges with the UW Transfer Equivalency Guide. Students from outside of Washington state can contact an adviser with questions about course equivalency for major or minor requirements.
Prior to admission, applicants can use the UW MyPlan tool to create an academic plan including courses you have already taken as well as courses you plan to take at the UW.
Prospective transfer students at any stage of the planning or application process are invited to contact the Marine Biology Adviser. Students can consult with the adviser about their individual academic planning prior to admission, and are invited to visit the campus for in-person advising appointments. Schedule a visit to campus around one of the weekly Transfer Thursday events to get general information about the transfer admission process.
For additional resources about transferring to the UW, please explore transfer.uw.edu.
Do I need to fill out a separate application to be admitted to the Marine Biology major?
Marine Biology is an ‘open’ major. If you are admitted to the UW through the general application, you can immediately transfer into the Marine Biology major without any additional application.
How do I fill out the UW application if I want to major in Marine Biology?
When you complete the UW Admissions Application, select Marine Biology as your First-Choice Major. If you select Marine Biology, you will be automatically declared as a Marine Biology major upon admission to the UW.
Are there other courses not listed on the worksheet that I can take to prepare?
Community college students can apply to study at Friday Harbor Labs. Courses offered in autumn and spring terms listed under the ‘Marine Biology Quarter‘ are intended for students in their first two years of any college.
How long will it take to complete a BS with a Major in Marine Biology from UW?
If you transfer to UW with 90 credits from your community college, you can usually graduate from UW in six quarters of full-time study (90 credits). Some students are at UW for one or two extra quarters if they decide to take a reduced course load or to complete a double major or a minor or if they have not taken many of their College of the Environment General Education Requirements. We enjoy meeting with students to create graduation plans and to discuss difficulties if they arise.
I have more than 90 credits from my community college. How many of these credits will count toward my degree?
After your credits have been evaluated by our Office of Admissions, you will know how your classes transferred to UW. If you have more than 90 credits, we can add some of the additional credits toward the 180 credits needed for graduation if this is useful in completing your academic goals. You can have up to 135 total credits from another school count for your degree. It would be difficult to complete the Marine Biology major in just 45 credits, or three quarters, but we might be able to work out a plan.
In addition to my regular course work for the Marine Biology major, what other opportunities are available for Marine Biology transfer students?
Both courses have no prerequisites, and can count towards the ‘Areas of Knowledge’ required by all UW majors. Register for the lab versions of these courses to get great, hands-on experience and potentially apply the courses to one of the majors or minors in marine science fields.
Dive in & Declare
The Marine Biology major and minor can be declared at any time by current UW students in good academic standing through an appointment with an adviser.