Transferring from another university or community college? Start your journey with UW Marine Biology here!

Recommendations for Current Community College Students:

To prepare for a successful application and transfer from a community college, refer to the following worksheet:

Marine Biology Major Transfer Planning Worksheet

Students are not required to complete an Associate’s 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.

UW MyPlan

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

When you’re ready, apply at:

University of Washington Admissions

 Transfer FAQ

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.

UW summer quarter is open to registration from any student, and the introductory marine biology course (FISH/OCEAN/BIOL 250: Marine Biology) is offered annually in summer. This course has no pre-requisites.

In addition to specific Marine Biology requirements, our students must complete the general education requirements in the College of the Environment to graduate from the UW.

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?

All Marine biology majors complete an Integrative Field Experience. Our marine field stations and research vessels offer many opportunities to get out of the classroom and into the field. Our large group of marine biology faculty offer many opportunities to engage in undergraduate research.

What do I do with a Marine Biology major and how do I prepare for a career in marine sciences?

Visit our Career Paths website to explore Marine Biology career pathways.


Meet some of our recent transfer students


Jacki O’Maley

Hometown: Longview, WA

Prior institution: Edmonds Community College

What has been your favorite part of UW Marine Biology so far?

I’m taking classes with ‘Ocean’ and ‘Fish’ in the name; how great is that? I love that I’m focusing on my area of interest now that my general courses are finished!

How do you feel about being in a small program in a large university?

I think it’s the best way to do it. You have all the resources available that a large university offers, and all the credentials behind it, but you get a more personal experience being in a small program. People know you by name and you find you share multiple classes with a lot of students, so it feels more familiar and friendly.

What are your future plans? Do you have any research interests?

I am hoping to get into coral research as soon as possible! Coral reefs are such important ecosystems that affect everyone on the planet, and they’re undergoing progressively more intense stressors every year as the climate changes. There are many areas of coral research and I’m not sure which area I want to focus on yet, but I’m excited to take Tropical Marine Biology next quarter and learn more about that field.


Christine Mantegna

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Prior institution: Green River Community College

Why did you choose to transfer into the UW Marine Biology program?

Friday Harbor Labs! I want to understand the world underwater and Marine Biology is the vehicle to get me there- it’s the particular balance of studying the marine environment and marine life that sets it apart from the other majors in the College of the Environment.

What is something that surprised you about the transfer experience?

There is tons of support. Advisers, professors, and TAs are all willing to help you transition from your old institution and UW.

What do you see yourself doing in the future?

The future includes graduate school and research centered on the life that thrives around hydrothermal vents

Do you have any advice for students thinking about transferring?

Ask questions. There is so much information available (in and out of class) that it is really helpful to utilize your adviser and professors to help you navigate through the program.

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