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College of the Environment

College Overview

Lisa Graumlich
209 Ocean Sciences

Associate Deans
Bruce Nelson, Research
Julia Parrish, Academic Affairs and Diversity

Rapidly changing interactions between the Earth’s environment and human activities drive the research and teaching at the College of the Environment. By connecting some of the world’s leading educators and researchers with students, practitioners, and citizens, the College cultivates communities that work with and learn from each other as they tackle the environmental challenges of the twenty-first century.

For decades the UW has been recognized as home to one of the strongest constellations of environmental and intellectual talent in the world. In fulfillment of a vision for a bold, resourced, enduring, and effective environmental hub, the UW launched the College of the Environment in July 2009. The College fosters existing and new collaborations between faculty, staff, and students who are engaged in the study of the Earth’s dynamic land, water, and atmosphere systems; the development and application of engineering and technological advances; and the impact of policy and human dimensions on the environment and the management of natural resources.

Offering more than 20 degree programs, ranging from bachelor to doctoral, and granting more than 450 degrees annually, the College is comprised of the following core units:

  • School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
  • Department of Atmospheric Sciences
  • Department of Earth and Space Sciences
  • Program on the Environment
  • School of Environmental and Forest Sciences
  • School of Marine and Environmental Affairs
  • School of Oceanography
  • Friday Harbor Laboratories
  • Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean
  • Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium
  • Washington Sea Grant Program

College Facilities

The College of the Environment main office is in the Ocean Sciences Building, Suite 200, located at 1492 NE Boat Street. For locations of all College of the Environment buildings, see the Academics-at-a-Glance page for links to campus maps showing the College's school and departmental buildings.

The College’s facilities and field stations include the following, among others: Center for Sustainable Forestry at Pack Forest, Friday Harbor Laboratories, Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, Research Vessel Thomas G. Thompson, and Wind River Crane Canopy Research Center.

Undergraduate Program

The College of the Environment offers the following undergraduate degree options:

Bachelor Degree Programs

Bachelor of Science:

  • Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
  • Atmospheric Sciences
  • Bioresource Science and Engineering
  • Earth and Space Sciences (degree options areas: biology, environmental, geology, and physics)
  • Environmental Science and Resource Management (degree option areas: landscape ecology and conservation, restoration ecology and environmental horticulture, sustainable forest management, and wildlife conservation)
  • Oceanography
Bachelor of Arts:
  • Environmental Studies


  • Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
  • Atmospheric Sciences
  • Climate Science
  • Earth and Space Sciences
  • Environmental Science and Resource Management
  • Environmental Studies
  • Oceanography
  • Restoration Ecology


The College does not have admission requirements beyond those required for admission to the University of Washington. Most of the majors within the College are open admission and can be declared at any time by students in good academic standing, except for the major in Bioresource Science and Engineering within the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, which has a competitive admission process.

General Education Requirements

Minimum 85 credits as follows:

  • Written & Oral Communication: One 5-credit English composition (C) course from the approved University list with a minimum 2.0 grade; 10 additional writing credits.
  • Quantitative & Symbolic Reasoning (QSR): 10 credits. See departmental lists for specific quantitative and symbolic reasoning requirements.
  • Areas of Knowledge
    • Visual, Literary, & Performing Arts: 10 credits. Visual, Literary, & Performing Arts (VLPA) includes courses such as literature, art, music, and drama which stress the essential qualities of individual forms of expression. First- and second-quarter language courses may not be counted toward the VLPA requirement. (May substitute first-year language courses for VLPA requirements by completing a third quarter of a three-course sequence. Language courses at the second-year level and beyond may be counted toward the VLPA requirement.)
    • Individuals & Societies (I&S): 20 credits, with at least 10 credits out of major*. Individuals & Societies includes courses in subjects such as history, economics, psychology, and sociology which stress the social nature of mankind, and the development and analysis of societies and social institutions.
    • Natural World (NW): 20 credits, with at least 10 credits out of major*. See departmental list for specific natural world requirements.
    • Additional Areas of Knowledge: 10 credits

* Definition of "out of major": Course must have an out-of-major prefix and may not overlap with courses required for the major. This includes cross-listed courses.

Graduate Program

The College of the Environment offers the following graduate degree options:

  • Master's Degree Programs
    • Master of Science:
      • Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
      • Atmospheric Sciences
      • Earth and Space Sciences
      • Forest Resources
      • Oceanography
      • Science for Teachers
    • Other Master's Degrees:
      • Master of Environmental Horticulture
      • Master of Forest Resources
      • Master of Marine Affairs
    • Doctoral Degree Programs
      • Doctor of Philosophy:
        • Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
        • Atmospheric Sciences
        • Earth and Space Sciences
        • Forest Resources
        • Geologic Sciences
        • Geophysics
        • Oceanography
  • Graduate Certificate Programs
    • Astrobiology
    • Climate Sciences
    • Environmental Management