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College of Arts and Sciences

Biology

106 Kincaid Hall
206-543-1620
Website
Faculty Website

Biology is one of the most in-demand degrees available at UW, as well as the largest producer of STEM degrees in Washington and the engine of life sciences education for the future. By using an integrative, connective approach to the life sciences, we foster collaboration and intellectual partnerships, driven by curiosity to catalyze discovery. Our success as a department is due to our faculty, staff and students. They help us maintain our research and education missions at the highest level, evidenced by the tremendous work exhibited every day in classrooms, labs, and field sites.

 Undergraduate Programs


Biology

318 Hitchcock Hall
206-543-9120
bioladv@uw.edu

 Program of Study: Major: Biology


Program Overview

Through coursework in the classroom, lab, and field as well as experience through research, internships, and study abroad our undergraduates gain the requisite knowledge and skills for careers in basic and applied research, education, health sciences, environmental sciences, science policy, government, business and the non-profit sector. Students may earn a Biology BA with a General Biology Option. The Biology BS degree can be earned with one of 5 options: Ecology Evolution and Conservation Biology (EEC), General Biology, Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCD), Physiology, and Plant Biology. Minors in Paleo Biology and Marine Biology are also part of the curriculum offered to Undergraduates.

This program of study leads to the following credentials:
  • Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Biology
  • Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation
  • Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Biology: General
  • Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Biology: Molecular, Cellular, and Development
  • Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Biology: Physiology
  • Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Biology: Plant
Admission Requirements

Admission is capacity constrained. Applications, accepted quarterly, are due the second Friday of autumn, winter, spring, and summer quarters, by 11:59 p.m. Applications received after the quarterly deadline are considered for the subsequent quarter.

Minimum requirements for consideration

  1. Matriculated student in good academic standing at UW Seattle.
  2. Minimum 2.0 grade in each of BIOL 180, BIOL 200, and BIOL 220; or in BIOL 240
  3. Minimum 2.50 cumulative GPA for any supporting chemistry, physics, mathematics, and biology courses (or other courses that may apply to major requirements) completed at time of application.
  4. Personal statement: May include description of interest in biology, career goals, undergraduate research interests, degree interest (BA or BS), and any other information applicant believes is useful in evaluating the application.

Meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. Other factors include overall academic record and difficulty of other courses completed; time to degree set by UW Satisfactory Progress Policy, including frequency of incompletes or withdrawal grades and number of repeated courses; relevant work and life experience; and record of honors.

Continuation Policy

All students must make satisfactory academic progress in the major. Failure to do so results in probation, which can lead to dismissal from the major. For the complete continuation policy, contact the departmental adviser or refer to the department website.

 Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Biology


Credential Overview

The BA Degree with an Option in General Biology is designed for students who desire a breadth of training throughout their program of study. Compared to the BS degree, the BA does not require physics or a third quarter of organic chemistry. This is an ideal program for students wishing to get the scope of the biological sciences without some of the supporting science sequences.

Completion Requirements

87-98 credits

  1. BIOL 180, BIOL 200, BIOL 220; or BIOL 240 (15 credits)
  2. One of the following general and organic chemistry sequences (15-23 credits)
    1. CHEM 120, CHEM 220, CHEM 221
    2. CHEM 142 (or CHEM 143), CHEM 152 (or CHEM 153), CHEM 223, CHEM 224
    3. CHEM 142, CHEM 152, CHEM 162, CHEM 237, CHEM 238
    4. CHEM 143, CHEM 153, CHEM 237, CHEM 238
  3. Physics: not required
  4. One of the following calculus/statistics sequences (9-10 credits)
    1. MATH 124 and MATH 125
    2. Q SCI 291 and Q SCI 292
    3. Either BIOST 310, Q SCI 381 or STAT 311; Q SCI 482
    4. One approved calculus class and one approved statistics class; see adviser for approved lists.
  5. Genetics: either GENOME 361, GENOME 371, or BIOL 340/FISH 340 (3-5 credits)
  6. Natural history/biodiversity: one course selected from approved list (3 credits)
  7. 300- and 400-level courses, in addition to any 300-/400-level courses taken to fulfill requirements above. See department website for approved courses. (42 credits.)
  8. Minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA for courses applied toward major requirements

 Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation


Credential Overview

The Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation option is for students interested in the origins, maintenance, or conservation of biological diversity. This option prepares students with strong system level approaches to problem solving, and careers in natural resources and conservation. A strong quantitative background is emphasized, and courses serve to develop skills in data collection, analysis, and communication. It is a degree option that allows students to explore courses offered through the College of Environment and Arts and Sciences.

Recommended Preparation

Suggested First- and Second-Year Courses: Students should concentrate on general chemistry and mathematics the first year, biology and organic chemistry the second year (see major requirements for specific courses). Transfer students: complete an entire sequence at one school if possible. It is not necessary, or even desirable, to complete the Areas of Knowledge requirement during the first two years.

Completion Requirements

87-104 credits

  1. BIOL 180, BIOL 200, BIOL 220; or BIOL 240 (15 credits)
  2. One of the following general and organic chemistry sequences:
    1. CHEM 120, CHEM 220, and CHEM 221
    2. CHEM 142 (or CHEM 143), CHEM 152 (or CHEM 153), CHEM 223, CHEM 224
    3. CHEM 142, CHEM 152, CHEM 162, CHEM 237, CHEM 238, CHEM 239
    4. CHEM 143, CHEM 153, CHEM 237, CHEM 238, CHEM 239
  3. One of the following two-quarter sequences of mathematics (calculus/statistics):
    1. MATH 124 and MATH 125
    2. Q SCI 291 and Q SCI 292
    3. Either BIOST 310, Q SCI 381, or STAT 311; Q SCI 482
    4. One approved calculus class and one approved statistics class; see adviser for approved lists.
  4. Two quarters of physics: PHYS 114 and PHYS 115, or PHYS 121 and PHYS 122
  5. Genetics: either GENOME 361, GENOME 371, or BIOL 340/FISH 340.
  6. Natural history/biodiversity: one course selected from approved list (3 credits)
  7. Option Requirement: 300- and 400-level courses selected from list specific to this option. See department website for additional information. (34 credits)

    *CHEM 162 is not required for this degree; however, CHEM 237, CHEM 238, and CHEM 239 are required by many professional programs and graduate schools, and that sequence does require CHEM 162.

  8. Additional Degree Requirements:
    1. Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA for all UW courses applied toward major requirements, including required supporting courses (chemistry, physics, mathematics), introductory biology, and upper-division coursework. (A grade of 2.0 is not required in individual courses.)
    2. Minimum 15 credits of 400-level biology electives taken through the UW.
    3. Two 300- or 400-level laboratory courses

 Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Biology: General


Credential Overview

The General Biology option emphasizes breadth of training in Biology. As the most flexible among the options leading to a Science degree in Biology, students have input in the composition of their degree by choosing from the wide range of electives available through several different departments.

Recommended Preparation

Suggested First- and Second-Year Courses: Students should concentrate on general chemistry and mathematics the first year, biology and organic chemistry the second year (see major requirements for specific courses). Transfer students: complete an entire sequence at one school if possible. It is not necessary, or even desirable, to complete the Areas of Knowledge requirement during the first two years.

Completion Requirements

87-104 credits

  1. BIOL 180, BIOL 200, BIOL 220; or BIOL 240 (15 credits)
  2. One of the following general and organic chemistry sequences:
    1. CHEM 120, CHEM 220, and CHEM 221
    2. CHEM 142 (or CHEM 143), CHEM 152 (or CHEM 153), CHEM 223, CHEM 224
    3. CHEM 142, CHEM 152, CHEM 162, CHEM 237, CHEM 238, CHEM 239
    4. CHEM 143, CHEM 153, CHEM 237, CHEM 238, CHEM 239
  3. One of the following two-quarter sequences of mathematics (calculus/statistics):
    1. MATH 124 and MATH 125
    2. Q SCI 291 and Q SCI 292
    3. Either BIOST 310, Q SCI 381, or STAT 311; Q SCI 482
    4. One approved calculus class and one approved statistics class; see adviser for approved lists.
  4. Two quarters of physics: PHYS 114 and PHYS 115, or PHYS 121 and PHYS 122
  5. Genetics: either GENOME 361, GENOME 371, or BIOL 340/FISH 340.
  6. Natural history/biodiversity: one course selected from approved list (3 credits)
  7. Option Requirement: 300- and 400-level courses selected from list specific to this option. See department website for additional information. (34 credits)

    *CHEM 162 is not required for this degree; however, CHEM 237, CHEM 238, and CHEM 239 are required by many professional programs and graduate schools, and that sequence does require CHEM 162.

  8. Additional Degree Requirements:
    1. Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA for all UW courses applied toward major requirements, including required supporting courses (chemistry, physics, mathematics), introductory biology, and upper-division coursework. (A grade of 2.0 is not required in individual courses.)
    2. Minimum 15 credits of 400-level biology electives taken through the UW.
    3. Two 300- or 400-level laboratory courses

 Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Biology: Molecular, Cellular, and Development


Credential Overview

The Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology option is for students seeking undergraduate training in the molecular, genetic, and cellular basis of life. These topics assist students in understanding the complex biological processes that underlie cellular function, disease processes, and embryonic development.

Recommended Preparation

Suggested First- and Second-Year Courses: Students should concentrate on general chemistry and mathematics the first year, biology and organic chemistry the second year (see major requirements for specific courses). Transfer students: complete an entire sequence at one school if possible. It is not necessary, or even desirable, to complete the Areas of Inquiry requirement during the first two years.

Completion Requirements

90-104 credits

  1. BIOL 180, BIOL 200, BIOL 220; or BIOL 240 (15 credits)
  2. One of the following general and organic chemistry sequences (18-27 credits):
    1. CHEM 142 (or CHEM 143), CHEM 152 (or CHEM 153), CHEM 223, CHEM 224
    2. CHEM 142, CHEM 152, CHEM 162, CHEM 237, CHEM 238, CHEM 239
    3. CHEM 143, CHEM 153, CHEM 237, CHEM 238, CHEM 239
  3. One of the following two-quarter sequences of mathematics (calculus/statistics) (9-10 credits):
    1. MATH 124 and MATH 125
    2. Q SCI 291 and Q SCI 292
    3. Either BIOST 310, Q SCI 381, or STAT 311; Q SCI 482
    4. One approved calculus class and one approved statistics class; see adviser for approved lists.
  4. Two quarters of physics (8-10 credits): PHYS 114 and PHYS 115, or PHYS 121 and PHYS 122
  5. Genetics (3-5 credits): either GENOME 361, GENOME 371, or FISH 340/BIOL 340.
  6. Natural history/biodiversity (3 credits): one course selected from approved list
  7. Breadth (3 credits): one course selected from approved list
  8. Option Requirement (31 credits): 300- and 400-level courses selected from list specific to this option. See department website for additional information.
    *CHEM 162 is not required for this degree; however, CHEM 237, CHEM 238, and CHEM 239 are required by many professional programs and graduate schools, and that sequence does require CHEM 162.
  9. Additional Degree Requirements:
    1. Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA for all UW courses applied toward major requirements, including required supporting courses (chemistry, physics, mathematics), introductory biology, and upper-division coursework. (A grade of 2.0 is not required in individual courses.)
    2. Minimum 15 credits of 300- or 400-level biology electives taken through UW Seattle
    3. Two 300- or 400-level laboratory courses
    4. Minimum 15 credits of 400-level BIOL courses

 Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Biology: Physiology


Credential Overview

The Physiology option emphasizes physiological processes from cellular to organismal levels. This is an attractive option for students interested in the internal processes of both animals and plants in relation to the systems and components that create a working living organism.

Recommended Preparation

Suggested First- and Second-Year Courses: Students should concentrate on general chemistry and mathematics the first year, biology and organic chemistry the second year (see major requirements for specific courses). Transfer students: complete an entire sequence at one school if possible. It is not necessary, or even desirable, to complete the Areas of Knowledge requirement during the first two years.

Completion Requirements

87-104 credits

  1. BIOL 180, BIOL 200, BIOL 220; or BIOL 240 (15 credits)
  2. One of the following general and organic chemistry sequences:
    1. CHEM 120, CHEM 220, and CHEM 221
    2. CHEM 142 (or CHEM 143), CHEM 152 (or CHEM 153), CHEM 223, CHEM 224
    3. CHEM 142, CHEM 152, CHEM 162, CHEM 237, CHEM 238, CHEM 239
    4. CHEM 143, CHEM 153, CHEM 237, CHEM 238, CHEM 239
  3. One of the following two-quarter sequences of mathematics (calculus/statistics):
    1. MATH 124 and MATH 125
    2. Q SCI 291 and Q SCI 292
    3. Either BIOST 310, Q SCI 381, or STAT 311; Q SCI 482
    4. One approved calculus class and one approved statistics class; see adviser for approved lists.
  4. Two quarters of physics: PHYS 114 and PHYS 115, or PHYS 121 and PHYS 122
  5. Genetics: either GENOME 361, GENOME 371, or BIOL 340/FISH 340.
  6. Natural history/biodiversity: one course selected from approved list (3 credits)
  7. Option Requirement: 300- and 400-level courses selected from list specific to this option. See department website for additional information. (34 credits)

    *CHEM 162 is not required for this degree; however, CHEM 237, CHEM 238, and CHEM 239 are required by many professional programs and graduate schools, and that sequence does require CHEM 162.

  8. Additional Degree Requirements:
    1. Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA for all UW courses applied toward major requirements, including required supporting courses (chemistry, physics, mathematics), introductory biology, and upper-division coursework. (A grade of 2.0 is not required in individual courses.)
    2. Minimum 15 credits of 400-level biology electives taken through the UW.
    3. Two 300- or 400-level laboratory courses

 Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Biology: Plant


Credential Overview

The Plant Biology option provides students with strong and broad training in plant biology, ranging from the cellular, physiological and systematic levels to an ecological, horticultural, and restoration perspective on a macro level.

Recommended Preparation

Suggested First- and Second-Year Courses: Students should concentrate on general chemistry and mathematics the first year, biology and organic chemistry the second year (see major requirements for specific courses). Transfer students: complete an entire sequence at one school if possible. It is not necessary, or even desirable, to complete the Areas of Knowledge requirement during the first two years.

Completion Requirements

87-104 credits

  1. BIOL 180, BIOL 200, BIOL 220; or BIOL 240 (15 credits)
  2. One of the following general and organic chemistry sequences:
    1. CHEM 120, CHEM 220, and CHEM 221
    2. CHEM 142 (or CHEM 143), CHEM 152 (or CHEM 153), CHEM 223, CHEM 224
    3. CHEM 142, CHEM 152, CHEM 162, CHEM 237, CHEM 238, CHEM 239
    4. CHEM 143, CHEM 153, CHEM 237, CHEM 238, CHEM 239
  3. One of the following two-quarter sequences of mathematics (calculus/statistics):
    1. MATH 124 and MATH 125
    2. Q SCI 291 and Q SCI 292
    3. Either BIOST 310, Q SCI 381, or STAT 311; Q SCI 482
    4. One approved calculus class and one approved statistics class; see adviser for approved lists.
  4. Two quarters of physics: PHYS 114 and PHYS 115, or PHYS 121 and PHYS 122
  5. Genetics: either GENOME 361, GENOME 371, or BIOL 340/FISH 340.
  6. Natural history/biodiversity: one course selected from approved list (3 credits)
  7. Option Requirement: 300- and 400-level courses selected from list specific to this option. See department website for additional information. (34 credits)

    *CHEM 162 is not required for this degree; however, CHEM 237, CHEM 238, and CHEM 239 are required by many professional programs and graduate schools, and that sequence does require CHEM 162.

  8. Additional Degree Requirements:
    1. Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA for all UW courses applied toward major requirements, including required supporting courses (chemistry, physics, mathematics), introductory biology, and upper-division coursework. (A grade of 2.0 is not required in individual courses.)
    2. Minimum 15 credits of 400-level biology electives taken through the UW.
    3. Two 300- or 400-level laboratory courses

 Program of Study: Minor: Paleobiology


Program Overview

Paleobiology at UW, which began in 1907, has undergone significant expansion in recent years. The program now includes ten faculty with research interests ranging from the earliest evidence of life on Earth to the Permian-Triassic extinction, origin of mammals, mid-Cenozoic ‘greenhouse’ to ‘icehouse’ transition, and Neogene expansion of grasslands. We integrate new analytical approaches, such as stable isotope geochemistry and 3D visualization, with field explorations to Washington’s many locales as well as far-off sites in places like India, Antarctica, and Peru. On campus, the paleontological collections of the Burke Museum boast microfossils and invertebrate, plant, and vertebrate fossils from the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

This program of study leads to the following credential:
  • Minor in Paleobiology

 Minor in Paleobiology


Completion Requirements

Minimum 30 credits

  1. BIOL 354
  2. Electives: Two from the paleobiology core content area and one from each of the three other content areas, selected from approved courses available on the paleobiology website.
  3. BIOL 483
  4. Integrative experience in paleobiology: Minimum 3 credits from one of BIOL 475 or BIOL 499, ESS 499 or BIO A 499, at the discretion of the instructor
  5. Remaining credits from any of the above or BIO A 389, BIO A 491, or an approved elective
  6. Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA for courses presented for the minor
  7. Minimum 18 credits from outside the student's major.
  8. Minimum 15 credits completed through the UW.
Additional Information

Student Outcomes and Opportunities

  • Learning Objectives and Expected Outcomes: The department graduates between 350 and 400 students each year. Biology degrees are applicable to many different fields, depending upon student interests. Students in the program gain analytical and laboratory skills that prepare them for entry-level positions in a variety of biologically related areas, including, but not limited to, biotechnology, laboratory and/or field research support, health science support, wildlife biology, and ecology and conservation work with a variety of agencies, consulting firms, and research organizations in the Northwest. Students may enter graduate programs that focus on some aspect of biological science (such as genetics, microbiology, immunology, ecology, environmental health, or cell and molecular biology), or enter a variety of professional programs, such as veterinary medicine, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, laboratory medicine, and nursing.
  • Instructional and Research Facilities: The Department of Biology occupies 128,000 square feet in Hitchcock, Johnson, and Kincaid Halls. Extensive research laboratories, teaching laboratories, computer workstations, and support services are found throughout the department. Specialized facilities include more than 16,000 square feet of greenhouse, seawater facilities, growth rooms, electron microscopes, and other specialized equipment. Undergraduates have access to most of these facilities, especially those engaged in undergraduate research. Off campus, the internationally recognized Marine Research Station, Friday Harbor Laboratories, provides many opportunities for undergraduates, from courses to research apprenticeships.
  • Honors Options Available: With College Honors (Completion of Honors Core Curriculum and Departmental Honors); With Honors (Completion of Departmental Honors requirements in the major). See adviser for requirements.
  • Research, Internships, and Service Learning: Biology faculty welcome undergraduates into their research programs, often working closely with them. Approximately 40 percent of the 900 undergraduate biology majors finish with undergraduate research experience. UW proximity to such Seattle area organizations as the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Swedish Hospital, numerous biotech companies, NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Research Center, the Seattle Aquarium, and the Woodland Park Zoo, as well as the close ties of Biology faculty to Friday Harbor Laboratories and the faculty in the College of the Environment provide opportunities for biology majors to develop internships within these organizations. See adviser for ways to get credit for such experiences.
  • Department Scholarships: Several scholarships are available, in a few cases to biology majors only. Most of these support students wishing to pursue an undergraduate research experience. They are competitive, sometimes highly so. They include:
    • Howard Hughes Undergraduate Research Internship: approximately 20 per year for freshmen and 20 per year for juniors and seniors.
    • Friday Harbor Laboratory (FHL) Apprenticeships: $3,000 for one quarter, spring or autumn.
    • Mary Gates Scholarships: very competitive, across all science disciplines.
    • Herschel and Caryl Roman Scholarship: $2,500-$5,000 annually to one or two students who have an interest in genetics research.
    • Porath/Johnson Endowed Scholarship: one-year, $5,000 scholarship to an outstanding biology major.

    For qualifications, deadlines, and other details, see adviser or consult the Department of Biology website.

  • Student Organizations/Associations: Beta Beta Beta Biology Honor Society, tribeta@uw.edu; Pre Med Society (Alpha Epsilon Delta), aed@uw.edu.

 Graduate Programs


Biology

biolgrad@uw.edu

 Program of Study: Doctor Of Philosophy (Biology)


This program of study leads to the following credentials:
  • Doctor Of Philosophy (Biology)
  • Doctor Of Philosophy (Biology: Advanced Data Science)
  • Doctor Of Philosophy (Biology: Biology And Astrobiology)
  • Doctor Of Philosophy (Biology: Data Science)
Admission Requirements

Contact department for requirements.

 Doctor Of Philosophy (Biology)


Completion Requirements

Contact department for requirements.

 Doctor Of Philosophy (Biology: Advanced Data Science)


Completion Requirements

Contact department for requirements.

 Doctor Of Philosophy (Biology: Biology And Astrobiology)


Completion Requirements

Contact department for requirements.

 Doctor Of Philosophy (Biology: Data Science)


Completion Requirements

Contact department for requirements.

 Program of Study: Master Of Science (Biology)


This program of study leads to the following credentials:
  • Master Of Science (Biology)
  • Master Of Science (Biology: Data Science)
Admission Requirements

Contact department for requirements.

 Master Of Science (Biology)


Completion Requirements

Contact department for requirements.

 Master Of Science (Biology: Data Science)


Completion Requirements

Contact department for requirements.