Program Structure

Program structure

For a more visual representation of the information on this page, you can download the Biology Degree Checklist (pdf format).

Curriculum Outline

The Bachelor of Science in Biology degree at the University of Washington Bothell has the following Departmental Requirements:

  1. Introductory Biology Series
  2. General Chemistry Series
  3. Calculus
  4. Statistics
  5. Physics I and II
  6. Genetics
  7. Evolution
  8. Ecology
  9. Cell Biology
  10. Physiology
  11. Investigative Biology (5 credit minimum)
  12. Biology and Society
  13. Biology Electives (20 credit minimum)

In addition, University of Washington undergraduates must complete the following to earn a degree:

  1. University Requirements
  2. General Education Requirements
  3. Areas of Knowledge Requirements

Important Note: A single course cannot satisfy more than one Departmental Requirement, but it can fulfill a Departmental Requirement in addition to a General Education or Area of Knowledge requirement. For example:

  • Some offerings of Cell Biology (B BIO 380) can fulfill "Additional Writing" (W) credit.
  • B BIO 335 (Salmon & Society) can count towards either one of the "Biology and Society" or "Biology Elective" requirements, but not both at the same time. However, the class can also count towards the "Individuals and Societies" (I&S) Area of Knowledge requirement.

Petitioning coursework

Biology coursework that is not included on the lists below is considered on a case-by-case basis. If you have a syllabus or other detailed descriptive material for the class you wish to substitute, you may submit a petition for Departmental Requirements.

Before taking a class or submitting a petition, please check in with School of STEM advising at stemadv@uw.edu.

For University, General Education, or Area of Knowledge coursework taken at other institutions, please contact your advisor directly instead of submitting a petition.

Prerequisites - 33 credits

You must complete all of the coursework below before your quarter of entry into the major. Equivalent Introductory Biology and General Chemistry sequences from other institutions intended for science majors are also accepted.

All prerequisite coursework must be completed with a minimum of 2.0 in each course. Reaching this minimum is not a guarantee of admission, however. Please visit our admissions page for more information.

  1. B CHEM 143, 144 - General Chemistry I + Lab (6 cr)
  2. B CHEM 153, 154 - General Chemistry II + Lab (6 cr)
  3. B CHEM 163, 164 - General Chemistry III + Lab  (6 cr)
  4. B BIO 180 - Introductory Biology I + Lab (5 cr)
  5. B BIO 200 - Introductory Biology II + Lab (5 cr)
  6. B BIO 220 - Introductory Biology III + Lab (5 cr)

Core Requirements - 55 credits

You must complete all of the following requirements. When there are multiple options for a requirement, you only need to select one.

  1. Calculus:
    • ​STMATH 124  - Calculus I
    • B MATH 144 - Calculus for the Life and Social Sciences
  2. Statistics:
    • BHS 215 - Statistics for Health Sciences
    • STMATH 341 - Statistical Inference
    • Note: Most other statistics courses are not accepted. Check our admissions page for more information.
  3. Physics I and II:
    • B PHYS 114, 117 - General Physics I + Lab and B PHYS 115, 118 - General Physics II + Lab
    • B PHYS 121 - Calculus-based Physics I + Lab and B PHYS 122  Calculus-based Physics II + Lab
    • Note: The third course in the above two series (B PHYS 116, 119; B PHYS 123) are not required for your Biology degree, but may be needed for your graduate program. Check with your academic advisor.
  4. Genetics:
    • ​​B BIO 360 - Introduction to Genetics
  5. Evolution:
    • ​​B BIO 466 - Evolution
  6. Ecology:
    • BES 312 - Ecology
    • B BIO 471 - Plant Ecology + Lab
  7. Cell Biology:
    • B BIO 370 - Microbiology I + Lab
    • B BIO 470 - Microbiology II
    •  BIO 372 - Stem Cells
    • B BIO 380 - Cell Biology
    • Note: B BIO 260 (Medical Microbiology + Lab) and similar courses do not count for this requirement. Check our admissions page for more information.
  8. Physiology:
    • B BIO 351 - Anatomy and Physiology I
    • B BIO 352 - Anatomy and Physiology II
    • Note 1: 351 is not a prerequisite for 352.
    • Note 2: B BIO 241 and 242 (Anatomy & Physiology for Nursing and Allied Health I and II) and similar courses do not count for this requirement. Check our admissions page for more information.
  9. Investigative Biology:
    • B BIO 495 (Investigative Biology)
    • B BIO 499 (Undergraduate Research in Biology), or other research for credit.
    • A non-credit research experience (internship, paid position, etc.)
    • Note: You must submit a petition and arrange a presentation date for any option other than B BIO 495. Visit our Investigative Biology page for more information on how to find a research experience and fulfill this requirement.
  10. Biology and Society:
    • B BIO 231 (Genes, Genomes, and Heredity)
    • B BIO 232 (Embryos, Genes, and Reproductive Technology)
    • B BIO 233 (Cancer: Biology, Risk, and Treatment)
    • B BIO 310 (Brain and Behavior)
    • B BIO 335 (Salmon and Society)
    • BES 331 (Estuarine Science and Management)
    • BES 489 (Pacific Northwest Ecosystems)
    • BIS 240 (Sustainable Practices)
    • BIS 241 (Nature and the Northwest)
    • BIS 243 (Environmental Issues)
    • BIS 307 (Environmental Justice)
    • BIS 356 (Ethics and Environment)
    • BIS 380 (Bioethics)
    • BIS 391 (Environmental History of Pacific Northwest Bioregion)
    • BIS 405 (Environmental Education)
    • BIS 411 (Biotechnology and Society)
    • BIS 459 (Conservation and Sustainable Development)
    • BISSTS 307 (Science, Technology, and Society)

Elective Requirements - 20 credits

Electives fall into three main categories, and one “Miscellaneous” category. You must choose your electives from two out of three main categories (A, B, or C). You do not need electives from all three main categories.

  • Category A - Ecology/Diversity/Evolution Electives
  • Category B - Cellular/Molecular Biology Electives
  • Category C - Physiology/Neurobiology Electives
  • Miscellaneous Electives

Unless otherwise noted, all elective courses are worth 5 credits. This means that most students will take four elective courses.

Category A - Ecology/Diversity/Evolution Electives:

  • B BIO 330 (Marine Biology)
  • B BIO 335 (Salmon and Society)
  • BIO 370 (Microbiology I)
  • B BIO 383 (Bioinformatics)
  • B BIO 385 (Animal Behavior)
  • B BIO 471 (Plant Ecology)
  • BES 312 (Ecology)
  • BES 316 (Ecological Methods)
  • BES 362 (Restoration Ecology)
  • BES 439 (Computer Modeling and Visualization in Environmental Science)
  • BES 462, 463, and 464 (Restoration Ecology Capstone); 10 credits total
  • BES 485 (Conservation Biology)
  • BES 488 (Wetland Ecology)
  • BES 489 (Pacific Northwest Ecosystems)
  • BES 490 (Pacific Northwest Plants in Restoration and Conservation)
  • BIS 306 (Marine Diversity and Conservation)
  • BIS 381 (History of Life)

Category B - Cellular/Molecular Biology Electives:

  • B BIO 340 (Computational Biology)
  • B BIO 364 (Biochemistry I)
  • B BIO 365 (Biochemistry II)
  • B BIO 366 (Biochemistry Lab) - 3 credits
  • B BIO 370 (Microbiology I)
  • B BIO 372 (Stem Cells)
  • B BIO 375 (Molecular Biology)
  • B BIO 380 (Cell Biology)
  • B BIO 383 (Bioinformatics)
  • B BIO 460 (Developmental Biology)
  • B BIO 470 (Microbiology II)

Category C - Physiology/Neurobiology Electives:

  • B BIO 310 (Brain & Behavior)
  • B BIO 351 (Anatomy & Phys I)
  • B BIO 352 (Anatomy & Phys II)
  • B BIO 355 (Behavioral Endocrinology)
  • B BIO 385 (Animal Behavior)
  • B BIO 394 (Special Topics in Neuroscience)
  • B BIO 480 (Neurobiology) - cannot count for both Biology major and Neuroscience minor.

Miscellaneous Electives:

These courses can count as a Biology elective, but do not count towards the "two out of three categories" requirement:

  • B BIO 485 (Senior Seminar in Biology) - credit may vary
  • B BIO 495 (Investigative Bio)
  • B BIO 498 (Independent Study) - credit may vary
  • B BIO 499 (UG Research) - credit may vary
  • BES 460 (Water Quality)

Other Requirements

In addition to the Departmental Requirements above, all University of Washington students must complete the following requirements to earn a bachelor's degree.

University Requirements

  1. 180 credit minimum. You must earn a minimum of 180 credits. This includes your transfer coursework and any coursework taken at the University of Washington.
  2. Matriculated credit minimum. You must earn a minimum of 45 credits at the University of Washington.
  3. Senior Residency. Of your last 60 credits that count towards any degree requirements, a minimum of 45 must be completed at your home campus (UW Bothell).
  4. Minimum GPA. You must earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 among all of your coursework taken at the University of Washington.

General Education Requirements

The following courses are allowed to overlap with your Departmental Requirements or with your Areas of Knowledge requirements, but not with each other.

  1. English Composition (C) - 5 credits
  2. Additional Writing (W) - 10 credits
  3. Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning (QSR) - 5 credits; Biology students complete this requirement automatically via their Departmental Requirements.
  4. Diversity (DIV) - 3 credits; almost all DIV courses also fulfill I&S, or sometimes VLPA. See below.

Areas of Knowledge Requirements

The following courses are allowed to overlap with your Departmental Requirements or with your General Education requirements, but not with each other.

  1. Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA) - 15 credits
  2. Individuals and Societies (I&S) - 15 credits
  3. The Natural World (NW) - 15 credits; Biology students complete this requirement automatically via their Departmental Requirements.