Program Structure

Program structure

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

To see descriptions and prerequisites for each course, visit the time schedule's course descriptions page, or download the Biology Curriculum Flowchart (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. Upper Division Biology Electives (20 credit minimum)

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

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

Overlapping coursework

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. Visit Student Forms & Resources for more information.

Prerequisites - 33 credits

Visit our admissions page for more information.

  1. B CHEM 143, 144 (General Chemistry I + lab); offered A/W
  2. B CHEM 153, 154 (General Chemistry II + lab); offered W/Sp
  3. B CHEM 163, 164 (General Chemistry III + lab); offered Sp/Su
  4. B BIO 180 (Introductory Biology I + lab); offered A/W
  5. B BIO 200 (Introductory Biology II + lab); offered W/Sp
  6. B BIO 220 (Introductory Biology III + lab); offered A/Sp

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); offered all quarters
    • B MATH 144 (Calculus for the Life and Social Sciences); offered A/W/Sp
  2. Statistics:
    • BHS 215 (Statistics for Health Sciences); offered all quarters
    • STMATH 341 (Statistical Inference); offered A/W/Sp
    • 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); offered A/W and W/Sp, respectively
    • B PHYS 121 (Calculus-based Physics I + lab) and B PHYS 122  (Calculus-based Physics II + lab); offered A/W and W/Sp, respectively
    • Note: The third course in the above two series is B PHYS 116 +119 (General Physics III + lab) and B PHYS 123 (Calculus-based Physics III + lab); both offered Sp/Su. These 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); offered all quarters
  5. Evolution:
    • ​​B BIO 466 (Evolution); offered A/W/Sp
  6. Ecology:
    • BES 312 (Ecology); offered A/W
    • B BIO 471 (Plant Ecology + lab); offered Sp
  7. Cell Biology:
    • B BIO 370 (Microbiology I + lab); Offered A/Sp
    • B BIO 470 (Microbiology II); offered W
    • BIO 372 (Stem Cells); offered W
    • B BIO 380 (Cell Biology); offered A/Sp. This course counts for the "Additional Writing" (W) general education requirement in Spring quarter.
    • 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 + lab); offered A/W
    • B BIO 352 (Anatomy and Physiology II + lab); offered W/Sp
    • B BIO 353 (Plant Physiology); not yet offered
    • 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); offered all quarters
    • B BIO 499 (Undergraduate Research in Biology), or other research for credit. Offered by special arrangement only.
    • A non-credit biology 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: Check with School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences for expected offerings of all BES, BIS, and BISSTS courses.
    • B BIO 231 (Genes, Genomes, and Heredity); offered W
    • B BIO 232 (Embryos, Genes, and Reproductive Technology); offered Sp
    • B BIO 233 (Cancer: Biology, Risk, and Treatment); offered Sp
    • B BIO 310 (Brain and Behavior); offered A/W/Sp
    • B BIO 335 (Salmon and Society); offered A
    • 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.

Check with School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences for expected offerings of all BES, BIS, and BISSTS courses.

Category A - Ecology/Diversity/Evolution Electives:

  • B BIO 330 (Marine Biology); offered Sp
  • B BIO 335 (Salmon and Society); offered A
  • BIO 370 (Microbiology I); offered A/Sp
  • B BIO 383 (Bioinformatics); offered Sp
  • B BIO 385 (Animal Behavior); offered W
  • B BIO 470 (Microbiology II); offered W
  • B BIO 471 (Plant Ecology); offered Sp
  • BES 312 (Ecology); offered A/W
  • 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); offered W
  • B BIO 364 (Biochemistry I); offered all quarters
  • B BIO 365 (Biochemistry II); offered A/W/Sp
  • B BIO 366 (Biochemistry Lab); offered A/W; 3 credits 
  • B BIO 370 (Microbiology I); offered A/Sp
  • B BIO 372 (Stem Cells); offered W
  • B BIO 375 (Molecular Biology); offered A/Sp
  • B BIO 380 (Cell Biology); offered A/Sp; count for Additional Writing requirement in Spring quarter only
  • B BIO 383 (Bioinformatics); offered Sp
  • B BIO 460 (Developmental Biology); offered A
  • B BIO 470 (Microbiology II); offered W

Category C - Physiology/Neurobiology Electives:

  • B BIO 310 (Brain & Behavior); offered A/W/Sp
  • B BIO 351 (Anatomy and Physiology I + lab); offered A/W
  • B BIO 352 (Anatomy and Physiology II + lab); offered W/Sp
  • B BIO 353 (Plant Physiology); not yet offered
  • B BIO 355 (Behavioral Endocrinology); offered Sp
  • B BIO 385 (Animal Behavior); offered W
  • B BIO 390 (Diseases and Disorders of the Nervous System); offered W
  • B BIO 394 (Special Topics in Neuroscience); offered W
  • B BIO 480 (Neurobiology); offered Sp; can only count for one of 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); offered W/Sp; credit may vary
  • B BIO 495 (Investigative Bio); offered all quarters
  • B BIO 498 (Independent Study); by special arrangement only; credit may vary
  • B BIO 499 (UG Research); by special arrangement only; 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.

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.

University Graduation 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.