Bachelor of Science in Biology

The Bachelor of Science in Biology degree provides students with a foundation that will enable them to pursue careers or graduate study in medicine, dentistry, health professions, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, ecology, biology, and biology education.

The curriculum combines theory with hands-on experience that draws on the University of Washington Bothell’s strengths: small classes; strong faculty-student mentorship; integrative, problem-based teaching approaches; and research and internship opportunities outside the classroom.

Undergraduate research is an essential part of our degree program.  Faculty and students utilize biology laboratory space designed specifically for research and often conduct field studies on the North Creek Wetlands Restoration, which lies adjacent to our campus.

Undergraduate Program Learning Outcomes

Students completing a degree in Biology at the University of Washington Bothell will be able to demonstrate and articulate mastery in the following areas.

Biological concepts and content

  • The processes that drive evolutionary change and diversification, and the meaning and relevance of shared ancestry among all living organisms
  • The mechanisms of transmission and storage of information that allow organisms to develop, adjust to changing conditions, and evolve over time
  • Transformations of energy and matter between inorganic and organic states, within and between organisms, and through ecosystems
  • The relationship between structure and function, from the level of molecules through organisms to biological communities
  • The interconnected and interacting nature of biological systems, from gene expression to ecosystem function

Intellectual and technical skills

  • Formulate questions based on observations, generate hypotheses, and design appropriate tests of those hypotheses
  • Understand, evaluate, and generate graphical representations of data
  • Analyze data and draw appropriate conclusions from statistical tests
  • Use mathematical and computational tools to describe biological systems
  • Effectively access, critically evaluate, and use scientific literature; assess claims made in popular media
  • Apply technical skills gained during research, such as laboratory, field, or modeling skills
  • Reflect on and express the strengths and limitations of science as a way of understanding our universe

Communication and collaboration

  • Clearly communicate scientific concepts and findings to both general and technical audiences
  • Bring and express a scientific perspective to issues of general concern, including political, social, and ethical dimensions of life and society
  • Collaborate effectively with people of diverse backgrounds, skills, and worldviews

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Course planning resources

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Program policies & requirements

Click a link or scroll down to navigate.

  1. Overlapping coursework
  2. Substitutions and petitions
  3. Prerequisites for major entry
  4. Core requirements
  5. Investigative Biology
  6. Biology and Society
  7. Upper Division Biology Electives
  8. General Education requirements
  9. Credit and GPA requirements

Overlapping coursework

Important: A single course cannot fulfill more than one prerequisite, core, or elective requirement for the Biology major.

However, a course usually can fulfill a Biology major requirement in addition to:

  • Requirements for other majors and/or minors; and
  • General education requirements

Example: BBIO 380 (Cell Biology)

  • Can fulfill either the “Cell Biology” requirement or an “Upper Division Biology Elective”, but not both.
  • Can also fulfill credit for another program, such as elective credit for the Health Studies major or Health Studies minor.
  • Can also fulfill the “Additional Writing” general education requirement (if taken in a quarter it is offered for writing credit).

If you are not sure if a course can count for multiple requirements, contact the Biology advisor to ask.

Substitutions and petitions

It is sometimes possible to substitute other courses from UW or other institutions in place of the pre-approved courses listed on this page. Visit our Forms & Handouts page to submit a petition.

Some transfer courses never count for Biology major requirements. Visit our Admissions page for information on transfer coursework.

Prerequisites for major entry

Visit our Admissions page for more information on prerequisite coursework.

  1. General Chemistry Series
    • BCHEM 143 + 144 (General Chemistry I + lab)
    • BCHEM 153 + 154 (General Chemistry II + lab)
    • BCHEM 163 + 164 (General Chemistry III + lab)
  2. Introductory Biology Series
    • BBIO 180 (Introductory Biology I + lab)
    • BBIO 200 (Introductory Biology II + lab)
    • BBIO 220 (Introductory Biology III + lab)

Core requirements

You must complete all of these requirements. When there are multiple options for a requirement, you only need to take one. Additional courses taken after the first can often count towards Upper Division Biology Electives instead.

  1. Calculus (choose one course)
  2. Statistics (choose one course)
  3. Physics I and II (choose one series)
  4. Genetics
  5. Evolution
  6. Ecology (choose one course)
  7. Cell Biology (choose one course)
  8. Physiology (choose one course)

Investigative Biology Requirement

You must complete at least one biology-related research project. There are three main options for completion:

Visit our Investigative Biology page for more detailed information on the requirement, how to find research, and step-by-step instructions for making sure that your research project fulfills the requirement.

Plan EARLY: Start planning for this requirement at least 6 months in advance.

Biology and Society Requirement

You must complete one course to fulfill this requirement. Below is a list of pre-approved options. Note that many Biology and Society courses can also fulfill Social Science (SSc) or other general education credit if you still need it.

This requirement is flexible. If you find a course that you think is related to both Biology and Society, then you can submit a petition to request for it to count.

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

List of pre-approved courses:

Upper Division Biology Electives

You must complete 20 credits of upper division (300- or 400-level) biology elective coursework. Unless otherwise noted, all elective courses are worth 5 credits. This means that most students will take four elective courses.

Electives fall into three main categories. You must choose your electives from at least two out of three main categories (A, B, or C). You do not need electives from all three main categories.

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

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

Category A - Biodiversity/Ecology/Evolution Electives

Category B - Cellular/Molecular biology Electives

Category C - Physiology/Neurobiology Electives

Miscellaneous Electives

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

General education courses

In addition to the Biology major requirements above, you must also complete the following courses. These courses generally can overlap with core and elective requirements for the major.

  1. English Composition (C). 5 credits (usually 1 course). Cannot overlap with Additional Writing. Common options for Biology majors are:
  2. Additional Writing (W). 10 credits (usually 2 courses). Cannot overlap with English Composition. Common options for Biology majors are:
  3. Diversity (DIV). 3 credits (usually 1 course). Almost always fulfills A&H or SSc as well.
  4. Arts & Humanities (A&H). 15 credits (usually 3 courses). Cannot overlap with SSc.
  5. Social Sciences (SSc). 15 credits (usually 3 courses). Cannot overlap with A&H.

Credit and GPA requirements

  1. Total credit minimum. You must earn a minimum of 180 college-level credits. This includes both your transfer coursework and any coursework taken at the University of Washington.
  2. Matriculated credit minimum. You must earn a minumum of 45 credits taken as a matriculated student at the University of Washington. 
  3. Senior residency requirement. You must take a minimum of 45 out of your last 60 required credits at the University of Washington Bothell campus.
  4. Minimum GPA. You must earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 for your coursework taken at the University of Washington.

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Research & Internships

The University of Washington places a strong emphasis on experiential learning, which is the process of learning by doing and reflecting on your experiences. High impact experiences such as research, internships, volunteering, engaging in student groups, and studying abroad can give you the perfect opportunity to connect theoretical science with real-world applications, build a strong résumé, network with potential future colleagues and employers, and permanently enrich your worldview and sense of self.


Undergraduate research is an essential part of our degree program.  Faculty and students utilize biology laboratory space designed specifically for research and often conduct field studies on the North Creek Wetland Restoration, which lies adjacent to our campus.

Many of our undergraduates have gone on to present their work at university symposia as well as professional meetings.

Andrew Tagle and Trevor McCoy, undergraduates in the lab of Dr. Kristina Hillesland, present their research at the 2015 UW Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Lexi Menth, undergraduate in the lab of Dr. Doug Wacker, received an award for the Best Undergraduate Research Poster at the Society for Northwestern Vertebrate Biology Meeting in Portland, OR in February 2015 (photo by Alex Lefort).

Finding research

To explore possible research opportunities on the UW Bothell campus and elsewhere, please visit the following pages:

Finding internships

Visit our Bio & Chem Info Board for regularly updated internship opportunities we have heard about.

Visit the Career Services page for strategies and resources to find an internship at an organization in the Puget Sound region and beyond!

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Biology & Chemistry Student Resources Trello board

Learn more about courses, programs, groups and events, as well as career opportunities, scholarships and other student resources on the Bio & Chem Info Board.

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UWB Biology Club

The Biology Club promotes biology-related activities for the whole campus. Join in to participate in community activities, outreach, and valuable opportunities outside of the classroom! The club is open to students from any program on campus, including pre-major students who have not yet declared their major.

Biology Club Website (to join and learn more)

Faculty AdvisorUWB-Bio-Club-Logo-Smaller-(3).png

Contact Biology faculty member Michele Price if you have any questions about the club.

External links

Visit these pages for up-to-date information on the Biology club and its activities:

Other biology-related clubs

There are many clubs at UW Bothell, including many biology-related clubs! You can browse the full list of clubs or even start your own club!

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