College of Science & Engineering

Declare a Biology Major

How to Declare your Biology Major

To declare a major in biology, you will need to visit the Biology Department Office (BI 315) and complete a blue major declaration card. An appointment to declare your major is not necessary. You may declare your major at any time and students are encouraged to declare early so that they are assigned to a faculty advisor and may be included in important departmental announcements. Students who are interested in our combined degree programs (i.e., Bio/Anth and Bio/Math) should still declare their major in the Biology Department Office.

Phase I and Phase II of the Biology Major

The Biology Department has a two-step process for admission into all degree programs. Phase I majors are students who have declared their intent to major in biology, and are in the process of completing the introductory biology (BIOL 204, 205, 206) and general chemistry (CHEM 161, 162, 163) courses. Phase II majors have satisfactorily completed the six Phase I courses and are enrolled in upper division (300 and 400 level) courses required for their degree program.

Admission Requirements for Phase II

Admission to Phase II of the biology major is based on academic performance in the introductory courses. Students must have achieved a minimum GPA of 2.9 in their introductory biology and chemistry courses before they may advance to Phase II and begin taking upper division courses. Students who do not meet the GPA requirement may repeat one of the six introductory courses one time for the purpose of increasing their GPA and to become eligible for Phase II. If a student repeats a course, the new grade replaces the existing grade. You can evaluate your GPA using this online GPA Calculator through Academic Advising. Please be aware that even though prior grades from transfer institutions are not factored into your cumulative WWU GPA, any courses that are deemed equivalent by the department as BIOL 204, 205, & 206 or CHEM 161, 162, & 163 will be used to calculate your GPA for Phase II advancement. Please see this page for information on our Early Advancement policy. 

During the last course of the biology series, Phase I students will be required to attend a Phase II Advising Workshop prior to being advanced. These workshops are designed to assist students in their selection of a Biology emphasis, if desired, and in acquiring a better understanding of departmental and university resources, career pathways, and research opportunities. The majority of these sessions will consist of a Q&A format where students may seek advice from a panel of biology faculty, senior students, and departmental advisors.

Note to Transfer Students: Incoming Transfer students who are Phase II ready and attending a Transitions Orientation will meet individually with a Biology faculty advisor during Departmental Advising in lieu of the required Phase II Workshop. However, students are still encouraged to attend a workshop later in the year in order to have the opportunity to ask questions of the panelists and meet other biology majors. 

Course Registration Restrictions

All upper division (300/400 level) biology courses are restricted to Phase II biology majors with the exception of some courses that are also open to students in other majors that require the course for their degree program (i.e., Biochemistry, Kinesiology, Environmental Sciences). Phase I biology majors are not permitted to register for upper level courses. It is important to refer to the department's detailed registration information sheet (available via the Registration tab) BEFORE each quarter's registration period so that you are aware of the major restrictions and prerequisites for each of our biology courses.

The Biology Minor

Students who are interested in pursuing a biology minor must meet Phase II criteria before they may formally declare. Minor declaration cards are available in the Biology Department Office (BI 315). 

Courses used to satisfy requirements within the depth category must represent specialization in biology beyond a student's major requirements. Students that are most affected by this requirement are those who are majoring in Environmental Science, Kinesiology and Biochemistry. Please refer to the biology minor catalog for further information.