The Marine Biology Minor | Minor Requirements | Declaring the Minor | Academic Planning | Graduating | Finding Research and Funding

The Marine Biology Minor

fhllabsUW undergraduates can earn an interdisciplinary minor in marine biology. Coursework in the minor includes exciting hands-on learning opportunities, such as field trips, internships, research, courses at UW's Friday Harbor Laboratories, and study abroad programs. We encouraged students to declare the marine biology minor during their freshmen or sophomore years and immediately join a small community of researchers and students interested in marine organisms, ecosystems, and conservation.

The marine biology minor combines courses from three UW departments and our marine station on San Juan Island:


Minor Requirements


Core Coursework (18 credits)

squidStudents must take each of the following courses:

Approved Electives (14 credits)

Students must take at least one course from each of the following departmental lists. Additional marine biology courses may be petitioned to count for the minor. Please note Friday Harbor Lab courses on the San Juan Island campus are included below. Number of credits and common quarters offered are also listed. Please contact with questions:

Oceanography (OCEAN)     

Aquatic & Fishery Sciences (FISH)

Biology (BIOL)

Friday Harbor Laboratories (FHL), San Juan Island

FHL is UW’s marine station on San Juan Island. Minors are encouraged study at FHL and use courses and apprenticeships toward minor requirements. Visit this page for details on current programs and the application process.

Integrative Experience (3 credits)

squidIntegrative experience credits cannot count toward the student‘s major. Students may use one of the following options to complete their integrative experience requirements:

Students only should consider pursuing FISH/BIOL/OCEAN 479, outside of Friday Harbor Labs course offerings, if they already have worked for at least two quarters on independent research in faculty labs or affiliated internships and have taken FISH/BIOL/OCEAN 250 and Q Sci 381. Research credits must included a paper and a presentation to be eligible. Please contact for more information and for a copy of the research contract.


Declaring the Marine Biology Minor

Students can declare the minor at any time during their degrees,squid even if they have fewer than 90 credits. Students can declare the minor in the following ways:

If you are interested in the minor or have declared the minor, please contact the marine biology minor advisor,, and set up an advising appointment to plan the minor courses and opportunities into your degree.


fhllabsWe strongly encouraged new minors to set up an appointment with the marine biology minor advisor through to create an academic plan that works for them. We also encourage new minors to use the tools below in their academic planning process.



squidMarine biology minors must have the marine biology minor advisor sign their graduation applications to verify that they have completed the minor requirements. This happens after you have registered for your final quarter at UW. Minors who have completed graduation applications with their major advisors, should set up minor advising appointments through


Finding Research and Funding

We strongly encourage marine biology minors to pursue research in faculty labs and research experiences and internships in the community early-on in their degrees. 

To find research and internship opportunities, we recommend that fhllabsstudents make it a habit to talk to faculty and TAs in their office hours about class topics and research opportunities in faculty labs. Many undergraduate research opportunities arise from classes. We also encourage students to familiarize themselves with what UW marine biology faculty are researching by visiting their lab webpages.  In addition, students should visit these sites when seeking marine research opportunities:

Students involved in research are eligible for a wide range of awards and grants.  Students seeking funding for research should start by looking at the scholarship listings on our FAQ page.


Photos from top: Stubby squid holding hands, by Audrey Djunaedi; FISH/BIOL/OCEAN 250 class lab, by Kristian Haapa-aho; Elephant seal, by Amanda Bradford; Sea grass experiment, by Tiffany Stephans; Tiffany Stephans, from Tiffany Stephans; FISH/BIOL/OCEAN 250 field trip and trawl; by Claire Horner-Devine; FHL apprentices surveying mammals and birds; by Emily Beyer; Otter and mussels, by Kristian Haapa-aho; Geoduck histology slide, by Cindi Perez; Cindi Perez analyzing geoduck tissue, by Emily Beyer