Advisors: Nicholas Bader (Geology, on sabbatical, 2023-24) and Kate Jackson (Biology)

Whitman College is associated with the School of Oceanography of the University of Washington in a program for liberal education in biological or geological oceanography. The plan requires five years of study; typically three years at Whitman College and two years at the University of Washington. Students complete a Bachelor of Arts degree in either Biology or Geology from Whitman College and a Bachelor of Science in Oceanography from the University of Washington. At Whitman College, all candidates must complete the appropriate requirements outlined below, receive a recommendation from Whitman College, and apply as transfer student to the University of Washington.

This plan requires careful scheduling. Students must declare one of these majors by the end of their fourth semester in residence at Whitman College (transfer students must declare at the end of their second semester in residence at Whitman College). Interested Whitman students should contact the Whitman Oceanography advisor in their first year at Whitman, and the University of Washington Oceanography academic advisor (Michelle Townsend, mtown@uw.edu) when they apply for transfer to coordinate with the admissions office, and to answer questions about course planning.

In order to secure a recommendation from Whitman, a student must satisfy the following requirements during his or her three years at Whitman:

  • Required Courses 
    • Mathematics 124 or 125, and 126
    •  Chemistry: 125, 126, 135, 136 (or 140), and 245
    • Biology 111 and 112
  • Other program requirements 
    • 94 credits and spend three years at Whitman 
      • 62 credits and two years for transfer students 
    • Whitman GPA of at least 3.0. 
    • Complete the First-Year Experience 
    • Complete the General Studies Distribution Requirements 
    • Mathematics 225 or approved statistics course
    • Geology: 110 and 111, 120 and 121, or 125 and 126
    • Physics: 155 and 156; 
      • or the Physics 121, 122, 123 series at the University of Washington; 
      • or Physics 155 at Whitman College and Ocean 285 at the University of Washington


  • 1. Biology
    • Required courses
      • Biology 205
      • Chemistry 245
    • Other requirements
      • One course at Whitman from each of the three upper division Biology and/or BBMB courses
        • Molecular/Cell, Organismal, and Ecology/Evolution
      • At UW, they must take at least seven semester-equivalent credits of upper-division biology electives
      • UW three semester-equivalent credits of independent research
      • Biology MFT and attain a score sufficient to satisfy Whitman’s requirements
  • 2. Geology
    • Required courses
      • Geology 227, 350, 358, 368
    • Other major requirements
      • Four+ geology level 300 and above at Whitman College 
      • At UW, they must take at least 12 semester-equivalent credits of upper-division geology electives; and 
      • Geology department written major examination and attain a score sufficient to satisfy Whitman’s requirements
  • Other notes
    • For science and math requirements must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0
    • Strongly recommended to take a geology course related to oceanography