Wherever you are in your academic career, you can start preparing now for your environmental major or career.

Current UW pre-major students

Explore majors

Take a look at the eight majors the College of the Environment offers. What piques your interest most? If you have questions about majors, are interested in several and/or want to get more details, schedule an advising appointment with UW Environment’s Pre-Major Adviser, Barbara Owens, by emailing her at

Take a course

One of the best ways to see if a major is right for you is to try it out! Taking an introductory course is a great first step in testing a major’s fit. Next quarter’s intro courses are open to all students and don’t require any prerequisites.

If you already know which major is for you, declare a College of the Environment major.

9th to 12th grade

As you plan your high school coursework, we encourage you to complete the UW College Academic Distribution Requirements (CADR) in combination with the following:

Math courses

  • Pre-calculus (preferred)
  • Calculus (preferred)
  • Statistics (optional)

Science courses (at least one unit each)

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics

Writing courses

You may be surprised how important writing is to both college success and careers in environmental fields. Seek out opportunities to write whenever you can. Writing classes are one way to develop this skill, but writing for your school’s newspaper or blog or keeping a journal can also help to improve your writing.

Optional courses

Some high schools offer specialized courses in environmental science and other environmental topics. These courses are a great way to explore different fields of interest. Some that we recommend:

AP courses

  • AP Environmental Science
  • AP Biology
  • AP Chemistry
  • AP Physics
  • Marine Biology
  • Sustainability
  • Geology

UW in the High School (earn UW credits at certain Washington high schools)

  • ATM S 111 Global Warming Understanding the Issues
  • ESRM 101 Forests and Society
  • ESRM 150 Wildlife in the Modern World
  • ESS 102 Space and Space Travel

In addition to coursework, an important part of preparing for a degree in an environmental field is getting hands-on experience early through volunteer work, internships or academic field programs. The UW Youth Program Directory is a great resource to find available UW programs. Other programs that offer these sorts of experience for teens in Washington include:

*Programs affiliated with UW

Have an opportunity to share? Please email a link and details to Opportunities must be current and ongoing.


Juniors or seniors starting the application process are encouraged to visit campus.

Pre-K to 8th grade

Students in pre-K to 8th grade can find additional resources on Opportunities for Early Explorers page.

Learn more

Transfer students

To facilitate a smooth entry into the UW, transfer students should complete the suggested courses outlined on the transfer planning worksheets and meet directly with the departmental adviser for the major you wish to enroll in:

We strongly encourage students to meet with an adviser as early as possible to plan courses and prepare for a smooth transfer.

Students can match course numbers on the planning worksheets to those from Washington State community or technical colleges with the UW Transfer Equivalency Guide. Students from outside of Washington state can contact an adviser with questions about course equivalency for major or minor requirements.

Schedule a visit to campus around one of the weekly Transfer Thursday events to get general information about the transfer admission process.

If you are very early in the transfer process and would like help exploring our majors to find the best fit, please contact the College of the Environment Pre-Major Adviser, Barbara Owens, at, to schedule an appointment.