Declaring a Major in Bioresource Science and Engineering (BSE)
The Bioresource Science and Engineering (BSE) Degree is an accredited engineering program at the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. Keep in mind that the BSE major is a capacity-constrained major.
Students should prepare for their studies by following a few key steps, meet with us to learn about the degree program and facilities, and use these tips to help them navigate the admissions process at UW.
Prospective UW Freshmen and High School Students
Freshmen applicants should indicate an interest in BSE on their application.
If interested in other engineering degrees in the College of Engineering, students should mark engineering as a first choice and BSE as a second choice (in order to be considered for Direct to College Admission, for the College of Engineering).
If BSE is indicated on the application and the student is accepted to UW, Environmental and Forest Sciences staff will reach out to the student and ask for a statement of interest in the program. If the student is a good fit for the program, based on course work and interest level, we will invite the student to join the major.
Students should start planning in the summer of their junior year of high school.
Preparatory coursework (high school)
Interested students should take as much math, science and writing as possible, while keeping grades high. Writing is very important in science. A strong background in math and science will better prepare the student for engineering. We recommend students take AP and Honors courses if they are offered.
Complete the College Academic Distribution Requirements (CADR). These subject areas are admission requirements and must be completed before enrolling at UW. To be competitive, applicants should try to challenge themselves by exceeding the minimum requirements.
Preparatory coursework (Washington State Running Start or College in High School)
Students do not need to complete an AS or AA degree to be eligible to apply to UW, but most transfer students admitted to UW have completed 90 credits before transfer.
All applicants to UW must complete the College Academic Distribution Requirements (CADR). These subject areas are admission requirements, and must be completed before enrolling at UW. To be competitive, applicants should try to challenge themselves by exceeding the minimum requirements. The UW also examines whether transfer students have taken additional courses that have prepared them for the departmental courses. The more courses the student has completed, the better prepared they will be.
Students in four-year schools or non-Washington community colleges: Currently, there is no equivalency guide for coursework at these institutions so we recommend that students take classes similar to what is listed on the transfer planning worksheet.
Try to finish a series (chemistry, physics, calculus) in the subject in which the series was started.
All prospective transfer students should save copies of the syllabi for all of the courses taken. This will facilitate evaluation of courses, if needed.
To discuss the major, contact the Environmental and Forest Sciences adviser to schedule an appointment, at which point the student will design a degree plan and ask any questions about the major before applying.
Students interested in the BSE major are encouraged to apply/meet with an adviser early. Advantages include:
Development of a comprehensive study plan that provides a clear path to graduation. The earlier this plan is developed, the more flexibility it will provide in allowing experiential learning, study abroad and more.
Eligibility for scholarships through the Washington Pulp and Paper Foundation (WPPF).
Subscription to a BSE-major only email list with notification of scholarships, internships, jobs and other opportunities.
Ability to enroll in courses that are restricted to majors during priority registration.
Postbaccalaureate and Non-Matriculating Students
Postbaccalaureate (Postbac) vs. Non-Matriculating
Non-Matriculating Students: If a student wants to enter graduate school at UW, the student lives locally and has a bachelor of science in biology or another field closely related to Environmental Science and Terrestrial Resource Management Degree, or the student simply wants to take a few courses, the student should enter as a non-degree seeking student. Non-Matriculating status is less expensive and is suitable in most cases. Please see the FAQ site for non-degree enrollment at UW. Information on graduate Non-Matriculating status at Environmental and Forest Sciences can be found here.
Postbaccalaureate: If a student’s first bachelor’s degree was in an unrelated field and the student wants to study for a second degree (regardless of the final objective), the student should apply as a postbaccalaureate (postbac) student. A postbac student is admitted for a second bachelor’s degree. Postbacs are treated almost the same as other matriculating undergraduates; they register at the same time as other undergrads and have priorities for courses. There are a few differences: Financial aid treats postbacs differently, postbacs cannot declare minors or honors and students are not always eligible for specific internships and scholarships.
Those interested can apply for postbac admission through UW Admissions. Admission can be competitive for postbacs, so those interested should take special care to complete the application fully. Students should declare the intention to complete the ESRM degree on the admissions application. Here are some tips to strengthen the application:
Complete core foundational science coursework (intro bio, chemistry, calculus, physics, etc.) at a local community college prior to applying. Students are more likely to be admitted as a postbac if they need courses that are only offered by the UW ESRM degree. UW Admissions’ assessment of coursework will be similar to that of a transfer student so refer to recommended preparation for prospective Environmental and Forest Sciences transfer students available above. Pay particular attention to the transfer planning worksheet and the course equivalency guides.
It is possible to take a mix of community college courses with some UW ESRM degree courses as a non-matriculating student while preparing for admission as a postbac. Please contact the Environmental and Forest Sciences adviser to explore this option.
Many students seek to add a postbac degree in preparation for applying to a graduate program in a related field. While most postbacs admitted to UW ESRM complete their second bachelor of science degree, there is no formal policy that prohibits applying to graduate school prior to completion. Enrolling in UW ESRM as either a postbac or non-matriculated student does not guarantee admission to the UW Environmental and Forest Sciences graduate program.
Applying to the UW
All students who would like to study Bioresource Science and Engineering must first be admitted to the University of Washington. Application information can be found on the UW Admissions website. Admission to the UW is competitive and applicants are evaluated on a number of factors. These include grade point average, test scores and academic preparation as well as personal achievements and characteristics.
Incoming students are admitted to the UW during autumn, winter, spring* and summer quarters, although most are admitted in autumn quarter. Students should sure to check the deadlines for the quarter they hope to be admitted and start working early to get materials together in order to apply on time. There are also a number of scholarships available for incoming students through Environmental and Forest Sciences, as well as in the College of the Environment.
Once a student has been admitted to UW, the Environmental and Forest Sciences undergraduate adviser should be emailed. Let the adviser know for which quarter the student has been admitted. Return the confirmation deposit.
TIP: Be sure to read all letters and materials carefully. It is easy to miss a vital step in this process. Once confirmed, students will be able to sign up for an Advising and Orientation Session (A&O). Students will not be able to register for courses until they have completed the A&O session, so be sure to sign up early.
*Spring quarter is only open to applicants in specific engineering departments. Students may submit a paper application to the UW Office of Admissions for spring quarter admission only if they are also applying for spring quarter direct entry.