Major Declaration Process

Thinking of pursuing a chemistry or biochemistry major?

All of our majors are comprised of two "Phases"

Phase I is a pre-major status

Phase II is a full-major status

Please refer to the WWU catalog for a detailed description of Phase I, Phase II, and major completion requirements for:

BS ChemistryBA ChemistryBS BiochemistryBA Biochemistry

What are some of the key differences between the phases and their respective declaration processes?

Phase I

Students can declare Phase I at any point in time - usually during their first two years (while taking general chemistry or starting organic chemistry). Students MUST declare Phase I in order to be eligible to apply to Phase II of their desired major.

Declaring Phase I has multiple benefits:

  • Grants access to courses such as CHEM 354, 355, and 333 which are major-restricted
  • Prioritizes you on waitlists for CHEM 351-353 organic chemistry
  • Adds you to a departmental canvas site where announcements, updates, and opportunities are posted
  • Connects you with a faculty advisor so you can talk more in-depth about your post-graduation plans, talk about a plan of study, and learn more about our research program 

Phase II

Students apply to Phase II if they have declared Phase I and they have completed Phase I coursework. Phase I coursework differs slightly between chemistry and biochemistry students. 

Phase II is the required status for students to complete their chemistry or biochemistry major and overall degree.

  • Phase II requires an application
  • Applications are open twice a year for two different cohorts
  • Fall Start Cohort - applications are due on the first day of spring quarter.
  • Winter Start Cohort - applications are due the first Friday of fall quarter for intended enrollment in Phase II the subsequent winter quarter.

Declaring Phase I

Declaring Phase I has two steps

  1. Schedule a meeting with the Phase I advisor 

    1. This is an initial meeting to get you information necessary to complete the Phase I declaration, answer any questions you have, and talk about which classes to take when.
    2. You will receive an email from the advisor within a week after your meeting with an assigned faculty advisor and additional resources
  2. Schedule a meeting with your assigned faculty advisor
    1. After you meet with the Phase I advisor, you will receive an email with the subject "Welcome to Chemistry/New Advisee
    2. Your faculty advisor will be copied to this email. Reach out to them and schedule a meeting to finalize a plan of study and ask any questions you have about post-grad opportunities, graduate school, or research. 

Applying to Phase II

Phase II is comprised of a set of core classes that are taken as a lock-step, cohort-style program. 

Phase II cohorts begin in Fall and Winter quarters every year and require an application prior to admission. 

Visit the Phase II Information Page if you want to learn more about Phase II or think you are ready to apply

Major Specific Advising Materials

Below you will find recommended plans of study, blank plan of study documents, elective information, and course scheduling notes for each of our degrees. Please utilize these resources, the department's Program Coordinators, and your faculty advisor to ensure you have an up-to-date plan of study on hand and you're on track for applying to Phase II and graduation. Please confirm course availability by checking ClassFinder and/or contacting the chemistry department office staff. 

General Graduation Requirements

While you're working toward a degree in chemistry or biochemistry, it's important to keep in mind which general university requirements you must complete in order to graduate.