Phase II Application Information

Application for a Chemistry Department Major

There are two cohorts that begin at the start of fall and winter quarters each academic year. To apply, students must complete all Phase I coursework and apply the quarter before they intend to enroll.

For example: A student attempting to apply to the BS Biochemistry major who is enrolled in BIOL 205 and CHEM 352 during winter quarter should submit a major application by the first day of spring quarter. This application is reviewed and seats are considered for students to begin the major the subsequent fall quarter. 


  • Fall Start Cohort: First day of Spring quarter @ 11:59PM
  • Winter Start Cohort: First Friday of Fall quarter @ 11:59PM

The Chemistry/Biochemistry major application review process considers:

  • Responses to essay prompts
  • Performance in Phase I coursework
  • Overall progress in preliminary/prerequisite coursework

To apply, a student must submit their application online. The application includes self-reporting grades and completion of courses and completion of short essay responses. Grades are verified by the department and any intentional misrepresentation of grades will result in an academic honesty violation. 

To be eligible to apply, students must have completed all Phase I coursework prior to the application deadline.

If you are transferring to WWU, please email to receive specialized instructions for applying directly to Phase II prior to beginning coursework at Western.

Essay Prompts 

Essay prompts for the application have no minimum or maximum word count. Average answers vary from a few sentences to a couple paragraphs. Please note: all applications are reviewed by a faculty committee anonymously. The committee takes responses to these questions seriously and does not favorably review applicants with extremely short responses to all required questions.

Any personally identifiable information will be redacted from your statements to keep the anonymity of all applicants. 

The following are the essay prompts for the application. These prompts are subject to change and official questions should be reviewed at the time the application is open on our website. 

  1. Please describe your goals after you complete your undergraduate degree at WWU. 
  2. How will the degree program for which you are applying help you to achieve these goals? 
  3. Diversity of thinking, experience, or background shape our academic community and drive our scientific endeavors. Please describe any ways that your personal background, prior experiences, or your perspectives on equity, inclusion, and diversity can contribute to our learning community.   
  4. Is your academic record (i.e. transcript) an accurate reflection of your academic ability? If not, please describe any factors that may be considered when reviewing your Phase II application. 
  5. If you are reapplying, please describe any relevant coursework or experiences from the past year that should be considered when reviewing your Phase II application. 
  6. Are there ways that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted your academics that you'd like the committee to consider?  
  7. Is there anything this application did not ask about that would be useful for the committee to know? 

Phase I Coursework

There is no required or minimum Phase I GPA to apply to a chemistry or biochemistry department major. Admission decisions are based on a mix of students' performance in Phase I coursework, their responses to our essay responses, and the overall availability in each of our majors. We have included graphs below to show the distribution of Phase I GPAs for students accepted and denied to our programs in the 2021-2022 academic year.  

Students who have not completed all Phase I coursework for their intended major will not be considered by the review committee and must reapply once all Phase I coursework is complete. 

Phase I Coursework

BS Biochemistry applicants:

  • CHEM 161 - 163
  • CHEM 351 - 352
  • BIOL 205
  • MATH 124-125
  • Preference is given to students who have completed the following courses with a C- or higher
    • PHYS 162
    • MATH 224

BA Biochemistry Applicants:

  • CHEM 161 - 163
  • CHEM 351 - 352
  • BIOL 204-205
  • MATH 124

Chemistry Applicants:

  • CHEM 161 - 163
  • CHEM 351 - 352
  • MATH 124 -125
  • PHYS 161
  • Preference is given to students who have completed the following courses with a C- or higher
    • PHYS 162
    • MATH 224

Review of application

There is a greater demand than available resources for the Chemistry program, therefore, we limit the number of students in the program. This allows us to guarantee access to major coursework to all admitted students. 

A committee of chemistry faculty members will review the applications each spring and fall (there’s no application review during winter or summer quarter). The committee assesses all applications and determines which students are accepted to which major. It is possible to be admitted to a major that is not your preference if demand for your preferred major far exceeds supply as seen in recent years. 

BS Chemistry

Graphs of Phase I GPA for BS Chem admits vs non admits

BA Chemistry

Graphs of Phase I GPA for BA Chemistry admits vs non admits

BS Biochemistry

Graphs of Phase I GPA for biochemistry admits vs non admits

Phase II Application