Program Admissions

Admissions Information for Current Western Students

We are excited that you are considering Western Washington University’s new major in Marine and Coastal Science (MACS). This page is designed for prospective students to learn more about the application process, and for eligible students to submit their application. Once a year, the program admits a cohort of approximately 30 students.

Students will typically apply to the major in the fall of their sophomore year (usually the year they plan to complete all preparatory courses). Upon acceptance into the program, students begin major courses in the spring with MACS 210 (Introduction to Marine and Coastal Science Research).  They then move on to the major core classes, starting with MACS 301, in the fall.

General Student Timeline

The timeline below is for a typical Marine and Coastal Science major who starts at Western, and decides to pursue the major in their freshman year. You can schedule a meeting with the program advisor to discuss your individual path and a more relevant timeline.

Roadmap or timeline of progressing in the Marine and Coastal Science major depicted as a roadmap.

Admissions Requirements

To be eligible for the MACS major, prospective students must have completed or be on track to complete by end of spring quarter/the academic year, all the major preparatory courses (listed below) with a grade of C- or better in each course. This must be done prior to starting major core classes in the fall.

BIO 204 – Introduction to Evolution, Ecology, and Biodiversity

CHEM 161 – General Chemistry I                 MATH 124 – Calculus and Analytic Geometry I

CHEM 162 – General Chemistry II                MATH 125 – Calculus and Analytic Geometry II

CHEM 163 – General Chemistry III               PHYS 161 – Physics with Calculus I

GEOL 211 – Physical Geology

*While not required to start the MACS major, students are encouraged to complete either BIOL 205 & 206 or PHYS 162 & 163 prior to starting the core courses.

Essay Questions

Western’s Marine and Coastal Science program uses a holistic admissions process to review student applications. The admissions committee is looking for students with strong motivation to pursue marine science, real-world problem-solving skills, and the ability to work effectively in diverse teams in addition to academic ability.  Students can demonstrate these qualities through describing their activities inside and outside of school, which could include participation in clubs, community and volunteer activities, or other personal experiences.

The online application will ask students to respond to the following questions (100-200 words per question):

  1. List three goals you want to accomplish within the marine science field and your motivation for setting these goals.
  2. Describe experiences that have led to your interests in Marine and Coastal Science.
  3. Discuss personal experiences that have prepared you to solve complex problems in diverse teams.
  4. Optional: Is there anything else that you would like our selection committee to know about you that may not be reflected elsewhere in your application or academic history?
Note: We recommend students draft their responses to the questions in a word processing program then paste the responses into the online application. The online application does not provide an option to save a partial application to be completed later.


To complete your application, you will also need a copy of your academic history/undergraduate transcript(s). An unofficial copy is acceptable. When the application period is open there will be a link to apply here.

**Applications will open November 2021 for the 2022 cohort.

Important notes: Application deadlines are final. All required materials, including transcripts, must be uploaded by the deadline. Applications will not be accepted after the deadline and incomplete applications will not be considered. The application form cannot be started and saved; you must complete the application once started. We suggest typing out answers to essay questions before starting the application. You do not need to have all the preparatory classes completed before you apply but must indicate on the application when you intend to complete them.


If you have any questions about the program, admissions process or need application assistance, please email

Schedule a meeting with a MACS advisor today!

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