Biology and Life Sciences

Examine life at the cellular level. Find new ways to cure disease. Survey marine organisms in their Puget Sound and Pacific Ocean habitats. Delve into the complex relationship between mathematical models and experimental results. Share your passion for science. 

Vertebrate Evolution

Jordan Falloon (left) and Phoenix Green (middle) study an assortment of animal bones with help from faculty Heather Heying in the program Vertebrate Evolution.

Whether you want to study biology to prepare for a career in medicine or the health professions, for a teaching career in secondary schools, as part of your liberal arts education, or as a prerequisite for graduate study in science, Evergreen’s mixture of interdisciplinary study and hands-on lab and field research will teach you how to apply scientific principles to solving real-world problems.

Studying science at Evergreen is a different experience than what science majors get at most universities. Here biology, chemistry, physics, and other disciplines are woven together, providing a unique interdisciplinary education. From high-tech labs to field studies, you’ll develop an appreciation of the levels of organization of life, their diversity, and how physical, chemical, and geological processes have shaped life on earth.

Numerous research students present their work at scientific meetings and have been authors on technical papers.

At Evergreen, you’ll immediately begin learning to use sophisticated scientific equipment to answer complex biological questions. Many year-long science programs begin with foundational work and quickly transition to student research projects so that all students gain scientific skills. You’ll also have opportunities to do scientific research as part of faculty research programs. Numerous students present their work at scientific meetings and have been authors on technical papers.

Join us in an education that doesn’t just change your life — it gives you the tools to change the world.

Students use a microscope

David Ginocchio studies cross-sections of cottonwood leaves in the Scanning Electron Microscope. Ginocchio is working with Clarissa Dirks on Identification of a Novel Virus in Populus Freemontii.

Sample Program

Students study in the lab

Students in the Molecule to Organism program complete their weekly laboratory work in organic chemistry and biology.

Integrated Natural Science

Offered Fall 2017–Spring 2018

The origin and evolution of life on Earth, along with chemical and geological changes in the Earth itself, have been sources of fascination and controversy. This interdisciplinary program examines significant events in the history of life, the large-scale geologic changes that have occurred in Earth's history, and the key chemical processes involved. This approach will include the cycles and transformations of matter and energy, affording an understanding of biological, chemical, and physical Earth processes on a variety of scales. The nature of living organisms will be examined on molecular, cellular, and physiological levels within the context of their evolutionary history.

We expect students to end the program with a working knowledge of scientific, mathematical, and computational concepts, ability to reason critically and to solve problems, and with hands-on experience in natural science. Students will also gain a strong appreciation of the interconnectedness of biological and physical systems, and an ability to apply this knowledge to complex problems.

View this program in the catalog.

Students in Marine Biology

Students in the summer Marine Biology program go sailing aboard the Resolute in Budd Inlet. Faculy Gerardo Chin-Leo had the students take plankton samples and salinity readings in the estuary. Students then drew illustrations of their findings.

Drawing the findings

Offerings Proposed For 2017-18

As a student at Evergreen, you'll select from programs like the ones listed here to build your own education. While there are no specific course requirements, you can choose to develop an Area of Emphasis with help from advisors and faculty.

Lower Division

Programs for freshmen and sophomores:

All Levels

Both upper and lower division students may take these programs:

Upper Division

Programs for juniors and seniors:

After Graduation

Sara Higgins

Sara Higgins ’08 pursued her dream to become a doctor.

Evergreen biology graduates have an excellent record of success in graduate and professional schools, as well as working in a variety of scientific and technical fields. An Evergreen biology degree prepares you for jobs in laboratories, universities, or industry, and is excellent preparation for earning a graduate degree. It can be your springboard into professional school, where you’ll train to become a physician, dentist, veterinarian, or attorney. Or you can earn a teaching certificate so you can teach in high-demand science in K-12 schools. You’ll also be well prepared for a career in sales and marketing in science-related industries. The possibilities are limited only by your energy and ambition.

Facilities and Resources

Science Laboratories

The phage lab has been a center for undergraduate research at Evergreen since 1972, where involved students analyze these natural disease-fighting bacteriophages.

Students of all levels have access to science labs with a full range of equipment and high-tech tools. Our students have unique opportunities to conduct scientific research using high-quality instruments, such as a scanning electron microscope and a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer. In addition, they use some of the best modern software available.

Computer Applications Lab (CAL)

The CAL supports the campus community with computing technologies for scientific inquiry.

Phage Biology Lab

The phage lab has been a center for undergraduate research at Evergreen since 1972. Today, there are generally 10 to 15 students involved in work in the lab, analyzing these natural disease-fighting bacteriophages. Students have presented at various recent regional, national, and international meetings, including the biennial Evergreen International Phage Biology meetings.

Students enrolled in Introduction to Natural Sciences will isolate, characterize, and annotate mycobacteriophage genomes, name them, and send the isolates to collections housed at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the University of Pittsburgh. This innovative year-long lab series will engage students in true scientific discovery and give them the opportunity to contribute to ongoing research of the Science Education Alliance’s Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science Project.

Video: Molecule to Organism in the Field

Students in the Evergreen upper division science program Molecule to Organism undertook a study of the snails in Washington State. The work gave students with interests in molecular biology, plant biology, and ecology an opportunity to apply their interests in a team study. In this One Minute Evergreen, faculty Clarissa Dirks describes the project and its importance.

Lab Stores

Goggles, lab coats, and a whole lot more, including teaching technicians who will help you determine what you need for your experiments.

Evergreen Ecological Observation Network (EEON)

EEON is a long-term research effort involving students and faculty conducting research in Evergreen’s 1,000-acre Puget Sound lowland second-growth rainforest. Their work is centered on 44 intensively studied long-term monitoring plots where they’re measuring biological diversity, development, carbon dynamics, and other characteristics.

Science Carnival and Research Exposition

The largest event of its kind in Washington, the Science Carnival offers hundreds of presentations from Evergreen science students with an emphasis on demonstration, hands-on participation and fun, plus a volcano! More than 1,000 elementary, high school and college students and community members crowd Red Square and the science labs to learn and get excited about science. Topics include chemistry, computer science, biology, food science, health, physics, optics, geology, marine science, and a wide range of other disciplines.