How Evergreen's Curriculum Works

Programs and Courses

At most colleges, students register each term in several different courses that total up to a full-time enrollment. At Evergreen, most students will instead enroll in a single full-time program where you will explore a central idea or theme in depth.

In programs, faculty members from different subject areas teach in teams, drawing on several disciplines to help you develop the critical tools needed to understand complex issues from multiple perspectives.

Program activities may include lectures, labs, readings, seminars, field study, studio work, or research projects, and they may last one, two or three quarters, each term building on knowledge gained in previous quarters.

What if I can't be a full-time daytime student? 
Or, what if I want to study a particular subject that's not covered in my program?

Evergreen also offers a number of Evening and Weekend Courses that are available to all students. These are similar to the classes that you'd find at a traditional college or university.  The following table illustrates the differences between these two modes of learning.

Evergreen Programs Evergreen Courses
Usually 16 credits (some are 8 or 12) Usually 4 credits (some are 2 or 6)
Usually taught by two or more faculty Taught by single faculty
Interdisciplinary, exploring a central topic
using a variety of approaches
Single-subject (e.g., Spanish, Drawing, Pre-Calculus)
Usually taught during weekdays Usually taught in the evenings and/or on weekends
Usually run for two or three quarters Single-quarter (though may be part of a sequence)

Can I combine a program with a course?

Technically, it is possible to combine a full-time 16-credit program with a 2 or 4-credit course in the same quarter. Keep in mind this will be a LOT of work—if you also have a job or other outside responsibilities, you may be setting yourself up for problems.  Talk to an academic advisor about your particular situation. It is perfectly fine to combine a 2- or 4-credit course with an 8- or 12-credit program to get to full-time status.

You cannot enroll for more than 20 credits in any single quarter. (This includes cases where you enroll for additional credits at another school while also enrolled at Evergreen.)

If I take a two- or three-quarter program, can I switch to something else before it ends?

Faculty plan multi-quarter programs as holistic, integrated learning experiences, so we advise against leaving after only one or two quarters--you'll be missing some critical parts of the program.  Students who have a confusing or challenging first quarter in a program, but who stick it out, often find that in winter they begin to understand how all the pieces fit together, become much more excited about their program, and end up having a great learning experience.

That said, the decision to stay or go is yours, and every quarter there are some on-going programs that will take new students, as well as some new programs, so it is possible to change. Be aware that switching into an ongoing program may mean you'll have some catch-up work to do.  Check out the catalog or meet with an Academic Advisor to plan your next course of action.

What does the schedule for a program look like?

Your academic activities will likely include a mixture of lectures, seminars, small group work, and possibly individual projects, field trips, and studio or lab work.  Check out the Week in the Life of An Evergreen Student to see what a typical week might be like.

How many credits do I need to take? 

To be considered a full-time student, you need to take 12 or more credits per quarter.  This affects students receiving financial aid (check with Financial Aid about your particular package), and some health insurance programs.  If you don't have financial aid or insurance issues, Evergreen is fine with you enrolling as a part-time student if that is the best choice for your particular situation.  As always, we welcome you to come in and talk with an advisor about what's the best credit load for you to carry.

To complete your degree in four years, you need to average 45 credits per year, or 15 credits per quarter (fall-winter-spring).  If you drop below that level in a given term, you can take summer courses to make up credits, or increase your enrollment to 20 credits in some terms.