Counting on the Brain

Fall Open
Class Standing
Rachel Hastings
Nancy Murray

Counting on the Brain is a one quarter, lower division program that combines the disciplines of neurobiology, linguistics, and mathematics. Neuroscience continues to be one of the fastest growing areas of biology and is at the cutting edge of technical and conceptual advances in the life sciences. If you want to know how animals (including humans) touch, hear, see, smell, and remember things, as well as how they use language and other communication systems or engage in mathematical thinking, then you need to study ions, molecules, cells, neural networks, brain structure and behavior.

In Neurobiology, we will first learn about the function of the brain's cellular computers: neurons. We will learn how neurons differ from other cells, how they generate electrical signals, and how they communicate with one another via synapses. We will then investigate how neurons cooperate in circuits by studying five sensory systems: vision, touch, hearing, taste and smell. Cellular and molecular mechanisms will be emphasized alongside the physics and mathematics of neurobiology. In linguistics we will study language structure and approaches to understanding language processing in the brain. In mathematics we will study scientific notation, unit conversions, and mathematical functions in or der to support our study of biology and prepare students for future work in math and science . We will also engage in seminar reading, writing and discussion to explore the relationship between the brain and cognition. Collaborative learning will be emphasized in all areas of the program.

Our learning goals will include development of analytical and critical thinking, quantitative and symbolic reasoning, reading, and writing skills. Weekly activities will include lectures, presentations, labs, workshops, and seminars. Students will be expected to contribute actively to the learning community and will be evaluated on regular homework assignments, lab and workshop reports, seminar papers, and engagement with the program.

This program is coordinated with Greener Foundations for first-year students. Greener Foundations is Evergreen’s in-person 2-quarter introductory student success course sequence, which provides first-year students with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive at Evergreen. Students expected to take Greener Foundations will be prompted to register for a 2-credit Greener Foundations course in addition to this 14-credit program during registration. Students will be prompted to register for Greener Foundations with their new winter program to complete the 4-credits of Greener Foundations.

Anticipated Credit Equivalencies:

6 - Introduction to Neurobiology

4 - Algebraic Thinking for Natural Sciences

2 - Introduction to Linguistics

2 - Seminar on Cognitive Studies


Academic Details

Biology, Natural Sciences, Health Sciences


$50 required lab fee


In Person (F)

See definition of Hybrid, Remote, and In-Person instruction

Schedule Details