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. 

WSDOT internship

Students in the WSDOT Wetlands Monitoring internship program identify plants in the lab.

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

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

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 & 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.

 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.

How to Choose Your Path

You’ll choose what you study to earn a Bachelor’s degree that’s meaningful to you. Some students decide their programs as they go, while others chart their course in advance.

Aim for both breadth and depth; explore fields that may be related or that may seem very distant. You'll be surprised at what you discover.

If you're new to college, look for programs where you can gain a foundation, build key skills, and broaden your knowledge (FR only, FR-SO, or FR-SR).

If you already have a foundation in this field, look for programs with intermediate or advanced material (SO-SR, JR-SR, or FR-SR). These programs may include community-based learning and in-depth research. Some of these programs have specific prerequisites; check the description for details.

Talk to an academic advisor to get help figuring out what coursework is best for you.

Planned offerings for 2017–18
Class Standing Quarters Offered Credits
A Dyer's Garden: Growing, Creating, and Understanding Color SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
8
Advanced Research in Environmental Studies JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
0
Anatomy & Physiology I FR-SR
  • Fall
4
Anatomy & Physiology II FR-SR
  • Winter
4
Anatomy & Physiology III FR-SR
  • Spring
4
Anatomy and Physiology I FR-SR
  • Summer
6
Anatomy and Physiology II FR-SR
  • Summer
6
Botany: Plants and People FR-SO
  • Spring
16
Bryophytes and Lichens of the Pacific Northwest JR-SR
  • Fall
16
Business, Biology, and Sustainable Solutions FR-SR
  • Fall
16
Color Grows in the Garden I: Early Summer Intensive FR-SR
  • Summer
4
Color Grows in the Garden II: Late Summer Intensive FR-SR
  • Summer
4
Conserving Wildlife JR-SR
  • Fall
16
Counting on Soils: Precalculus and Soil Sciences FR-SR
  • Spring
16
Creating Community and Health Through Gardens: Intensive FR-SR
  • Summer
4
Development as Freedom FR-SR
  • Spring
16
Emotional Intelligence and Organizational Behavior JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Field Ecology JR-SR
  • Spring
16
Forensics and Criminal Behavior FR-SO
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
4, 8, 12, 16
Foundations of Well-Being JR-SR
  • Fall
8
General Biology FR-SR
  • Summer
8
General Biology: Cells, Populations, and Ecosystems FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Geology and Ecology of Land-Ocean Margins FR-SO
  • Fall
16
Global Roots of Holistic Medicine FR-SR
  • Summer
4
Health vs. Wealth FR-SR
  • Spring
4
Integrated Natural Science FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Introduction to Scientific Illustration FR-SR
  • Summer
4
Investigating the Mind-Body: Physics and Methods of Medicine FR-SR
  • Spring
16
Marine Biology of the Pacific Northwest FR-SR
  • Summer
8
Marine Life: Marine Organisms and Their Environments JR-SR
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Medicine Grows in the Garden: Intensive FR-SR
  • Summer
4
Models in Biology SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
12
Molecule to Organism SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Moving Toward Health: Holistic Medicine Pathways SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
14
Neurobiology FR-SR
  • Summer
5
Neurobiology and Consciousness: The Science and Study of the Mind SO-SR
  • Fall
16
Northwest Forests: Biogeochemistry and Management JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Pathways to Healthcare: A Clinical Practicum at Student Wellness Services SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
4
Plant Biology FR-SR
  • Summer
6
Plants in Motion FR-SO
  • Spring
16
Practice of Organic Farming: Culture and Agriculture FR-SR
  • Summer
16
Practice of Organic Farming: Culture and Agriculture (Spring, Summer) FR-SR
  • Spring
16
Practice of Organic Farming: Fall FR-SR
  • Fall
16
Psychology and Art: Digital Photography FR-SO
  • Spring
16
Psychology and Art: Digital Photography or Printmaking FR-SO
  • Spring
16
Psychology and Art: Printmaking FR-SO
  • Spring
16
Re-Imagining the Body FR-SR
  • Spring
8
Reproduction: Gender, Race, and Power JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Rivers of Clay SO-SR
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Salmon, Raven, and Whale: The Pacific Northwest in Art and Science FR-SO
  • Fall
16
Seeing What's There: Art and the Biology of Vision FR-SR
  • Winter
16
Shadow Wars and Global Governance SO-SR
  • Spring
16
Student-Originated Studies: Environmental Science SR
  • Spring
16
Student-Originated Studies: Food and Agriculture FR-SR
  • Winter
16
Student-Originated Studies: Food and Agriculture SO-SR
  • Spring
16
Student-Originated Studies: Food and Agriculture SO-SR
  • Summer
16
Tears of Duk'Wibahl: Exploration of Customary and Contemporary Indigenous Arts FR-SR
  • Summer
4, 8, 12
Technical Writing in the 21st Century SO-SR
  • Winter
16
The Gene: History of an Idea FR-SR
  • Fall
16
The Gene: History of an Idea FR-SR
  • Spring
16
The Nature and Culture of Natural History FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Undergraduate Research in Scientific Inquiry SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
0
Wilderness First Responder FR-SR
  • Summer
4
With Liberty and Justice for Whom? JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Planned offerings for 2018–19
Class Standing Quarters Offered Credits
Advanced Research in Environmental Studies JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
0
Analyzing the World with Math and Science FR-SO
  • Spring
16
Anatomy and Physiology I FR-SR
  • Fall
4
Anatomy and Physiology II FR-SR
  • Winter
4
Anatomy and Physiology III FR-SR
  • Spring
4
Anthrozoology FR-SR
  • Winter
16
Birds: Inside and Out JR-SR
  • Winter
16
Botany: Plants and People FR-SR
  • Fall
16
Culture, Self, and Healing FR-SO
  • Winter
  • Spring
12, 16
EastWest Psychology: Positive Mind/Emotion FR-SR
  • Fall
4
Ecological Agriculture: The Science, Justice, and Policy of Food Systems SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Ecology of Grazing and Grasslands in the Pacific Northwest FR-SR
  • Spring
16
Ecology of Harmful Algal Blooms SO-SR
  • Fall
16
Environmental Health, Public Health and Toxicology SO-SR
  • Fall
16
Environmental Science Foundations FR-SO
  • Fall
16
European Ethnobotany in Historical Context FR-SO
  • Spring
16
Evolutionary Processes from DNA to the Fossil Record JR-SR
  • Fall
16
Gardens as Creative Non-Fiction FR-SR
  • Spring
12
Genes and Poems: Creating Form and Meaning FR-SO
  • Spring
16
Global/Local Realities and Alternative Visions JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Health vs. Wealth FR-SR
  • Spring
4
In Sickness and In Health FR-SO
  • Fall
16
Integrated Natural Sciences (INS) FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Invertebrate Zoology JR-SR
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Medicine of Community and Place FR-SR
  • Fall
8
Modeling Biological Systems FR-SR
  • Spring
16
Models in Biology SO-SR
  • Winter
8
Molecule to Organism SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Nature and Nurture: Human Development and the Environment FR
  • Winter
16
Nature and Nurture: Human Development and the Environment FR
  • Spring
16
Pathways to Healthcare: A Clinical Practicum at Student Wellness Services SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
4
Plants in Art, Word, and Healing SO-SR
  • Winter
8
Practice of Organic Farming: Culture and Agriculture (Fall) FR-SR
  • Fall
16
Practice of Organic Farming: Culture and Agriculture (Spring, Summer) FR-SR
  • Spring
16
Riding the Carbon Cycle from the Mountains to the Sea SO-SR
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Student-Originated Studies: Community-Based Learning and Action SO-SR
  • Winter
16
Student-Originated Studies: Food and Agriculture SO-SR
  • Winter
16
Student-Originated Studies: Food and Agriculture SO-SR
  • Spring
16
Student-Originated Studies: Food and Agriculture SO-SR
  • Summer
16
Student-Originated Studies: Food and Agriculture SO-SR
  • Fall
16
Student-Originated Studies: Science and Environmental Writing for the General Public JR-SR
  • Spring
16
Symbiosis JR-SR
  • Spring
16
The Addict Archetype SO-SR
  • Winter
4
The Fungal Kingdom JR-SR
  • Fall
16
The Science Behind the Headlines: What's the Truth? FR
  • Fall
16
The Science Behind the Headlines: What's the Truth? FR
  • Winter
16
Theme and Variations in Music and Biology FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Undergraduate Research in Scientific Inquiry SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
0
Unruly Bodies: Health, Media, Biology, and Power FR-SO
  • Winter
  • Spring
12, 16
What Are Trees For? Forest Ecology and Resource Conflicts FR-SR
  • Spring
8