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, its 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

The Science Behind the Headlines: What’s the Truth?

Offered Fall 2013–Spring 2014

Students study in the lab

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

In this field- and lab-based program, we’ll use various themes to demystify the hype surrounding popular myths, critically examine the data, and use scientific reasoning and experimental design to come to our own conclusions.

In fall, we’ll study water and energy as themes to examine our environment, considering local, national and global energy water issues.

In winter, we’ll use natural and synthetic materials to study petrochemical plastics, biodegradable plastics and other sustainable materials, biomedical polymers and key biological materials such as proteins and DNA. We’ll examine the properties of these materials in the lab and study their role in the real world.

Through our final theme, forensics, we’ll learn techniques such as DNA fingerprinting, and other modern procedures.

The program will culminate in a student-originated and designed research project.

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 2015-16

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

Upper Division

Programs for Juniors and Seniors

All Levels

Both upper and lower division students may take these programs

After Graduation

Sara HigginsSara 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, in 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. These students have presented at various recent regional, national and international meetings, including the biennial Evergreen International Phage Biology meetings, the 20th of which will be held Aug. 4–9, 2013.

Starting in Fall 2013, 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 yearlong lab series will engage students in true scientific discovery and give them the opportunity to contribute to the ongoing research of the Science Education Alliance’s Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science Project.

National Science Foundation Scholarships

National Science Foundation STEM scholarships (NSF S-STEM) are available to students who intend to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in Laboratory-based Chemistry and/or Biology, and who intend to pursue a career in either or both of these fields. There are multiple awards in varying amounts up to $10,000 per year. The award is also renewable. Scholarship recipients participate in science seminars, which provide a support network and develop an awareness of science career opportunities. Find out how to apply.

Evergreen Students for Sustainable Animal Agriculture learn to raise animals responsibly by tending a flock of ewes and their lambs.

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 1000 acre Puget 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 covered include chemistry, computer science, biology, food science, health, physics, optics, geology, marine science and a wide range of other disciplines.