Biology is in the midst of revolutionary changes that are reshaping how we study and understand life. The Biology Department at Pacific University embraces these changes, which are reflected in our curriculum. After graduation, our students go on to successful careers in a wide range of fields, including the health professions, education, biology research, law, and environmental consulting.


  • Pacific's biology curriculum gives students relevant, authentic experiences that encourage their development as scientists, from introductory biology through the senior capstone project
  • Most courses include hands-on laboratory skills, where students learn how to do science, including practical professional skills
  • Biology faculty highly value mentoring undergraduate researchers. In our research programs, students work side-by-side with professors, often co-authoring conference presentations or publications.
  • Students can make lasting personal and professional friendships through the Biology Club and the Beta Beta Beta biology honor society
  • Biology strongly supports students involvement in civic engagement and outreach, including mentoring internships with local and national organizations such as the Oregon Zoo, state and federal wildlife agencies, and many healthcare clinics


The program features a hands-on approach with a curriculum that emphasizes learning about life processes by making original observations, asking biological questions, and testing hypothesis through experimentation. Courses provide in-depth knowledge in three areas of biology:

  • Cellular/molecular/genetics
  • Structure/function/systematics
  • Ecology/evolution/behavior

Students increase their ability to think critically, synthesize information, and communicate effectively. Independent investigations are emphasized throughout the curriculum starting with freshman General Biology and ending with a senior research capstone experience.

Biology Special Topics Courses (pdf)


Our students learn to become biologists by working side-by-side with faculty doing biology. In addition to interaction with Pacific faculty members, students have a variety of opportunities to broaden their experience and explore different fields in biology through internships and outside research programs. Examples include work at Oregon Health Science University, local hospitals and healthcare clinics, the Oregon Zoo in Portland and local veterinary institutions.

Pacific’s biology graduates are prepared to do anything or go anywhere. Our biology graduates work as lab technicians, environmental consultants, teachers, lawyers, microbiologists, geneticists, ecologists, veterinarians, zoologists and, of course, in a wide range of health and medical professions. Our students are recruited by the top graduate programs, medical schools and professional schools in the country. Many recent graduates work in the high-tech industry because of their strong backgrounds in biology, chemistry, math, computer science and physics.

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