Environmental Biology

The environmental biology major at Pacific University focuses on conservation and restoration of natural habitats and species. It is designed for students who are interested in science and who want to apply their studies to addressing environmental problems. The curriculum is heavy on field-based coursework in the forest, streams, grasslands, and wetlands the surround Pacific University. Students also have many opportunities to conduct independent research with the support of faculty, often in partnership with local organizations.


  • Pair traditional biology studies with an interdisciplinary field-focused core that builds problem-solving skills and examines global environmental issues
  • Conduct real-world projects that include ecological restoration, species conservation and the development of land use recommendations for regional land owners
  • Learn wildlife survey and biodiversity assessment skills that include ecological field methods and the use of map-based geographic information systems (GIS)
  • Build relationships with land-use agencies, such as METRO and Clean Water Services
  • Prepare for entry-level work as a field-based technician or continue on to graduate programs in wildlife management, conservation biology or ecological resoration


Students pursuing a bachelor of science in environmental biology study a core of environmental science courses in permaculture, ecology, biology and chemistry. Those sciences are paired with interdisciplinary studies in the social sciences and humanities, including environmental economics or anthropology. The curriculum is focused on fieldwork, with practical research and application at the core of student learning. All students conduct a senior project, many of which involve developing proposals for real landowners and land-use agencies in the local community.

Students in the Department of Environmental Studies conduct research in local communities, including the coniferous forest of the John Blodgett Arboretum, the riparian corridors of the Gales Creek and Tualatin River watersheds, and the 300-acre Fernhill Wetlands. Pacific’s B Street Living Museum, less than one mile from the Forest Grove campus, also provides a hands-on research and learning lab for students. Regionally, there are many exemplary resources available within a one- to two-hour drive from campus, such as the Willamette and Columbia rivers, Tillamook and Willapa bays and the forests of the Coast and Cascade ranges.


Students who earn bachelor of science in environmental biology from Pacific are well prepared for careers or graduate studies in the biological sciences. Students have gained academic and research experience and have built connections with local environmental organizations. Students may go on to graduate studies or to jobs in consulting, restoration and government.

Department of Environmental Studies

The Department of Environmental Studies also offers majors in environmental chemistry and toxicology and sustainable design, as well as minors in environmental science, environmental policy and sustainability. Students interested in social sciences may choose a major in environmental studies: policy, culture and society.