Life Science Programs

The Life Sciences Department offers courses that support the Associate of Arts, Associate of Fine Arts, and Associate of Applied Science Degrees. In addition, our courses are requirements and electives for the Biological Science Pre-major.


These courses are designed to introduce students to the diversity within the plant kingdom and among groups of organisms traditionally studied by botanists; to introduce students to the structures of the vascular plants and their functions; and to introduce students to vascular plant taxonomy and field botany using collection, preservation and specimen preparation techniques. As a result of participation in these courses students can prepare themselves to enter upper division botany courses with confidence; to identify plants in the Pacific Northwest and use floras from any region; and to prepare plant specimens for permanent storage and use in scientific investigations.

Environmental Science

These courses involve a study of the basic concepts of ecology including ecosystem structure and function, energy flow, biogeochemical cycles, limiting factors, population dynamics, and community interactions. Emphasis is placed on use of the scientific method to understand man’s current environmental problems and in the development of possible solutions.

General Biology

These courses provide an integrated view of the living world including the nature of sciences, evolution of biological organization, composition and organization the composition and organization of living material, metabolism, control, reproduction, heredity, and ecological relationships. Students will develop a basic understanding of the principles forming the foundation of modern biology. Such principles include the chemical and cellular basis of life; flow of energy in biological systems; Mendelian and molecular genetics; reproduction and development of organisms, ecological relationships; and evolution of plants and animals.

Human Anatomy and Physiology

These courses provide integrated study of the human body structure and function. Students will cover introductory cytology and histology, the integumentary, skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems, and sensory organs. Major body systems such as the digestive, urinary, respiratory, endocrine, reproductive, and blood and lymph systems are also covered. Students will develop a basic understanding of vocabulary as well as structure and functioning of the above systems. In addition, students will develop skills in use of the microscope, dissection, and other manipulative laboratory skills.


This subject area includes an introduction to the study of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. Coursework includes microbial structure; physiology and genetics; physical, chemical, and immunological control of microbes; and the role of microbes in disease. Laboratory skills such as staining, media preparation, isolation of microbes, their cultivation, and bacterial identification techniques are included.


These courses are designed to introduce students to scientific study of food in its relationship to human health and performance. Students are introduced to proteins, carbohydrates, fats, water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. Macro and micro-minerals and water are studied with respect to their metabolic functions, physical and chemical properties, deficiency signs and symptoms, and toxicity symptoms. In addition, food processing and its effects on the nutrient availability of foods, the uses, abuses, and regulation of food additives are addressed.


Students studying paleontology are introduced to the history of life over geologic time as represented by fossils of animals, plants and other organisms. Coursework includes the morphology and anatomy of ancient organisms as well as evolutionary relationships among them.


These courses are designed to introduce students to diversity within the animal kingdom including a comprehensive survey of animal phyla. Students are introduced to the morphology and classification, anatomy, physiology, evolution, and ecology of various animal groups. In addition, students learn from laboratory sessions and field trips relating classroom information to organisms in their environments.