Research opportunities available to students are outlined in Student Research Programs. For descriptions of faculty members' research, please see Faculty Research.  The differences between Directed Research, Senior Thesis, and Independent Study, are explained in Research Options.

Research facilities and resources

Harned Hall

The Puget Sound Biology Department is located in Thompson & Harned Halls, which also house the departments of Chemistry, Geology, Math and Computer Science, and Physics. Our Science Center opened in May 2006 and includes: 

  • A new 50,000 square-foot building (Harned Hall)
  • The renovation of Thompson Hall (completed Fall 2008) 
  • Modern laboratories and right-sized classrooms
  • A facility that acknowledges and accommodates the growing integration of the sciences

The Biology Department is well-equipped for teaching and research. Among the major facilities available to students and faculty in the department are an electron microscopy laboratory (with both transmission and scanning microscopes), a greenhouse, a marine wet lab, and a student library/seminar room. Other equipment includes:

Studying owls at Slater Museum

  • Phase Contrast Fluorescence Microscopes
  • Scintillation Counter
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction Thermocyclers
  • Automatic Ultra Microtomes with diamond knives
  • Darkroom Facilities
  • Computerized Image Analyzers
  • Video-Motion Analyzer
  • Underwater Remote Video Camera System
  • Spectrophotometers utilizing UV, VIS, and NIR
  • High Performance Liquid Chromotography
  • Sonagraph
  • Ultra Centrifuges
  • Computerized Gel Documentation System

The Slater Museum of Natural History (pictured above), located in the Biology Department in Thompson Hall, houses important regional collections of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and plants, as well as smaller collections of invertebrates and fishes. It is used as a resource for classes, student research, and education and research by the entire academic community.

Students can also take advantage of the nearby Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium for work on special research projects, as well as the Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, located 25 miles south of Tacoma. The university has cooperative agreements with both of these facilities.

The location of the university, within walking distance of the Puget Sound and in the shadow of Mt. Rainier, offers students many opportunities for field research into topics such as marine biology or alpine botany.