Evergreen State


Evergreen State College is a primarily undergraduate, progressive, public liberal arts college that stresses interdisciplinary learning, collaborative learning, learning across difference, personal engagement, and linking theory to application. Instead of selecting traditional majors, students at Evergreen State College develop an “area of emphasis” from an array of more than 60 fields of study. Instead of a major dictating what classes a student needs to take, students pursue programs of interest to them and their areas of emphasis may evolve with time. Evergreen’s programs integrate different subjects around a central theme.

Evergreen State College’s student body is diverse. In the undergraduate student population, 30% are students of color, 58% are female, 30% are first-generation, and 54% are low-income.

For a brief overview video of Evergreen State College, see here.

Location: Olympia, WA

Undergraduate Students: ~3800

Graduate Students: ~200

Faculty: 229

For more data, see here.

Programs of Note

The following are noteworthy programs or practices that differ from MIT offerings. Unless otherwise stated, assumptions should not be made about the effectiveness of these programs and/or practices.

Student Assessment

A key area in which Evergreen State College differs from most higher education programs is that they do not issue grades. Instead, faculty provide written evaluations of each student’s achievement in a course or program. These evaluations are discussed in one-on-one meetings between the instructor and student during an “Evaluation Week” that takes place at the end of each trimester. An example evaluation is available here.

Students also write self-evaluations for each course or program they complete in which they reflect on their work. Students can choose if they want their self-evaluations included in their academic transcript.

Academic Statements

Rather than completing a required set of courses for a designated major, students at Evergreen create their own program of study that addresses their goals and interests. In support of this, students are required to write an Annual Academic Statement each year, reflecting on their activities and learning and identifying goals and a plan to achieve them. In their final year, students write a Final Academic Statement that briefly synthesizes the themes from their course of study and explains their chosen program to external audiences. This final statement is included in the student’s final transcript.

Faculty Evaluations

Instead of completing subject evaluation surveys, students compose a written evaluation for the faculty member. Evaluations are submitted through an online system to be included in the faculty member’s portfolio. Student’s can share their evaluation with the instructor during their evaluation conference or they can choose to have the evaluation held online until their credits for the course a posted.