College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences2020-2021

Department of Biological Sciences

Secondary Education - Biology, Bachelor of Science in Education

Students who wish to teach middle or high school Biology in the secondary schools (7-12) will find this degree essential. Firmly grounded in Biology, with significant work in teacher preparation through the highly acclaimed NAUTeach science and mathematics teacher certification program, the plan establishes the professional conduit for teaching this exciting subject.

This program is nationally recognized by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).

This program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).


What Can I Do with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education - Biology?

Create the middle or high school biology classroom of the future. In this degree plan, you'll learn how to get students involved in learning about the complicated concepts they need to understand to succeed. This degree will help you develop the knowledge and skills you need to be a secondary education teacher with comprehensive expertise in life sciences. Because of your knowledge, your students will tackle the environmental, health, and ecological challenges that lie ahead.

You'll also have the opportunity to complete fieldwork, laboratory exercises, and practicum experiences for your professional preparation. You'll learn advanced approaches to teaching and curriculum in a rigorous, diverse, and collaborative inquiry-based atmosphere. Earning this degree will help you move forward in your teaching career as well as enhance your students' educational experience.

Note: In addition to being admitted to the university, you must also meet the additional admission requirements and apply for admission to the Professional Education Programs.

Career opportunities that might be pursued:
  • Secondary biology or life science teacher
  • Science department chair

With further education, one of these paths is possible:
  • Curriculum specialist
  • School administrator
  • Superintendent

University Requirements

  • To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.

    • All of Northern Arizona University's liberal studies, diversity, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
    • At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
    • At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
    • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.
    The full policy can be viewed here.



In addition to University Requirements:

  • At least 104 units of major requirements which includes at least 33 units of Teacher Preparation coursework requirements

  • Up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements

  • Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 units

Candidates in this program are required to demonstrate content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge and skills, professional knowledge, and professional dispositions to be eligible to enter student teaching or internship placements. Content, pedagogical, and professional knowledge or skills, professional dispositions are demonstrated through candidate performance on key assessments embedded in the following course(s):

Please note that you may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 120
Major GPA 2.5
Highest Mathematics Required MAT 125
Additional Admission Requirements Required
Fieldwork Experience/Internship Optional
Student Teaching/Supervised Teaching Required
University Honors Program Optional
AZ Transfer Students complete AGEC-A Recommended
Progression Plan Link View Progression Plan

This program may lead to licensure.

Purpose Statement
The NAUTeach program is a challenging undergraduate course of study solely designed to prepare mathematics and science teachers for grades 6-12. The program emphasizes the pre-service teacher’s ability to develop research-based pedagogy through a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) focused, field intensive, rigorous curriculum. This allows undergraduate students to be highly supported by faculty who specialize in mathematics and science education research and Master Teachers that have years of professional classroom experience. Our program is designed for students with strong skills in mathematics or science seeking certification to teach biology, chemistry, physics, Earth sciences, general science, or mathematics at the secondary level.
The NAUTeach program, modeled after the successful UTeach program at the University of Texas, provides opportunities for you to:

  • graduate in four years. Students earn a Bachelor of Science in education in their field of study.
  • earn dual degrees. Students have the ability to earn degrees both in specific fields of science or mathematics and in teaching science or math. 
  • have early classroom teaching immersion. Students are in the K-12 mathematics or science classroom teaching and observing from the first semester and throughout the NAUTeach program to prepare for their capstone student teaching experience. 
  • work cooperatively in a STEM focused center. Course of study partnered with the department of Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Geology, and Physics.
  • experience “student-centered” instruction. Course structure supports deep student understanding of concepts related to teaching, science, and mathematics.
  • develop numerous STEM based lessons and a full STEM based unit. Students teach numerous STEM lessons and a STEM unit at local secondary schools, which build towards a capstone student teaching experience that utilizes the full range of skills and experiences.
  • engage in educational dialogue and planning. Students plan lessons that promote deep content knowledge, analytical reasoning, creative thought and use of appropriate teaching strategies.
  • use technology to enhance learning. Students experience technology throughout NAUTeach courses and develop lessons that model technology use in 6-12 classrooms.
  • earn scholarships, internships and loan forgiveness. Numerous financial opportunities exist for secondary mathematics and science education majors.
  • inspire future scientists, engineers, and mathematicians to change the world. Visit Teachers who inspired great scientists to see how teachers change the world.
Student Learning Outcomes

Outcomes align with Standards from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, the National Science Teachers Association, and the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium
  • Design instruction that develops all students’ abilities to meet academic standards
  • Reflect on teaching practices including the creation of a classroom environment based on respect and rapport that fosters a positive climate for learning, equity, and excellence.
  • Create and maintain a learning climate that supports the development of all students’ abilities to meet academic standards.
  • Implement and manage instruction that develops all students’ abilities to meet academic standards.
  • Assess learning and communicate results to all students, parents and other appropriate professionals with respect to all students’ abilities to meet academic standards.
  • Collaborate with colleagues, parents the community and other appropriate agencies to design, implement, and support learning that supports all students’ abilities to meet academic standards.
  • Review and evaluate personal performance in order to improve teaching practices through reflection.
  • Develop and nurture current professional knowledge of the teaching/learning process.
  • Provide evidence of student learning through the design and implementation of instruction that makes use of effective communication techniques, is based on student prior knowledge, actively engages students in the learning process, and provides timely high-quality feedback.
  • Reflect on the roles and responsibilities and adhere to legal and ethical requirements of the profession.
  • In collaboration with other professionals, participate in the design, implementation, and assessment of individual education programs.
  • Provide evidence of meeting the Arizona Professional Teaching Standards by taking the AEPA Secondary Professional Knowledge exam.
  • Core Knowledge in the Biological Sciences:
    • Life processes in living systems including organization of matter and energy
    • Similarities and differences among animals, plants, fungi, microorganisms, and viruses
    • Ecological systems including the interrelationships and dependencies of organisms with each other and their environments
    • Population dynamics and the impact of population on its environment
    • General concepts of genetics and heredity
    • Organizations and functions of cells and multi-cellular systems
    • Behavior of organisms and their relationships to social systems
    • Regulation of biological systems including homeostatic mechanisms
    • Fundamental processes of modeling and investigating in the biological sciences
    • Applications of biology in environmental quality and in personal and community health
    • Bioenergetics including major biochemical pathways
    • Molecular genetics and heredity and mechanisms of genetic modification
    • Molecular basis for evolutionary theory and classification
  • Advanced Competencies in the Biological Sciences
    • Biochemical interactions of organisms and their environments
    • Causes, characteristics, and avoidance of viral, bacterial, and parasitic diseases
    • Molecular genetics
    • Issues related to living systems such as genetic modification, uses of biotechnology, cloning, and pollution from faming
    • Historical development and perspectives in biology including contributions of significant figures and underrepresented groups, and the evolution of theories in biology
    • How to design, conduct, and report research in biology
  • General Supporting Competencies
    • Chemistry: Biochemistry
    • Physics: Light, Sound, Optics, Electricity, Energy and order, Magnetism
    • Earth Sciences: Energy and geochemical cycles, Climate, Oceans, Weather, Natural resources, Changes in the Earth
    • Mathematics: Probability, Statistics



Additional Admission Requirements
  • Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
    • 30 units of coursework which includes:
      • TSM 101, TSM 102 and TSM 303 with grades of "C" or better
      • Program Mathematics Foundations requirement with a grade of "C" or better
      • The English foundations requirement (ENG 105 or equivalent) with a minimum GPA of 3.0. (If your English GPA is below 3.0, you may take an approved writing course to achieve the 3.0 GPA.)
      • Completion of or enrollment in TSM 303
      • A minimum GPA of 2.5 in all Major Requirements, excluding the Teacher Preparation courses (must have taken at least 12 units) 
      • One of the following grade point average requirements:
        • A cumulative 2.5 GPA in Liberal Studies courses
        • A cumulative 2.5 GPA in all courses
      • You must be declared in this major
      • Submission of a copy of your State-approved Identity-Verified Print (IVP) fingerprint clearance card, obtainable through the Arizona Department of Public Safety (602-223-2279)
Major Requirements
  • This major requires 104 to 107 units distributed as follows:

    • Biology Course Requirements: 43 units
      • Biology General Course Requirements: 20 to 22 units
      • Physiology requirements: 4 units
      • Botany Requirements: 15 units
    • General Science Course Requirements: 28 to 31 units
    • Teacher Preparation Courses: 33 units

    Take the 104 - 107 units outlined below. A minimum NAU cumulative 2.5 is required. For all Major Requirements coursework, a passing grade is required and a grade of "C" or better is required for courses evaluated on an A-F scale. Additionally, a GPA of 2.5 in major requirements and a grade of “B” or better in at least two of the following three Teacher Preparation courses TSM 350, TSM 404, and TSM 450 is required. TSM 350, TSM 404 and TSM 450 may be repeated with a grade of “C”.

    Biology courses (43 units)

    Select one of the following which meets the junior-level writing requirement (3-5 units):

    (Note: The Department of Biological Sciences is phasing out the BIO 226, BIO 226L and BIO 305W option and transitioning to the BIO 365W course for its majors).

    • Additional coursework to complete 43 units in the discipline major. The following rules apply to course selection (12 units):

Teacher Preparation
  • The Department of Biological Sciences currently does not allow dual degrees within the department.

  • Teacher education programs require a student teaching or internship experience. A minimum number of practicum units are also required, which involves supervised field experience with a practicing teacher. These required experiences are embedded in the major requirements courses. 

    Before being accepted to student teaching, the following criteria must be met:

    • Admission to the Professional Education Programs (PEP)
    • GPA and course grade requirements for degree program as stated in Additional Admission and Major Requirements 
    • Take and pass the designated content knowledge exam
    • Complete all plan requirements
    • All major coursework, with the exception of EDF 200 must be completed within the six years prior to student teaching
    • Passing score on the required Professional Dispositions Modules
    • All candidates must demonstrate professional and ethical standards of practice as described in the Model Code of Ethics for Educators and adhere to NAU’s and PEP’s Student Code of Conduct
    • All outstanding PEP Alerts must be resolved per improvement plan
    • Attend mandatory Student Teaching Orientation
General Electives
  • Additional coursework is required, if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit. 

    You may take these remaining courses from any academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you. (Please note that you may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.)

  • It is highly recommended that you take POS 220 (3 units) either as one of your electives or to meet one of the liberal studies requirements.

Additional Information
  • Be aware that Arizona state teacher certification requirements leading to an Institutional Recommendation may change at any time, and may impact program of study requirements.

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information, see information contained in the catalog or your advisor.

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