Secondary Education - Earth Science, Bachelor of Science in Education

School of Earth and Sustainability

College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences

This degree firmly grounds future teachers and curriculum specialists in earth science—including physical and applied geology, oceanography, the planets, field methods, etc. Students also explore biology, chemistry, physics, math, and the philosophies of science for a well-rounded program.

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

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

  • 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 diversity, liberal studies, 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:

This degree plan is support through the NAUTeach program.

  • At least 98 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.

  • For this major the liberal studies prefix is GLG

  • 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 student (or candidate) performance in all Major Requirement Courses.

Please note that students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Students may transfer up to 69 units of credit from a Maricopa community college. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 120
Major GPA 2.5
Highest Mathematics Required MAT 125
Additional Admission Requirements Required
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 equips secondary mathematics and science students (or teacher candidates) with the knowledge and practices necessary to teach diverse learners in ways that are rigorous, equitable, and responsive to all students. Our program provides a challenging undergraduate progression plan solely designed to prepare mathematics and science teachers for grades 6-12. The program emphasizes the teacher candidates ability to develop research-based pedagogy through a STEM focused, field intensive, rigorous curriculum. Undergraduates are highly supported by Faculty who specialize in mathematics and science education research and who 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. 

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 Earth Sciences:
    • Characteristics of land, atmosphere, and ocean systems on Earth
    • Properties, measurement, and classification of Eath materials
    • Changes in the Earth including land formation and erosion
    • Geochemical cycles including biotic and abiotic systems
    • Energy flow and transformation in Earth Systems
    • Hydrological features of the Earth
    • Patterns and changes in the atmosphere, weather, and climate
    • Origin, evolution, and planetary behaviors of Earth
    • Orgin, evolution, and properties of the universe
    • Fundamental processes of investigating in the Earth and space sciences
    • Sources and limits of natural resources
    • Applications of Earth and space sciences to environmental quality and to personal and community health and welfare
  • Advanced Competencies in Earth Sciences
    • Gradual and catastrphic changes in the Earth
    • Oceans and their relationship to changes in atmosphere and climate
    • Hydrological cycles and problems of distribution and use of water
    • Dating of the Earth and other objects in the universe
    • Structures and interactions of energy and matter in the universe
    • Impact of changes in the Earth on the evolution and distribution of living things
    • Issues related to chagnes in Earth Systems such as global climate change, mine subsidence, and channeling waterways
    • Historical development and perspectives, including contributions of significant figures and underrepresented groups, and the evolution of theories in the Earth and space sciences
    • How to design, conduct, and report research in the Earth and space sciences
  • General Supporting Competencies
    • Biology: Evolution; Ecology; Population dynamics; Flow of energy; Flow of materials through Earth systems
    • Chemistry: Broad concepts of organic and inorganic chemistry; Basic laboratory techniques of organic and inorganic chemistry
    • Physics: Electricity; Force and motion; Energy; Magnetism; Thermodynamics; Optics; Sound
    • Mathematics: Statistics; Probability

Additional Admission Requirements
  • Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

    • 30 units of coursework which includes:
      • TSM 101, TSM 201 and TSM 303W 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).
      • 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
      • Be a declared Secondary Education major in this program.
      • Submit 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).
Transfer Block
  • Students may transfer up to 69 units of credit from a Maricopa community college.

Major Requirements
  • This major requires 98 units distributed as follows:

    • Major Course Requirements: 38 units
    • Supporting Course Requirements: 27 units
    • Teacher Preparation Course Requirements: 33 units

    Take the following 98 units.

    • A minimum NAU cumulative GPA of 2.5 is required.
    • For all Major Requirement coursework, a passing grade is required and a grade of "C" or better is required for courses evaluated on an A-F scale.
    • Additionally, to be cleared for student teaching a GPA of 2.5 in Major Requirement courses and a grade of “B” or better in at least one of the following two courses is required: TSM 350, TSM 450. (Note: TSM 350 and TSM 450 may be repeated with a grade of “C”)

    Major Course Requirements with a Grade of "C" or better in each course (38 units):

  • Teacher Preparation Courses (33 units with a grade of “C” or better, except where noted)

  • Teacher Preparation

    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 
    • Complete all BSEd requirements.
    • Take the appropriate AEPA or NES Subject Knowledge test prior to student teaching.
    • Completed online Student Teaching application one year prior to student teaching.
    • Fingerprint Clearance Card issued by DPS with expiration date no earlier than the end of the student teaching term must be on file in the Professional Education Programs (PEP) (copy of front and back)
    • All major coursework, with the exception of TSM 101 must be completed within the six years prior to student teaching (TSM 495C and TSM 496).
    • Successful completion of required state and university training 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 NAUTeach and PEP Alerts must be resolved per improvement plan.
    • Attend mandatory Student Teaching Orientation.
  • The NAU Teach program was intentionally designed to lead to licensure or certification in the state of Arizona. As part of that program design, you must pass the Secondary Professional Knowledge Exam that aligns with certification requirements in the state of Arizona. 

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 of the academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. You may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.

    We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you.

  • 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
  • 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 course information contained in the catalog or your advisor.