BS in Biology for Secondary Education

Bachelor of Science in Biology for Secondary EducationInitial Program – Leads to Initial Teacher Licensure

Offered By: College of Natural Sciences

Become a Biology Teacher With a Biology for Secondary Education Degree

Do you enjoy learning about the complexities of living organisms while also wanting to make a positive impact on the next generation? If so, the Bachelor of Science in Biology for Secondary Education degree from Grand Canyon University (GCU) is designed to provide future middle school and high school teachers with the content knowledge they need to be biology teachers. 

The BS in biology secondary education degree program combines rigorous coursework in biology with specialized training in teaching strategies, curriculum development and classroom management, providing you with the skills and knowledge needed to become an effective high school biology teacher. If you find yourself passionate about both biology and education, this may be the right path for you.

$61,820

Median annual wage for high school teachers as of May 2022.1

48,700

Estimated new jobs for secondary education teaching occupations from 2021 to 20312

This undergraduate biology for secondary education program is offered by the College of Engineering and Technology in conjunction with teaching licensure requirement courses provided by the College of Education for students who are seeking a biology teaching degree and want to work with students in grades 6-12. Biology for secondary education majors can earn their initial teacher licensure in addition to their biology teaching degree. 

As a student in GCU’s Bachelor of Science in Biology for Secondary Education degree program, you will have the opportunity to attain a deep understanding of biological science as well as research-based pedagogical practices, including curriculum development, prior to entering the classroom. This biology for secondary education teaching program is designed to prepare you to use the skills of a biology educator, such as research, critical thinking and effective communication, in your future educational settings.

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Students pursuing the BS in Biology for Secondary Education have the opportunity to develop a teaching foundation, which can prepare them to make an impact as future biology teachers. Secondary education majors, who are interested in pursuing a career as a high school biology teacher, can benefit in the following ways:

  • In-depth knowledge of the subject matter: Biological science foundations that are invaluable for teaching high school biology and preparing students for advanced studies in the field will be taught.
  • Preparation for teaching certification: A BS in Biology in secondary education can provide the necessary coursework and practical experience that can prepare you to take the initial teacher licensure exam.
  • Field experiences and student teaching: Biology for secondary education majors often involves laboratory research and student-teaching fieldwork. This may provide hands-on experiences useful for teaching biology and encouraging students to pursue scientific inquiry.
  • Career opportunities: This BS in biology secondary education major can provide flexibility and career opportunities for individuals with diverse interests and goals.

The BS in biology for secondary education degree program at GCU:

  • Includes institutionally-accredited and Arizona-approved programming that maximizes content knowledge
  • Aligns all courses with Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) principles
  • Offers coursework that is aligned to the standards of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
  • Provides opportunities to apply concepts, theories and research throughout the program
  • Requires extensive field experience prior to and during student teaching

Coursework and Topics Covered in the BS in Biology for Secondary Education

Acquiring essential modern-day competencies is crucial for students, which includes being adaptable, collaborative, independent learners and having a lifelong learning mindset.3 In addition to the rigorous pedagogical training that future biology teachers will be taught in this secondary education major, STEM content knowledge is emphasized. 

BS in Biology for Secondary Education majors study relevant topics in this program, including: 

  • SEI English language teaching
  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Special education
  • Arizona and federal government
  • Social justice for educators
  • Organic chemistry
  • Genetics
  • Ecology
  • Molecular and cellular biology
  • Methods for teaching science in secondary education
  • Laboratory safety and supervision

Career Possibilities for Graduates With a BS in Biology for Secondary Education Degree

This content-rich biology teaching degree is for students who are looking forward to a career teaching biology and other STEM subjects to students in grades 6-12. 

This biology secondary education major also qualifies GCU students to take exams for initial teacher licensure. As a graduate of this BS in biology secondary education degree program, you meet the requirements for the secondary education certificate in biology. You also qualify for a middle school endorsement, which allows you to teach grades 6-12. In addition, to become a licensed biology teacher, GCU BS in Biology for Secondary Education degree students need to pass both a content knowledge and professional knowledge exam.

While some bachelor’s in biology for secondary education degree graduates may go on to teach or work in nontraditional industries, such as in museums and national parks, many use their biology teaching degrees to pursue a career as a postsecondary education teacher or a secondary school teacher (except special and technical education).

If your dreams include helping to develop STEM proficiency and content knowledge in the future generations of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians, then you might consider the BS in Biology for Secondary Education degree at GCU.

Bachelor of Science in Biology for Secondary Education Degree FAQs

Deciding on a bachelor’s degree is a big decision. Review our list of the most frequently asked questions about this BS in biology secondary education to help you make your decision.

This biology secondary education degree requires a total of 126 credits for completion. Most of the classes are 15 weeks in length. Fill out the form on this page to speak to a university counselor to better understand how long it takes to graduate with a secondary education major in biology. 

Future biology teachers need to complete 85 hours of practicum field experiences prior to student teaching, and these experiences are built into the coursework. The final semester of the program requires a full-time, 16-week student teaching component. 

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide salary information specific to biology teachers, high school teachers typically specialize in a core subject, such as science, math or history.4 According to the BLS, high school teachers have a median annual wage of $61,820 in May 2021.1

Some students may find the coursework in biology to be challenging due to its complexity and the amount of memorization required. Additionally, the education courses that are part of the program, such as classroom management and teaching strategies, may also require significant effort and preparation time. If biology coursework and education excite you, this combination of theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience can help you achieve your goal of becoming a biology teacher.

Embark on your journey to become a biology teacher with a Bachelor of Science in Biology for Secondary Education from GCU. Unlock your potential as a biology educator to start shaping minds and making a difference. Enroll in our BS in biology secondary education program today! 

 

1 The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), High School Teachers as of May 2021, retrieved on May 3, 2023. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may also impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the BLS. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers from across the country with varying levels of education and experience and does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as high school teachers. It does not reflect earnings of workers in one city or region of the country. It also does not reflect a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. You may also wish to compare median salaries if you are considering more than one career path. Grand Canyon University can make no guarantees on individual graduates’ salaries as the employer the graduate chooses to apply to, and accept employment from, determines salary not only based on education, but also individual characteristics and skills and fit to that organization (among other categories) against a pool of candidates. 

2 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well. Accordingly, data shown is effective September 2022, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, secondary education teaching occupations, retrieved on May 3, 2023. 

3 National Science Foundation Where Discoveries Begin. (Spring 2020). STEM Education for the Future: A Visioning Report. Retrieved on May 3, 2023. 

4 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023, Jan. 10). How to Become a High School Teacher. Retrieved on May 3, 2023. 

TOTAL CREDITS & COURSE LENGTH:
Total Credits: 126
Campus: 15 weeks
[More Info]
TRANSFER CREDITS:
Up to 90 credits, only 84 can be lower division
TUITION RATE:
Campus: $8,250 per semester [More Info]

Course List

General Education Requirements:
34-40 credits
Major:
86 credits
Open Elective Credits:
0-6 credits
Degree Requirements:
126 credits

General Education Requirements

General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University's General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.

Requirements

Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.

Course Options

  • UNV-112, Success in Science, Engineering and Technology & Lab: 4
  • UNV-103, University Success: 4
  • UNV-303, University Success: 4
  • UNV-108, University Success in the College of Education: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.

Course Options

  • UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
  • ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
  • ENG-106, English Composition II: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.

Course Options

  • CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
  • CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments (mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, physical geography, ecology, economics, theology, logic, philosophy, technology, statistics, accounting, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of intermediate algebra or higher.

Course Options

  • MAT-154, Applications of College Algebra: 4
  • MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4
  • PHI-105, 21st Century Skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: 4
  • BIO-220, Environmental Science: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, cross-cultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.

Course Options

  • HIS-144, U.S. History Themes: 4
  • PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
  • SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4

Required General Education Courses

Course Description

This course presents the fundamentals of algebra and trigonometry with some applications; it provides the background and introduction for the study of calculus. Topics include review of linear equations and inequalities in one and multiple variables; functions and their graphs; polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions; systems of equations and matrices; and sequences and series. Slope and rate of change are introduced to set up the concepts of limits and derivatives. There is an emphasis on both an understanding of the mathematical concepts involved as well as their applications to the principles and real-world problems encountered in science and engineering. Technology is utilized to facilitate problem analysis and graphing. Prerequisite: MAT-134 or MAT-154.

Course Description

This course is designed to assist teacher candidates in understanding theories and principles of psychology that describe the growth and development of early adolescents and adolescents, including cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and physical areas. This course enables teacher candidates to build foundational knowledge for constructing learning opportunities and environments that support individual students’ development, acquisition of knowledge and skills, and motivation. Practicum/field experience hours: 5. Fingerprint clearance not required.

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the study of basic probability, descriptive and inferential statistics, and decision making. Emphasis is placed on measures of central tendency and dispersion, correlation, regression, discrete and continuous probability distributions, quality control population parameter estimation, and hypothesis testing. Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in MAT-134, MAT-144 or MAT-154.

Course Description

This course provides a chronological overview of the most impactful discoveries in the history of the various Natural Science disciplines. Contemporary scientific practice is analyzed in light of this historic framework.

Course Description

This course provides students with a thorough understanding of the revolutionary theories and paradigm shifts in the Natural Sciences. Historical, societal and philosophical contexts of these revolutionary ideas are analyzed in depth.

Core Courses

Course Description

This course is a study of biological concepts emphasizing the interplay of structure and function, particularly at the molecular and cellular levels of organization. Cell components and their duties are investigated, as well as the locations of cellular functions within the cell. The importance of the membrane is studied, particularly its roles in controlling movement of ions and molecules and in energy production. The effect of genetic information on the cell is followed through the pathway from DNA to RNA to protein. Co-requisite: BIO-181L.

Course Description

This lab course is designed to reinforce principles learned in BIO-181 through experiments and activities which complement and enhance understanding of macromolecules, cell membrane properties, cellular components, and their contribution to cell structure and function. Assignments are designed to relate cellular processes such as metabolism, cell division, and the flow of genetic information to cell structure. Co-requisite: BIO-181.

Course Description

This is the first course of a two-semester introduction to chemistry intended for undergraduates pursuing careers in the health professions and others desiring a firm foundation in chemistry. The course assumes no prior knowledge of chemistry and begins with basic concepts. Topics include an introduction to the scientific method, dimensional analysis, atomic structure, nomenclature, stoichiometry and chemical reactions, the gas laws, thermodynamics, chemical bonding, and properties of solutions. Co-Requisite: CHM-113L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of CHM-113 reinforces and expands learning of principles introduced in the lecture course. Experiments include determination of density, classification of chemical reactions, the gas laws, determination of enthalpy change using calorimetry, and determination of empirical formula. Co-Requisite: CHM-113.

Course Description

In this writing intensive course, teacher candidates study how to teach a diverse population of students by examining the foundations and dimensions of social justice in education, social constructs, privilege, prejudice, and oppression with the goal of becoming culturally competent educators.

Course Description

Teacher candidates are introduced to the educational needs of students with mild to moderate disabilities and their families, including the definitions, characteristics, prevalence, causes and educational approaches to these disabilities and disorders. Teacher candidates will identify cognitive, linguistic, social and emotional patterns of learning and development for students with mild to moderate disabilities. Teacher candidates also survey the special education process involving the application of various laws and regulations. Practicum/field experience hours: 5. Fingerprint clearance not required.

Course Description

This is the second course of a two-semester introduction to chemistry intended for undergraduates pursuing careers in the health professions and others desiring a firm foundation in chemistry. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate knowledge and/or skill in solving problems involving the principles of chemical kinetics, chemical equilibrium, and thermodynamics; understanding chemical reactions using kinetics, equilibrium, and thermodynamics; comparing and contrasting the principal theories of acids and bases; solving equilibrium involving acids, bases, and buffers; describing solubility equilibrium; describing terms associated with electrochemistry and solving problems associated with electrochemistry; and describing the fundamentals of nuclear chemistry. Prerequisites: CHM-113 and MAT-154 or higher. Co-Requisite: CHM-115L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of CHM-115 reinforces and expands learning of principles introduced in the lecture course. Experiments include determination of rate law, examples of Le Châtelier’s principle, the use of pH indicators, buffer preparation, experimental determination of thermodynamic quantities, the use of electrochemical cells, and qualitative and quantitative analysis. Prerequisites: CHM-113L and MAT-154 or higher. Co-Requisite: CHM-115.

Course Description

This course is a study of biological concepts emphasizing the interplay of structure and function at the molecular, cellular, and organismal levels of organization. Relationships of different life forms are studied, noting characteristics and general lifecycles of the different types of organisms, including bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes. Plant structure, function, and reproduction are studied, as well as photosynthesis and plant nutrition. Ecological principles are discussed, including organism interactions at the various ecological levels. Principles of conservation are introduced. Prerequisite: BIO-181. Co-Requisite: BIO-182L.

Course Description

This lab is designed to reinforce principles learned in BIO-182. Organisms are examined to recognize similarities and differences among different types. Plant structure and processes, including photosynthesis and water transport, are investigated through observation and activities. Concepts of ecology are explored through study of species interactions projects and other activities. Co-requisite: BIO-182.

Course Description

This course is a survey of Arizona history and government, as well as American government. It meets the teacher certification requirement for Arizona government and American government.

Course Description

This course prepares teacher candidates to create and manage positive, productive middle- and secondary-grade classroom environments with diverse students. Candidates develop a comprehensive understanding of the learning and behavior principles that underlie effective classroom management and student engagement in order to design and promote an effective classroom management program. Practicum/field experience hours: 10. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: SEC-201.

Course Description

This course examines human anatomy and physiology with an emphasis on function and homeostasis of the following areas: tissues, integument, skeletal system, muscular system, and the nervous system. Case studies are utilized to reinforce physiological processes. Prerequisites: BIO-181 and BIO-181L. Co-Requisite: BIO-210L.

Course Description

This course involves study of the gross anatomy and function of the skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems. This experiential lab involves an advanced exploration of concepts utilizing human cadavers and other supplemental materials. Co-Requisite: BIO-210.

Course Description

This course is a survey of basic structure and reactivity of carbon-containing structures with examples in biological and industrial processes. Students will learn how to name organic compounds, draw and understand their structures in two and three dimensions, and learn how structure and reactivity are interrelated. Students will be able to describe reactivity in terms of addition, elimination, and substitution. Biological compounds discussed in the course include the structure and reactivity of carbohydrates and polysaccharides followed by amino acids and proteins. The final topic for the course is a discussion about industrially important polymers. Prerequisites: CHM-115 and CHM-115L. Co-Requisite: CHM-235L.

Course Description

This is the lab section of CHM-235. It supports the lecture with hands-on activities. Lab experiments expand students’ understanding of organic compounds, drawing and understanding their structures in two and three dimensions, and learning how structure and reactivity are interrelated. Students will be able to describe reactivity in terms of addition, elimination, and substitution. Biological compounds discussed in the course include the structure and reactivity of carbohydrates and polysaccharides followed by amino acids and proteins. The final topic for the course is a discussion about industrially important polymers. Prerequisites: CHM-115 and CHM-115L. Co-Requisite: CHM-235.

Course Description

In this course, teacher candidates differentiate instruction based on knowledge of students, learning theory, and curricular goals. Major emphasis is given to planning instructional objectives and lessons, sequencing, and assessing objectives, utilizing formal and informal assessment strategies that address individual students' needs. Practicum/field experience hours: 5. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: SEC-201.

Course Description

In this course, teacher candidates examine the fundamentals of the legal, historical, and educational foundations of Structured English Immersion (SEI) and other instructional programs for English language learners. Theoretical principles of language acquisition and the role of culture in learning are examined. Methods of assessment are identified and analyzed. Teacher candidates identify strategies to promote English language development and improve student achievement. Through Universal Design for Learning they plan, deliver, and evaluate standards based instruction for English language learners. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint clearance required.

Course Description

This course surveys accepted safety principles in classroom laboratories and their impact on the learning environment. Students design a capstone lab learning unit in a science discipline that incorporates proper lab safety protocols. Prerequisites: CHM-115 and CHM-115L.

Course Description

This course examines human anatomy and physiology with an emphasis on function and homeostasis of the following systems: endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, urinary and reproductive. Case studies are utilized to reinforce physiological processes. Prerequisites: BIO-210 and BIO-210L. Co-Requisite: BIO-211L.

Course Description

This course involves study of the gross anatomy and functions of the endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, renal, and reproductive systems. This experiential lab involves an advanced exploration of concepts utilizing human cadavers and other supplemental materials. Prerequisite: BIO-210L. Co-Requisite: BIO-211.

Course Description

This course is a comprehensive study of the composition, structure, energetics, regulation, and growth of eukaryotic cells. Other topics include the essential processes of cells including the correlation of structure and function at the organelle and cellular levels. As well as, principles of molecular biology including recombinant DNA technology and other approaches and method used to investigate cell structure, development, chromosome organization, gene expression, and gene regulation. Prerequisites: BIO-181 and BIO-181L.

Course Description

Teacher candidates explore instructional strategies for delivering differentiated instruction to promote reading and writing proficiency. Language and literacy development is examined to inform assessment, intervention, and remediation practices to support middle to high school readers of diverse ability levels, including students with dyslexia and other reading disabilities. Using this foundational knowledge, teacher candidates will select, adapt, and use research-based instructional strategies and interventions with attention focused on literacy in academic curricula to advance learning for adolescent students. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint clearance required.

Course Description

In this course, teacher candidates study methods and materials related to teaching middle- and secondary-grade students. Emphasis is placed on using data to evaluate and modify instruction. Teaching methodologies encourage problem solving, active participation, meeting diverse students’ needs, and professional collaboration. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint Clearance required. Prerequisite: SEC-355.

Course Description

This course is a study of basic concepts of physics, including motion; forces; energy; the properties of solids, liquids, and gases; and heat and thermodynamics. The mathematics used includes algebra, trigonometry, and vector analysis. A primary course goal is to build a functional knowledge that allows students to more fully understand the physical world and to apply that understanding to other areas of the natural and mathematical sciences. Conceptual, visual, graphical, and mathematical models of physical phenomena are stressed. Students build critical thinking skills by engaging in individual and group problem-solving sessions. Prerequisite: MAT-154, MAT-250, MAT-261 or College Algebra. Co-Requisite: PHY-111L.

Course Description

This course utilizes lab experimentation to practice concepts of physical principles introduced in the PHY-111 lecture course. Learners are able to perform the proper analysis and calculations to arrive at the correct quantifiable result when confronted with equations involving gravity, sound, energy, and motion. Prerequisite: MAT-154, MAT-250, MAT-261 or College Algebra. Co-Requisite: PHY-111.

Course Description

A study of plants and animals as individuals and in communities in relation to their physical and biological environment. Prerequisites: BIO-182 and BIO-182L. Co-Requisite: BIO-320L.

Course Description

A laboratory course designed to complement and support the principles being learned in Biology (BIO-320). Prerequisites: BIO-182 and BIO-182L. Co-Requisite: BIO-320.

Course Description

This writing intensive course provides a comprehensive examination of the principles of heredity and variation, including Mendelian, molecular, and population genetics. Students explore topics such as gene mapping, DNA structure and replication, population genetics, and molecular change. Prerequisites: BIO-181 and BIO-181L.

Course Description

This course is designed to acquaint the secondary teacher with the curriculum and effective pedagogical techniques for the teaching of science. Learners demonstrate understanding of key science concepts and apply research-based strategies and approaches to unit design and lesson planning, utilizing instructional models discussed in the course. This course includes laboratory experiences through field experiences. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: SEC-450.

Course Description

Teacher candidates are engaged in the student teaching experience that includes practical classroom experiences, research, analysis, and teaching to support the creation of a Student Teaching Evaluation of Performance (STEP). Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisites: Successful completion of all courses in POS and content area; a 2.8 GPA; successful completion of NES or your state’s mandated content area exams; and approval and placement by the College of Education Office of Clinical Practice. All paperwork for student teaching must be submitted by the due date the semester prior to student teaching.

Locations

GCU Campus Student


Join Grand Canyon University’s vibrant and growing campus community, with daytime classes designed for traditional students. Immerse yourself in a full undergraduate experience, complete with curriculum designed within the context of our Christian worldview.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.

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