Become a Biology Teacher in Secondary Education
The need for teachers in the STEM subjects like biology is greater than ever. Grand Canyon University's Bachelor of Science in Biology for Secondary Education degree program is designed to provide future middle school and high school teachers with the content knowledge they need to be successful biology teachers. This program is offered by the College of Science, 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 7-12. In addition to the biology teaching degree, graduates can earn initial teacher licensure.
As a student in the Grand Canyon University'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 prior to entering the classroom. This biology teaching program prepares you to use the skills of a biology educator, such as research, critical thinking and effective communication, in your future educational settings.
Why Earn a Bachelor’s in Teaching Biology (Secondary Ed) from GCU
Future biology teachers studying at Grand Canyon University gain the firm foundation needed to shape tomorrow's future.
The (BS) in biology for secondary education degree program at GCU sets biology teachers apart by:
- Including regionally-accredited and Arizona-approved programming that maximizes content knowledge
- Aligning all courses with Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) principles
- Offering coursework that is aligned to the standards of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
- Providing opportunities to apply concepts, theories and research throughout the program
- Requiring extensive field experience prior to and during student teaching
In addition to the rigorous pedagogical training future biology teachers gain in Grand Canyon University's Bachelor of Science in Biology for Secondary Education degree program, STEM content knowledge is stressed. Topics of study in this biology teaching degree program include:
- SEI English language teaching
- Human anatomy and physiology
- Special education
- Arizona and federal government
- Social justice for educators
- Organic chemistry
- Molecular and cellular biology
- Methods for teaching science in secondary education
- Laboratory safety and supervision
How Long Does It Take to Become a Biology Teacher?
Students can complete the biology teaching degree program in four years. Future biology teachers do 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. 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.
What Can I Do 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 7-12. This BS program also qualifies GCU students to take exams for initial teacher licensure. As a graduate of this biology teacher bachelor’s 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 5-12.
Some graduates also go on to teach or work in nontraditional roles with their biology teaching degrees. These careers may include:
- Adult education
- Curriculum coordinator/specialist
- Guides/trainers (museums/institutes)
- Park rangers
- Science writers
If your dreams include helping to develop STEM proficiency and content knowledge in the future generations of scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians, then the BS in Biology for Secondary Education Degree at GCU is a perfect fit.
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.
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.
- 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
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.
- UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
- ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
- ENG-106, English Composition II: 4
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.
- CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
- CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4
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.
- 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
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, crosscultural 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.
- HIS-144, U.S. History Themes: 4
- PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
- SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4
Required General Education Courses
This course is a unified study of fundamental algebra and trigonometry concepts that provide the necessary background for the study of calculus. Topics include linear equations and inequalities in one and two variables; scatter diagrams and curve fitting; polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions, their graphs, and their inverse functions; and systems of equations and inequalities. There is an emphasis on developing both a fundamental understanding of the concepts involved as well as their application to real-world problem solving. Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in MAT-134 or MAT-154.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Program Core Courses
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.
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.
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.
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.
This course presents the historical, legal, theoretical, and sociological foundations of programs of instruction for English language learners. It includes an examination of the role of culture in learning and instructional program models, with a focus on Structured English Immersion. Teacher candidates are instructed in immersion strategies and the use of assessment data. Practicum/field experience hours: 10. Fingerprint clearance required.
This course is the first of a two-course sequence examining the structure and function of the human body and mechanisms for maintaining homeostasis within it. This portion includes the study of cells; tissues; genetics; and the integumentary, skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems. Co-requisite: BIO-201L.
This course is a systematic study of human gross anatomy and function. Topics include the integumentary, skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems. Co-Requisite: BIO-201.
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.
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.
In this course, teacher candidates evaluate and utilize methods and materials for reading and writing in order to teach literacy skills in the middle and secondary grades. Emphasis is placed on making meaning from a variety of text sources including young adult literature, technical, informational, environmental, and media. Candidates design content-based reading and writing experiences using diverse works for adolescents, focused text selection, and electronic database media resources for middle- and secondary-grade classrooms. A focus on language and cultural diversity is included. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint Clearance required.
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 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 fundamentals and applications of nuclear chemistry and organic chemistry. Prerequisites: CHM-113 and MAT-154 or higher. Co-Requisite: CHM-115L.
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.
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. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance not required.
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.
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: MAT-250 or MAT-261, CHM-115, and CHM-115L. Co-Requisite: CHM-235L.
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: MAT-250 or MAT-261, CHM-115, and CHM-115L. Co-Requisite: CHM-235.
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.
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.
This course is the second of a two-course sequence examining the structure and function of the human body and mechanisms for maintaining homeostasis within it. This portion includes the study of immunity; metabolism; energetics; fluid, electrolyte and acid-base balance; and the endocrine, hematologic, cardiovascular, lymphatic, respiratory, digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems. Prerequisites: BIO-201 and BIO-201L. Co-requisite: BIO-202L.
This course is a systematic study of human gross anatomy and function. Topics include the endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, renal, and reproductive systems. Prerequisites: BIO-201 and BIO-201L. Co-Requisite: BIO-202.
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.
A study of plants and animals as individuals and in communities in relation to their physical and biological environment. Prerequisite: BIO-181. Co-Requisite: BIO-320L.
A laboratory course designed to complement and support the principles being learned in Biology (BIO-320). Co-requisite: BIO-320.
In this course, teacher candidates continue to examine the fundamentals of the legal, historical, and educational foundations of Structured English Immersion 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. They plan, deliver, and evaluate instruction for English language learners. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint clearance required.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. New modern classrooms, suite-style residence halls, popular dining options, resort-style swimming pools and a focus on creating a dynamic student life make GCU a top choice for high school graduates and transfer students. Exciting events, well-known guest speakers and Division I athletics round out the traditional student experience. Our welcoming campus community is the perfect place to find your purpose.
* Please note that this list may contain programs that are not presently offered as program availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability of the program.