Secondary Education Certification

Secondary Education Certification Master of Arts Teaching (M.A.T.) - Biology

About Biology 7–12 Teaching Certification

From anatomy to zoology, spark scientific imagination.

Embark on a rewarding teaching career. This comprehensive graduate program at California University of Pennsylvania results in Level I teaching certification and a master's degree in biology education. Designed for professional biologists, but open to bachelor's degree holders in any field, it combines core courses in pedagogy with teaching instruction specific to life science.  

You'll graduate ready to teach biology to grades 7-12 in Pennsylvania and beyond.

Cal U takes a time-honored approach to teacher education. 

  • Founded as a teacher's college, Cal U has a 160-year reputation of producing top-quality educators.
  • Cal U's teaching programs are approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. In addition, Cal U education programs have been accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) since 1954, and we are continuing with the successor organization, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
  • Secondary education students gain extensive real-word teaching experience in Pennsylvania


Flexible Schedule: A combination of online courses, on-site field experiences and a two-day, on-campus summer residency gives biology education graduate students the flexibility to continue working while earning their degree.

Top Accreditation: This graduate degree program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Cal U's education programs have also been accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) since 1954, and we are continuing with the successor organization, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). See CAEP reporting measures of program impact and outcomes.


semesters are needed to complete Pennsylvania level I secondary education certification and obtain your master's degree ­- four semesters of classes and one semester of student teaching.
average annual salary for secondary education teachers in Pennsylvania. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Degree Benefits

Graduate degree courses in biology education will give you mastery of the latest practices and theories in teaching science while deepening your expertise of biology and related disciplines. You'll also gain extensive hands-on experience through fieldwork and student teaching.

  • Study science and biology curriculum development techniques and how to use the Standards Aligned System (SAS).
  • Learn top strategies in classroom management.
  • Master classroom technology for teaching biology.
  • Deepen your knowledge of genetics, chemistry, anatomy, ecology and other scientific disciplines.
  • Gain real-world classroom experience.
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Graduate Outcomes

Graduates of this master's degree program are prepared to teach biology or life science in middle and high schools. They also thrive in many other biology-related careers. Cal U biology education alumni teach in dozens of schools across the country and hold positions as science program coordinators, evaluators and curriculum specialists.


Curriculum, Admission Requirements and Related Programs

Rigorous biology education courses will deepen your scientific knowledge base while equipping you with the latest theories and practices in biology and life science education. This professional graduate degree program is delivered online, on-site at assigned field experiences and on campus during a two-day residency. All students are required to have current school clearances to participate in field experience and sign up for courses.



Course Credits
MAT 199  Pre-Calculus (or higher) 3
Required Content Courses (a grade of C or better is required for certification)
BIO 120  General Zoology  4
BIO 125  General Botany 4
BIO 215  Cellular and Molecular Biology 4
BIO 305  Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy OR BIO 306 Human Anatomy 4
BIO 248  General Ecology 4
BIO 318  Genetics 4
BIO 328  Human Physiology  OR  BIO 486  Comparative Animal Physiology 4
CHE 101  General Chemistry I 4
CHE 102  General Chemistry II 4
PHY 121  General Physics I 4
Cal U Required Courses
EDU 650  Supporting the English Language Learner 3
ESP 610  Sp. Ed. Foundations & Collaboration 3
ESP 613  Evidence-Based Practices for Sec Inclusion 3
ESP 701  Introduction to Behavior Analysis 3
MSE 641  Orientation to 7-12 Ed. 3
MSE 642  Standards-Based Instruction in 7-12 Ed 3
MSE 643  Content Area Literacy in 7-12 Ed. 3
MSE 644  Instructional Strategies in 7-12 Ed. 3
MSE 645  Technology in 7-12 Education* 3
MSE 646  Assessments and Interventions* 3
MSE 647  Classroom Management in 7-12 Ed. 3
MSE 653  Methods of Science Teaching 7-12* 3
MSE 661  Student Teaching & School Law** 9
Total Graduate Credits 45

* Two-day on-campus July residency will be integrated into the summer MSE courses.

** Must earn a recommendation for student teaching.


Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements (Regular)  

  • Bachelor's degree with a GPA of 2.80 or higher (Students with a GPA below 2.80 may apply for conditional admission)
  • Official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution
  • International Graduate Applicants

Conditional Admission Requirements

  • Conditional Admission may be granted with the following modifications of the Regular Admissions Requirements:
    • Bachelor's degree with a GPA under 2.80 will be reviewed for a decision

Provisional Admission:
Applicants who have provided unofficial documentation of test scores, prerequisite courses, transcripts or lack of letter(s) of recommendation may be admitted provisionally.

This policy also applies to undergraduate students who apply for graduate admission pending bachelor degree completion. Upon receipt of all official documents, a student will be changed from Provisional Admission to either Regular Admission or Conditional Admission. Provisional Admission students may take classes for one term but will not be eligible for Federal Financial Aid.

Program Requirements

    • Depending on the area of certification chosen, the department will provide guidance if any foundation undergraduate courses need to be completed before applying for student teaching
  • Clearances:  Students are responsible for updating clearances annually through the Office of Field Experience.  In addition, clearances must be on file before applying for student teaching  - Acts 24, 34, 114, and 151

How to Apply:

School of Graduate Studies and Research
California University of Pennsylvania
Box 91
250 University Ave. 
California, PA 15419 

For additional information:
Phone: 724-938-4187

Out of State Students:
All students who will be seeking certification outside of Pennsylvania are responsible for securing and following the certification requirements in the state in which they intend to apply for certification.

Related Programs


High school professors work outside.

Experienced Professors

Learn best practices for teaching science from professors with real-world experience, such as Dr. Joseph Zisk who has taught high school biology and was a district-wide K-12 science and technology superior.

A science teacher in front of a biology lab.

Land a Job Before Graduation

If offered a teaching job while enrolled in the secondary education master's degree program, biology education students can apply for the Teacher Intern Certification program. This allows you to work full time as a teacher before certification, and use your job to fulfill field placement requirements.

A Cal U student rides his bike on campus.

Course Spotlight: Methods of Science Education

Biology can be a daunting subject for middle and high school students. In this course you'll learn proven methods for teaching scientific concepts that will help your students understand and absorb key principles while igniting their wonder for the natural world.


Biology Certification Faculty

Dr. Keith Hepner

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Dr. Marcia Hoover
Professor; field coordinator, Department of Secondary Education and Administrative Leadership

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Dr. Connie Monroe
Professor and chair, Department of Secondary Education and Administrative Leadership

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Dr. Susan Morris-Rutledge
Associate Professor and ESL Program Coordinator

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Dr. Michael Perrotti
Coordinator of Graduate Secondary Ed Programs and Associate Professor

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Dr. Joseph Zisk
Professor; director, Teaching and Learning Center

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Please Note: All students who will be seeking licensure/certification outside of Pennsylvania should consult the State Authorization web page for more information.