Master of Science in Biology with
Emphasis in Science Education
To enroll in this biology master’s program, a student must have a mentorship agreement with a biology professor and must be approved by the head of the Biology Department and the dean of the College of Graduate Studies. This program is designed for students seeking careers as two- or four-year college or university educators.
Students will broaden their basic knowledge of the biological sciences, gain experience in investigative research methodology (particularly as it relates to the study of how science is taught) and develop an understanding of science pedagogy, curriculum development and assessment as it relates to learning in institutions of higher education.
The thesis option is offered for those preparing to teach and conduct research at the two- or four-year college level or for those preparing for further graduate work in science education at the doctoral level. For thesis admission, a student must select a research topic and be approved by the biology graduate faculty member who represents that discipline.
The non-thesis option is offered for those who want to improve their positions and skills as secondary school or junior college teachers.
Note: This program does NOT lead to teacher certification. However, secondary biology teachers seeking to expand their background knowledge in the biological sciences and/or enhance their science education research skills are eligible to apply. Leveling work is determined case-by-case.
Thesis students must complete a minimum of 36 semester credit hours of graduate work, including four credit hours of core pedagogical courses (BIO 6304 and BIO 6171), three to six credit hours of graduate education courses (choose from ED 6331, 6310, 6322, 6351 or 6391) and 20-23 credit hours in biology graduate courses.
Six additional semester credit hours in biology are awarded upon successful completion of a thesis in science education. Admission into the biology graduate program as a thesis student requires acceptance into a research program of one of the biology graduate faculty. Those interested in admission as a thesis student should first contact a biology graduate faculty member conducting research in an area of interest to the student.
A non-thesis student (a student who either has chosen the non-thesis option or has not yet been accepted into a graduate faculty member’s research program) is required to complete a minimum of 36 semester credit hours, including four credit hours of core pedagogical courses (BIO 6304 and BIO 6171), three to six credit hours of graduate education courses (choose from ED 6331, 6310, 6322, 6351 or 6391) and 23 credit hours in biology graduate courses.
A non-thesis student is also required to take three hours of literature-based research to fulfill degree requirements. This research is based on a thorough review of science education literature on a topic acceptable to both the student and the supervising graduate faculty member. The grade will be based on a 20-30 page typed summary paper. Results of the research report must be presented orally to the Biology Department faculty during the last semester prior to graduation.
If non-thesis students are interested in conducting additional research, they may seek approval from a member of the biology graduate faculty and the head of the Biology Department. These students can then conduct additional laboratory or field-based study after the three-hour research requirement has been successfully completed.