Jul 18, 2024  
Fitchburg State University 2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
Fitchburg State University 2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog

Biology, Secondary Education, with Initial Teacher Licensure, B.S.

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Michael Nosek
Associate Professors
Assistant Professors
Christopher Cratsley (Biology) Dennis Awasabisah (Chemistry) Elizabeth Kilpatrick (Biology)
John Ludlam (Biology) Emma Downs (Chemistry)  
Michael Nosek (Biology) Steven Fiedler (Chemistry)  
Christopher Picone (Biology) Lisa Grimm (Biology)  
Erin Rehrig (Biology) Ronald Krieser (Biology)  
Daniel Welsh (Biology) Mathangi Krishnamurthy (Chemistry)  
  Aisling O’Connor (Chemistry)  
  Sean Rollins (Biology)  
  Billy Samulak (Chemistry)  
  Eric Williams (Biology)  

Objectives for the Program in Biology

Fitchburg State University offers a biology program that emphasizes basic scientific principles while challenging students.  The Department of Biology and Chemistry has a rich history of producing successful graduates in secondary education, biotechnology, environmental biology and health sciences.  Our faculty foster a supportive teaching and learning environment, offer individual attention to students, and provide numerous undergraduate and graduate research opportunities.  The Biology and Chemistry Club sponsors social events to encourage interaction between students and faculty.  The department also offers courses in laboratory science for other majors.

Requirements for the Major in Biology

All Biology majors are required to take four core courses and six advanced BIOL electives (>2000) including a Capstone course, for a total of 36 credits.

The core biology courses include student laboratory work so that students develop the skills of scientific inquiry. Students develop scientific literacy through reading, writing, testing hypotheses, and quantitative analysis. Core courses also integrate computer literacy through lab activities.

Core courses required in the Biology major

Additional Requirements

Biology majors also take six advanced electives at or above BIOL 2000. Independent study, directed study, internship or teaching practicum may each count as one advanced BIOL elective in a student’s program of study. Courses with a separate lecture and lab registration count as a single elective: the lab portion of a course does not constitute a distinct biology elective.

One of the six electives must be a designated Capstone course. Students in the Capstone course conduct a research project to demonstrate their skills in research design and analysis.

Biology majors must earn a minimum grade of 2.0 in General Biology I and General Chemistry I.  If a grade below 2.0 is earned in either course, that course must be repeated before enrolling in any subsequent BIOL or CHEM classes. Biology majors are also limited to two attempts for each of General Biology I and General Chemistry I.  If Biology majors earn <2.0 or a W in a second attempt, they must find another major that more closely matches their skills and interests.

Capstone course options

Capstone courses must be taken at Fitchburg State: courses that transfer as the equivalent course will not fulfill this requirement. Independent studies (BIOL 4903 ) require approval by the departmental curriculum committee in order to fulfill the capstone requirement.

Required courses in related sciences

In addition to BIOL courses, Bachelor of Science (BS) students are required to take courses in related sciences and two courses in mathematics at or above MATH 1300 .


These requirements are slightly modified for the Bachelor of Science in Biology/Environmental Science.

BS in Biology with Initial Teacher Licensure

Students within our biology major can pursue initial licensure as high school biology teachers. This program provides students with both a broad introduction to high school teaching and specific instruction in the theory, research and practice of secondary science teaching. Students engage in field-based experiences in the school setting supervised by our faculty through on-site pre-practicum experiences coupled with each teaching course and a formal teaching practicum as the capstone experience. This program is nationally accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and boasts graduates working in high schools throughout the region.

Students interested in pursuing Initial Teacher Licensure must apply for formal admission to the program. For information about undergraduate requirements in teacher preparation, see the section titled: Teacher Preparation Programs (Undergraduate)

The Bachelor of Science in Biology with Initial Teacher Licensure includes all of the requirements for the biology major. MATH 1700 -Applied Statistics must be taken as one of the two math courses at or above the level of MATH 1300 . Teacher candidates are required to take four core courses and six advanced BIOL electives (>2000) including a Capstone course, for a total of 35 credits.

Students must complete the minor in Middle School/Secondary Education which includes 18 credits. When completing this minor, students must complete the following specific courses:

BIOL 1860  Introduction to Education (5-12)
EDUC 2012  Teaching the Adolescent Learner
EDUC 2011  Diversity in Education
SPED 3800  Inclusive Instruction
BIOL 3015   Methods in Teaching Science (5-12) I
BIOL 4850   Methods in Teaching Science (5-12) II

Additionally, to be eligible for initial licensure and to complete this concentration, students must complete:

BIOL 4012  Practicum Seminar (5-12)
BIOL 4860  Practicum I Biology (8-12)
BIOL 4870  Practicum II Biology (5-8)
EDUC 3122   Sheltered English Immersion

As part of the completion of this program, students must go through two review processes (Stage I and Stage II) and meet the requirements before continuing on in the concentration. If the student is unable to meet the requirements of either review, then they will be removed from the concentration. They may stay in the biologymajor and continue to complete the Middle School and Secondary Education minor, but they will not be eligible to complete the Biology (8-12) InitialLicensure concentration.

Required courses

In addition, biology teacher candidates must also take the following courses, two of which count towards the 6 biology electives:


*Students must have an overall GPA of 2.5 to take any of these courses.

**Students must have an overall GPA of 2.75, 3.0 in the major courses and passing score on the MTEL Communication and Literacy and Subject Area Exam.

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