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Biology & Adolescence Education | Grades 7-12

Combined Bachelor of Science and Master of Science
  • 141 Credits
  • School of Education
  • School of Health and Natural Sciences
  • Westchester
Science teacher


Inspire students to develop a love of science and technology. Our program is recognized by the National Science Teachers Association.

Our nationally recognized Biology Education program provides future biology teachers with a comprehensive course of study in preparation to teach in grades 7-12.

Here you will study the basics of teaching in four core courses and then specialize in secondary biology education.

The program includes an emphasis on pedagogy, plus specialized coursework in oceanography, forensics and other exciting content. 

Mercy’s dedicated professors are here to support you on your journey to “the other side of the desk.” If you want to inspire young people with your enthusiasm for science, invest in yourself and become one of the many outstanding graduates of the Biology Education Program who have already gone on to light a spark in future generations.

Biology Students

Fast Facts

  • Recognition by the National Science Teachers Association
  • Small class size, with individualized attention
  • Instructors who are experienced classroom teachers and who understand the practical side of the profession
  • A balance between theory and practice, so that you will be able to make informed teaching decisions based on a solid understanding of both the “how” and the “why”
  • A focus on student-centered assessment to assist in instructional planning and decision-making
  • Understanding the development of adolescent learners into critical and creative thinkers who are well prepared to take their place as productive members of society
  • Rich clinical experienced, supervised by master teacher


Average Pay
Secondary school teachers in
New York earn more than $85,000*

Dual Certification

We offer a dual certification
path with Teaching Students
with Disabilities with additional coursework

141 credits 

Educational Foundations
From Diverse Perspectives, Educational
Psychology & Adolescent Development

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School of Health and Natural Sciences

Mercy University School of Health & Natural Sciences

Our school has an amazing number of different clinical specialties in the health and wellness fields –— all experiencing explosive job growth! Whether you're interested in occupational therapy, speech communications, nursing –— it's all here at Mercy University.


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Program Outcomes


Demonstrate a solid content knowledge base that enables them to deliver effective educational and professional services based on current research, theory and practice


Employ multiple pedagogical and professional strategies and tools to enable them to be effective practitioners in educational settings and deliver services that promote students’ intellectual, social, and emotional development

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Understand the diverse cultural, linguistic, learning, and social strengths and needs of all populations, and incorporate and demonstrate sensitivity to the richness of diverse cultures when providing educational and other school services


Employ technology to deliver information, instruction, and professional services to all members of the school community


Reflect on professional practice to make educational decisions and enhance student learning


Demonstrate positive dispositions that enable them to work as effective educators, citizens, and practitioners within the school and broader community

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, in the following programs: Childhood Education, Grades 1-6; Early Childhood Education, Birth-Grade 2; Secondary Education, 7-12.

Successful completion of coursework and practicums, passing grades on state examinations.

The following exams are required for initial candidates: ALST, EAS, CST(s) in your certification area(s), and the edTPA during student teaching, which is the last semester. Other state requirements include fingerprinting and workshops (DASA, Child Abuse, Violence Prevention, Health and Safety). The following exams are required for advanced candidates: CST(s) in your certification area(s).

The School of Education offers a Master of Science in Education with a concentration in one of the following areas: Early Childhood Education, Birth-Grade 2; Childhood Education, Grades 1-6; Secondary Education, 7-12; Teaching Literacy, Birth-Grade 12; Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL); Educational Supervision; Educational Administration.

Program Details & Curriculum

General Liberal Arts and Sciences
General Education Requirements: 60 Credits

Biology and Secondary Education
Undergraduate Courses: 45 Credits

Secondary Education Graduate Courses
Completed for B.S. degree: 15 Credits

Master of Science in Secondary Education, Grades 7-12
Course work completed during B.S. degree: 15 Credits 
Course work completed during M.S. degree: 21 Credits

Total: 141 Credits

New York State requires completion of the following undergraduate prerequisites for students seeking the Secondary Education, Grades 7–12 in Biology Certification, which will fulfill part of the General Education requirements:

  • Communications
  • Humanities
  • Written Analysis and Expression
  • Historical and Social Sciences
  • Scientific Processes*
  • Mathematical Processes
  • Artistic Expression
  • Information Retrieval
  • Language other than English

A course in Adolescence Development is required. PSYN 263 is acceptable.
* Coursework in Environmental Science, Evolution, Nutrition or Plants and People is not acceptable for teacher certification requirements.

For specific major requirements please refer to the Biology section of this catalog listed within the School of Health and Natural Sciences.

The Secondary Graduate Courses that must be completed for the B.S. degree are the following:

  • EDUC 500 Edu Fnd Diverse Perspectives
  • EDUC 502 Fndtns Educ Sdnts w/Dsblts
  • EDUC 505 Tchng English as 2nd Lang
  • EDUC 507 Aprchs Lit: EChldhd-Adolescenc
  • EDUC 517 Educ Psych & Adlscnt Dvlpmnt

The above 15 credits are taken as an undergraduate student as undergraduate student as part of the B.S. degree program. The remaining 21 credits are taken as a graduate student after receiving the B.S. degree and after meeting the admission requirements for acceptance into the M.S. degree program. Please see Graduate Catalog for course descriptions of the above courses and for specific requirements for the M.S. degree.

The total credits for B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biology and Secondary Education, Grades 7–12, is 141 credits.

For a full curriculum listing visit our catalog

The programs of study in the School of Education are designed to provide professional preparation for candidates planning to teach and serve as educational leaders.

Mission Statement of the School of Education

The Mercy University educational unit is dedicated to preparing effective educators, including teachers and other school professionals, who are reflective practitioners, equipped with the knowledge base, technological skills, research tools, and professional strategies and insights to empower them to help diverse populations of students succeed in their learning and community environments. The values of competency, diversity, and ethical practice support the proficient development of candidates enabling them to become skilled professionals and lifelong learners. The unit is committed to creating innovative, flexible, and accessible programs of study for its candidates, and to developing partnerships and opportunities for collaboration and clinical experiences within Mercy University and with external communities.

Secondary Education Program Goals

The goals of the Secondary Education Program are predicated on the belief that teachers of students in grades 7–12 need to be grounded in a thorough understanding of one or more content fields, as well as methods of teaching that engage adolescent learners who are in their final years of K–12 education and who are preparing to enter the world of civic responsibility, higher education, and/or the job market. Thus, the program goals are:

  1. The candidate will understand, explain, analyze, and apply the major concepts, principles, theories, and underlying philosophies of secondary education programs that address the cognitive and psychological development of adolescent learners.
  2. The candidate will be able to create learning opportunities and approaches to assessment that reflect an understanding of adolescent learners in ways that value and respond to the diversity of the student population and use family and community resources to extend the curriculum, while addressing the learning standards of the candidate’s content field of study.

Goals of the School of Education

The unit goals establish the shared vision, mission, philosophy, and guiding principles agreed to by members of the faculty and other stakeholders in the learning community. The unit’s proficiencies, strategies, and assessments are designed to ensure that candidates acquire the academic, pedagogical, professional, and interpersonal skills required of teachers and other school professionals who prepare students to succeed in a rapidly changing global environment. The six goals reflect the integrated knowledge, skills, and dispositions that together ensure that candidates develop as effective educators and reflective practitioners. These goals are as follows:

Content Knowledge: Candidates demonstrate a solid content knowledge base that enables them to deliver effective educational and professional services based on current research, theory and practice.

Pedagogical and Professional Knowledge: Candidates employ multiple pedagogical and professional strategies and tools to enable them to be effective practitioners in educational settings and deliver services that promote students’ intellectual, social, and emotional development.

Diversity: Candidates understand the diverse cultural, linguistic, learning, and social strengths and needs of all populations, and incorporate and demonstrate sensitivity to the richness of diverse cultures when providing educational and other school-services.

Technology: Candidates employ technology to deliver information, instruction, and professional services to all members of the school community.

Reflection: Candidates reflect on professional practice to make educational decisions and enhance student learning.

Dispositions: Candidates demonstrate positive dispositions that enable them to work as effective educators, citizens, and practitioners within the school and broader community.

The six unit goals are supported by the professional literature including theories, research, wisdom of practice, and education policies.

All initial certification programs are nationally recognized by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)

Candidates who meet all prerequisites and admission requirements will be accepted and classified as matriculants.

Candidates without a sufficient undergraduate background in the liberal arts and sciences will be required to take recommended prerequisite courses in accordance with New York State certification requirements. Sufficient college-level background includes: English, mathematics, science, social studies, information retrieval, artistic expression, a language other than English, and a 30-credit concentration in a liberal arts and science academic subject. Candidates will be able to take the necessary prerequisite courses at Mercy University.

Undergraduate prerequisites for students seeking the initial certificate in Childhood, Early Childhood, Literacy, TESOL*, the Dual Certifications programs or the Tri-Certification program are:

  • Mathematical Processes - 6 credits
  • Scientific Processes - 6 credits
  • Historical and Social Sciences - 6 credits
  • Language other than English - 3 credits*
  • Information Retrieval - 3 credits
  • Communications/Humanities/Written Analysis and Expression - 3 credits
  • Artistic Expression - 3 credits

*TESOL majors require 12 credits of the same language.

A course in Child Development or Developmental Psychology is required.

Candidates should consult with the program chair or designee regarding acceptable
academic concentrations or majors.

Undergraduate prerequisites for candidates seeking the initial certification in Secondary
Education and the Dual Certification program are:

  • Communications - 3 credits
  • Humanities - 3 credits
  • Written Analysis and Expression - 6 credits
  • Historical and Social Sciences - 3 credits
  • Scientific Processes - 3 credits
  • Mathematical Processes - 3 credits
  • Artistic Expression - 3 credits
  • Information Retrieval - 3 credits
  • Language other than English - 3 credits

A 30-credit major or equivalent in a liberal arts and science academic subject taught in secondary schools:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Social Studies (at least 21 credits must be in the history and geography of the U.S. and the world)

Candidates must present at least 18 of the 30 required prerequisite credits in the specific secondary content area or 18 of the required 30 prerequisite credits in the liberal arts and sciences area for matriculation into a program of study. Transcripts are subject to review regarding the appropriateness of courses for specific programs of study.

Since the ability to communicate effectively in English with pupils in the classroom is considered paramount, all candidates seeking teacher certification are expected to demonstrate competencies in oral and written English.

Upon matriculation, the candidate is assigned an advisor from the Office of Student Services. Each candidate must consult with the advisor, program chair or his/her designee regarding required courses and electives for the program of study selected, and to develop a plan of study for degree completion.

Initial certification candidates must pass CST in their main certification area prior to their student teaching semester. Additionally, a candidate in a clinical practice course - EDUC 537, EDUC 709 and EDUC 713 - must submit an edTPA examination to Pearson as one of the course requirements. A candidate will not pass the clinical practice course without submitting proof of his or her edTPA submission in the form of a receipt from Pearson by the end of the semester's grading period. 

Mercy University provides support for candidates to prepare for these tests. Workshops are provided for the EAS and some CSTs. Also, candidates or graduates who need to retake the edTPA may opt to take a workshop for more support. Interested candidates should contact the School of Education or more information. 

Other certification requirements include:

  • Completion of a Child Abuse Awareness seminar
  • Completion of a Violence Identification and Prevention seminar
  • Completion of the Dignity for All Students Workshop (DASA); and
  • Fingerprint clearance.

Only United States citizens, or those who declare their intention to become United States citizens, are eligible for New York State certification.

Admission Requirements

  • Submission of transcripts for all completed undergraduate and graduate study
  • At least 30 credits in a general core of liberal arts and sciences
  • At least 30 credits in the biological sciences. Examples include courses in scientific methods, cell biology, biochemistry, anatomy and physiology, comparative anatomy, genetics and evolution, biological diversity, human biology, and ecology, and cell nutrition. 
  • A Grade Point Average of at least 3.0, with a C average or higher in the science courses (must be at least B- if graduate-level)
  • Additional requirements, as may be added by Mercy University for graduate admissions

Students must submit an Effective Educator Statement to complete their application. You can download requirements here. 

Please submit the completed statement to your application portal

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