MA in Biological Science Areas of Study

WGU Master of Arts in Science Education (5–12, Biology)

The Master of Arts in Science Education (5-12, Biological Science) is a competency-based degree program that prepares already licensed teachers both to be licensed to teach biology in grades 5-12 and to develop significant skills in science curriculum development, design, and evaluation. All work in this degree program is online and includes General Science and Biology (Grades 5-12) Content and Science Education. All students complete a culminating Teacher Work Sample.

General Science Content

Integrated Natural Sciences
Integrated Natural Sciences covers the subject area of natural sciences, including the use of the scientific method to derive conclusions based on research. Topics covered include astronomy, geology, environmental science and ecosystems, and organisms.

General Chemistry I
In this course students will attain a solid understanding of fundamental chemistry concepts and a reasonable ability to solve chemical problems. Topics include measurement, elements and compounds, properties of matter and energy, the periodic table and chemical nomenclature, quantities in chemistry, chemical reactions, the modern atomic theory, and the chemical bond. Laboratory work focuses on using effective laboratory techniques to examine the physical and chemical characteristics of matter.

General Chemistry Laboratory I
In this course students will attain a solid understanding of fundamental chemistry concepts and a reasonable ability to solve chemical problems. Topics include measurement, elements and compounds, properties of matter and energy, the periodic table and chemical nomenclature, quantities in chemistry, chemical reactions, the modern atomic theory, and the chemical bond. Laboratory work focuses on using effective laboratory techniques to examine the physical and chemical characteristics of matter.

Principles of Biology
In this course, key elements of biology, from the molecular level to ecosystems, are explored. Specifically, students are introduced to the macromolecules and cellular biology as well as genetics and the link to evolution. Students learn about plant and animal organismal biology, including how organisms interact with the environment. Additional important topics in ecology, such as population and community ecology and the effect of humans on the biosphere are also covered.

General Chemistry II
In this course students will attain a solid understanding of fundamental chemistry concepts and a reasonable ability to solve chemical problems. Topics include the gaseous state, the solid and liquid states, aqueous solutions, acid-base models, oxidation-reduction reactions, reaction rates and equilibrium, nuclear chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry. Laboratory work focuses on using effective laboratory techniques to analyze chemical processes in real-world contexts.

General Chemistry Laboratory II
In this course students will attain a solid understanding of fundamental chemistry concepts and a reasonable ability to solve chemical problems. Topics include the gaseous state, the solid and liquid states, aqueous solutions, acid-base models, oxidation-reduction reactions, reaction rates and equilibrium, nuclear chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry. Laboratory work focuses on using effective laboratory techniques to analyze chemical processes in real-world contexts.

Science Education

Science, Technology, and Society
Science, Technology, and Society explores the ways in which science influences and is influenced by society and technology. A humanistic and social endeavor, science serves the needs of ever-changing societies by providing methods for observing, questioning, discovering, and communicating information about the physical and natural world. This course prepares educators to explain the nature and history of science, the various applications of science, and the scientific and engineering processes used to conduct investigations, make decisions, and solve problems. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Science Teaching and Learning
This course focuses on how to teach science and on preparing preservice science educators to teach science in a way that is accurate, current and engaging. Topics include models for teaching science through inquiry, evaluation of alignment to standards, effective use of learning communities, formative assessment strategies, and safety responsibilities.

Biology Content

Advanced Biology
Advanced Biology builds on the four main themes of biological science that have been introduced in earlier courses, providing students with an in-depth exploration of cellular biology, heredity, interdependence of life, and ecology. Course content provides students with opportunities to investigate the structure and function of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and to analyze the structure and regulation of DNA to learn how genetics influences inheritance patterns. Ecology themes in the course explain how climate variations, interactions between organisms, biodiversity and population growth impact the environment. RJT2: Principles of Biology is a pre-requisite for this course.

Evolution
Students will learn why evolution is the fundamental concept that underlies all life sciences and how it contributes to advances in medicine, public health and conservation. Course participants will gain a firm understanding of the basic mechanisms of evolution including the process of speciation --- and how these systems have given rise to the great diversity of life in the world today. They will also explore how new ideas, discoveries and technologies are modifying prior evolutionary concepts. Ultimately, the course will explain how evolution works and how we know what we know.

Biology: Content Knowledge
This comprehensive course examines a student’s conceptual understanding of a broad range of Biology topics. High School Biology teachers must help students make connections between isolated topics. For example, when studying hormones created by endocrine glands traveling through the circulatory system to maintain homeostasis – a student is connecting many Biology topics. This course starts with macromolecules that make up cellular components and continues with understanding the many cellular processes that allow life to exist. Connections are then made between genetics and evolution. Classification of organisms leads into plant and animal development that study the organ systems and their role in maintaining homeostasis. The course finishes by studying ecology and humans effects on the environment.

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