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 to be licensed to teach biology in grades 5-12 and provides the opportunity to develop skills in science curriculum development, design, and evaluation. All work in this degree program is online and includes General Science Content, Biology Content, and Science Education courses. All students complete a culminating Teacher Performance Assessment.

General Education

Introduction to Biology
This course is a foundational introduction to the biological sciences. The overarching theories of life from biological research are explored as well as the fundamental concepts and principles of the study of living organisms and their interaction with the environment. Key concepts include how living organisms use and produce energy; how life grows, develops, and reproduces; how life responds to the environment to maintain internal stability; and how life evolves and adapts to the environment.

Biology Content

Human Anatomy and Physiology
This course examines the structures and functions of the human body and covers anatomical terminology, cells and tissues, and organ systems. Students will use a dissection lab to study the healthy state of the organ systems of the human body, including the digestive, skeletal, sensory, respiratory, reproductive, nervous, muscular, cardiovascular, lymphatic, integumentary, endocrine, and renal systems. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Molecular and Cellular Biology
Molecular and Cellular Biology provides students seeking licensure or endorsement in biology, grades 5-12, with an introduction to the area of molecular and cellular biology. Molecular and Cellular Biology examines the cell as an organism emphasizing molecular basis of cell structure and functions of biological macromolecules, subcellular organelles, intracellular transport, cell division, and biological reactions. Prerequisite: Introduction to Biology.

Heredity and Genetics
Heredity and Genetics is an introductory course for graduate students seeking initial licensure or endorsement in biology (grades 5–12). This course addresses the basic principles of heredity and the function of molecular genetics. Topics include Mendelian and non-Mendelian inheritance and population genetics. This course has no prerequisites.

Zoology
Zoology provides students seeking licensure or endorsement in biology, grades 5-12, with an introduction to the field of zoology. Zoology includes the study of major animal phyla emphasizing characteristics, variations in anatomy, life cycles, adaptations, and relationships among the animal kingdom. Prerequisite: Introduction to Biology.

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 the affect humans have on the environment.

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.

Ecology and Environmental Science
Ecology and Environmental Science is an introductory course for graduate students seeking initial licensure or endorsement in science education for grades 5–12. The course introduction to ecology and environmental science and explores the relationships between organisms and their environment, including population ecology, communities, adaptations, distributions, interactions, and the environmental factors controlling these relationships. This course has no prerequisites.

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 Methods
Science Methods provides graduate students seeking additional licensure or endorsement in the sciences for grades 5-12 with an introduction to science teaching methods and laboratory safety training. Course content focuses on designing and teaching with the three dimensions of science: disciplinary core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and science and engineering practices. Laboratory safety training and certification will include the proper use of personal protective equipment and safe laboratory practices and procedures in science classrooms. This course has no prerequisites.

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