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  • B.S./M.S. in Biology and Adolescence Education, Grades 7-12

    Inspire students to develop a love of science and technology
    Our program is recognized by the National Science Teachers Association.
    School of Education
    Dobbs Ferry & Online

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Biology and Adolescence Education, Grades 7-12 B.S./M.S. Curriculum

Bachelor of Science in Biology
General Liberal Arts and Science
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.

 Student Classification and Prerequisites

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 College.

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.

Language Proficiency

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.

Course Load

Full-time candidates may take nine to twelve credits per semester. No candidate may exceed twelve credits per semester. Part-time candidates may take three to six credits per semester. Courses are offered during the fall, spring, and summer semesters.

Online Component

The courses in the programs have a mandatory online component that enables candidates to interact with the instructor and with one another between class meetings. The purpose of the online component is to encourage interaction among candidates and enrich the learning experience using technology as a learning and communication tool.

Transfer Credits

Graduate courses taken at other institutions prior to admission at Mercy College may, if pertinent to the plan of study, be credited to the graduate degree. Permission to transfer credits must be requested at the time of admission and official transcripts and course descriptions must be submitted to the program chair or associate dean for evaluation. Transfer credit is limited to six semester hours of credit for courses taken within the last five years in which the student has received a grade of B or better. Transfer credits are not recorded as part of the GPA. Courses with a grade of B- or below are not transferable.

After matriculation, candidates may not register for courses at another institution with the intention of transferring credit to Mercy College unless written permission from the Associate Dean is obtained prior to registering for courses. If prior approval is not received, transfer credit will not be accepted.

Maintenance of Matriculation

It is expected that candidates will fulfill the requirements for their graduate degree by registering during successive sessions. For cohort programs, registration is required during summer session(s). Registration is accomplished by either enrolling in classes or maintaining matriculation. A Maintenance of Matriculation fee is charged each semester.

Candidates who have not maintained matriculation and wish to return to their program within one year after their last course will be charged the Maintenance of Matriculation fee for each missed term. Maintenance of matriculation without attending classes is limited to one year. Activated U.S. Military Reservists are not required to pay the Maintenance of Matriculation fee.

Maintenance of Good Academic Standing

The cumulative GPA for both good academic standing and degree conferral is 3.0. A student admitted with specific academic conditions is required to achieve a 3.0 GPA or better after completing a certain number of credits as stipulated by the student’s respective program. Grades are subject to review by the associate dean and program chair at the end of each term. If the academic GPA falls below 3.0, the student may be dismissed or placed on academic probation.

Academic Probation and Dismissal Review

Please refer to the college policies in the Academic Regulations and Procedures section of the course catalog.

Incomplete Grades

If, due to an unforeseeable and extenuating circumstance, a teacher candidate has been unable to complete all course assignments, and has been in attendance for the full term, and has completed the majority of the course assignments, she/he may request an incomplete grade. The issuance of an incomplete grade is at the discretion of the course professor and is not automatic. If granted, the “AGREEMENT FORM FOR INCOMPLETE GRADE” must be completed by both the professor and the teacher candidate.

After receiving the assignment(s) by the specified due date, the professor will grade the assignment(s), and will contact the registrar and the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs to have the final grade changed based upon the accomplishment of the course objectives according to a specified evaluation plan as presented in the course syllabus.

If the assignment(s) are not completed by the specified due date, the professor reserves the right to change the grade to that which the candidate had earned before requesting the incomplete, or to let it remain a permanent incomplete as outlined in the Mercy College Graduate Catalog.

Time Limit

The School of Education Degree must be completed within five years from the date of the candidate’s admission (exclusive of time spent in the Armed Forces). Exceptions will only be made if a candidate requests an extension in writing and receives the approval of the school dean.

TaskStream Requirement

All School of Education degree, advanced certificate and non-degree candidates must register for and establish an electronic portfolio account through TaskStream. TaskStream accounts are free for candidates and faculty. Course instructors have the information needed to set up an account, if you do not already have one, or to renew a previous account. Candidates will contribute assignments to the portfolio throughout their program of study and will include the course key assessments and specific assignments as required by the candidate’s degree or advanced certificate program. The key assessments are critical to our program improvement efforts and to continuing accreditation. A student’s final course grade for courses with a key assessment cannot be submitted until all necessary assessments have been uploaded to TaskStream.

The completed e-Portfolio is the capstone requirement in all School of Education degrees and certificate programs and successful evaluation of the e-Portfolio is required for the degree or certificate.

Organization of the Program

Candidates in both the Initial and Advanced Teacher certification programs follow a three-transition point progression through the program leading to the completion of degree and certification requirements.

Transition Point One: Admission to Program

Admission is determined by transcript analysis and GPA review. The Academic Literacy Skills Test (ALST) and the Educating All Students (EAS) test must be passed. It is recommended that the ALST be taken first and the EAS be taken no later than 24 credits into the program. 

Candidates seeking Initial certification must also complete specific methods courses and pass the relevant Content Specialty Test(s) prior to registering for the appropriate clinical course.

Transition Point Two: Admission to Clinical Practice

Candidates seeking initial certification in Early Childhood, Childhood, Secondary or Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, must complete a clinical practice to meet degree and certification requirements. Depending on your current classroom employment and teaching experience candidates will register for either:

  • EDUC 709 Student Teaching Experience - Open to candidates who do not currently possess New York State certification (Initial Candidates).
  • EDUC 713 Seminar in Teaching — Open to candidates who are employed as teaching assistants or paraprofessionals.
  • EDUC 537 Current Critical Issues in American Education - Open to candidates who are the teacher of record in a private, charter or parochial school.
  • EDUC 707 Mentoring Seminar in TESOL — Open to candidates in the Professional M.S. or the Advanced Certificate in TESOL program.

The “Student Teaching Experience” or “Seminar in Teaching” course provides the candidate with an on-site college supervised classroom experience in a school. Appropriate course registration is determined by current or prior classroom experience. Candidates are expected to demonstrate all competencies during the clinical practice experience.

Candidates are expected to demonstrate competencies related to content knowledge, pedagogical and professional knowledge, technology, professional dispositions and the ability to work with diverse populations during the student teaching/clinical practice experience.

Students will not be admitted into these courses without first passing all necessary state certification tests and obtaining Program Director approval.

Students in the Advanced Teacher programs in Childhood, Early Childhood and Adolescence Education will register for course EDUC 537, "Current Critical Issues in American Education" and will complete an action research comprehensive project and may be required to complete additional student teaching and fieldwork hours to meet certification requirements.

Admission to clinical practice requires candidates to apply for placement the semester prior to the anticipated course registration. Applications should be submitted in TaskStream to the Office of Clinical Practice and Certification in the School of Education at the Dobbs Ferry Campus.

Clinical Practice Application Deadlines:

Fall.................................February 15
Spring........................... October 15

Transition Point Three: Completion of Program

Upon completion of the capstone project and all other degree requirements, the School of Education will process the candidate’s application for certification. All prerequisite course requirements must be satisfied prior to seeking certification. Program completion requires a 3.0 GPA. Initial New York State certification also requires achieving qualifying scores on the Academic Literacy Test, ALST, the Educating All Students Test, EAS, and the Content Specialty Test (CST), in the area of each certificate being requested and receiving a passing score on the edTPA assessment.

Certification Tests

Initial certification candidates must pass all required certification tests 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 College provides support for candidates to prepare for these tests. Workshops are provided for the ALST, the EAS and some CSTs. Also, candidates or graduates who need to retake the edTPA may opt to take a workshop or edTPA course (EDUC 612) for more support. Interested candidates should contact the School of Education for 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.

Recent student performance on the previous certification tests implemented by the state until 2014, the Liberal Arts and Science Test (LAST), the Written Assessment of Teaching Skills (ATS-W), and the Content Specialty Test (CST), is presented in the chart below:

2014–2015 Student Performance on the LAST, ATS-W and CST

LAST Pass Rate ATS-W Pass Rate CST Pass Rate


Academic Program Sequence Map

Download a copy of the Sequence Map for:


How To Apply to the Biology and Adolescence Education, Grades 7-12 B.S./M.S.

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 College for graduate admissions
Can I get certified in Teaching Students with Disabilities?
Yes, in the following programs: Childhood Education, Grades 1-6; Early Childhood Education, Birth-Grade 2; Secondary Education, 7-12. You can also get certified in special education as an extension to your already existing certification.
What education programs do you offer?
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); Bilingual Extension to a Teaching Certificate; School Building Leadership; Advanced Certificate in School Building Leadership.
What are the graduation requirements?
Successful completion of coursework and practicums, passing grades on state examinations.
Is Mercy College a nonsectarian institution?
Yes. Qualified applicants are admitted without regard to race, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age or physical disability.
Which state exams do I need to take to earn my initial or advanced certification as a teacher?
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).
Meghan Marrero Professor, Secondary Education
Amanda Gunning Associate Professor, Secondary Science Education

Biology and Adolescence Education, Grades 7-12 Overview

Our nationally-recognized 36-credit in Biology Education 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 and 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 and Adolescence Education, Grades 7-12 FAQS

What education programs do you offer?
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); Bilingual Extension to a Teaching Certificate; School Building Leadership; Advanced Certificate in School Building Leadership.
Is Mercy College a nonsectarian institution?
Yes. Qualified applicants are admitted without regard to race, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age or physical disability.
Mercy College School of Health and Natural Sciences

Biology and Adolescence Education, Grades 7-12 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
Other Education Programs


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 College 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 College and with external communities.

Admission Requirements

Please refer to the general requirements for admission and matriculation in the Graduate Admissions section of the course catalog. Please review the prerequisite preparation for each program and consult with the program chair or associate dean.

Requirements for admission and matriculation include:

1. A completed application for admission.

2. Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate degrees.

3. A résumé


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).

Degree Requirements

1. Successful completion of all required coursework in the selected master’s program including the appropriate clinical practice experience.

2. A 3.0 cumulative GPA.

3. Successful completion of a capstone requirement. See the specific program for the capstone requirement.

Biology and Adolescence Education, Grades 7-12 Objectives

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.

Program Outcomes

By the end of this program, students should be able to: 

  • 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
  • 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