2023-2024 College Catalog 
    Jun 17, 2024  
2023-2024 College Catalog

Biology with Secondary Biology Education Specialization, B.A.


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Department Chairperson- Dr. John Whitlock

The Biology major at Mount Aloysius College prepares students to enter careers in biology or to pursue graduate or professional education with a foundation in the liberal arts. The goals of the program include:

  1. Scientific Method - Students will be able to effectively define and use the scientific method to answer biological questions;
  2. Reasoning and Analysis - Students will be able to critically analyze scientific data and its interpretation both in the literature and in their own experimental work;
  3. Core Biological Knowledge - Students will be able to demonstrate knowledge of core biological subjects;
  4. Research Skills - Students will be able to identify and utilize appropriate resources for both primary and secondary research. In addition, students will be able to identify and utilize the appropriate experimental design, methodology, and equipment to conduct field and laboratory research in an ethically sound manner; and
  5. Communication Skills: Students will demonstrate respectful communication and collaboration within groups to function cooperatively in a team setting. In addition, students willl be able to organize and express scientific knowledge and their own ideas clearly and coherently both in written and oral formats.

Requirements for Admission

Completion of high school coursework in biology, chemistry, and algebra with a “C” or better.

Some articulation programs require a specific SAT score for early admission. Students interested in such programs should contact the department chair for more information on the program they seek to pursue.


Education - Secondary Education

Secondary Education Certification Program Option

Any student interested in teacher certification in this field should refer to the Secondary Education portion of this catalog. Secondary Education Certification is this discipline has its own separate course requirements for the completion of the major and certification. It is advised that any interested student make an appointment with the Secondary Education coordinator

Department Chairperson - Dr. Sara Rutledge

Secondary Education Coordinator - Dr. Beth Shoff

Bachelor Degree programs leading to certification in secondary education are available in Biology, English, General Science, and Social Studies through the College’s Secondary Education Program and are designed to provide students with a broad knowledge base in the teaching specialty.

The Secondary Education program at Mount Aloysius College flows naturally from the College’s philosophical roots. Preparation for a career in teaching requires a desire to serve others, engage in life-long learning, and work toward social justice and the common good. The Secondary Education program prepares students to accept people of all faiths and walks of life, respect their individual gifts and talents, and empower those who have been disenfranchised in the system. As guided by the philosophy of Mount Aloysius College, students are expected to value and engage in holistic learning experiences that synthesize intellectual, spiritual, emotional, social, and creative ways of thinking, and base their own teaching on these principles.

The mission of the Secondary Education certification is to develop teachers whose pedagogy is based on theoretical understandings, who employ frequent reflection, and who are competent in using a wide variety of teaching, learning, and assessment techniques. Recognizing that quality in teaching requires a broad knowledge base and content, Secondary Education students will complete one of the following majors: Biology, English, General Science or History/Political Science to be able to complete a secondary education program.

PA State Department of Education changes in regulations may result in changes in the requirements of education programs.

Education Department Admission

All students interested in teacher certification will enter into their desired major program (Biology, General Science, English or History/Political Science) until all requirements for admission into the education department have been met. The following requirements for academic preparation and performance must be successfully met prior to admission into a certification program.

Education Department Admission Requirements

  • Earn a minimum of forty-eight (48) credits and have sophomore standing.
  • Successful completion (a grade of “C” or better) in the following coursework:
    – six (6) hours in communication/writing (ENGL 110 /ENGL 210  )
    – six (6) hours in college level mathematics (according to the requirements of the content major)
    – Mount Aloysius College Foundation Course (LIBA 150 )
    – pass EDUC 225  Child and Adolescent Development for Educators with a C or better
  • Successfully pass the PRAXIS Core Battery tests in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics.
  • Complete other courses as specified in the College Core Curriculum and content major as directed by the student’s major.
  • In compliance with Pennsylvania Department of Education Guidelines meet a minimum overall GP A of 3.0.
  • Successful Interview (see Secondary Education Student Teaching Handbook).

Admission to Student Teaching

All students will be charged a Student Teaching Fee. (Please see Tuition and Fees  section.)

Student Teaching Admisson Requirements

  • A GPA of 3.0 or better.
  • Successful completion of all PRAXIS exams as listed above.
  • A grade of “C” or better in all education courses.
  • A completed application to Student Teaching and Data Sheet.
  • An essay describing the student’s interest in and preparation for a career in teaching.
  • Successful completion of all required education courses.
  • Successful completion of all field experiences.
  • Current Act 34 and 151 Clearances (Request for Criminal Record and Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance) and FBI Federal Criminal History
  • Records for Prospective Employees (fingerprinting).
  • Completed Health Appraisal including TB test.

Degree Completion Requirements

  • Successful completion of Content Discipline PRAXIS Exams.
  • A successful exit interview with College faculty and local school district administrators.
  • A portfolio that demonstrates that the student has met each of the learning principles identified in Chapter 354.33, Professional Competencies of the Pennsylvania Department of Education General Standards.
  • A satisfactory evaluation from the College supervisor on the state-wide performance evaluation and inventory of student teachers (PDE 430).
  • Successful completion of all student teaching assignments.

Important Information Regarding the Praxis Exams

  • Praxis bulletins and test information can be obtained from any education faculty member. Please see your advisor or any education faculty member for guidance and assistance regarding any facet of the PRAXIS exam.
  • Students should carefully read the bulletin to avoid problems in registering for the test and to mark test dates so that tests can be completed as required for admission into the department.
    – NOTE:.Testing Centers might not offer all the tests for each testing date. Regular testing is not available during the summer months. The PPST can be taken more frequently via the computerized format. Please read the Praxis Bulletin carefully and plan accordingly.

Below is the timeline for completion of PRAXIS tests and the required passing scores in Pennsylvania:

  • Sophomore, end of 1st Semester
    – completed 45 credits by end of the semester
    – completed six (6) hours in communication/writing (ENGL 110 /ENGL 210 )
    – completed six (6) hours in college level mathematics (according to the requirements of the content major)
    – passed EDUC 225  with a C or better
    – passed EDUC 221  with a C or better
    – passed the Mount Aloysius College Foundation Course (LIBA 150 
    – Recommended: complete a PRAXIS prep course or use PLATO or use practice tests
  • Sophomore, 2nd Semester - by end of the semester,
    – successfully completed PRAXIS Series I exams including:
    PPST Reading - passing score 172
    PPST Writing - passing score 173
    PPST Math - passing score 173
    A composite score of 521 with PA Minimum State Score Requirements (see ETS PA State Standards (www.ets.org)
    PPST Reading - passing score 171
    PPST Writing - passing score 170
    PPST Math - passing score 171

    – completed sixty (60) credits with a 3.0 GPA
  • Junior, 1st Semester - prior to the start of the semester,
    – submit formal application to the coordinator of Secondary Education
    – successfully complete interview with Secondary Education Admission Committee (see Secondary Education Handbook for admission requirements and interview information)
  • Junior, 2nd Semester
    – complete and submit student teaching application
  • Senior, 1st Semester
    – take Content area PRAXIS Exam
    Biology 7-12 Test Code 20235 Passing Score 147
    English 7-12 Test Code 10041 Passing Score 160
    Social Studies 7-12 Test Code 10081 Passing Score 157
    – apply for graduation
  • Senior, 2nd Semester
    – submit certification form

Prior to admission to Secondary Education, all students declare a major in a content area: Biology, English, General Science, or History/Political Science. All candidates for Secondary Education will have two advisors, one for the content area and one for education to aid in the scheduling of the courses.


The Education Department requires all students enrolled in a certification program to develop and maintain a sound professional record. Students applying to the Education Department must submit a Pennsylvania State Police Request for Criminal Record and the Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance, and the FBI Federal Criminal History Record (fingerprinting) for review.

Copies of these reports will be kept on file in the department. If individuals have offenses on the report, they may not be allowed to participate in practicum experiences or student teaching depending upon the policy of the public school district with which the College has a working relationship and to which they are assigned. This will mean they may not be able to complete a certification program and be recommended by the department’s certification officer for certification. If offenses show on these reports, students should see their Education Department advisor to discuss their situation and possibly consider other career options.

Transfer Students Admission Requirements

All transfer students interested in Secondary Education certification are subject to all current requirements for entrance to, retention in, and completion of the Secondary Education certification program including the GPA requirements.

Because of the nature of our certification programs, many education credits completed elsewhere will not be transferable. The transfer of education credits will be evaluated individually to be sure they meet the standards as addressed in the education coursework at Mount Aloysius College. The transfer of field experiences will be evaluated individually.

Students Admission with Completed Bachelor Degrees

Students who desire Secondary Education certification and who already have a bachelor’s degree will be admitted into the program after having completed one semester of coursework, demonstrating through transfer or Mount Aloysius coursework successful completion of college level mathematics and communications courses. Applicant must pass the PRAXIS Core Battery tests in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics. Transfer students with bachelor degrees must complete all coursework as specified in the program.


Bachelor Degree CORE Requirements: 35-36 Credits

Aesthetics: Complete 6 Credits

College Foundation: Complete 1 Credit

Communication/Information Literacy: Complete 6 Credits

Faith and Reason: Complete 6 Credits

Integrated Thinking: Complete 2 Credits

Quantitative Literacy: Complete 3 Credits

Choose a Second Quantitative Literacy Course

Other Required Coursework: 32 Credits

Total Credits for Biology Degree with Secondary Biology Education: 151.5 Credits