May 17, 2024  
2013-2014 Undergraduate Catalog 

Teacher Certification - Biology

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academic Information

All students who seek certification to teach biology in Illinois schools should consult with the departmental certification adviser as soon as possible and also refer to the “Teacher Certification Requirements” section of this catalog.

Undergraduate biology majors may apply for admission to teacher certification in biology at the end of the sophomore year, except in the case of transfer students who normally apply at the end of their first semester at NIU. Students who already possess the baccalaureate or higher degree and wish to pursue certification without becoming a candidate for a degree should consult with the biology certification adviser as early as possible.

It is strongly recommended that students completing these emphases obtain a secondary endorsement in at least one subject other than biology.

Admission and Retention Requirements in the Discipline

Students interested in pursuing certification in biology must apply in writing to the departmental certification adviser. Students must complete a program of study approved by the departmental certification adviser designed to provide a broad background in the discipline meeting requirements for the undergraduate major in biological sciences at NIU. Core course requirements remain the same as for all majors in biological sciences. In addition, those seeking certification must complete the equivalent of the mathematics sequence MATH 211 and STAT 301, BIOS 300, BIOS 305, BIOS 313, BIOS 316, BIOS 317, BIOS 355, and BIOS 484, and a selection of elective biology courses chosen in close consultation with the departmental certification adviser to ensure adequate breadth and depth of discipline background. Students pursuing a degree in secondary science teacher certification must have a grade of C or better in all coursework specifically required for certification. This includes all biology chemistry, physics and math courses, pedagogy, and written communication, oral communication, and psychology general education classes. Higher numbered courses may be substituted if approved by the departmental certification adviser.

Undergraduates must have an overall NIU GPA of at least 2.50 and a minimum GPA in applicable biology, chemistry, and physics courses of 2.80. Students with a baccalaureate degree in biological sciences obtained elsewhere must have a combined GPA of at least 2.80 across the applicable biology, chemistry, and physics course work in their previous major and complete at least two upper-level courses in biology at NIU with a minimum GPA of 3.00.

All potential certification candidates must

  • have a satisfactory review of progress with the departmental certification adviser each semester after admission to the certification program.
  • take and pass the ICTS Test of Academic Proficiency prior to applying to the certification program.
  • take and pass the ICTS Biology Content Test prior to applying to student teaching.
  • take and pass the ICTS Assessment of Professional Teaching test before completion of the program.


Professional Development Phase and Student Teaching

The state of Illinois requires a minimum of 100 clock hours of relevant early clinical experiences prior to student teaching. This requirement may be satisfied by successfully completing the following courses.

Additional Requirements

  • Credits: 3
  • Credits: 3

    The State of Illinois has moved from a course-based set of requirements for certification to course and standards-based requirements. Approved certification programs must have requirements that meet or exceed the state requirements. A list of current state minimum requirements is available from the Illinois State Board of Education web page. The biology certification program requirements are designed to prepare candidates for certification both to meet state requirements and to demonstrate that they meet state teaching standards.


    At this time, State requirements include the possession of an appropriate baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, a minimum of 32 semester hours in the field, pre-student teaching, clinical experiences at the 6-12 level or proof of teaching experience at the 6-12 level, student teaching or an approved teaching experience, passage of the Test of Academic Proficiency and secondary certification subject matter examinations of the Illinois Certification Testing System, passage of the Assessment of Professional Teaching test, and demonstration that the candidate has met teaching standards for the biology teacher. Contact the discipline coordinator for information on the necessary criteria that experiences must meet to be used to meet certification requirements.


    Additional course work may be required as determined and approved by the biology certification coordinator to meet state standards for the preparation of teachers, certification requirements and student needs.  

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academic Information