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Cumberland graduates have had one of the highest acceptance rates for students entering schools in the allied health fields. Our biology curriculum is excellent preparation for graduate study in biology, continuation in the health professions or teaching biology at the secondary level. Beginning soon, the biology program will also be expanding to include a new "green track" focused on environmental issues. Regardless of which option a student chooses, the degree develops the student's understanding of the life sciences through the study of basic principles of the structures and functions of a variety of organisms and through the study of ecosystems, the environment and the environmental burdens that result from human activities.
Cumberland University students who wish to teach high school biology can take advantage of the five year Master Teacher Option. Through this option, candidates seeking an initial teaching license can complete a baccalaureate degree, student teach and complete a Masters of Arts in Education (MAE) in five years, including two summers. It is not a degree or major.
The five year Master Teacher Option is designed to produce highly qualified professional educators to meet Tennessee’s goal to improve the quality of math and science instruction. The option is offered collaboratively by the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the School of Education and Public Service, and provides candidates with a strong background in biological and other physical sciences, as well as a foundation in current teaching methodologies to meet the needs of diverse learners.
How it Works:
- First Three to Four Years: Candidates for teacher licensure complete the Bachelor of Science in Biology degree, taking specific education courses in place of 12 general elective hours in the degree. CU students interested in this option must participate in the Teacher Education Program, Phase I interview and keep an online portfolio.
- Senior Year: Candidates apply for the MAE program during the final undergraduate semester (all admission standards apply). They must take two specific education courses their last semester.
- Summer/Fall of Fifth Year: During the summer term after completing the Bachelor of Science in Biology, candidates take six to nine credit hours of MAE courses. Student teaching takes place the fall semester, after completing the Bachelor of Science in Biology, in the MAE program.
- Spring/Summer of Fifth Year: Upon successful completion of the student teaching semester, the Cumberland University Teacher Licensure officer can submit the candidate’s application for initial state licensure. Candidates then complete the remaining credit hours in the MAE, which may be completed by the end of the following summer.
Cumberland students who enroll in this option must meet the requirements of the two Teacher Education Program (TEP I & II) interviews as an education major would, which include among other things background checks and Praxis exams (see School of Humanities, Education and Arts website for details).
Note: Because this is an individualized course of study and there are state-mandated requirements for candidate preparation for student teaching, anyone interested in this option must meet early and often with advisors from both the School of Education and Public Service and the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences to be sure that a correct progression of courses is taken. Candidates choosing this option should attend the School of Education and Public Service’s annual mandatory advisory meetings.
The B.S. degree in Biology consists of a minimum of 120 semester hours:
- 44-47 hours from the GEC
- 25 hours from biology core courses
- 26-27 hours of required non-biology courses (e.g., Physics)
- 12 hours of biology electives
- 11-13 hours of general electives
For complete biology course descriptions, please review our undergraduate catalog.
For further information about Biology at Cumberland, please contact Professor Danny Bryan.