Life Sciences Education Major

Saint Mary’s life sciences education degree program qualifies students to teach biology, zoology, and general science in grades 5–12.

If you have a passion for science and for education, this program is a great option.

Career Options

Teach in public or private middle or high schools; environmental education; advanced degrees in special education, educational administration, literacy, curriculum and instruction, school counseling, school psychology, or science content areas such as research.

High School Preparation

Biology; Chemistry; Computer Science; Environmental Science; Physical/Earth Science; Physics

Enhance Your Experience

Students who major in life sciences education oftentimes pursue a double major or minor in biology or secondary education

Degree Requirements

A. All of the following:

B110 Botany and Zoology I (3 cr.)

Emphasis is placed upon photosynthesis and respiration,and physiological processes including nutrition, gas exchange, transportation and regulation of body fluids. It is an investigation of the structure and function of both plants and animals and intended as an introductory overview.

B111 Botany and Zoology I Laboratory (1 cr.)

These laboratory studies complement the concepts presented in B110. Investigations including physiological and molecular relationships and interactions are the basis for the course.

B120 Botany and Zoology II (3 cr.)

Emphasis is placed on plant and animal phyla, organs and organ systems of both plants and animals.

B121 Botany and Zoology II Laboratory (1 cr.)

Laboratory studies complementing B120 include plant and animal hormones and reproduction, bacterial techniques, and phylogenetic investigations.

B301 Ecology with Laboratory (4 cr.)

A study of the theoretical and practical ecological concepts pertaining to species, populations, communities and ecosystems; stress is placed on the concepts of energy flow, nutrient cycles, limiting factors, population dynamics and succession.

B305 Human Anatomy with Laboratory (4 cr.)

This course explores the design and structure of the human body. Lectures present cellular and histological features of the body systems.

B310 Genetics with Laboratory (4 cr.)

The principles underlying hereditary variation in living organisms are the focus of this course. These topics are centered about the transmission of hereditary traits, cytogenetics, basic gene concepts, introductory molecular biology, population genetics, and the genetic basis of evolution.

B311 Cell Biology with Laboratory (3 cr.)

This course is a study of the cell at the ultrastructural, biochemical, and physiological levels. Special consideration is given to respiration, photosynthesis, secretion, cytoskeleton, cell cycle, cell growth, movement, membranes, and other organelles.

B313 Physiology with Laboratory (4 cr.)

This course explores the functions of the body systems of humans. The interrelationships of organ systems processes to maintain homeostasis are emphasized. Laboratory sessions provide experiences with procedures and instrumentation to gather data that highlight the function of the body systems. Course topics are particularly relevant to the health sciences.

B434 Microbiology with Laboratory (3 cr.)

This course deals with the morphology, physiology and biochemistry of a variety of microorganisms including viruses, bacteria, fungi and algae. Emphasis is placed on the control of microbial growth, the characteristics of these organisms and their relationship to disease.

B492 Experimental Planning (1 cr.)

The purpose of this course is to design a research project. The necessary reconnaissance, review of the literature, and other preparations are included. Some emphasis is also given to thesis writing and presentations.

B493 Biology Research and Thesis (2 cr.)

The course consists of an independent investigation of a field or laboratory problem of the student's choice in a specific area of biology. A written report of the research project in the form of a thesis is required; an oral presentation may be required, at the discretion of the research advisor. This course is a graduation requirement for biology majors.

C131 General Chemistry I (3 cr.)

This course covers the fundamental principles upon which the study of chemistry is based. Stoichiometry, atomic structure, molecular structure, chemical bonding, behavior of gases, kinetic molecular theory, properties of solutions, chemical reactivity and thermochemistry are included.

C133 General Chemistry I Laboratory (1 cr.)

This laboratory is an inquiry-based approach to understanding the process of doing chemistry. Each week, as a team member with a specific role working for a consulting company, the student receives a letter from a "chemical client" requesting the solution to a chemical problem. It is the responsibility of the team to design a solution, collect data, and report the results to the client in report form.

C142 General Chemistry II (3 cr.)

This course includes the study of the chemistry of molecular forces, redox reactions, chemical kinetics, chemical equilibrium theory, electrochemistry, chemical dynamics, organic chemistry, phase behavior and solution chemistry.

C144 General Chemistry II Laboratory (1 cr.)

This laboratory is an inquiry-based approach to understanding the process of doing chemistry. Each week, as a team member with a specific role working for a consulting company, the student receives a letter from a "chemical client" requesting the solution to a chemical problem. It is the responsibility of the team to design a solution, collect data, and report the results to the client in report form.

M151 Calculus I (4 cr.)

This course provides an introduction to the differential and integral calculus. Topics include: the concepts of function, limit, continuity, derivative, definite and indefinite integrals, and an introduction to transcendental functions. Credit is not granted for this course and M148 and M149.

P111 The Earth and the Solar System (3 cr.)

This course examines physical, geological, and astronomical processes involved in shaping the Earth and other planets. The geological processes acting on the Earth and the natural history of the Earth are studied first, and then used to examine the other bodies of the solar system, studying how the physical characteristics of the planets influence and are influenced by the same basic processes operating in different ways. Topics include: the properties of Earth materials, the evolution of the Earth and geological structures, matter and energy in the Earth system, the Earth in the solar system and the universe, fundamental issues of planetary science, and fundamentals of observational astronomy and objects in the sky (moon phases, properties of orbits, etc.).

P201 Introductory Physics I (3 cr.)

This course is the first half of a two-semester introductory, calculus-based, physics course for all students planning to enter one of the scientific professions. It covers the fundamental principles of mechanics, oscillations, and fluid mechanics.

P202 Introductory Physics I Laboratory (1 cr.)

One three-hour laboratory is held each week covering topics studied in the lectures.

P211 Introductory Physics II (3 cr.)

This course is the second half of a two-semester introductory, calculus-based, physics course for all students planning to enter one of the scientific professions. It covers the fundamental principles of waves, physical and geometrical optics, and electricity and magnetism.

P212 Introductory Physics II Laboratory (1 cr.)

One three-hour laboratory is held each week covering topics studied in the lectures.

B. Required education course work

See Secondary Education webpage for information

Recommended elective courses:

B322 Developmental Biology (3 cr.)

A study of mostly animal development from genetic and molecular perspectives. A brief account of embryology is followed by gametogenesis, fertilization, embryogenesis, and organogenesis. All topics are covered with emphasis upon differentiation.

B323 Plant Communities and Taxonomy with Laboratory (3 cr.)

A course that combines collection and identification of local terrestrial and aquatic plants with a survey and analysis of plant communities.

B340 Limnology with Laboratory (4 cr.)

Lecture emphasis is placed on physical and chemical principles and their interpretation. Attention is given to taxonomy, adaptations, distributions and abundance of organisms.

B371 Ornithology with Laboratory (3 cr.)

This course examines birds from aspects of ecology, behavior, taxonomy, physiology, and identification.

B384 Pollution Ecology with Laboratory (3 cr.)

This course involves an examination of major pollutants and their sources; ecological, health, and economic effects; and control technology. Class sessions emphasize industry, transportation, agriculture and energy production.

B435 Immunology with Laboratory (3 cr.)

Topics covered in this course include the nature of the immune system and the immunological response including the roles of lymphocytes, cytokines, antibodies and complement. Some emphasis is placed on the malfunction and diseases of the immune system.

B465 Herpetology with Laboratory (2 cr.)

This course provides an introduction to the biology of amphibians and reptiles, with an emphasis on the ecology, distribution, and conservation of the species found in Minnesota and neighboring states.

B475 Ichthyology with Laboratory (3 cr.)

A course on the classification, morphology, physiology, and ecology of fishes.

B490 Fisheries Biology with Laboratory (3 cr.)

An introduction to fisheries biology, this course has a lecture emphasis on population dynamics and lake, pond, and stream fishery management. Attention is given to the recreational and commercial value of freshwater fish species.

B491 Wildlife Ecology and Management with Laboratory (3 cr.)

This course is an introduction to wildlife ecology with emphasis on techniques, population dynamics, recreational and commercial value. Wildlife management techniques are also introduced through study of case histories of selected species.