2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
    Jun 16, 2024  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biology, 8-12, Initial, M.Ed.

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M.Ed. Initial Licensure Programs

Westfield State University has a history and abiding commitment of preparing educators who serve the educational needs of prekindergarten through secondary school students in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The shared vision of Westfield’s education programs is articulated as “Educators as Leaders Building Learning Communities.”  Themes that support this vision are community building, reflective practice, diversity, and social justice.

Westfield State University teacher education programs are approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Westfield is a member in good standing of the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP). Westfield State is working toward accreditation of its educator preparation programs under AAQEP standards with anticipated Quality Assurance Review in 2020.

Master in Education (M.Ed.) Initial licensure programs are designed for individuals who wish to pursue a master’s degree leading to an initial teaching license.  M.Ed. initial licensure programs are offered in:


Biology, 8-12, Initial, M.Ed.  
Early Childhood PreK-2, Initial, M.Ed.  
Elementary 1-6, Initial, M.Ed.  

History, 5-12, Initial, M.Ed.  

Mathematics, 5-8*, 8-12, Initial, M.Ed.  

Moderate Disabilities, Pre-K-8, Initial, M.Ed.   

Moderate Disabilities, 5-12, Initial, M.Ed.  


*Programs marked with an asterisk are not accepting new candidates as of spring 2016.


A English 5-12, with Initial Teaching Licensure, M.A.  leading to initial licensure to teach middle or secondary English is also offered.

Applicants for the M.Ed. initial licensure programs may be required to take additional courses and/or document professional experiences in the cognate area of the license, in addition to the courses required for the master’s degree.

Students who satisfactorily complete program requirements leading to a teaching license are recommended for licensure to the Massachusetts Department of Education. Program requirements include completion of all coursework and other requirements for a master’s degree, passage of Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTELs), and successful completion of a practicum experience.

Advising for graduate students seeking an M.Ed. leading to an initial teaching license facilitates student progress in degree programs and offers an opportunity to design and to amend programs of study, acquire career advice and address topics of particular interest to students involved in graduate study for career advancement or professional development. Registration advising is offered in advance of the semester to assist with course choices appropriate for graduate programs. Programs of study constructed during the first semester of matriculation allow students to remain active participants in their course selection.

Program Description

The M.Ed. in Biology 8-12, Initial, leads to a master’s degree with initial licensure to teach high school biology. The program requires extensive school-based fieldwork in addition to a practicum.

See Admission   requirements for graduate programs.


Applicants to this 36-credit hour program must

also pass the MTEL test in Communication and Literacy Skills as a requirement for admission to this program.




Program of Study

A. Prerequisite coursework or experience

Content knowledge in the following areas must be documented in the student’s previous academic record or professional experience. Any gaps in coverage must be fulfilled as determined by the student’s graduate advisor.

  • General Ecology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology (preferred) or Microbiology
  • Plant Biology
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • History and Nature of Scientific Knowledge
  • General Chemistry I & II
  • Adolescent Development
  • Foundations of Education

B.Required courses (21-24 credits)

C. A total of 12-15 additional credits to include:

  • 3-6 credits of pedagogical coursework at the 600 level; and
  • 9 credits of content area graduate coursework in Biology

Course selections to be made in consultation with graduate advisor.

Additional Guidelines

Students must pass the required MTEL subject matter test (Biology) and have a GPA of 2.8 or greater before beginning the student teaching practicum. Although students may be allowed to apply for the practicum with a 2.8 GPA, a 3.0 GPA must be maintained to remain in the graduate program.

Practicum placements are generally within a 30-mile radius of the university unless otherwise specified and approved.

Practicum placement also requires completion of the following courses: EDUC 0540  , EDUC 0554  , BIOL 0590  , EDUC 0580  ; as well as the recommendation of the student’s advisor, program director and Department Chair or designee.

A 30-hour diversity experience is required before or during practicum.

Students are required to successfully complete a comprehensive, cumulative assessment as part of their master’s degree requirement. This assessment will include two parts: (1) a portfolio requirement and (2) a scientific presentation. The scientific presentation will be assigned by faculty members of the Biology Department and will include specific content knowledge related to the student’s program of study.  The presentation will be evaluated using a rubric that addresses the candidate’s content knowledge, ability to present scientific information, and the ability to answer questions.

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