Undergraduate Program


The Department of Biological Sciences offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology consisting of three major options.

  • General Biology (BIOL)
  • Premedical/Pre-dental (BIOP)
  • Secondary Teaching (BIOT)

Students may take courses in Biological Sciences, Botany, Physiology, and Zoology.

Students following the liberal arts curriculum may prepare themselves for a variety of positions in private industry, government or field naturalist services, as well as for graduate studies in any of the biological sciences or for the professional study of medicine or dentistry. Completion of the Secondary Teaching Option in Biology qualifies students for an Initial Type 09 Illinois High School Certificate with a high school endorsement in science, a biological science designation for grades 9 to12, and middle grade endorsements in biological science, physical science, and general science for grades 6 to 8.

Certification requires the successful completion of the Illinois Certification Tests of Basic Skills, Biology, and Assessment of Professional Teaching (Secondary 6-12). The Secondary Teaching Program is accredited by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), and meets Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) standards in science education.


Participation by students is sought by the Department of Biological Sciences for the purpose of assessing curriculum matters and academic progress by students. Participation is requested near the beginning of the student's program, part way through the student's program and after graduation. Responses by students to departmental offerings are important and are used to change and improve departmental options. To see a summary of the Secondary Biology Assessment efforts. The complete assessment plan and prior assessment reports can be viewed at the departmental office.

Minor in Biological Science

Completion of 22 credit hours in biology to be selected with the help of a department advisor, including a maximum of three courses at the 1000 level, a minimum of one course at the 3000 level, and a minimum of three laboratory courses.

The requirements for minors must be completed prior to graduation in order for the minor to appear on the transcript. For more information about minors, see the chairperson of the Department of Biological Science, Dr. Joyce Ache Gana.

Our Mailing Address

Chicago State University

Department of Biological Sciences

Williams Science Center, Room 310

9501 S. King Drive

Chicago, Illinois 60628-1598


Tel: (773) 995-2183 / 2184

Fax: (773) 995-3759


  • Admission to the program is contingent upon good academic standing and acceptance by the department.
  • Successful completion of University examinations in English, mathematics, and reading is required prior to formal acceptance into the program. A Chicago State University cumulative grade point average of 2.7 or better must be attained before formal acceptance into the program.
  • The department will not accept D transfer credits in any biology or chemistry courses.
  • Achievement of a grade of C or better in all required biology courses at Chicago State University is required.
  • A maximum of one chemistry or required supportive course with a D grade earned at Chicago State University will be accepted.
  • Once enrolled at Chicago State University, biology majors may not take a major or supportive course at a two-year college.
  • Completion of 120 semester hours of work as follows:

General Education Requirements:

  • Two semesters of English Composition (9 hours); 
  • Three courses in Humanities and Fine Arts areas (from at least two disciplines:  Art, Literature, Music, Philosophy, CMAT [Communications, Media Arts, & Theater] (9 hours);
  • Three courses in Social Science areas (from at least two disciplines:  Anthropology, Criminal Justice, Economics, Geography, History, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology) (9 hours);
  • Possibly embedded requirements:   Diversity, Math, and Natural Sciences 
  • Passage of the examination on the Federal Constitution (either in a class or separately); and
  • Successful completion of required University Placement Exams.

College of Arts and Sciences Requirement

  •  One Foriegn Language course (3 hours)

Required Core Courses in the Biological Sciences

  • Introduction to Biology Professions (Bi 1600) 1 hour; 
  • Introduction to Biology I(BIOL 1701) 4 hours;
  • Introduction to Biology II (BIOL 1702) 4 hours;
  • Scientific Inquiry Biology (BIOL 2400) 3 hours;
  • Genetics Lecture and Lab (BIOL 3040) 4 hours;
  • Cell Biology Lecture and Lab (Biol 3051) 4 hours;
  • Ecology (Biol 3072) 4 hours; and
  • Capstone (Biol 4801) 4 hours.

Required Supportive Courses for Biology Majors:

  • Either College Algebra (Math 1200) + Algebra/Trigonometry (Math 1210) (6 Hours) OR PreCalculus (Math 1250)(or the equivalent) (5 Hours);
  • Basic Probability and Statistics (Math 1600) (4 Hours);
  • Either Calculus I (Math 1410) or Calculus for Life Sciences (Math 1415) (4 Hours);
  • General Chemistry I & II with labs (Chem 1400, 1410, 1450, 1460) (8 Hours);
  • Organic Chemistry I & II with labs (Chem 2400, 2410, 2450, 2460) (8 Hours); and
  • Physics I & II with labs (Phys 1510, 1520) (8 Hours).

Elective Courses in Biology and Chemistry:

In addition, Biology majors must complete four elective courses at the 3000 and 4000 levels (in Biol, Bot, Psly, Zool, or approved Chem courses), of which at least two must include a lab and at least two must be at the 4000 level.  No grade below C will be accepted in Biology (Biol, Bot, Psly, Zool, Chem) elective courses.

Health Profession Pathway:

Students who are interested in the health professions (e.g., medicine, dentistry, etc.) should consider taking one or more of the following courses:  Human Functional Anatomy (Zool 2050)*, Human Physiology (Psly 2040)*, Molecular Microbiology (Biol 3690), Biochemistry Lecture & Lab (Chem 4303, 4304), Homeostatic Mechanisms (PSLY 4035), and Physiological Control Mechanisms (Psly 4330).  Of these, Biol 3690, Chem 4303 + 4304, Psly 4035, and Psly 4330 will also count as Biology electives for the degree.

Pre- Health Professions Pathway might require more than 120 Credit Hours for graduation.

Please click here for more information.

Welcome! We are excited to have you join our nationally recognized program for preparing 9-12 Biology Teachers! Each year CSU teacher candidates succeed in their quest to become highly qualified science teachers who are well versed in the nuances of teaching urban students and using engaging, standards-based instruction. You’ll find our program brings together diverse, inspired students and professors in a small school environment where you receive much personal attention. Many of our students receive financial support from external grants to help offset the cost of higher education. As part of Chicago State University’s science teacher education program, you will interact with a wide range of students interested in science and committed to helping schoolchildren learn science. In addition, you have the opportunity of developing teaching skills in one of the largest public school districts in the country, or if you prefer, in suburban and/or private schools in the Chicago area.


We offer 3 pathways to becoming a middle school or high school Science Teacher who specializes in Biology. These initial licensure programs include:

  1. a B.S. in Biology with option in grades 6-12 teaching;
  2. a post-graduate teaching licensure program (no additional degree but students must already have biology degree); and
  3. a Master’s degree in Teaching (MAT) program (students must already have a biology degree). In addition, if you are a practicing teacher and want to broaden your expertise to include Biology, we offer a pathway to obtain a second endorsement in Science and/or Biology (students must already have a license to teach).

CSU welcomes undergraduate transfer students from 2-yr colleges either as juniors with all general education requirements met if they have earned an A.A. or A.S. degree, or with transfer credits depending on one’s course equivalency.

The Process

  1. In all cases, the process for becoming a Science or Biology Teacher begins with applying for admission to the University (requirements here). If you are applying to the post-graduate teaching licensure program or the MAT program, apply to the College of Education directly but indicate in your application that Biology is the area of teaching preference. See College of Education website.  If applying to the undergraduate program, apply to the Biology program in the College of Arts & Sciences and select the Secondary Teaching Option (BIOT) on your application HERE-1.

    If you are a licensed teacher, apply for a second endorsement please see College of Education website for application information.

  2. As of Fall, 2019 the state no longer requires students to pass the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP). Currently the COE does ask that students attain an  ACT score of  22 (writing score of 6)) and  SAT score of 1030,  on the critical reading + mathematics; 450 on the writing portion. All of these tests can be super scored, taking them unlimited number of times.
  3. Once accepted to the Biology teaching program you will be assigned the program advisor. S/he will guide you through your program, and you should meet each semester to stay on track. S/he can answer any questions you have concerning the program. Contact: Karel Jacobs, Ph.D. 266 Williams Science Center, P. (773) 995-2338. kjacobs@csu.edu.
  4. Admission to one of the licensure program does not guarantee your spot as a student teacher. Retention in the program requires that a student maintains a satisfactory GPA and demonstrate good character as well as the skills, attitudes, and behaviors necessary for working with children and/or adolescents. A disposition evaluation is completed at multiple times during the program. Prior to the final semester of student teaching, candidates must pass a content exam in Biology that is administered by the state. Faculty in the sciences help you prepare for this exam.
  5. The final semester is spent in the classroom, with guided instruction by a faculty and field based mentor. During the final semester, teacher candidates pass a final edTPA (teachers performance assessment) that is organized by the state. Faculty at CSU help you throughout the journey and we in the sciences have a 100% record in our student teachers passing the edTPA!

Helpful Information

Review the current program curriculum for the UG program (HERE-2) and MAT/post-graduate programs (HERE-3), Note that curriculum lists are subject to change.

Recent Illinois State Board of Education rules for becoming a licensed teacher can be found under the Frequently Asked Questions for Educator Licensure.

Evaluating Student and Program Success

Data is collected and analyzed periodically to assure the success of our program and students and maintain alignment with changing state and national requirements for teachers. The assessment program we use is summarized on the Biology website.