Our biology licensure program will prepare you to teach the following courses in grades nine to 12 at all levels, including honors and AP:

  • Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Other life science courses

You'll also be able to teach introductory classes in:

  • Chemistry
  • Earth and space science
  • Physics
  • Environmental science

The program consists of 36 credits taken over four semesters. If you're an undergraduate student, you'll most likely complete the program during your last two years at NIU, along with your upper-level content classes.

Start Your Application

In order to enter the program, you must be pursuing a bachelor's degree in biology at NIU or hold a bachelor's degree in a related discipline.

You must also have the following minimum GPA:

  • Undergraduate: cumulative GPA of at least 2.50.
  • Graduate: cumulative GPA of at least 3.00.
  • GPA in all science and math courses must be at least 2.80.

You must complete the following requirements to earn your professional educator licensure with an endorsement in biology.


During your clinical placements, you'll complete a minimum of 100 hours of observations in at least three different high school classrooms in the northern Illinois region.

Subject Matter Test

You must successfully pass the Illinois Licensure Testing System (ILTS) content test in biology (105) before student teaching.

EdTPA (Teacher Performance Assessment)

You must successfully pass the edTPA during student teaching in order to receive an Illinois teaching license.

Criminal Background Checks

The schools at which you complete your clinicals may require a criminal background check. You'll learn how to complete this in your clinical classes.

Health Checks

You must pass a TB test prior to your third semester in the program. TB tests are available for free to NIU students at Health Services and are good for one year.

Required Coursework

In order to earn your license, you must complete all required courses with a grade of C- or better. If you earn a D or F, you must repeat the course.

Contact us for guidance on course requirements if you are a transfer student or if you already earned a bachelor's degree in biology or a related discipline.

You can read detailed descriptions of the following required courses in the NIU catalog. Equivalent courses from other accredited institutions may be substituted at the discretion of the certification advisor.

Biological Science (36 Credits)

  • BIOS 208 Fundamentals of Cellular Biology (3 hours), plus BIOS 210 Lab (1 hour)
  • BIOS 209 Fundamentals of Organismal Biology(3 hours), plus BIOS 211 Lab (1 hour)
  • BIOS 308 Genetics (5 hours)
  • BIOS 303 Cell Biology (4 hours) or BIOS 302 Molecular Biology (4 hours)
  • BIOS 305 Biology of Land Plants (4 hours)
  • BIOS 313 Microbiology (4 hours)
  • BIOS 316 General Ecology (4 hours)
  • BIOS 317 Evolution (3 hours)
  • BIOS 355 Human Physiology (4 hours)

Chemistry (14 Hours)

  • CHEM 210 General Chemistry I, including lab (4 hours)
  • CHEM 211 General Chemistry II, including lab (4 hours)
  • CHEM 330 or 336 Organic Chemistry I (3 hours)
  • CHEM 331 or 337 Organic Chemistry II (3 hours)

Physics (8 Hours)

  • PHYS 210 General Physics I, including lab (4 hours)
  • PHYS 211 General Physics II, including lab (4 hours)

Math (7 Hours)

  • MATH 211 Calculus for Business and Social Science (3 hours)
  • STAT 200 Elementary Statistics (4 hours)

General Education

Your general education courses must include:

  • Oral communication (3 hours)
  • Written communication (3-6 hours): ENGL 103/104, ENGL 103/203 or ENGL 204
  • Psychology (3 hours): PSYC 102

In most cases, you'll take licensure courses during the last four semesters before graduation. You'll be able to take upper-level content courses at the same time. During your final semester in the program, your entire schedule will consist of student teaching.

First Semester (Fall)

  • ILAS 201 Introductory Clinical Experience (30 hours of observation, 1 credit)
  • EPS 406 Human Development and Learning, Middle School and High School (3 credits)
  • BIOS 403x Nature of Scientific Inquiry (2 credits)

Second Semester (Spring)

  • ILAS 301 Second Clinical Experience (30 hours of observation, 1 credit)
  • LTIC 420 Methods and Materials for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (3 credits)
  • BIOS 414x Interdisciplinary Teaching of Science in Secondary Education (3 credits)
  • EPS 452: Classroom Management

Third Semester (Fall)

  • BIOS 401 Pre-student teaching clinical (40-plus hours of observation, 2 credits)
  • BIOS 416 Methods in Teaching Biology (3 credits)
  • SESE 457 Integrating Exceptional Students in the Regular Classroom (3 credits)

Fourth Semester (Spring)

  • BIOS 428 Student Teaching (12 credits)