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Curriculum and Schedule

Program Delivery

This program is 100% available through online instruction with 4 courses offered each semester: January-April, May-August, and August-December. Students are limited to only two courses each semester with the exception of BIOL 8480, which may be taken at any time. However, BIOL 8400 Understanding Biological Inquiry is recommended, not required, before enrolling in BIOL 8480. Anticipated course load for each 3 hour course is approximately 9 hours per week, which includes ~3 hours at lecture, ~3 hours assigned reading, and ~3 hours study/assignments.

The Program Curriculum

  • BIOL 8400 Understanding Biological Inquiry – This online course is designed for teachers and those who want to understand the methods and approaches to biological inquiry. It provides a broad background into the scientific methods utilized in the biological sciences and the application of inquiry-based teaching methods in the classroom.
  • BIOL 8410 Understanding Ecology and Ecosystems – This online course is designed for teachers and for those who want to understand ecological interactions and systems. It provides a broad background in ecology that includes populations, habitats, communities, trophic interactions, and ecosystems. It provides a foundation for understanding interactions between organisms and their environments.
  • BIOL 8420 Understanding Cellular ProcessesThis online course is designed for teachers and for those who want to increase their knowledge about cell biology. Students will study how and where intracellular and extracellular molecules control cellular functions such as gene expression, secretion, motility, signaling, cell-cycle control, and differentiation.
  • BIOL 8430 Understanding Genetics and Evolutionary BiologyThis online course is for teachers who want to increase their content knowledge in the areas of genetics and evolution. The course will focus on Mendelian genetics, molecular genetics, gene expression and regulation, population genetics, forces of evolutionary change, and the role of evolutionary change in the origin of new species and the diversity of life.
  • BIOL 8440 Understanding the Human Body – This online course is designed for teachers and for those who want to increase their content knowledge about the anatomy and physiology of the 11 organ systems in humans. Studies will include food processing and nutrient allocation, circulation and respiration, excretion, communication via hormones and nervous transmission, reproduction, behavior, locomotion and support.
  • BIOL 8450 Understanding Animal BiologyThis online course is designed for teachers and for those who want to increase their content knowledge about the taxonomy, morphology, adaptations, and evolution of vertebrates and invertebrates.
  • BIOL 8460 Understanding Plant BiologyThis online course is designed for teachers who want to increase their content knowledge about plants and includes the study of plants from bryophytes to angiosperms, including growth, photosynthesis, nutrition, reproduction, ecology, and evolution.
  • BIOL 8470 Understanding Microbiology – This online course is designed for teachers and for those who want to increase their knowledge about microorganisms. Topics include prokaryotic cell structure and function, microbial growth and growth control, food microbiology, bacterial genetics, immunology, virology, microbial diseases, and epidemiology. Laboratory concepts will be emphasized.
  • BIOL 8480 Understanding Scientific ResearchResearch problems for teachers in selected areas of biological sciences to provide an introduction to research planning and techniques. Teachers will undertake either an instructor approved, individual project or participate in a group creative inquiry project involving their classroom during the academic year. Both are assisted by and under the supervision of the instructor. Instructor note: BIOL 8400 Understanding Biological Inquiry is recommended before enrolling in BIOL 8480. 
  • BIOL 8490 Understanding Scientific Communication This online graduate course will help teachers develop their ability to write grant proposals, scientific manuscripts, and conference presentations on biological topics, and to communicate about biological issues with public audiences.

Course Schedule

Our courses are offered on a fixed schedule. Typically students are limited to only two courses each fall and spring semesters with the exception of BIOL 8480, which may be taken at any time. However, BIOL 8400 Understanding Biological Inquiry is recommended, not required, before enrolling in BIOL 8480. Our program can be completed in 6 semesters (2 years); however, a master's student has six years to complete this degree.

Fall Semester 


  • BIOL 8400 Understanding Biological Inquiry 


  • BIOL 8420 Understanding Cellular Processes 


  • BIOL 8440 Understanding the Human Body 


  • BIOL 8480 Understanding Scientific Research

Spring Semester


  • BIOL 8430 Understanding Genetics and Evolutionary Biology


  • BIOL 8450 Understanding Vertebrate Biology 


  • BIOL 8470 Understanding Microbiology 


  • BIOL 8480 Understanding Scientific Research

Summer Semester


  • BIOL 8410 Understanding Ecology and the Environment


  • BIOL 8460 Understanding Plant Biology


  • BIOL 8490 Understanding Scientific Communication 


  • BIOL 8480 Understanding Scientific Research