Doctor of Arts in Biology
The Doctor of Arts (D.A.) degree program stresses preparation for undergraduate teaching in biology at colleges and universities. The program is designed to develop the candidate as a biologist, professional educator, and scholar. The general goals of the program are to help students develop:
The program consists of a life science component and a pedagogical component. The life science component is designed to enhance one's understanding of biological concepts and ability to interpret current research. This component emphasizes breadth in biology, but does not preclude depth in specific areas of interest. The purposes of the pedagogical component are to enhance communicative skills, to provide experience with a variety of teaching techniques, and to help the student develop a sound philosophy of education.
- A broad background in biology.
- An understanding of scientific inquiry.
- The ability to synthesize concepts of biology and to communicate these concepts effectively.
- Expertise with teaching strategies appropriate for a variety of learning situations.
- The skills and attitudes that will enhance his or her effectiveness as a college faculty member.
All candidates for the program must have at least a 3.0 GPA for the last two years of undergraduate work, minimum 50th percentile scores on the GRE general and biology subject exams, and must have completed a Master's degree prior to entrance into the program. If a student enters the program without having completed the Master's level research paper in biology or a related science, she/he must complete this requirement in addition to the D.A. degree requirements.
The program requires a minimum of 48 semester credits beyond a Master's degree and at least two years of full-time study. Students must complete several examinations, a scholarly activity, and an internship as part of the degree program. A written and oral diagnostic qualifying examination is taken during the first semester. The purpose of this examination is to ascertain the student's competency to integrate concepts into undergraduate courses in botany, zoology or microbiology and to help the student plan a program of study. A comprehensive examination must be taken prior to filing a final program of study. The purpose of this written and oral examination is to assess the student's knowledge of a broad spectrum of biological and educational topics and his/her ability to communicate answers effectively. During the last semester of the student's program an open seminar on the internship and scholarly activity will be presented. After this presentation the student's committee will conduct the final examination, which will primarily cover the scholarly activity and internship. The scholarly activity requires a substantive contribution to biological education, and one of four approaches may be used to meet this objective:
Students are required to meet the objectives for the life science and the pedagogical components. This will require course work, readings or individual projects in biology as well as other disciplines.
- Analysis and synthesis of existing literature relating to a specific question in biology
- Research in biological education; i.e., investigation of a specific problem in college biology teaching
- Research involving the investigation of a specific question or problem in biology; and
- Development of instructional materials which result from the investigation of a specific biological problem. This activity may be integrated with the internship. The internship is a supervised pedagogical activity that provides for the development of skills in traditional and innovative teaching methods.