Pathways to Science Teacher Certification

Pathways to Teaching Through the College of Science and Engineering Technology

If you’ve ever considered becoming a science, agricultural, engineering, or mathematics teacher, you’ll be interested to know about the many pathways to teacher certification that are available to SHSU students and about the opportunities available in this rewarding career field. As a teacher, you will have the opportunity to make a tremendous difference in the lives of your students. Though the focus of your teaching will be in your area of expertise, you will also have the opportunity to serve as a model and a mentor for students. To know that you have had a positive influence on your students is one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching.

pathways-3The demand for science and math teachers in public schools is tremendous. Schools districts clamor to hire students with certifications in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). The demand is so great that some districts offer guaranteed jobs upon graduation and/or tuition assistance. Below are some of the incentives that are available to students seeking the Composite Science certification, which enables graduates to teach biology, chemistry, earth science and physics:

  • Annual Stipend of $3,000 - $6,000 from school districts
  • Qualifies for TEACH grant which is a federal loan forgiveness grant
  • Due to high need for Composite Science teachers there are many  options and choices on where they can teach

Those individuals wishing to obtain their Secondary Teaching Certification from SHSU do so by combining the coursework for their major with a Minor in Secondary Education (see below). For example, a student may choose to major in Biology and minor in Secondary Education. The Education minor includes practice teaching in an actual classroom under the supervision of a public school teacher, as well as the completion of both required coursework and State-mandated tests at certain points in their program. This combination ensures that graduates of this program meet Texas teacher certification requirements at the time of graduation.

In some cases, the number of hours required for graduation with Secondary Teaching certification may exceed the standard 120 hours normally required for a degree. This can occur when a degree requires a significant number of hours in a discipline other than one’s major field. For example, the Physics degree includes a minor in Mathematics, and the Chemistry degree requires a substantial amount of math coursework in addition to the subject area coursework. As a result, students pursing Secondary Teaching certification in these fields will require more than 120 hours to complete their degrees. Students should, therefore, check with their academic advisors to determine the exact number of hours needed for completion of their program with Secondary Certification. 

The following is a list, by department, of the teacher certification pathways available to students pursuing teaching degrees through the College of Science and Engineering Technology.

School of Agricultural Sciences - The most common major used with a Secondary Education certification is Interdisciplinary Agriculture, but it may be used with other program areas within the department: Agricultural Business, Agricultural Engineering Technology, Animal Science, and Plant & Soil Science.

Department of Biology – The BS degree in Biology may be combined with the minor in Secondary Education.

Department of Chemistry - The BS degree in Chemistry may be combined with the minor in Secondary Education.

Department of Environmental and Geosciences – Students in all of the BA and BS degree tracks within Geography, with the exception of geospatial technology, may pursue the minor in Secondary Education. Those wishing to teach geology should pursue the BS in Geoscience degree.

Department of Mathematics and Statistics –Within this department, there are several paths to teacher certification, including Elementary and Middle School certification. Students may pursue: 1) Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics with certification in Elementary/Middle School certification; 2) Bachelor of Science, Major in Mathematics with Secondary Teacher Certification; 3) Bachelor of Arts, Major in Mathematics with Secondary Certification with Two Teaching Fields; and 4) Minor in Mathematics with Middle School Level Certification.

Department of Physics and Astronomy - The BS degree in Physics may be combined with the minor in Secondary Education. Be aware that this degree includes a “built-in” minor in mathematics.

Multi-Department: In addition to these options, you may choose to pursue a BS degree in Composite Science. This degree is housed in several departments and will enable you to teach Biology, Chemistry, Geography and Geology (i.e., Earth Science), and Physics (including astronomy). Because individuals who have this certification can teach several disciplines of science, they are especially sought after by schools. As with the degrees listed above, this degree combines core science coursework with the Secondary Education certification. It also allows students to focus in an area of science that interests them. Accordingly, after having completed the common core of science classes, students then focus their remaining coursework in an area of particular interest to them, such as chemistry or geology. Because this degree encompasses several science certifications, it requires 124-129 hours of coursework, depending upon the area of specialization. For more information about the Composite Science Program, click here. Below is a summary of the Composite Science degree requirements.

Degree Plan Area

Number of hours


General Education Requirement (required for all SHSU degrees)



Secondary Education Certification courses



Science and Math core courses for the Composite Science degree – not including General Education Core courses



Advanced hour requirements

6 or 7


Minimum advanced elective hours possible to meet the 42-hour advanced credit requirement in the areas of specializations shown below


Total hours for the degree based on the area of specialization







Geology/Earth Science



Physics (and astronomy)






 The Secondary Education Certification requirements and schedules are described below.

Secondary Education Certification Courses and Schedule for Application Submissions and Tests

Semester 1

CISE 3384 – The Teaching Profession

  • This course is the pre-requisite to all Secondary Education Program Courses.
  • You MUST have at least 32 hours on your transcript to enroll for this course.


Semester 2

CISE 4380 – Roles & Responsibilities of the Professional Educator

CISE 4378 – Content Literacy

  • 20 hours of Field Experience is incorporated into these courses (10 hours per course). *The term ‘Field experience’ refers to the placement of SHSU teacher candidates (pre-service teachers) in accredited public school campuses in school districts that are members of the Sam Houston Innovative Partnerships with Schools. (SHIPS).  There are three levels of field experience as you progress through the program and each is built into the courses you will take. So, the field experience is not additional work, it is part of the course work.
  • You will take your Content (i.e. biology, chemistry, etc.) practice certification exam during this semester.
  • You will apply and pay the $100 (subject to change) fee to apply to Education Preparation Program, which is a two-step process. The information about this process is provided in CISE 4380.
  • You will apply to Methods Block (Semester 3) and TK20 account. *The TK20 assessment reporting system will be explained to you in your courses.
  • To be admitted to the program, and to continue in it, you must meet the Ed Prep and the Secondary Education Program requirements, including a minimum GPA of 2.75, to begin Semester 3.

Note: You should be finished with most coursework before beginning the Methods Block in Semester 3 of the Teacher Certification program.

Semester 3 – Methods Block (*Within the College of Education, the term ‘block’ refers to a set of courses that must be taken concurrently).

CISE 4364 – Methods of Teaching in Secondary Schools

pathways-4CISE 4379 – Differentiated Pedagogy (*CISE 4379 replaces CISE 4377 effective Fall 2017)

  • Prerequisites: CISE 3384, CISE 4378 & CISE 4380; Admission to the Educator Preparation Program and Departmental Approval; successful completion of Semester 2 courses.
  • 60 hours of Field Experience are incorporated into these courses (30 hours per course).
  • CISE 4364 and 4379 are taken as part of the Secondary Methods Block for 7-12 certification.  Because you will spend the entire day in class or completing the field experience requirement, you cannot schedule other classes on the days of your Methods block. *CISE 4364 and 4377 are both Writing Enhanced courses.
  • You MUST apply for Student Teaching during this semester.
  • You will need to take your content certification exam during this semester.
  • You will take the practice Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR) certification test during this semester.

Semester 4 – Student Teaching Block

     CISE 4394 – Creating an Environment for Learning - Secondary

  • This is the companion course that is held BEFORE the regular SHSU semester begins. You must be able to attend class the week before the semester begins.

   CISE 4396 – Student Teaching Secondary Classroom

   CISE 4397 – Student Teaching Secondary Classroom

  • Prerequisites for the Student Teaching block: CISE 4364, CISE 4377, CISE 4380, CISE 3384, and CISE 4378; Senior status; Admission to Educator Preparation Program.
  • You will take the Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR) certification test & content certification test before the job fair, which is held each semester - usually in late October and late March. You will need to take these exams at the time indicated, and pass them, in order to obtain your teacher certification on schedule.

*Please note that students seeking teaching certification in Agriculture will take AGED 4364, AGED 4365, AGED 4366, and AGED 4380 during their Student Teaching Block semester instead of the courses listed above for the Student Teaching Block.

If you have any questions regarding the teacher certification pathway, please contact the Advisor in your major Department and your advisor in the College of Education – Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Their contact information is given below.

COSET Advisors

Composite Science Degree

Dr. Marcus Gillespie – Associate Dean College of Science and Engineering Technology;

Agricultural Sciences

Dr. Doug Ulrich - Professor of Agricultural Sciences and Program Coordinator of Engineering Technology, Department of Agricultural Sciences

Dr. Dwayne Pavelock - Professor of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Agricultural Sciences;



Dr. Tamara Cook (Chair) - Professor of Biological Sciences and Chair, Department of Biological Science;

Dr. Joan Hudson - Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, Department of Biological Science;

Dr. Anne Gaillard - Associate Professor of Biological Sciences/Associate Dean, Department of Biological Science;



Dr. Rick Norman (Chair) - Professor of Chemistry and Chair, Department of Chemistry;


Computer Science

Dr. Li-Jen Shannon - Associate Professor of Computing Science, Department of Computer Science;

Dr. Cihan Varol - Associate Professor of Computer Science, Department of Computer Science;


Environmental and Geosciences

Dr. Brian Cooper (Department Chair) - Associate Professor of Geology and Chair, Department of Geography-Geology;

Dr. John Strait – (Geography Program Coordinator) Professor of Geography, Department of Geography-Geology;

Dr. Velvet Nelson - Associate Professor of Geography, Department of Geography-Geology;

Dr. Gang Gong - Associate Professor of Geography, Department of Geography-Geology;


Mathematics and Statistics

Dr. Melinda Holt, Professor of Statistics and Chair, MXM014@SHSU.EDU

Dr. Max Coleman - Professor of Mathematics, Department of Math and Statistics;

Beth Cory - Associate Professor of Mathematics, Department of Math and Statistics;


Physics and Astronomy

Joel Walker (Department Chair) -Associate Professor of Physics, Department of Physics;


College of Education: Secondary Teacher Certification Advisors

Dr. Amber Godwin (Co-coordinator of Secondary Education) - Clinical Assistant Professor, School of Teaching and Learning;

Dr. Bob Maninger (Co-coordinator of Secondary Education) - Associate Professor, School of Teaching and Learning; 

Jean Hubbartt (Teacher Education Certification Officer) –