Are you passionate about introducing young people to science? Do you want to become an expert in developing curriculum programs that are effective, captivating, and inventive? Do you want to inspire young people to pursue their STEM dreams?
Then an advanced degree in science education is just for you!
What kind of master’s in science education degree should you get?
No science education degree is exactly the same. While some of these programs expect you to already be a licensed teacher, others do not require prior certification. These programs are either MAs, MSs, or MEds.
While some provide licensure others prepare you for a career in community college teaching or an “informal” educational setting, meaning community centers, museums, and more. If you want to teach, make sure you find a program that will license you if you aren’t already.
Despite the differences in programs and their respective structures and requirements, all of the programs on this list can be earned fully online. Distance education is not only a flexible way to advance your career, it’s affordable too. For that reason, be sure to check out College Choice’s Best Online Colleges and Universities.
How much money do people make with a master’s in science education degree?
Here’s the not-so-good (and not-so-surprising) news: teachers are among the least paid professionals in the country.
Here’s the better news. On average, science education teachers make around $59,700 a year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But that number leaps upward with the added specialization and experience that comes from earning a master’s degree. According to Payscale, science teachers can make upwards of $75,000 a year.
What can you do with a master’s in science education degree?
While a graduate degree in science education will prepare you to teach, the opportunities for those with this degree extend far beyond the classroom.
For example, graduates from the 15 programs below have secured careers in everything from science advocacy and policy to administration, research, curriculum development, and more.
Additionally, many of the programs on our list offer specialized certification or concentration in an array of areas. You can specialize in a traditional science subject, such as biology or earth sciences. Or you can focus on technology integration, environmental science, and more. These added areas of expertise will set you apart upon graduation.
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What are the requirements for an online master’s in science education degree?
Most of the programs on our list require at least two years of full time study. You’ll allocate that first year to core education courses on curriculum design, pedagogy, and classroom management. Then you will take coursework in your content area, whether that’s biology or physics, or something in between.
If you’re training to teach elementary school you can expect a more generalized curriculum. But if you’re preparing to work in a middle or high school classroom then get ready for an in-depth exploration of your speciality area.
Finally, some programs require field practicums. This will give you real-world, hands-on experience in the classroom if you don’t already have it. We’ve been sure to note which programs require field work.
What are the best online master’s in science education degrees?
While some of these programs are offered through large research universities and others through small liberal arts college, they all share one thing one common: they are the 15 best online master’s in science education programs in the country.
To determine the best science education programs we first looked at each program in the country that offers the degree online. From there we looked at the academic reputation of each school as well as retention rates, affordability, and the early salaries of graduates.
The New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology specializes in tech, science, engineering, education, and management degrees. It is located in Socorro but is known for its online programs. Around 2,000 students attend New Mexico Tech.
New Mexico Tech’s MS for Teachers program emphasizes content over pedagogy. So you can expect comprehensive lab instruction in the areas of science, math, engineering, and tech. You’ll also learn how to develop lab demonstrations, exercises, and teaching methods. Introductory classes include:
Survey of Biology
Survey of Chemistry
Survey of Geology
Survey of Physics
At Mexico Tech you have two options for earning your degree. You can enroll in the thesis track and under the supervision of a faculty mentor you will present a research-driven project encapsulating your teaching training. Or you can enroll in an Independent Study, which will give you the opportunity to explore a niche area of science-based teaching.
North Carolina State University is a public school located in Raleigh. It is a research-based university and a member of the Research Triangle, meaning it partners closely with Duke University and UNC Chapel Hill. More than 32,000 students attend NCSU.
NCSU offers an MEd in Science Education program that can be taken online. Designed for experienced educators, this program is for middle and high school teachers as well as community college and informal educators who want to deepen their training in science education. The NCSU core consists of:
Advanced Methods in Science Education I and II
Technology Tools for Science Teaching
Foundations of Science Education
Introduction to Research in Science Education
Though already affordable, NCSU makes graduate study even more inexpensive through its scholarship programs. Online students can apply for one of the nearly dozen education-related scholarships or fellowships offered by the University. For example, the Agnes and Garfield Stiff Scholarship awards up to $1,000 to graduate students studying science education.
The Amherst member in the University of Massachusetts System is the flagship campus. It is a renowned, highly ranked university. Consistently ranked among the top best 30 public universities in the nation, UMass Amherst is home to 30,000 students.
UMass Amherst offers a MEd and Education Specialist degree in Science Education. This program focus on elementary and middle school education and leads to professional licensure for teachers in Massachusetts. Some of the coursework you’ll take at UMass Amherst include:
Discovering the Universe: Astronomy for Teachers
Nutrition and Health in the Science Classroom
Energy, Forces, and Motion
Electricity and Magnetism in the Science Classroom
UMass Amherst boasts a faculty community that has won Pulitzer Prizes, Draper Awards in Engineering, Nobel Prizes, and more. It comes as no surprise then that UMass Amherst is ranked among the top 100 national universities by U.S. News & World Report. Additionally, most of its online programs are top-ranked too.
Hamline University is a private liberal arts college and is based in Saint Paul, MN. Hamline boasts a solid reputation for its School of Education. Nearly 4,000 students attend Hamline.
Hamline offers a Master of Arts in Education degree that specifically and uniquely focuses on the Natural Sciences and Environmental Education. This distinctive program is ideal for those who want to teach environmental principles and earth science. Indeed, the core curriculum at Hamline consists of the following:
Foundations in Natural Science and Environmental Education
The Environment and Society
Ecological Systems: Biomes
History of the Environment
Just because you’re an online student doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of Hamline’s resources, services, and events. For example, the Annual Summer Literacy Institute hosts a number of workshops and breakout sessions each year. You can participate and connect with other education professionals about current issues in education.
Colorado State University’s global campus is more than a decade old. This established distance education program offers more than a dozen graduate degrees. Currently CSU Global Campus serves 19,000 students.
Through Colorado State University’s Global Campus you can earn a Master of Natural Sciences Education degree. You will build a foundation in biology, chemistry, physics, and environmental science. In addition to taking classes on curriculum development and research methods, you’ll also take courses such as:
Pollution and Environmental Biology for Educators
Chemistry for Science Educators
CSU is known for its STEM emphasis and its research contributions across the STEM fields. And even though you’re studying from a distance, CSU ensures you gain hands-on experience. It provides course-specific science lab kits that reinforce online classroom instruction. For example, taking a class in spectroscopy? Then you will learn how to build a low-cost spectrometer with your lab kit.
Oregon State University was founded as an agricultural school and maintains those roots todays with strengths in education, the sciences, and engineering. OSU is an active research university that offers more than 200 academic programs. More than 28,000 students attend OSU.
OSU offers an online MEd program in which you can specialize in advanced science and math education. This broad-based program is for students who want to work in both elementary or secondary education classrooms. You will learn how to utilize emerging technologies and develop instructional strategies in science education contexts. The math and science core classes include:
Fostering Reflective Discourse in Math and Science
Advanced Teaching Strategies in Math and Science
Assessment and Evaluation
Math and Science Curriculum
Though OSU’s program won’t prepare you for licensure it does prepare you in a number of ways that are unique to the university. Required coursework not only covers education and pedagogy but it explores racial and cultural harmony, educational leadership, and technology. Furthermore, electives will allow you to explore everything from the Principles of Wildlife Diseases to Global Environmental Change.
The Kearney branch within the wider University of Nebraska System was founded as a teacher’s college. Today it offers dozens of unique academic and professional degree programs, including many online programs. Approximately 7,000 students attend UNK.
At UNK you can earn an MS in Education with a focus on Science and Math. This 36 credit hour program will ready you for grades 7 through 12, and you can choose an emphasis in biology, chemistry, or physical science and physics. You’ll learn pedagogical practices as well as content through UNK’s foundational curriculum. Classes cover:
Natural Science Curriculum
Technology Tools for Teachers
The University of Nebraska at Kearney is considered a top public school. It is regionally ranked as well as designated a military friendly university. It is also included among the top 50 most affordable universities by U.S. News & World Report.
The University of Texas’ Arlington campus is a public, research-driven school nestled between Dallas and Fort Worth. UTA is one of Texas’ largest universities with more than 42,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The Carnegie Foundation classifies UTA as one of the nation’s most active research universities.
When you earn an MEd in Curriculum and Instruction from UT Arlington you can specialize in Science Education. This is an ideal program for those who want to polish their curriculum development skills. Though this doesn’t lead to teacher certification, this degree will fully prepare you to teach students in K-12. Classes include:
Effective Teaching and Learning for 21st Century Students
Advanced Teaching Models for Diverse Learners
Understanding and Designing Classroom Research
Implementing and Disseminating Classroom Research
As an active research university, UT Arlington has made huge contributions across the STEM fields. In fact, The Chronicle of Higher Education recognized UT Arlington as one of the nation’s fastest growing public research universities. Even more, the Center for World University Rankings includes UT Arlington among its list of the top 150 best schools in the US.
Located in Davie, FL, Nova Southeastern University is a private school. It is organized into nearly 20 academic colleges and schools through which it offers more than 150 degree programs. NSU specializes in professional programs and is notably strong in the areas of education, health, and business.
The MS in Education program at Nova Southeastern can be paired with a specialization in science education. This program is for those who teach or want to teach in the middle or high school setting. You will not only receive a comprehensive introduction to secondary science education content, you’ll become an expert researcher through classes such as:
Educational Research for Practitioners
Methods in Science Education
Inquiry-Based Space Science for Teachers
At NSU you will participate in an applied professional experience program. It acts as the capstone project and it will place you in a direct teaching educational setting. Through this program you will have the opportunity to apply the theories and applications you learned through the NSU curriculum.
Penn State is a sprawling research university. It is a flagship school with hundreds of academic programs, hundreds of research facilities and initiatives, and nearly 100,000 students. The World Campus is a renowned online college offering dozens of ways to earn degrees from a distance.
For those who want to teach geological and earth sciences, Penn State’s World Campus has the program for you. Penn State offers an MEd in Earth Sciences program for secondary science teachers. This program is a unique product resulting from the partnership among Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, the College of Education, and the Eberly College of Science. Coursework covers:
Contemporary Controversies in the Earth Sciences
Plate Tectonics and People: Foundations of Solid Earth Science
Earth Surface Processes in the Critical Zone
Essentials of Oceanography for Educators
Penn State is a well-ranked Public Ivy university. But even more, its College of Education is ranked among the top 40 best education schools in the nation. And Penn State’s science departments are equally renowned, with several of the programs among the best in the nation.
Columbus State University is based in Columbus, GA. Approximately 9,000 students attend Columbus State and are enrolled in one of the 90 academic programs offered by the university. CSU is notably strong in the areas of business, education, and across the sciences.
Columbus State offers an MA in Teaching that can be paired with a concentration in biology, chemistry, physics, or earth and space science. This prepares students for grades 6 through 12 and it readies them for certification in the state of Georgia. In addition to instructional application coursework, you will also take classes such as:
Foundations of Education: Human Development, Motivation, and Learning
Technology as a Teaching and Learning Tool
Assessment in Education
Though an online student, at Columbus State you will have access to all of the University’s research facilities, cultural centers, and student services. For example, as an education student you will benefit from connecting with the Coca-Cola Space Science Center, the Center for Quality Teaching and Learning, the CSU Center for Information Assurance Education, and more.
Western Governors University is based in Salt Lake City, UT but primarily serves students online. Indeed, WGU specializes in business, education, technology, and health degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
For those who want to teach science at the middle school level, WGU has the program for you. Western Governors offers an MA in Science Education for the middle grades. You will study everything from earth and space science to biology and technology. Indeed, WGU’s program focuses on the importance of STEM education across the disciplines. Classes include:
Ecology and Environmental Science
Middle School Science: Content Knowledge
Science, Technology, and Society
As a university specializing in innovative and distance education, WGU is a leader in student-centric education. It has won awards from the US Distance Learning Association for its programs. And it has been recognized by Fast Company in the “Most Innovative Companies” issue.
The University of Cincinnati is a public, research-driven university. Part of the University System of Ohio, UC serves more than 45,000 students, making it one of the largest schools in the state. UC boasts many well-ranked departments, including its education and science programs.
UC offers an MEd in STEM education. This is an ideal program for teachers who want to apply 21st century technologies to the integrations of math, science, and engineering. Regardless of the age of students you want to teach, UC will prepare you for K-12 education. Coursework covers:
Integrating STEM into Practice
Science Learning in Laboratory and Inquiry Settings
Mathematics as Problem Solving
Learning Sciences and Technology
The University of Cincinnati is well-ranked as well as being home to several academic and professional programs that are among the best of their kind. For example, UC’s education, law, and criminal justice programs, among others, are nationally renowned.
East Carolina University is based in Greenville, NC. It is an active research university that was first founded as a teacher’s college. Today, ECU is organized into ten colleges and another four professional schools. Nearly 30,000 students attend ECU.
ECU’s College of Education offers an MA in Science Education designed for those who want to teach in a community or junior college setting. This unique program therefore provides an in-depth introduction to the STEM fields and adult education. There are even a number of ways to specialize:
ECU is well ranked by Forbes and U.S. News & World Report, among many others (including many of College Choice’s distinct rankings!). On top of its academic accolades, ECU is also known for its service to student vets and it even won the Patriot Award. Finally, ECU is has been called an Innovation and Economic Prosperity campus.
Northeastern State University is tucked into the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in Tahlequah, OK. Though it boasts a number of online degrees as well. Around 8,500 students attend NSU.
Northeastern’s Department of Natural Sciences offers an MEd in Science Education. This program trains teachers for grades K-12 to teach a range of science-based subjects. You will gain a comprehensive foundation in math, earth science, physical science, and more as well as early childhood and special education. Classes include:
Trends and Issues in Science Education
Fundamentals of Curriculum Development
Advanced Educational Psychology
Just because it’s last on our list doesn’t mean it should be the last to consider. Northeastern State University offers the most affordable online MS in Science Education degree of the 15 listed here. Tuition hovers around a modest $8,300, making this an inexpensive way to earn an advanced degree.
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