Ph.D. Program in Science Education

Dr. Keith Sheppard, Director

Meet our current Ph.D. Students

This doctoral program will accept its next cohort of students in Fall 2015.
The application deadline will be January 15, 2015.

Apply online at the Graduate School Admissions website
Be sure to read the Application Information and Admission FAQ pages carefully.


This program will provide graduate education for those who wish to work as

i) university or college science educators, directing science teacher education programs, working closely with schools and school systems on local, state and national science projects;

ii) university research or policy specialists, with the bulk of their time spent on guiding research on various aspects of science instruction;

iii) directors and supervisors in K-12 school systems,covering the design and implementation of science programs at local, county and state levels; and,

iv) classroom teachers with improved knowledge of science education theory and practice.

A carefully sequenced series of science education core courses and research experiences, coupled with exposure to science education events at state and national levels, will provide the backbone of the program. Students will be introduced to current science education research areas such as science learning, science teaching (physics, chemistry, biology, earth science, environmental science), curriculum and assessment (nature and history of science, scientific literacy, reform), science teacher education (professional development, teacher knowledge) and societal issues (gender, culture and diversity). As part of the coursework students will be required to complete research projects, write and submit articles for publication, make presentations at science education conferences and learn to use computer and library research resources.

Beyond the science education core coursework, students will be required to take courses in statistics and research methodologies, will complete breadth and depth requirements in science content areas and will undertake independent research under the guidance of advisors in science education and in their science cognate discipline. Initially, the program will target part-time students from the region, but will expand after the first cohort groups by attracting full-time students. Part-time students will complete the program in approximately five to six years.

Entrance Requirements: The following will be required

A.  A bachelor’s degree in a science subject
A master’s degree in either a scientific field or in education
C.  Official transcripts of all colleges and universities attended (including Stony Brook)
D.  GRE general test scores (required for PhD programs - taken within last 5 years)
Graduate GPA of at least 3.0
F.  3 letters of recommendation
G.  Acceptance by the graduate school
Completed application form
I.  Interview and writing sample
J.  Statement of intent

Program Requirements for Part Time Students:

Science education coursework Science education core courses and independent study course        
Other required coursework Statistics and research methodology courses        
Elective coursework Science breadth and depth courses    
Major events     Qualifying exam Thesis proposal Thesis research, writing and defense

Science Education Coursework (5 courses)  (Click here for course descriptions)

CSM 600  History and Philosophy of Science Education
CSM 610  Nature and Practice of Science
CSM 620  Science Teacher Education
CSM 630  Science Education Research Seminar
CSM 640  Directed Study in Science Education

Statistics and Research Methodology courses (3 courses)

This will include statistics and research methods courses. These courses will be taken towards the start of the program and should be completed before students take their qualifying examination. The specific courses that will be taken depend upon the nature of the dissertation research and will be determined in conjunction with faculty advisors, but will require both quantitative and qualitative courses to be taken.

Science Content Breadth and Depth Courses (6 courses)

The courses to be taken depend upon the type of master’s degree that the entering student holds. Students holding a master’s degree in a specific scientific discipline will be required to complete graduate courses in other science disciplines. Students holding masters degrees in education will be required to complete graduate coursework in their scientific field. Students will be advised individually upon acceptance to the program as to their requirements in this area.

Qualifying examination

To ensure the quality of the program students will complete a qualifying examination after their fifth semester and upon the completion of all the science education core courses. The qualifying examination will have three components:


Paper 1 – a common examination question for all students based on a topic from the science education core courses.


Paper 2 - an individualized examination question, written by the student’s advisor, based upon a student’s dissertation research area


An oral presentation and defense of the two papers

Thesis Proposal

Students are required to prepare and defend a dissertation proposal based on their proposed research. The students will present a formal written dissertation proposal that includes details of the research questions, a complete literature review, the methods chosen to answer the research questions and details of how the collected data will be analyzed. The proposal will be presented and defended in an oral hearing before the dissertation committee. If appropriate, Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval to conduct the research will be secured. On satisfactory completion of the dissertation proposal, a recommendation for advancement towards candidacy will be forwarded to the graduate school.

Thesis Research, Writing and Defense

The dissertation research outlined in the thesis proposal will be supervised by the committee, which will normally include both science education and science faculty.

The dissertation defense, which completes the requirement for the PhD consists of a public seminar presentation of the dissertation work followed by an oral examination before the dissertation examining committee.

The dissertation defense, which completes the requirement for the PhD consists of a public seminar presentation of the dissertation work followed by an oral examination before the dissertation examining committee.

Students will be accepted in cohorts of approximately 12 students and we are anticipating eventually having a maximum of 30 students enrolled in the program.

Transcripts and paper Recommendation Letters should be sent the following address:

Judy Nimmo
Center for Science and Mathematics Education
092 Life Sciences Building
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY 11794-5233

For additional information, contact Dr. Keith Sheppard at