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Graduate: Science Education

  • Program Overview

      Science Education

    The Institute for STEM Education (I-STEM) provides graduate education leading to a PhD in Science Education for those who wish to work as

    1. university or college science educators, directing science teacher education programs, working closely with schools and school systems on local, state and national science projects;
    2. university research or policy specialists, with the bulk of their time spent on guiding research on various aspects of science instruction;
    3. directors and supervisors in K-12 school systems, covering the design and implementation of science programs at local, county and state levels; and,
    4. 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, provide the backbone of the program. Students are introduced to current science education research areas. As part of the coursework students are 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 take courses in statistics and research methodologies, complete breadth and depth requirements in science content areas and undertake independent research under the guidance of advisors in science education and in their science cognate discipline. The program targets part-time students from the region, but will expand after the first cohort groups by attracting full-time students. Part-time students should complete the program in approximately five to six years.

  • Admissions

    Science Education Admission Requirements:

    The following will be required

    A.  A bachelor’s degree in a science subject

    B.  A master’s degree in either a scientific field or in education

    C.  Official transcripts of all colleges and universities attended

    D.  GRE general test scores (required for PhD programs - taken within last 5 years) 

    E.  Graduate GPA of at least 3.0

    F.  3 letters of recommendation

    G.  Interview and writing sample

    H.  Statement of intent

    I.  Completed application form

Acceptance by the graduate school

    For more information visit the CESAME Web site at


  • Degree Requirements

    Degree Requirements for the Ph.D. in Science Education

    A. Course Requirements (5 courses from the following)

    CSM 599 Graduate Research in Science Education
    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
    CSM 650  Introduction to Measurement and Assessment in Science Education

    B. Statistics and Research Methodology Courses (3 courses, which may include the following)

    CSM 635 Qualitative Research Methods in Science Education
    CSM 645 Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods

    C. Science Content Breadth and Depth Courses (up to 6 courses)

    D. Independent Research

    CSM 699 Dissertation Research on Campus or CSM 700 Dissertation Research Off Campus
    CSM 701 Dissertation Research Off Campus-International

    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 master's degrees in education will be required to complete graduate coursework in their scientific field. The required breadth and depth courses are determined by transcript review by the Graduate Program Director upon acceptance into the program.

    E. Qualifying examination

    Students will complete a qualifying examination upon the completion of all the science education core courses. The qualifying examination will have three components:

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

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

    3. An oral presentation and defense of the two papers

    F. Research 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.

    G. Advancement to Candidacy

    When the above requirements have been satisfactorily completed, a recommendation for advancement to candidacy for the Ph.D. will be forwarded to the Graduate School.

    H. Dissertation

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

    I. Dissertation Defense

    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.

    J. Teaching Experience

    A semester of a practicum in teaching will be required in addition to the completion of the Science Teacher Education core course. This may include making seminar presentations, assisting in laboratories, science teacher professional development, and leading discussion sessions. Formal and informal feedback on a candidate’s teaching will be provided by program faculty.

    K. Residence Requirement

    The University requires at least two consecutive semesters of full-time graduate study.



  • Facilities
  • Faculty
  • Contact

    Science Education

    Graduate Program Director:

    Keith Sheppard, Life Sciences Building 092 (631) 632-2989 (

    Graduate Program Coordinator:

    Judy Nimmo, Life Sciences Building 092 (631) 632-9750 (

    Associate Program Director:

    Angela Kelly, Life Sciences Building 092, (631) 632-1683 (

    Degree awarded:

    Ph.D. in Science Education

    Program web site: