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Teaching: Earth Science

The Master of Arts in Teaching program is designed as a course of study leading to New York State certification for teaching Earth Science in secondary schools (grades 7-12), with an extension option for grades 5-6. Candidates admitted may also qualify for a General Science Extension for grades 7-12. This program, offered in collaboration with the School of Professional Development, the University's Departments of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Chemistry, Geosciences and Physics, and D-TALE, is designed for those who have little or no previous coursework in education or formal classroom teaching experience.

Contact Information

Science Education

Keith Sheppard, EdD
Director, Institute for STEM Education
(631) 632-2989

Linda Padwa, PhD
Associate Director for Science Education
(631) 632-7075 

Program Advisors

Hanna Nekvasil, PhD
Director of Undergraduate Studies

Joel Hurowitz, PhD
Graduate Program Advisor
(631) 632-5355

Degrees Awarded

Master of Arts in Teaching in Earth Science
Bachelor of Science in Earth Science with Teacher Preparation Option/Master of Arts in Teaching in Earth Science


Program faculty are drawn from the Department of Geociences, as well as from D-TALE.

Course Descriptions

Descriptions for 500-level education content courses (e.g., CEE, CEF, etc.) offered through the School of Professional Development may be found in this Bulletin. 

Descriptions for 500-level content courses (e.g., CBE, SCI, etc.)  are published in the Graduate Bulletin.

The undergraduate course descriptions for this program are published in the Undergraduate Bulletin.


MAT in Science


MAT Program Requirements

The degree program consists of 44 credits, distributed among the areas listed below. Unless otherwise noted, each course is three credits. All degree requirements must be completed within five (5) years from the semester date of admission as a matriculated student.

The departmental MAT advisor, in consultation with the student, will determine a set of Earth Science courses for the M.A.T. degree in Earth Science. For more information and a sample checklist, visit the Department of Geosciences.

Graduate Science Courses- 15 credits

Courses not listed are selected with the approval of a departmental advisor

  • GEO 543 Stratigraphy
  • GEO 546 Mineralogy and Petrology
  • GEO 549 Structural Geology
  • GEO 507 Igenous and Metamorphic Petrology
  • ESS 541 Earth’s Surficial Environment
  • ESS 542 Tectonic Environment
  • ESS 543 Rocks and Minerals
  • ESS 544 Geology of New York
Professional Studies in Education - 23 credits
  • CEE 505 Education: Theory and Practice
  • CEF 547 Principles and Practices of Special Education
  • CEE 565 Human Development
  • SCI 510 Introduction to Science Teaching (co-requisite SCI 549)
  • SCI 520 Science Teaching Methods (prerequisite SCI 510; co-requisite SCI 550)
  • SCI 549 Clinical Experience I (one-credit; co-requisite SCI 510)
  • SCI 550 Clinical Experience II (one-credit; prerequisite SCI 549; co-requisite SCI 520)
  • SCI 554 Student Teaching Seminar (prerequisites SCI 510, 520, 549, 550, CEE 505, CEE 565, and CEE 594, and all content courses required for completion of the degree; interview with and permission of Science Education Committee 631.632.7059; matriculation in degree [MAT/BIO, CHE, ESS, or PHY] program. Co-requisites SCI 551 and SCI 552.)
  • CEE 594 Language Acquisition and Literacy Development

At the program director’s discretion, an undergraduate course from a registered and approved program may be approved as a substitution for any of the courses listed below. In all cases, the undergraduate course must have been completed with a B or higher and the student must then take a different graduate pedagogy course to fulfill the graduate credits required for the graduate degree.

  • CEE 505: Education: Theory and Practice
  • CEF 547: Principles and Practices of Special Education
  • CEE 594 OR LIN 544: Language Acquisition and Literacy Development
  • CEE 565 OR PSY 595: Human Development
  • Speak to your graduate program director for more information and approval.
Supervised Student Teaching - 6 credits
  • SCI 551 Supervised Student Teaching High School Grades 10-12: Science (prerequisites SCI 510, 520, 549 and 550; co-requisite SCI 552 & SCI 554)
  • SCI 552 Supervised Student Teaching Middle School Grades 7-9: Science (prerequisites SCI 510, 520, 549 and 550; co-requisites SCI 551 & SCI 554)
Written Project

Students will be required to complete a teaching project approved by the sponsoring department.


MAT Admissions

  • Application essay.
  • A bachelor’s degree with an academic major (or a minimum of 36 credits) in the content field. Transcript must reflect a 2.75 minimum cumulative GPA as well as a 3.0 minimum GPA in science courses.
  • One year of college-level study of a foreign language with a grade of “C” or better (this may include American Sign Language)
  • Three letters of recommendation. Two of the three recommendations must be from faculty with whom you have completed a course of study at the college level. It would be preferable that these faculty be in the area of your major.
  • In those cases where the departmental admissions committee deems it desirable, personal interviews with departmental representatives may be necessary.



The requirements for the combined BA/MAT program in Earth Science Education are identical to the requirements for the two programs separately. Time is saved by allowing some courses in science content and pedagogy to count for both degrees.

Students should apply to the combined BA/MAT program during their fifth or sixth semester of study towards the B.A. in ESS/Science Education track. (Note: Students should declare the undergraduate major as soon as possible to be eligible for NYS Math and Science Teaching Incentive Scholarships. This declaration requires adding TP/ED to the ESS major title on the major declaration form.)

Once accepted into the program, semesters seven and eight will include a mix of undergraduate and graduate courses. Semesters nine and ten will consist of graduate courses only. Candidates will advance to Graduate status upon completion of their 15th graduate credit, typically during their eighth or ninth semester.

BS/MAT Admission

Applicants to the BS/MAT Earth Science Teacher Preparation Program must:

  • Have taken at least 4 science lab courses.
  • Contact the Earth Science education advisor for a transcript review and to plan a course of study.
  • Achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.00 and a GPA of 3.00 in science courses.
  • Apply for the combined program during junior year
  • Complete the BS/MAT application that is found on the website 
    • SPD Student Application/Information Sheet
    • Three (3) letters of recommendation
    • Official transcript from each college or university attended
    • Application Essay
    • Any additional items required by SPD

Note: Upon acceptance to the program, candidates must declare a Teacher Preparation option along with their Undergraduate major by submitting the “Declaration of Major/Minor Form” with TP to the Registrar. Forms are available at the Registrar’s Office, the Undergraduate Earth Science advisor’s office in the Earth Sciences Building, and the Science Education Program Office, Life Sciences 061.

Earth Science BS/MAT Sample Course Sequence

The below listing of courses provides a suggested sequence for coursework. There is a degree of flexibility in the order of courses, but any deviation from the above without permission of the program advisor may lead to a delay in completion of the program.

A student wishing to complete the five-year combined program is strongly encouraged to consult with the Geosciences advisor for individualized guidance in course selection.

Note: Upon acceptance to the program, candidates must declare a Teacher Preparation option along with their Undergraduate major by submitting the “Declaration of Major/Minor Form” with TP to the Registrar. Forms are available at the Registrar’s Office, the Undergraduate Earth Science advisor’s office in the Earth Sciences Building, and the Science Education Program Office, Life Sciences 061.

The science advisor for the undergraduate portion of this program (BA in Earth and Space Sciences, Education Track) is Prof. Hanna Nekvasil ( The science advisor for the graduate portion of this program is Prof. Joel Hurowitz (



Student Teaching

Prior to admission to Student Teaching, the candidate will be interviewed by a committee consisting of the content advisor, a member of the science education faculty, and the student teaching field supervisor. The purpose of this interview is to assess the candidate’s ability to speak extemporaneously about subject matter and pedagogical issues. Candidates who are not successful in this interview will be counseled in order to remedy deficiencies. Upon completion of the remediation, another interview will be held. In the event that a candidate is unable to satisfy the interview component, the candidate will be blocked from student teaching.

Field Experience

Field Experience sites for all teacher candidates are arranged through SCI 549 and SCI 550. Assignments and details are distributed in SCI 510 and SCI 520. New York State requires 100 hours of field experience in secondary schools prior to student teaching. Each teacher candidate is required to obtain 15 hours of field experience that includes a focus on understanding the needs of students with disabilities. These hours will be noted on the Field Experience Time Sheets from SCI 549, SCI 550, or a combination of both. While earning these field experience hours, teacher candidates will be encouraged to observe inclusion (integrated co-teaching) classes in their certification area and other special education classroom situations as available.

Professional Portfolio

The Professional Portfolio is presented and defended at the conclusion of student teaching. It includes several performance indicators of standards-based teaching competencies.

Note: The two degrees (B.A. in ESS/Science Education track and the MAT) are conferred only when the entire combined degree program has been completed. Both degrees are conferred together unless the student elects to exit the combined degree program and receive only a BA in Earth and Space Sciences.



Additional Requirements for Certification

In addition to the stated course and program requirements listed in this section, New York State also has workshop, fingerprinting and other requirements for certification, which can be found on the SPD website.

Workshops and Fingerprinting

To be certified in New York State, candidates must take a selection of workshops  and must be fingerprinted. For descriptions and registration links, visit Certification and Licensing Workshops.

Language Requirement

New York State certification requires at least one year (6 credits) of college-level study of a foreign language. Satisfaction of SBU’s SBC LANG fulfills the foreign language requirement.

General Science Certification

In order to qualify for the General Science (grade 7 – 12) certification, candidates must complete a minimum of 18 semester hours in two or more sciences other than physics.

Middle-Level Extension

Candidates who wish to qualify to teach grades 5 and 6 in a middle school setting may obtain an extension to their grades 7-12 certification by completing two additional courses, prior to graduation. The courses are: CEE 601 Early Adolescent Development and CEE 602 Middle Child Education-Instruction. Information about these courses can be found on the SPD website (