MS in Science Education


Program Description

The MSSE program offers innovative online and campus-based graduate courses for practicing science educators. Customized study plans offer courses in all science disciplines and are designed to take into account the student’s background, interests, and career goals. Courses may be taken for professional development or to earn a graduate degree.

The 30-credit graduate degree program can be completed with over 80% of the course credits taken online by asynchronous, computer-mediated communication. The program of study may begin with online courses in any semester, or summer campus field/lab science courses at the MSU-Bozeman, Montana campus.

The study continues with online courses that students take from their homes or workplaces, and ends with a final campus visit for the presentation of the results of a personalized science education capstone project.

Interdisciplinary efforts and incorporation of both science content and pedagogy have been encouraged during the development of courses. Each student seeking the degree is advised by a three-person faculty committee.

Key Features of the Program

  • Online courses during the school year offer flexibility to teach and earn your degree
  • Summer field/lab course opportunities utilize the unique environment of Montana and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
  • Customized study plans include course options in every science discipline
  • Unique program characteristics support both traditional and non-traditional science educators
  • Emphasis on Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
  • Customized capstone experiences
  • Affordable, competitive tuition

Entry Requirements

  • A bachelor's degree in science, science education, elementary/middle school/secondary education, or a related area.
  • At least two years of successful science teaching experience in high school, middle, elementary or another appropriate educational setting (e.g., museum, outdoor education, forest ranger, community college).
  • An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. (Students with a GPA of less than 3.0 have the opportunity to begin the program as a non-degree student to earn admission.)

How long it takes

Because different students have different responsibilities at work and home, not all students will progress in the program at the same pace. Most students will complete the degree in 2-3 years. The Graduate School allows up to six years to finish the degree. Therefore, all coursework for a master’s degree must be completed within a 6-year window of time, including transfer credits.

Students may take a maximum of nine credits as a non-degree seeking graduate student (someone not yet admitted to the degree program) and upon admissions, transfer into a graduate program of study.

Career Relavance

  • Greater knowledge and understanding of science and science education pedagogy
  • Better teaching practices and student outcomes
  • New opportunities for leadership in the classroom, school, community and beyond
  • Increased confidence as a science educator
  • Better salary compensation and new opportunities for added teaching endorsements
  • Enhanced understanding and application of inquiry through the lens of the Next Generation Science Standards Science & Engineering Practices and Crosscutting Concepts
  • Increased understanding of formative assessment in the science classroom and better implementation and analysis of classroom-based research

Examples of teaching awards earned with by MSSE teachers: Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, Teacher of the Year awards.

“The professors and staff in the MSSE program are dedicated to making science be taught mindfully to students. The degree gives me the flexibility to be a scientist and a teacher." —MSSE Graduate

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Last updated June 2019

About the School

Montana State University, the state's land-grant institution, educates students, creates knowledge and art, and serves communities by integrating learning, discovery and engagement.

Montana State University, the state's land-grant institution, educates students, creates knowledge and art, and serves communities by integrating learning, discovery and engagement. Read less