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Best Online Master's in Science Education Degree Programs

Learn about the length, coursework, and admission requirements for online master's degrees in science education. Also, get tips on how to choose the right program and explore science education careers.

Best Online Science Education Master's Degree Programs

In order to help you decide which online master's program in science education is right for your needs, we've put together our list of the top programs of this type, basing our decision on factors such as program flexibility, length, and affordability.

1. University of Georgia

Location Graduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Athens, GA $10,982

The University of Georgia's online 36-credit Master of Education in Science Education degree program is for current biology, earth/space, chemistry, or physics teachers who want to specialize in teaching the natural sciences at the secondary 6-12 grade level. Upon completion of this program, teachers will qualify for a teaching certification upgrade in the state of Georgia. This online program is flexible with a part-time enrollment option for working teachers and a full-time enrollment option. Along with core courses in teaching strategies and curriculum planning for science education, students can also choose courses in middle grades education, instructional technology, or educational psychology. The University of Georgia has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

2. Hamline University

Location Graduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Saint Paul, MN $9,257

Hamline University offers an online 34-credit Master of Arts in Education in Natural Science and Environmental Education degree program that has the distinction of being one of only a few programs in the world that has received accreditation from the North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE). This flexible online program can be completed in only 18 short months. Most classes are fully online; however, some may require on-campus meetings that allow special arrangements for those who can't attend in-person. Students can also choose a concentration in sustainability, nature-based, or place-based education and can earn the Environmental Education certificate by taking select electives. This online degree charges all students the same tuition rate, which comes in at $515 per credit plus additional fees.

3. New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

Location Graduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Socorro, NM $8,037

At the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, students who have at least 1 year of K-12 teaching experience can earn an online Master of Science in Teaching degree. This is a part-time program specially designed for working teachers who want to increase their pay or add a STEM endorsement to their teaching license. As such, students can choose to concentrate in biology, math, geology, chemistry, or other STEM field options. Additionally, students can choose to participate in 2-week summer classes on-campus with free housing or participate in research projects with faculty. The New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

4. University of Nebraska at Kearney

Location Graduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Kearney, NE $7,187

The University of Nebraska at Kearney's Master of Education in Science/Math Education degree program has the distinction of receiving special accreditation from both the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the Nebraska Department of Education. This online 36-credit hour program is for currently licensed teachers who are looking to advance their career and improve their teaching skills. Students can choose from 2 concentration options, including integrated studies, which requires students to focus on an endorsement, such as biology, math, or psychics, while also taking courses across those disciplines, and a chemistry option, which is especially for chemistry teachers. The tuition for this online program is affordable at $309 per credit for resident students and $435 for non-resident students.

5. North Carolina State University at Raleigh

Location Graduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Raleigh, NC$11,495

North Carolina State University at Raleigh offers an online Master of Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics with a concentration in Science Education degree program that is designed for 6-12 grade teachers as well as community college instructors. This is a flexible online program that can be attended part-time with students able to finish their degree in 3 to 4 years. The STEM-based curriculum adheres to the required standards of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, so after completing the program, students can apply for advanced licensure as well as National Board Certification. Students are also able to choose a focus area that best aligns with their teaching interests, including middle school education, educational technology, special populations, or college science education.

Rank School Name Location Graduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
6 Lesley University Cambridge, MA $18,150
7 Oregon State University Corvallis, OR $14,331
8 East Carolina University Greenville, NC $7,485
9 Montana State University Bozeman, MT $6,559
10 Georgia State University Atlanta, GA $9,148
11 Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX $8,015
12 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL $20,620
13 Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania Shippensburg, PA $15,960
14 Wilkes University Wilkes-Barre, PA $25,968
15 Western Michigan University Kalamazoo, MI $16,561

All statistics provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition based on 2018-2019 school year

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

Overview Online Science Education Master's Programs

Online master's degree programs in science education are for current or aspiring educational professionals who want to improve their teaching skills and knowledge in the field of science. Typically, these programs lead to the following degree types:

  • Master of Arts in Education
  • Master of Education
  • Master of Science in Teaching

Most programs also have a specific focus area within the science field, such as natural science, STEM subjects, or curriculum and design. Additionally, science education programs sometimes also feature specialization areas that allow students to center their studies on one teaching subject area, such as:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Geology
  • Physics
  • Environmental education
  • Sustainability education
  • Nature-based education
  • Place-based education
  • Engineering
  • Computer Science

Usually, science education master's programs are designed for current teachers who want to increase their pay grade, add an endorsement to their license/certification, or move into a specific teaching area. As such, these programs are generally flexible, offering part-time enrollment, and can be completed in a 100% online format. Any on-campus elements, such as week-long summer classes or seminars, are optional or arrangements can be made for students who cannot attend. A limited number of programs lead to teaching licensures, usually in only a specific state.

Length of Online Science Education Master's Programs

The time it takes to earn an online science education master's degree depends on several factors, including the program's format and your enrollment status. Accelerated science education master's programs are designed to be completed quickly, in about 18 months or so. Other programs take into account that most of their students are working teachers, so they offer part-time attendance, which means students earn their degree in about 3 to 4 years. However, if you are attending full-time, you can typically complete your program in around 2 years.

Admission Requirements for Online Science Education Master's Programs

The admission requirements for online science education master's programs vary by individual program, and it's always best that you check with the program you want to apply to for their specific guidelines.

Generally, however, you need to have already earned a bachelor's degree. Most programs don't have a strict requirement as to the type of bachelor's degree; however, some recommend that it be in the sciences. Programs also require that you have earned a GPA of 3.0 in your undergraduate coursework. If your GPA is lower than that standard, programs recommend you submit GRE scores, which are not generally required, or write an essay that explains why you make a good candidate for the program and what your qualifications are.

Additionally, some science education programs require that you currently hold a teaching license or certification and have 1 to 2 years of professional teaching experience. A limited number of programs may also require that along with your teaching certificate, you have an endorsement in chemistry, biology, physics, or physical sciences.

You will also typically need to submit the following application materials:

  • Application and fee
  • Resume or CV
  • Transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose

Common Courses in Online Science Education Master's Programs

Online master's degrees in science education require around 30 to 36 total credits.

Generally, you will take science content courses, either within your concentration area or in a range of subjects. For example, you could take courses on space science or astronomy, which cover topics related to observational astronomy, the history of astronomy, and celestial phenomena.

You might also take courses on earth science or geoscience, which cover such concepts such as Earth materials, geologic time, and global warming.

Additionally, you could take courses on chemistry that focus on teaching the subject, management and safety, and chemistry topics such as chemical reactions, heat, and energy.

Some programs might also include a course on the use of learning technology in the science education field. Students explore the practical use of technology in the classroom as well as theories behind educational technologies.

You may also take courses that center on the study of curriculum development within the context of science education. Here, you learn concepts and theories about how to develop, organize, and select a curriculum.

A course that covers the theories of learning and teaching is also usually included in a science education curriculum. This course focuses on how students learn, the practice of teaching in diverse settings, and different types of teaching strategies.

How to Choose an Online Science Education Master's Programs

Deciding which online science education program to attend can be a daunting task, especially when considering the variety of programs available and trying to balance your work and life situation. To help guide you through your decision-making process, we suggest that you consider a number of factors, including the cost of earning your degree, transfer credit policy, and whether your school/program has received accreditation.

Program Cost

The tuition for online science education master's programs is usually calculated on a per-credit basis (although some may charge a flat semester rate). Generally, these programs can run from $309 per credit for in-state students to $1,295 per credit for out-of-state students, with most programs staying within the $360 to $500 range. That means that your residency status can play an important role in how much your degree costs, as some universities charge out-of-state students more than their in-state peers. However, other universities charge all students the same, so when looking at programs as an out-of-state student, double-check which tuition rate you will be charged.

Most universities also charge additional fees, which are added to your tuition. These fees, such as technology, library, distance education, and new student fees, can range from as little as $4 to as much as $300, and can be either 1-time fees or charged each semester.

Transfer Credits

If you have graduate-level credits from a previous master's degree or prior coursework, then you might also consider a program's transfer credit policy. Using transfer credits can save you money and time when earning your degree. Typically, programs accept about 5 to 6 transfer credits from other accredited institutions or will accept around 10 credits from coursework completed at their university.

Accreditation

There are two types of accreditation you want to look for: regional accreditation and program accreditation. Regional accreditation is done through the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which, in turn, approves agencies that grant accreditation. Examples of regional accreditors include the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). This type of accreditation is important because:

  • It assures you that you are receiving a high-quality education.
  • Only students who attend an accredited school can receive federal financial aid.
  • Universities typically only accept transfer credits from other accredited institutions.

You can also look for your program to be accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), which accredits teacher training degree programs. CAEP bases its standards on curriculum, faculty knowledge and credentials, and clinical experiences. Science education programs can also receive accreditation from the North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE), which accredits programs that prepare students for environmental educator careers.

Job Options with a Science Education Master's Degree

With a master's degree in science education, you will be able to pursue a range of educational careers. Below, you can explore some career options, such as a teacher, an instructional coordinator, and a professor.

Middle/High School Teacher

Middle school teachers usually teach students in 6th through 8th grade, while high school teachers teach those in 9th through 12th grade. Most middle and high school teachers teach only one subject, and a master's in science education usually prepares you to teach in a science subfield, such as biology, chemistry, or earth/space sciences. As a teacher, you must create lesson plans, hold classes, grade assignments, and interact with students, parents, and other educational professionals.

Instructional Coordinator

Instructional coordinators create, revise, and implement curricula. By earning a master's degree in curriculum and design with a science education focus, you could become an instructional coordinator in the specialized science field. Along with developing curriculums, instructional coordinators also conduct teacher training, review classroom materials, such as textbooks, and analyze student data.

Professor

Professors teach at the college-level, and with a master's degree, you may qualify for a part-time professor position or may teach at the community college level. As a professor, you must conduct classes, grade assignments, create syllabi and course outlines, and complete your own research.

Job Title Median Annual Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Middle School Teachers $59,660 3%
High School Teachers $61,660 4%
Instructional Coordinators $66,290 6%
Postsecondary Teachers $79,540 11%

Salary information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018

Licensure & Certification for Teachers

All teachers who work in a public school are required by the state to be licensed. Generally, to earn a teacher's license or certification, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Earned a bachelor's degree
  • Completed a student-teacher training program
  • Passed a background check
  • Passed a general national teaching exam and an exam in your teaching subject area

As these requirements vary by state, it's imperative that you check with your state's educational board about their exact requirements. Some states also require that teachers earn a master's degree after they obtain a job and earn licensure. Instructional coordinators who work in public schools are sometimes also required to obtain a teaching license or an education administrator license.

Professional Science Education Associations

There are several associations that are important pillars in the science education field, as they support science teachers and promote science education. You can join these organizations and benefit from exclusive resources as you build your career.

National Science Teaching Association (NSTA)

The NSTA is the largest organization active today that promotes science education and teaching. A paid NSTA membership allows you to access a wealth of resources, including peer-reviewed journals, newsletters about the field, conferences, and discounts on insurance.

National Science Education Leadership Association (NSELA)

Since 1959, NSELA has been advocating for science education and supporting those teaching in the field. As a paid NSELA member, you can access discussion forums, receive discounts to professional development seminars, benefit from educational resources, such as webinars and learning materials, and have the opportunity to network with other science educators.