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Science Education

Degree Information > Pre-Service, MA

Pre-Service, MA

Pre-Service Master of Arts in Science Education
with NY State Initial Certification

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Pre-Service Secondary Science Education M.A.

Biology and General Science 7-12 Program Code: SCIB INIT
Chemistry and General Science 7-12 Program Code: SCIC INIT
Earth Science and General Science 7-12
Program Code: SCIE INIT
Physics and General Science 7-12 Program Code: SCIP INIT

Brief Program Description
The M.A. Pre-Service program in Science Education provides students with opportunities to study science education theory, the discipline of science (including its histories, philosophies, and epistemologies), and professional education. It also provides students with opportunities to merge these studies with intensive field experiences through field-based assignments, courses, and student teaching experiences. The Pre-Service M.A. program in science education is a 36 point program. Upon its completion students earn both an M.A. degree and a New York State initial license to teach Chemistry or Biology or Physics or Earth Science and General Science in grades seven through twelve.

Minimum Point Requirement
The minimum point requirement for the Pre-Service M.A. in Science Education with NY State Initial Certification is 36 points. See Appendix II for Advising Checklist and Course Guidelines.

Prerequisite Requirements

  1. A baccalaureate degree in one of the sciences. If students do not possess a baccalaureate degree, they must have a minimum of 30 credits in the science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Earth Science), which they choose to seek NY State licensure in.
  2. One course of college study of a spoken language other than English or the equivalent, or a passing score on a recognized language proficiency test (CLEP).
  3. If students enter the program without having met the prerequisite requirement, they must fulfill them before graduation. If they are not fulfilled, students will still earn an M.A. degree, but they will not receive a New York State initial license. Students may meet these prerequisites while enrolled in the M.A. program; however, these courses cannot be applied to the M.A. degree.

Required Courses
     Prerequisite Requirements
     30 credits in the science area of certification
     One course in a foreign language1 (see footnotes)

     Course Requirements

     1. Science Education Methods (9 points)
         Required Courses:
         MSTC 4000: Science in the secondary school

         Certification area specific courses:
         Methods courses in your area(s) of certification
         (Two courses, one for the middle school level, one for the high school level)

  • MSTC 4040: Science in childhood education methods  
  • MSTC 4041: Science in childhood education curriculum lab  
  • MSTC 4044: Biology methods and curriculum laboratory  
  • MSTC 4045: Earth science methods and curriculum laboratory  
  • MSTC 4046: Chemistry curriculum and methods laboratory  
  • MSTC 4047: Physical science curriculum and methods laboratory  
  • MSTC 4048: Structure of science knowledge and curriculum design  
  • MSTC 4049: Middle school living environment methods laboratory  
  • MSTC 5046: Advanced chemistry methods and curriculum laboratory

     2. Field Experience (9 points)
         Required Courses:
         MSTC 4363: Introduction to science education practice
         MSTC 4761: Student teaching in science

     3. Professional Education (9 points)
         Required Courses:
         Literacy, Special Education and an Elective

  • Students must take at least 3 courses of professional education. These courses must be from three of the following areas. You may not take more than one course in any given area for this requirement without explicit permission.

         HBSK 5099 Writing Interventions Theory and Practice Applications (3 points)

         Introduction to Special Education Course (3 points)

         Elective (3 points)
         From the following areas:                                                
         Course area:  Philosophy, ethics or history of education
                               Sociology, economics, or politics of education
                               Curriculum and teaching
                               Human Cognition, adolescent or cognitive development
                               Educational assessment
                               Urban education


       4.   Science Disciplinary Courses (6 points)

  • Students may select content courses from Teachers College, Columbia University, or Barnard College. Courses from Columbia University or Barnard College must be at the graduate level. Students may, in some cases, be allowed to enroll in a 3000 (undergraduate) level course if they receive written assurance from the course professor that extra work will be performed to make the course equivalent to a graduate level course.  
  • Student should select courses in their area of licensure as well as other areas. The State of New York requires teachers to have an additional 18 credits of coursework in your minor area(s) of science if you desire a second area of certification. You may want to use your content requirement to obtain a second or third area of certification.

       5.   Equity in Science Education (3 points)
           MSTC 4007: Urban and Multicultural Science Education

Breadth Requirement
Courses which you are required to take out of the department. Please see “Professional Education,” Section 3,      Appendix II.

Statement on Integrative Project, Comprehensive Exam or Formal Essay Requirement
In order to graduate all students must complete a Master’s Portfolio as the graduation requirement. This assignment will be assigned during your field experiences during the course Student Teaching In science Education, MSTC 4761. In addition this must be highlighted on the Intend to Graduate form, which is due early in the semester that you plan to graduate. Please see the Academic Calendar for these deadlines.

Student Teaching/Fieldwork/Practicum/Internship Requirements and Information
Fieldwork for this degree is based on 2 student teaching placements you will do. One will be for 100 hours in a middle school and one will be for 100 hours in a high school while you are enrolled in MSTC 4761. Placements are made with your advisor at the end of the Fall Term when you take MSTC 4000.

Other Program Requirements (such as grade requirements and other special degree requirements)

  • A passing score on the New York State Teachers Examination: Liberal Arts and Science Test (LAST) and the Secondary Assessment of Teaching Skills – Written (ATS-W).  
  • Completion of 2 online exams for Certification in Child Abuse Identification and Violence Prevention.  
  • Completion of a Master’s Essay (Master’s Portfolio of Teaching).  
  • Completion of Science Safety Workshop included in MSTC 4761.

Statement on Master’s Essay Requirement
If a student does not complete the master’s portfolio up to the minimum standards reflected in the rubric provided in MSTC 4761, graduation requirements will not be met.

Certification and/or Licensure Requirements and Information
You must complete and fill out a TEACH account in coordination with the Office of Teacher Education in order to fulfill NYS teaching certification before you graduate. As part of NY certification requirements you must pass the LAST, CST, ATSW, child abuse identification, violence prevention and safety certification tests. For more details contact the Office of Teacher Education (400 Russell Hall; 212-678-3502; (see footnotes, last page)

Special Requirements for Professional Education Programs under NCATE Review
  Completion of the following assignments is required. 

  • Curriculum union plan I and II  
  • Teacher as researcher project  
  • Master’s portfolio  
  • Safety workshop  
  • Peace Corps Mentoring Logs  
  • Science Experiment Experience Record

Transfer Credit Evaluation 
By College policy, no transfer credit is permitted3 (see footnotes, last page).

Statement on Satisfactory Progress and Academic Performance
Students are expected to make satisfactory progress toward the completion of degree requirements. Program faculty will annually review each student’s progress. Where there are concerns about satisfactory progress, students will be informed by the program faculty. If a student is performing below expectations he/she may be required to complete additional course work. The program will provide a plan and timeline for remediation so students know the expectation for them to continue in the program. If satisfactory progress is not maintained a student may be dismissed from the program. For additional information about Academic Performance, please refer to Degree Requirements in the TC Catalog. 

An average grade of B or better is expected for satisfactory completion of the degree. According to College policy, no more than 3 points of C- may be credited toward any degree or diploma. Students completing requirements for more than one degree or diploma may count 3 points of C- toward only one such award. A student who accumulates 8 points or more in C- or lower grades will not be permitted to continue study at the College and will not be awarded a degree or diploma. Please see the statement on policy of grades at Teachers College. (URL:

Standard Policies and Practices of the College
Services for Students with Disabilities: The College will make reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. Students are encouraged to contact the Office of Access and Services for Individuals with Disabilities for information about registration (166 Thorndike Hall). Services are available only to students who are registered and submit appropriate documentation.

Statement on Academic Conduct:A Teachers College student is expected to refrain from any conduct, including cheating, plagiarizing, or purchasing documents submitted for academic evaluation, that calls into question his/her academic and/or professional probity. Decisions regarding academic evaluation in all aspects of students’ work at the college, including course work, certification examinations, clinical or field experiences, and preparation of dissertations, are within the sole jurisdiction of the faculty concerned, including as appropriate, the department or program staff members. Disciplinary actions (e.g., reprimand, suspension, or dismissal) in cases of academic misconduct can be imposed by the Vice Provost or the Committee on Student Conduct.

Resolution of Student Academic Program Concerns: Any student who has a concern regarding an academic matter may seek assistance. The procedure for resolving academic program concerns (see note of grade correction process below) begins with either the faculty member (if the concern is related to a course) or the student’s advisor. If the student is not satisfied with the response or resolution achieved at this first level, or if speaking with the faculty member presents a conflict of interest for the student, the student should proceed to speak with the Program Coordinator in the area in which the academic concern resides. If the student is not satisfied with the response or resolution achieved through the Program Coordinator, the student should proceed to speak with the Chair of the academic department in which the academic concern resides. If the student is still not satisfied with the response or resolution achieved through the Department Chair, or if speaking with the Department Chair presents a conflict of interest for the student, the next step is to contact the Office of the Vice Provost. At any stage of the process, students are welcome to seek the advice and guidance of the Ombudsman, who is charged with attempting to informally resolve student dissatisfaction of an academic nature on a completely confidential basis.

Grade Correction Procedure: The instructor for a course has the responsibility for setting the requirements for a course and making an evaluation of students’ work. Once a grade has been given, the instructor is not free to change the grade unless the instructor indicates to the Registrar that an error was made in the original grade transmitted. If a student believes that an error has been made, he/she must take the initiative in bringing about the necessary correction prior to the conclusion of the semester immediately following the semester in which the course was taken. The normal procedure for effecting a correction would be through direct discussion between the student and the instructor. If redress cannot be attained through such discussions, the student may next appeal to the department chairperson of the department offering the course. If resolution cannot be attained through appeal, the student may next appeal to the Dean. In situations where the student feels that such an appeal process might not be in the student’s interest, counsel and assistance can be sought from the Office of the College Ombudsman and the Office of the Vice Provost.

Typical Program Plan

Summer Semester (9 Points)
  Special Ed Course (3 points)
  Professional Education Course (3 points)
  MS Science Methods Course (3 points)

Fall Semester (12 Points)
  MSTC 4000 (3 points)
  MSTC 4363 (3 points)
  Disciplinary course #1 (3 points)
  Literacy course (3 points)

Spring Semester (15 Points)
  MSTC 4761 (6 points)
  HS Science Methods Course (3 points)
  Urban Science Education Course (3 points)
  Disciplinary Course #2 (3 points)

Total: 36 points


Time Required to Complete the Degree
The typical time required to complete the M.A. degree for initial certification is 11 months, including one academic year and 2 months during one summer session.

Faculty Advisors for the Master of Arts Degrees
The faculty who advise students in the pre-service Master of Arts programs are listed alphabetically including their area of expertise.

O. Roger Anderson: Biology content and curriculum research including the application of cognitive theory to science teaching and learning. Prof. Anderson also holds a joint appointment at Columbia University as a Senior Research Scientist (Biology). E-mail:

Chris Emdin: Physical Science and chemistry content and research on urban science education with a focus on the dynamics of the social, scientific, and group processes that enhance science teaching and learning. E-mail:

Jessica Riccio: Instructor and Student Teaching Coordinator; Pre-service Science Education Coordinator E-mail:


Appendix I
  Pre-Service Master of Arts Degree (M.A.) with NYS Certification
  Science Education (SCIB/SCIC/SCIE/SCIP-INIT)

Student Teaching Experience


Students enroll in MSTC 4363; Field Experiences in Science Education and the field experiences are organized and monitored through this course. Students are provided with a list of schools that contain approved cooperating teachers and they visit them, during the course of the semester. The instructor of MSTC 4363 coordinates, monitors and records the clock hour visits. During the field visits the students participate in several planned activities; they observe a variety of different instructional practices (labs, lectures etc); they must record information about classroom setups, classroom management issues and complete a variety of observational activities as designated in MSTC 4363, such as teacher and student time and activity monitoring. Additionally, all must maintain a journal throughout the program.

Student teaching is taken in the spring semester after completion of MSTC 4363. All students must complete two student teacher placements, one in a middle school and the other in high school. Students who are attempting to become certified in more than one science are required to complete a third student teaching placement in their second science certification subject. Each student teacher placements is 6 weeks in length, with one week devoted to observation at the school and the other 5 weeks for student teaching. Students are required to be in their schools full-time.

All students complete MSTC 4761 Student Teaching in Science.

Student teaching is preceded by MSTC 4363 Field Experiences in Science Education and MSTC 4000, Science in Secondary Schools. These courses include the preparation of courses of study, unit plans, individual lesson planning, science safety workshops, classroom management, meet the teacher nights, and assessment and communications workshops. Prospective teachers conduct a child study project and prepare and teach micro lessons in science.

In addition to these general courses, all students must enroll in a subject specific methods class (e.g. MSTC 4046 Chemistry Curriculum and Methods Laboratory for prospective chemistry teachers), which requires extensive laboratory work. All students must also complete at least one Middle School science methods course, which deals with laboratory and classroom practices pertinent to middle school students and which is linked to the New York State Intermediate Science Core Curriculum. Students must also complete two pedagogical content knowledge classes in their science certification area (Earth Science, Physics, Chemistry and Biology). These classes address issues of how to effectively teach the content of the New York State Science core curricula and AP science classes.

The program has been in operation for many years and has extensive contacts with New York City schools. The majority of the placement sites are in New York City, though additionally several suburban schools are used, especially for science shortage areas e.g. physics and earth science. All of the placement sites have been extensively visited by program faculty. Placement sites include magnet science high schools, alternative schools and Schools Under Regents Review. The main criteria for choosing a site are the qualifications, experience and willingness of the cooperating teacher.

The majority of cooperating teachers are alumni of our science education programs. Students completing our science education certification programs and who remain in New York City are encouraged to remain in contact with the program, through meet the teacher nights, classroom visitations of student teachers and through eventually becoming co-operating teachers. Additionally, the science education department has many highly qualified and experienced science teachers and assistant principals enrolled in our advanced Master of Arts and doctoral programs. The minimum qualification for co-operating teachers is that they hold permanent certification (or its equivalent) in the subject that they teach, (i.e. a minimum of three years of teaching experience in the subject). The co-operating teachers are provided with a list of co-operating teacher responsibilities and are expected to adhere to these. The list of cooperating teachers is continuously updated and co-operating teachers not meeting our requirements are removed from the list. The cooperating teachers attend introductory orientations and attend several workshops throughout the program.

Students have to complete the 100 clock hours of visitations, complete all assignments and studies in MSTC 4363 and MSTC 4000, including lesson and unit preparations. Students must have visited and spent one week observing in the school prior to student teaching. The students must also complete all necessary paperwork (health forms, Principal consent forms etc.) prior to student teaching.

The students are required to complete courses of study, unit plans, and lesson plans. They keep a journal throughout the program. They must complete all the workshops related to student teaching (classroom management, parent communication, laboratory safety). Additionally all are required to construct a portfolio related to their practice that contains, sample lesson plans, teaching philosophy, sample videos of their teaching, with critiques.

The evaluation is multi-modal, and includes a self-evaluation component, as well as evaluations by the cooperating teacher and supervising teacher. The student, co-operating teacher and supervisor complete the final evaluation collectively. The program coordinator, who makes the final decision about successful or unsuccessful completion of the student teaching, supervises students encountering difficulties during their student teaching. Effectiveness is determined by both formal and informal evaluations from the student, co-operating teachers, supervisor and program coordinator.


Appendix II

Pre-Service Master of Arts Degree (M.A.) with NYS Certification

Science Education (SCIB/SCIC/SCIE/SCIP-INIT)


Advising Checklist and Course Guidelines





Date of enrollment:








Science Content Area:





In the Pre-Service science education M.A. degree, we provide the required coursework for licensure to teach in , in biology, chemistry, earth science and physics and general science grades 7-12. Based on your baccalaureate transcript, an advisor will work with you to design a plan of study, which will provide you with the pedagogical and content area preparation necessary to teach science in your area of specialization in the middle school or high school context. If you have any questions regarding the following course guidelines, please contact us. [See advisor names and contact information above.]


Course Guidelines

Prerequisite Requirements

30 credits in the science area of certification

1 course of a foreign language or equivalent passing CLEP score


Course Requirements


Science Education Methods

(9 points)

Field Experience

(9 points)

Professional Education

(9 points)

Science PCK Courses

(6 points)

Science Education/Equity

(3 points)


36 points



1. Science Education Methods (9 points)




MSTC4000. Science in

Secondary School


Introductory class in the field of science education /place of science education in secondary schools

[High School Subject specific methods course]:


Class in how to teach HS specific to your specialty

[Middle school methods course]


Class in how to teach MS specific to your specialty



2. Field Experience (9 points)




MSTC4363: Intro to Science Education Practice


Requires 100 hours of observation in various NYC classroom- arranged by Instructor –students placed into cohorts over 10 week period

MSTC4761: Student Teaching in Science Education


Requires 100 hours of student teaching in middle school over 6 weeks +

100 hours of student teaching in high school placements over 6 weeks

Arranged with support from Student Teaching Coordinator and network of Cooperating Master Science Teachers


3. Professional Education (9 points)*

Must take minimum 3 courses not listed as MSTC




[Literacy in Science

HBSK 5099 (required)]:



Course in content area literacy

[Special education (required)]:


Introductory Special Ed class

[Elective ]


Remaining courses can be from the following areas: Philosophy, Ethics or History of Education, Sociology, Economics, or Politics of Education, Curriculum and Teaching; Human Cognition, Adolescent or Cognitive Development, Educational Assessment; Urban Education, Multicultural Education and Conflict Resolution.

* One-credit classes cannot be used to fulfill this requirement.


4. Disciplinary Courses (6 points)

Course work in the sciences usually determined in consultation with your advisor


Points (variable)





Conceptual courses in your area of certification




i.e. Concepts in Physics, Biology, Earth Science, Chemistry






5. Equity in Science Education Courses (3 points)




MSTC4007: Teaching & Learning in Urban Science



Course specific to the teaching of science in urban environments


6. Master’s Project Portfolio: A collection of work and assignments produced during the Student Teaching Experience (MSTC 4761) to meet the Master’s Essay Graduation Requirement.

Date Completed:




7. Other requirements that must be met before graduation:



NYS Teacher Exam – Liberal Arts and Science Test (LAST).

Passing Score: minimum 220


NYS Teacher Exam – Assessment of Teaching Skills (ATS-W)

Passing Score: minimum 220


NYS Teacher Exam – Content Specialty Test in your subject (CST)

Passing Score: minimum 220


Attendance at State approved workshop on Child Abuse


Successful completion of a workshop on Violence Prevention


Fingerprinting/ Substitute NYC Licensure



1The foreign language requirement can be met through one of three ways:

­ 1 course in a foreign language;

­ passing score on the CLEP examination; or

­ speak a language other than English at home.

2 Certification requirements are subject to change. The Science Advisory Team will be happy to review these items with you in this case.

3No credits may be transferred to complete the M.A. degree, although prior class work may count towards certification requirements. Consult your advisor for further information.