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Science Education
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Science Education

Degree Information > Science Education, MS and EdM

Science Education, MS and EdM

Masters Degrees in Science Education (SCTE)

Master of Education (Ed.M.; 60 points)

Master of Science (M.S.; 62 points)

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Brief Program Description

Welcome to the masters’ degrees in Science Education. The main emphasis of our masters’ programs in science education is to prepare students to obtain leadership positions in science education as teachers, supervisors, teacher educators, and educational developers and outreach. A major part of preparing our students for these roles is enabling them to engage in a broad range of experiences that will provide a balanced, extensive, and personalized form of professional development. In particular, we are concerned that students develop expertise in key domains which make up the knowledge base in science education, including deep and conceptual understandings of the disciplines of science, thoughtful exploration of the core science education areas of study (including history of science education, sociocultural issues, curriculum and pedagogy, teacher education, and equity and policy), and proficiencies in the professional education areas of study (e.g., psychology, sociological and cultural studies, history and philosophy), educational research, and technology.

Over the past fifty years, science education has developed into a rich field with a particular history and a set of specialized subdivisions. Fundamental developments in the philosophy of science, the psychology of learning, sociological understandings, and in research methodologies have led to the development of several productive domains, as documented by the Handbook of Research on Science Teaching and Learning (Gabel, 1994) and the Handbook of Research on Science Education (Abell and Lederman, Ed., 2007). We aim to support our students in developing robust understandings of science content knowledge, contemporary educational scholarship and research, and the demands of educational settings and policies. Teachers College offers a unique setting for the construction of productive, comprehensive knowledge in the diverse field of science education, thus playing a vital role in the preparation of local, national, and international science educators.

Getting Started
There are some typical questions that our new students ask about the masters’ degree programs. We provide some guidance by addressing some of the topics that often are addressed for your convenience, and we also include a list of faculty members who can assist you with specific questions and issues that may arise.

Admissions
To be admitted to the program, students are required to have a bachelors degree in one of the sciences or its equivalent and preferably with at least a B+ average in courses within science. Application for admission to the Science Education Program should be submitted to the Office of Admissions. Information on general admission requirements and on-line versions of application materials are available at the Admissions Office website (http://www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/).

Transfer Credits
By College policy, as much as 30 points of approved graduate transfer credit can be applied to the Ed.M. and M. S. degrees. If you have taken graduate courses previously at Teachers College as much as 30 points of applicable TC credit can be applied to the Ed. M. and M. S. degrees. Application for transfer credit evaluation is made through the Office of Admissions. Prior TC graduate credit can be applied to the degree with approval of your advisor.

The following website contains general information on policies and procedures:
  http://www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/admissions.htm?id=Transfer+Credit

Time Commitment
Students, on average, can complete their course work in two years (at a rate of six to eight courses a year), but this pace will vary. Some students may take longer because teaching full-time while enrolled in the master’s program. Others will take longer because they devote a larger share of their energies to an ongoing research project. Thus, students can complete all requirements and receive a Master’s’ in less than three years, although it is acceptable to take longer.

Opportunities Offered Beyond Formal Coursework
Research: Students may spend time engaged in one or more research projects. Research work is supported by advisors, research seminars, and a depth and breadth of research expertise found across the College. In the course of their graduate careers at Teachers College, students may work on one particular project from start to finish or on several projects focusing on different kinds of questions and approaches. In the process they can become involved in the full range of research activities -- including conceptualizing a research problem, formulating and testing a research plan, gathering data, analyzing data, writing research reports, presenting results at conferences, and publishing articles in academic journals. As assistantships, these research activities do more than provide students with financial support. They constitute a central part of the graduate experience in the department -- providing students with a unique opportunity for gaining hands-on experience in all aspects of the research endeavor. Research activities can be used as the basis for the final summative project as required for the M.S. and Ed.M. degrees.

Faculty Advisors for the Masters’ Degrees
The faculty who advise students in the masters’ 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: ora@LDEO.columbia.edu.

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: Emdin@tc.columbia.edu.

Felicia Moore Mensah: Biology content, elementary science teaching, and the application of social constructivist theory and cognate theories to urban science education and enhancement of science teacher education. E-mail: Moorefe@tc.columbia.edu.

Ann Rivet: Earth and physical science content, with an emphasis on the application of cognitive science and learning theory to curriculum development and implementation in urban schools. E-mail: Rivet@tc.columbia.edu.

Requirements for the Degree
The Ed.M. degree requires 60 points (see Appendix I). The M.S. requires 62 points (see Appendix II). A Master of Science degree has a disciplinary content focus and requires extensive content coursework. Conversely, an Ed.M. degree emphasizes a broader view of the field and considers both theory and application of concepts related to science education. See the guide sheets, Advising Checklist and Course Guidelines, (Appendices I and II) for the Ed.M. and M.S. degrees for specific course requirements.

Core Courses and Breadth Requirement
In addition to courses in science content and science education, all M.S. and Ed.M. students are required to take 9 points in “Core Professional Concerns” (see Section 3, Appendix I or Section 2, Appendix II) to establish breadth in professional education theory and practice beyond the specialization in science. Courses that are intended to fulfill this requirement are presented in Appendix III.

Upon application, a 32-point MA degree may be obtained during the course of completing this 60-point degree. Please confer with your advisor.

Summative Project
Both degrees require a scholarly summative master’s project (c. 24 to 30 pages), which is expected to have a sound conceptual rationale and be guided by a thorough analysis of existing literature in the field. It is wise to consult with your advisor early in your program to begin to identify a possible topic for your summative project. The scope and size of the written document should be determined in advance of beginning the project and we recommend that you remain in close communication with your advisor as you proceed.

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:
  http://www.tc.columbia.edu/registrar/detail.asp?Id=Grades&Info=Definitions+of+Grades+At+Teachers+College)

General Organization of Masters’ Degree Requirements
  The masters’ programs in science education at Teachers College Columbia University focus on five key areas of study: 

  1. The Discipline of Science  
  2. Science Education Core Areas of Study  
  3. General Professional Core Areas of Study  
  4. Research  
  5. Technology

In addition to these five key areas of study, students will also be required to study courses in their own area of interest (electives). In the Ed.M. program, students are granted a higher number of elective courses to develop advanced applied research expertise in cognate areas.

Students enrolled in either master’s program may apply up to 30 points of transfer credits from prior graduate work, at the discretion of the College and the science education program.

Obligations That You Have to Complete the Degree
All graduate students are expected to keep in close communication with their faculty advisor(s) throughout their tenure at Teachers College. It is advisable to seek advice from your faculty advisor during the course of the academic year rather than waiting until registration. Please carefully consult the guidelines for the master’s degree.

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.

In accordance with New York State requirements, all Ed.M. and M.S. students must complete a “summative written project,” typically 24 to 30 pages in length, that provides evidence of a comprehensive understanding of theory and practice within the student’s subject domain. Your advisor will provide guidance, but the candidate for the degree must take initiative to seek advice and to complete the written project before the candidate is recommended for the degree. Candidates must also obtain and fill out an application for the degree when all of the requirements for the degree are completed. See the website of the Registrar’s Office for information on how to obtain and complete the application for the Ed.M. and M.S. degrees. (URL: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/registrar/detail.asp?Id=Forms&Info=Forms)

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.

Keeping in Communication after Graduation
We are eager to remain in communication with our graduates upon completion of their degrees. Our graduates enter the educating professions at many different levels and at institutions around the world. Our Alumni Office will remain in communication with you at the College level, but we also would like to keep you informed about events and accomplishments of our students, graduates, and faculty of the Department by informal and formal means. Informally, we do hope that you will make an opportunity from time-to-time to keep us informed of your current address and any of your professional and academic activities and achievements by sending an e-mail message or other forms of communication to our Director of Administration and/or the faculty. Formally, we will be pleased to send you the Newsletter published by the Department that contains newsworthy information about the College, our Department and our alumni. From time-to-time we also have events specifically for our alumni and we would be most pleased if you were able to attend. Please consult the website for the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology for up-to-date information. (URL: http://www.tc.edu/MST/Science/)



Advising Checklist and Course Guidelines

Master of Education Degree (Ed.M.)

Science Education (SCTE)

Name:

 


 


 


Date of enrollment:

 


 


 


Advisor:

 


 


 


Science Content Area:

 


 


 


 

 

Course Requirements

 

Disciplinary Courses

(9 points)

Core Science Education Courses

(12 points)

Core Professional Concerns

(9 points)

Research Methodologies

(6 points)

Technology

(3 points)

Electives

(15-18 points)

Summative Project Advisement

(3-6 points)

Total:

60 points

 

A maximum of 30 graduate level credits may be transferred to meet the degree requirements in the following areas: disciplinary course, core professional concerns, research methodologies, technology and electives.

 

1. Disciplinary Courses (9 points)

Course

Points

Term Completed

MSTC5041: Nature and Practices of Science

3

 

[PCK course1]

 

3

 

 

 

 

 

1At the advisor’s discretion.

 

2. Science Education Courses2 (12 points)

Course

Points

Term Completed

MSTC 6502: Science Education Seminar

3

 

MSTC 5048: Curriculum & Pedagogy in Science Education

3

 

MSTC 4007: Urban and Multicultural Education

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2Select courses from above and general course topics to fulfill 12 points.

 

 

3. Core Professional Concerns3 [Breadth Requirement] (9 points)

Course

Points

Term Completed

[Broad and Basic Foundations of Education] (List 1, Appendix III)

 

 

 

[Broad and Basic Foundations of Education] (List 2, Appendix III)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3Select courses from general course topics course lists 1 and 2 to fulfill 6 points; all must be courses outside of MSTC.

 

4. Research Methodologies (6 points)

Course

Points

Term Completed

[Introduction to Qualitative Research]

 

 

 

[Introduction to Quantitative Research]

 

 

 

 

5. Technology (3 points)

Course

Points

Term Completed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Electives4 (15-18 points)

Course

Points

Term Completed

 

 


 


 


 

 


 


 


 

 


 


 


 

 


 


 


 

 


 


 


4Students may develop a particular area of interest, i.e. a content area, teacher education, curriculum development, technology, etc. All elective courses must be approved by your advisor.

 

7. Summative Project Advisement (3-6 points)

Course

Points

Term Completed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix II

Advising Checklist and Course Guidelines

Master of Science Degree (M.S.)

Science Education (SCTE)

Name:

 


 


 


Date of enrollment:

 


 


 


Advisor:

 


 


 


Science Content Area:

 


 


 


 

 

Course Requirements

 

Disciplinary Science Education & Content Courses

(36 points)

Core Professional Concerns

(6 points)

Research Methodologies

(9 points)

Technology

(3 points)

Electives

(0-6 points)

Summative Project Advisement

(0-2 points)

Total:

62 points

 

A maximum of 30 graduate level credits may be transferred to meet the degree requirements in the following areas: disciplinary courses, core professional concerns, research methodologies, technology, and electives.

 

1. Disciplinary Science Education Courses1 (36 points: 12 Sci. Ed. & 24 Science)

Course

Points

Term Completed

MSTC 6501: Science Education Seminar

3

 

MSTC 5048: Curriculum & Pedagogy in Science Education

3

 

MSTC 5041: Nature and Practices of Science

3

 

[PCK course1]

3

 

Science Content Courses (can be taken at TC or any-where in the University)2

24

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1At the advisor’s discretion.

2 Twenty-four (24) points may be used as content specialization or research interest.

 

2. Core Professional Concerns3 [Breadth Requirement] (6 points)

Course

Points

Term Completed

Broad and Basic Foundations of Education (List 1) Appendix III

 

3

 

Broad and Basic Foundations of Education (List 2) Appendix III

 

3

 

 

 

 

 

3Select courses from general course topics to fulfill 6 points; must take courses outside of MSTC

 

3. Research Methodologies (9 points)

Course

Points

Term Completed

MSTC 5044.01: Introduction to Qualitative Research in Science4

 

3

 

[Introduction to Quantitative Research]

 

3

 

[Basic statistics, advanced statistics, specialized research methods, program evaluation]

3

 

4Qualitative research methods in science education course is taken after completion of first year in the program

 

4. Technology (3 points)

Course

Points

Term Completed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Electives5 (0-6 points)

Course

Points

Term Completed

Advisor’s Approval

 

 


 


 


 


 

 


 


 


 


5Students may develop a particular area of interest, i.e. a content area, teacher education, curriculum development, technology, etc. All elective courses must be approved by your advisor.

 

6. Summative Project Advisement (0-2 points)

Course

Points

Term Completed

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix III

Breadth Requirement Courses

List 1 and List 2 for the SCTE Masters’ Degrees

 

List 1: Foundations/philosophy/history/policy/culture

A&HH 4070  History of education in the United States

A&HH 4076  History of urban education

A&HH 5076  History of African American education

A&HF 4061  Introduction to cultural studies

A&HF 4090  Philosophies of education

A&HF 4094  School and society

A&HF 4190  American philosophies of education

A&HF 4194  Dialogue and difference in the multicultural classroom

A&HF 4060  Youth cultures

A&HF 5190  Critical perspectives on philosophy and education

A&HR 5075 Knowledge and human values

A&HW 5530 History of American social thought

C&T 4004  School change

C&T 4002 Curriculum theory and history

C&T 4005 Principles of teaching and learning

C&T 4032 Gender, difference and curriculum

C&T 4161 The teacher: Socio-historical, cultural contexts of teaching

C&T 5074 Curriculum and teaching policy

HUDF 4000 Education and public policy

ITSF 4010  Cultural and social bases of education

ITSF 4011  Social context of education

ITSF 4012  Cross-cultural studies of learning

ITSF 4014  Urban situations and education

ITSF 4075  Cross-cultural communication and classroom ecology

ITSF 4051  Education and economic development

ITSF 4057  Economics of urban and minority education

MSTU 4005  Equity, ethics, and social issues in educational technology

ORLF 4040  American politics and education

ORLF 4043  Political thought and education

ORLF 5042  Urban politics and education

ORLF 5044  Modern political theory and education

 

List 2: Sociology/psychology/cognition

A&HF 5093  Ways of knowing

BBS 4032 Neuroscience of human speech

HUDK 4015 Psychology of thinking

HUDK 4029  Human cognition and learning

HUDK 4080  Educational psychology

HUDK 4820 Education for thinking: Goals and methods for middle school

HUDK 5023  Cognitive development

HUDK 5125 Cross-cultural developmental psychology

HUDF 4021  Sociology of education

HUDF 4022  Sociology of urban education

HUDF 4027  Sociology of classrooms

HUDF 4029  Sociology of schools

HUDF 5022  Sociological analysis of educational systems

MSTU 4133-4134 Cognition and computers

MSTU 5035  Technology and metacognition

ORLJ 4005  Organizational psychology