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Academic Catalog 2017-2018

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Science Education

Department of - Mathematics, Science & Technology

Contact Information

(212) 678-8174
(212) 678-8145
Professor Christopher Emdin

Program Description

The Science Education Program at Teachers College was one of the first in the nation to encompass both professional teacher education and a research-based doctoral program that prepares leaders for science education roles in pre-college and higher education. The guiding principle for our program offerings is that professional science educators should be thoroughly educated in their content discipline and bring modern theories of learning and education to bear on their scholarship as professional teachers and in their research for the doctoral degree.

Master’s-level offerings in science content are coordinated with methodology and supervision appropriate for both initial and professional teachers. Advanced master's and doctoral programs include preparation for a variety of positions including teaching, supervisory, and research roles spanning the elementary through college levels of instruction. Some courses offered through these programs are designed especially for students from other areas of study at Teachers College (for example science education methods for elementary school teaching) who need to acquire knowledge and skills in science but who do not wish to earn a degree in these areas.

Our graduates have been appointed in major universities as science and/or science education professors. Many of our graduates have become major leaders in school leadership and educational reform nationally and internationally. Our work in reforming urban science education and broadening the scope of the theoretical base for teaching and learning in science has become more sharply focused in recent years to include neurocognitive, multicultural, and learning theory-based innovations in guiding teaching and research.

Degree Summary

INITIAL CERTIFICATION-
Biology 7-12 (SCIB-INIT)
Chemistry 7-12 (SCIC-INIT)
Earth Science 7-12 (SCIE-INIT)
Physics 7-12 (SCIP-INIT)

Degree offered:

  •  Master of Arts (M.A.)

TRANSITIONAL B-
Biology 7-12 (SCIB-TRAN)
Chemistry 7-12 (SCIC-TRAN)
Earth Science 7-12 (SCIE-TRAN)
Physics 7-12 (SCIP-TRAN)

Degree offered:

  • Master of Arts (M.A.)

SUPERVISOR/TEACHING OF SCIENCE (SCSS)

Degree offered:

  • Master of Arts (M.A.)

TEACHER EDUCATION IN SCIENCE (SCTE)

Degrees offered:

  • Master of Science (M.S.)
  • Master of Education (Ed.M.)

SCIENCE EDUCATION (SCSD)

Degrees offered:

  • Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

SCIENCE AND DENTAL EDUCATION (SCDT)

Degree offered:

  • Master of Arts (M.A.)

For a complete listing of degree requirements, please click the "Degrees" tab above

For a complete listing of degree requirements, please continue on to this program's "Degrees" section in this document

Degree Requirements

Master of Arts

Emphasis is placed on those competencies necessary for effective science teaching as a means of enhancing professional growth of in-service and pre-practice through group and individualized instruction in a general methods course and in courses applicable to specific sciences.

In order to meet New York State Certification requirements, the M.A. degree for teacher preparation programs is comprised of 36 credits of coursework in the areas of professional education, science content, and science methods. The 32-point M.A. degree in Supervision/Teacher of Science Education serves students whose professional interests are centered in the enhancement of science teaching and learning including teacher professional development, curriculum improvement, personal professional development, and preparation for more advanced studies leading to advanced master’s degrees in science teacher supervision. In consultation with your advisor upon acceptance to a degree program, a program plan will be outlined based on your specific content certification area.

For preservice candidates, i.e., those who intend to fulfill the requirements of New York State for initial certification to teach science in secondary schools, MSTC 4000 and MSTC 4363 are required and should precede the semester in which student teaching is completed. MSTC 4000 and MSTC 4363 are both offered in the fall and student teaching in the spring.

Other requirements that must be met before graduation include completion of a science safety workshop, successful completion of the program’s Gateway Performance Assessments for Teaching, and a final master’s portfolio project. See the Teacher Education section of this bulletin for details on other requirements.

Initial Science Education M.A. applicants may refer admissions questions to the program director at tcscience@tc.edu.


Master of Arts in Science and Dental Education

This degree is offered in conjunction with the College of Oral and Dental Medicine of Columbia University. Students in the College of Oral and Dental Medicine at Columbia University who are planning to enter teaching of dental medicine are eligible to enroll for this degree. The curriculum includes content courses in dental medical science, basic courses in adult learning, teaching of science-related disciplines, and culminating research studies on current medical educational theory and practice. Candidates are prepared for a life-long commitment to scholarly reflection and practice as professors of oral and dental medicine.

Inquiries should be sent to Professor O. Roger Anderson (ora@ldeo.columbia.edu).


Master of Science & Master of Education

The Science Education program offers curricula leading to a Master of Science (M.S.) degree and a Master of Education (Ed.M.) degree. Both programs require a minimum number of graduate points of coursework and a master’s paper.

The M.S. and Ed.M. degrees require a program planned in consultation with an advisor who may also sponsor the master’s paper. The M.S. degree requires more science subject matter coursework than the Ed.M. degree, while the Ed.M. degree requires more intensive work in education including science education. The M.S. degree is recommended for science educators who want a professional degree with intensive preparation in science subject matter. This degree is especially appropriate for prospective community college instructors who do not intend to pursue a doctorate immediately. The Ed.M. degree is recommended for science educators who want a professional degree with intensive preparation in science education. Both programs include some depth of study in science, work in the candidate’s specialization, and the development of competence in methods of scholarly analysis. Some credits obtained at the M.A. level may be applied toward the Ed.M. or M.S. 

Master of Science

In total, a minimum of 60 course points are required: A minimum of 30 points in breadth of science content courses, 12 points in core science education courses, 6-9 points in professional education courses, 3-6 points in research methodology courses, and 3 points in technology courses. This leaves at most a remaining 6 points of optional studies to be determined in consultation with the advisor.

Master of Education

In total, a minimum of 60 course points are required: A minimum of 15 points in breadth of science content courses, 15 points in core science education courses, 9 points in professional education courses, 6 points in research methodology courses, and 3 points in technology courses. This leaves 12 points of optional studies to be determined in consultation with the advisor.

Master’s Integrative Project

For the M.S. and the Ed.M. degrees in the Science Education Program, a master’s paper will be required. This project may be an extension of some paper that has been prepared for a course included in the program of the student. The paper may take a variety of forms. It may be a report of an empirical investigation, or it may be a library-type research paper dealing with some problem in which the candidate has a special interest. The form of the paper should be carefully chosen in the context of the candidate’s professional goals.

The M.S. paper must address a problem in science content either through scientific laboratory research, a synthesis of scientific knowledge from the literature, and/or the production of a novel model synthesizing data. The M.S. paper may be a research thesis in basic science within the candidate’s field of specialization.

The Ed.M. project should focus more on science education topics and can be either a synthesis of information or an empirical study. The paper may form the basis for a subsequent doctoral dissertation. In other cases, it may be the culmination of studies that have been carried out in the 60-point master’s degree program.

The paper should be planned and prepared in cooperation with a full-time member of the Science Education Program faculty. It must be approved by a full-time member of this faculty before the application is made for the degree. Hence, the master’s paper is a departmental requirement for the M.S. and/or the Ed.M. degree. Its acceptance needs to be noted on the candidate’s application by faculty for the award of either the M.S. or Ed.M. degree. However, the approved paper is not to be submitted to the Office of the Registrar as part of general college-wide degree requirements but will remain in the departmental files.


Doctoral Degrees General

The Department provides programs for both the Ed.D. and the Ph.D. degrees. In general, the Ed.D. degree places emphasis on breadth of professional coursework with a focus on educational practice. All candidates are required to be competent in both quantitative and qualitative research methodology and to have knowledge of the epistemology of science and of psychology sufficient to be an informed scholar-practitioner.

All doctoral candidates must have a written program plan approved by their advisor.  The approved plan should then be forwarded to the Office of Doctoral Studies. Following submission of the statement of total program, the student normally completes doctoral coursework and engages in doctoral research and writing. Refer to the Ph.D. and Ed.D. Requirements Bulletin, prepared by the Office of Doctoral Studies, for a fuller description of requirements.

Specializations

Students enrolled in the doctoral program may specialize in an area of interest to them pertinent to science education by taking courses in their area of interest. Some potential areas to pursue include elementary school science, secondary school science, urban science education, and technology studies.


Doctor of Education

The Program offers curricula leading to the degree of Doctor of Education (Ed.D.). This program is intended to prepare students for leadership in science education. This program is designed to prepare professional science educators who are (1) educated both broadly and deeply in science subject matter, (2) competent in methods of scholarly analysis, and (3) have a deep understanding of education and science education. Students should also consult the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education bulletin, available from the Office of Doctoral Studies, for College-wide Ed.D. requirements.

In total, a minimum of 90 course points are required: A minimum of 15 points in breadth of science content courses, 15 points in core science education courses, 12 points in professional education courses, 9 points in research methodology courses, 3-6 points in technology courses, and 6 dissertation study points. This leaves a remaining 27-30 points of optional studies to be determined in consultation with the advisor.

The student, in consultation with an advisor, plans a program of study consistent with the student’s prior education and oriented toward professional goals. This program plan is approved by the advisor and then submitted to the Office of Doctoral Studies. In planning a program of study, the student would be wise to pay particular attention to the time when the certification exam is taken. Students are required to complete a minimum of 20 points after taking the certification examination for the first time, including points taken during the term in which that examination was taken.

The certification examination is ordinarily taken no later than the term in which the student completes 65-75 percent of coursework. A special certification examination is designed for each candidate. The certification exam generally takes place in the student’s third year of full-time study. Please refer to the Office of Doctoral Studies bulletin and the departmental advisor for details.

Dissertation Guidelines

The Ed.D. dissertation is a scholarly endeavor contributing new knowledge to the field and should be planned early in the doctoral program when sufficient advanced courses have been completed to permit the candidate to enroll in relevant research techniques courses and pertinent advanced study to enable efficient and high-quality preparation of the thesis. Dissertations in science education can be (1) empirical or theoretical studies in learning, (2) design and formative evaluation of science curricula, or (3) analytical studies in policy theory in science education. The candidate is recommended to seek an advisor within the department who can best guide the design and completion of the type of thesis chosen.


Doctor of Philosophy

This program is designed to prepare students for leadership in science education. The program includes advanced preparation in science to develop both breadth and depth in science subject matter background. Preparation in research methods in science education, as well as study of recent developments in the broad field of professional education, is included in the program. Students should refer to the bulletin, Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, available from the Office of Doctoral Studies, for information on admission, residence, certification, examinations, and the dissertation. The general requirement is for a minimum of 75 points of approved graduate credit, at least 45 points of which must be taken through Teachers College registration. In order that candidates become familiar with recent investigations in the broad fields of professional education, each program will include one or more courses in the nature of education and the nature of persons and the learning process.

In total, a minimum of 75 course points is required: A minimum of 15 points in breadth of science content courses, 15 points in core science education courses, 12 points in professional education courses, 12 points in research methodology courses, 3-6 points in technology courses, and 6 dissertation study points. This leaves a remaining 12-15 points of optional studies to be determined in consultation with the advisor.

Dissertation Requirements

In addition to all other guidelines, it should be noted that the dissertation must be a research thesis based on a theoretical rationale and must exhibit thorough and comprehensive mastery of a research discipline.


Application Information

Preference in scholarship awards will be for those applicants who meet the early deadline.

Applicants who wish to receive New York State teaching certification must apply to the M.A. degree program in a science content area. Science education students seeking M.A., Ed.M., M.S., Ed.D., and/or Ph.D. degrees should have at least the equivalent of an undergraduate degree in the sciences.

Ed.D. and Ph.D. applications are reviewed once a year for study beginning in the fall. All other programs admit students on a rolling basis. See the Admissions section of the catalog for application deadlines as advertised by the college.

Faculty List

Faculty

Lecturers

Visiting Faculty

Adjunct

Full-Time Instructors

Instructors

Professor of Natural Sciences
Adjunct Associate Professor
Part Time Instructor
Part Time Instructor
Associate Professor of Science Education
Instructor
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Assistant Adjunct Professor
Instructor
Adjunct Asst. Professor
Professor of Science and Education and Associate Dean
Senior Lecturer
Associate Professor of Science Education
Adjunct Assistant Professor

For up to date information about course offerings including faculty information, please visit the online course schedule.

Course List

MSTC 4000 Science in secondary school

Foundations of science education. Planning, assessment, and management of instruction. Required of initial science students.

MSTC 4007 Urban and multicultural science education

Students will explore the intersections of policy, science, and society and the impact these have on standard K-12 urban science curriculum and multicultural teaching practices. Drawing from scholarship in policy, curriculum, and teaching, this course explores major issues faced in urban science education, including: (1) the issue of resources (physical, human, and social) in urban schools and how urban science education programs might draw from local resources in meeting the needs of urban learners; (2) the issue of what roles might teachers, administrators, policy makers, and curriculum writers play in the design and implementation of empowering curricular and pedagogical practices in urban science classrooms; and (3) the issue of multicultural science education in terms of both content and pedagogy. This course challenges commonly used practices where multiculturalism is often taught as one distinct and often separate component of the science curriculum.

MSTC 4010 Hip hop and the cultural studies of urban science education

Studies about the teaching and learning of science in urban settings have been a large component of contemporary research in science education.  This course provides a means to interrogate the teaching and learning of science in urban settings through an exploration of the sociopolitical and aesthetic aspects of hip-hop/youth culture.

MSTC 4040 Science in childhood education
This is an integrated lecture/laboratory course. This course provides an introduction to the creation of science curriculum and instruction that attends to current state and national standards. The course is based in constructivist perspectives and has as a goal the teaching of science well with all children.
MSTC 4043 Science in the environment
Exploration of environmental science from an earth physiology perspective. Focus on connections between contemporary environmental issues and environmental science concepts. A community study utilizing scientific inquiry procedures and applying pertinent environmental science concepts will be conducted.
MSTC 4044 Biology methods and curriculum laboratory
Theoretical basis of secondary school science education and its practical application to biology teaching and laboratory experiences.
MSTC 4045 Earth science methods and curriculum laboratory
Theoretical basis of secondary school science education and its practical application to earth science teaching and laboratory experiences.
MSTC 4047 Physical science curriculum and methods laboratory
Discussion of middle or secondary school curricula each offered in separate semesters, stressing laboratory activity. May be taken twice, once for each grade level.
MSTC 4048 Researching science knowledge and curriculum design

Analysis of the organization of and relationships between learning sciences and scientific concepts, with a focus on classroom-based analytical techniques suitable for curriculum design research.

MSTC 4049 Middle School Living Environment Methods Laboratory
Discussion of middle school life science methods.
MSTC 4055 Concepts of Biology
Professional content knowledge course examining the major concepts in biology and their applications in teaching secondary school biology.
MSTC 4056 Concepts in earth science
Study of models of our planet, Earth in space, and weather and climate.
MSTC 4059 Concepts in chemistry I

Prerequisite: one year of college chemistry. The growth of, and change in, the major concepts of the science of chemistry are explored, from the Greek philosophers to the alchemists to those of modern chemistry. Concepts explored: chemical composition and the elements; chemical change, the acids, activity; the nature of matter; and the structure of the atom and bonding. Lesson Plans for high school chemistry teaching are prepared and students misconceptions are probed and discussed.

MSTC 4060 Concepts in chemistry II

Prerequisite: MSTC 4059 or instructor permission. The historical development of selected chemical concepts are examined with respect to the arguments developed in their support, with the intent that current meanings will be elucidated in the process. High school and college chemistry laboratory activities and classroom demonstrations are discussed and prepared. Some experiments and classroom demonstrations are performed. Some higher level chemistry problems and computer animations applied in chemistry teaching are discussed.

MSTC 4075 Concepts in physics I

Exploration of physics themes of molecules and molecular kinetic theory, heat, mechanics, waves, electricity and magnetism, and modern physics. Exploration of electricity, magnetism, light, optics, quantum mechanics, and selected topics in atomic, nuclear, and elementary particle physics and astrophysics.  Of particular interest to introductory physics, physical science, and general science teachers.

MSTC 4076 Concepts in physics II

Practical basis of secondary school science education and its application to physics teaching and laboratory activity. 

MSTC 4151 Modern principles of evolution

Interdisciplinary study of scientific theories about the origin and evolution of life on earth. Includes demonstration and laboratory experiments.

MSTC 4363 Introduction to science education practice
Corequisite: MSTC 4000. Directed field experiences and seminars explore school environments and teaching strategies.
MSTC 4761 Student teaching in science
Permission required. Prerequisites: MSTC 4000 and MSTC 4363. Students do supervised teaching in metropolitan area schools.
MSTC 4852 Informal Science Education
Study of museums.
MSTC 4902 Guided study in science education
Permission required from the instructor with whom the student wishes to work. Independent study in selected areas. Use of professional laboratory facilities.
MSTC 5009 Educational practices and research in dental sciences

This course is an advanced seminar that focuses on the theoretical, conceptual, and empirical literature on dental science curriculum, research, and pedagogy.

MSTC 5040 Science curriculum improvement in the elementary school
This course provides an introduction to the creation of science curriculum and instruction that attends to current state and national standards at the elementary level.
MSTC 5041 The nature and practice of science
This course is one of the required core courses in the science education doctoral and advanced masters programs. It is designed to help students develop an adequate understanding of the nature of science or of how science is practiced. In this course, through the analysis of a number of current issues and problems in science and the extensive use of case studies, students will address questions such as: What is science? What distinguishes science from other ways of knowing? What standards of evidence and scientific explanations, processes, and conventions are used in science? What philosophical, social, ethical, and historical perspectives are important in understanding the nature of science?
MSTC 5042 Science, technology, and society

The nature and interrelationships of science, technology, and society as represented in policy and curriculum for education.

MSTC 5047 Science teacher education

MSTC 5047 is a required core course in the Science Education doctoral and advanced master's programs. The course concerns both inservice and preservice teacher education. In the course, students will conduct research with preservice teachers, as well as practicing and expert teachers. We will examine the classic and contemporary knowledge base of teacher education, as well as current issues and questions in the education of science teaching professionals. Open to students who are not in the Science Education Program with the professor's permission.

MSTC 5048 Curriculum and pedagogy in science education

This course offers students in the Science Education doctoral and advanced master's programs the opportunity to ask fundamental questions about curriculum in multiple ways.

MSTC 5056 General oceanography
Explore physical, earth, and life science content topics through a study of Earth's most visible feature. Particular attention paid to modern socioscientific issues such as coastal development, pollution, and management of energy resources.
MSTC 5265 Guided supervision of student teaching in science
Permission required. Open only to doctoral students. Guided field experience in supervising student teachers.
MSTC 6000 Quantitative methods in science education research

A critical analysis of current published research in science education with special attention to strategies of applying statistical and other quantitative methods.  Designed largely for doctoral students and advanced master's students.

MSTC 6401 Internship in science education
Permission required. Supervised intern service in a variety of field settings including classroom teaching at various levels, supervision, curriculum development, and inservice education.
MSTC 6502 Science education research seminar
Research oriented seminars dealing with a variety of issues and leading to preparation for the doctoral certification examination. Required for doctoral students.
MSTC 6902 Research and independent study in science education
Permission required. Guided independent study leading to the preparation of a major project or paper. May be taken repeatedly by doctoral candidates engaged in research.
MSTC 7501 Dissertation seminar in science education
Development of doctoral dissertation proposals and presentation of proposals for departmental review.
MSTC 8901 Dissertation advisement in science education
Individual advisement on doctoral dissertations. Fee to equal 3 points at current tuition rate for each term. For requirements, see section in catalog on Continuous Registration for Ed.D./Ph.D. degrees.