What Is an MS in STEM Education?
“STEM” education—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—addresses education policy and curriculum choices in schools from K-12 through college to improve competitiveness in technology development. These subjects have often been taught in isolation; in STEM education, they are taught as an integrated curriculum instead.
The Master of Science in STEM Education is designed for those who seek to further their knowledge of the subject matter, educational theory, research, and practice in one of four specializations:
- Science Education,
- Mathematics Education,
- Educational Technology, or
- Elementary Science Education.
Most graduates of these specializations have gone on to teach in K-16 institutions, usually in STEM areas, in the US and in other countries.
Who May Apply for This Program?
This MS program is open to students who have completed a Bachelor’s degree in a STEM or related education field. It is helpful, but not necessary, to have some teaching experience. In addition:
- This Master’s degree is designed to build upon prior knowledge and experience, both broadening and deepening it.
- This program assumes that students are motivated by and focused on their professional development and career path.
- All Education courses in this program engage students in projects that allow them to explore interests, as well as require them to expand, integrate, and apply their course material.
The MS in STEM Education is a 30-credit degree program. It typically takes at least 1.5 years to complete all degree requirements, including a final program examination (i.e., either a thesis defense or a comprehensive oral examination). However, students who work (e.g., teach) and take classes on a part-time basis often require additional time to complete their degree requirements.
Options for Each Specialization
From a practical perspective, there are four options available to students in each specialization:
- a thesis research option;
- a non-thesis research option;
- a case study/project option; and
- a professional option, which consists solely of coursework (i.e., no research or project).
Students who have selected each of these options have entered PhD degree programs either here at Florida Tech or at other universities in the US as well as in other countries.
Grapple with the Most Vital Issues Facing a High-Tech Global Future
STEM education has implications for workforce development, national security concerns, and immigration policy because of the perceived lack of qualified candidates for high-tech jobs. Enabling US citizens to be well versed in the STEM fields is a key portion of the country’s public education agenda. By cultivating an interest in the natural and social sciences in preschool or immediately following school entry, the chances of STEM success in high school can be greatly improved.
Many organizations in the US follow the guidelines of the National Science Foundation (NSF), which uses a broader definition of STEM subjects that includes subjects in the fields of chemistry, computer and information technology science, engineering, geosciences, the life sciences, mathematical sciences, physics and astronomy, the social sciences (anthropology, economics, psychology, and sociology), and STEM education and learning research.
“Why Pursue an MS in STEM Education at Florida Tech? ”
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You have two graduate study opportunities:
You have three graduate study opportunities:
You have two graduate study opportunities:
Located in the Middle of Florida's High-tech Corridor
The average college simply cannot beat Florida Tech’s location. The 130-acre campus is located on the Space Coast (so named because of the presence of NASA and the Kennedy Space Center on Cape Canaveral just north of us). The area has the fifth largest high-tech workforce in the country, with more than 5,000 high-tech corporations and government and military organizations located nearby, providing a variety of internship and employment opportunities. It is also near other STEM-rich resources such as the Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic coast, as well as a strong public school system and area private schools.
Advantages of pursuing this MS degree at Florida Tech:
- it has a lengthy tradition of strong academic programs in the sciences, mathematics, engineering, and computer science;
- the specializations in this program been offered for more than 30 years, and are well-known at the local, state, national, and international levels; and
- students are encouraged to enhance their knowledge and skills in both content and education.
A Firm Grounding in Environmental and Scientific Research
This master of science program in STEM Education develops and enhances knowledge of subject matter and educational theory, research, and practice in one of four areas of STEM education (science education, mathematics education, educational technology, elementary science education). The program includes graduate coursework in STEM content, education, and research. Education coursework will complement previous educational experience.
The program can be taken on either a full- or part-time basis. Graduate courses in education are offered in the evening to allow teachers and other working professionals to complete degree requirements.
Besides courses in the essentials of educational statistics, educational research, and theories and trends in education, the four specializations have different educational emphases. Science Education, for example, offers classes in the content and methods in science education for both lower-level and upper-level elementary grades, current topics in science education, methodologies in ecology and environmental science and issue investigation, while Educational Technology has courses in methods and management of middle and secondary school teaching, the use of computers in education, educational software evaluation and design, and current topics in computer education.
“What STEM Education Research or other Opportunities Can I Expect? ”
Participate in Cutting-Edge Research
In this MS program, students have undertaken a variety of research projects, usually toward the end of their degree program. Projects have included:
- reviews of educational materials and resources,
- curriculum development,
- development and piloting of teaching materials,
- needs assessment and program evaluation studies,
- development and piloting of instruments/procedures for participant assessment,
- studies involving surveys, and
- reviews of research or theoretical literature.
Many have done this for a specific program, both within our region and far beyond it.
Students in this program have participated in and presented their work at state conferences (e.g., the Florida Association of Science Teachers and the Florida Council of Teachers of Mathematics) and national/international conferences (e.g., the National Science Teachers Association, The National Association for Research in Science Teaching, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and the Future of Education Technology Conference. Many have published their work.
“How Will an MS Benefit My STEM Education Career? ”
The Department of Labor identified 14 sectors that are “projected to add substantial numbers of new jobs to the economy or affect the growth of other industries or are being transformed by technology and innovation requiring new sets of skills for workers”:
- advanced manufacturing,
- financial services,
- geospatial technology,
- homeland security,
- information technology,
Most graduates of our program’s four specializations have gone on to teach in K-16 institutions, usually in STEM areas, both in the US and in other countries. Those with sufficient ability and experience have served as department heads and district curriculum specialists.
Graduate Degree Programs
Students graduating from this MS program can—and do—pursue PhD degrees. Many MS graduates have pursued doctoral study in our PhD in STEM Education. In addition, Master’s graduates who have a strong background in their content field because of their Bachelor’s degree and graduate coursework have been admitted into PhD programs in their field (e.g., Science, Mathematics, or Computer Science). Although it is advisable for Master’s students seeking to pursue a PhD to complete a research experience, all four of the options noted above have allowed students to pursue PhD study.