Best Online Master’s in Science Education Programs

by Melissa Sartore
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A master's in science education prepares aspiring and current teachers to thrive in science instruction and educational leadership.

Addressing the need for STEM teachers in the United States is among the top priorities of the Department of Education. Science education master's programs build expertise in STEM fields to hone your knowledge and skills as an instructor.

An online master's in science education also opens employment opportunities for individuals looking to become teachers. Many online master's in science education programs prepare students to earn teaching credentials with endorsements in science-related disciplines.

The Best Online Master's in Science Education Programs

North Carolina State University at Raleigh true View School Profile $$ Raleigh, NC 71% North Carolina State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Students in NC State’s master of arts in teaching science – secondary education (MAT) earn a teaching license and complete a master’s degree in an accelerated format. This MAT program focuses on 9–12 grade science education and is not preparation for research–based doctorate educational programs.

NCSU’s online master’s in science education employs a hybrid model that includes both on–campus and online courses. The 33 credit MAT program requires students to maintain a 3.0 GPA, and courses topics include technology tools for science teaching and exploring diversity in classroom and community. All students participate in a semester–long teaching experience in which they apply their learning to real–world teaching scenarios.

To gain admission, students must provide proof of a 3.0 cumulative undergraduate GPA, and a bachelor’s degree in a scientific field from a institution recognized by a regional accreditation agency, such as Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Perspective students also must have a combined score of 300 on both verbal and quantitative sections in the GRE, with tests from within the last five years.

The state of North Carolina requires science teachers to earn a comprehensive license, and NC State delivers a broad–based curriculum that emphasizes the interdependence of the sciences.

East Carolina University true View School Profile $$$ Greenville, NC 58% East Carolina University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Located in Greenville, NC, East Carolina University offers a completely online master of arts in education – science education. The MA prepares graduates to teach in a two–year college setting or to boost their own professional advancement. To gain admission, students must have graduated with a science–based bachelor’s degree, and provide proof of a cumulative 2.7 GPA from their undergraduate degree or a 3.0 GPA during their senior year and major courses. ECU accepts either the GRE or MAT as an entrance exam for graduate applicants. This program also requires three letters of recommendation, and a letter of intent from prospective students.

The 36 credit curriculum requires at least 18 credits in physical, biological, or earth science, and include perspectives on science education, contemporary approaches to teaching biological science, and advanced methods in science teaching and learning. Another 12 credits are completed within science education, with the remaining six credits taken via electives. Students also must complete a thesis, pass a comprehensive science education examination, and attain a 3.0 cumulative GPA throughout their coursework.

Due to state education regulations, ECU does not offer this degree to students residing in Alabama, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Maryland, and Ohio.

Oregon State University true View School Profile $$$ Corvallis, OR 61% Oregon State University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

Oregon State University’s Ecampus offers a completely online master of education – advanced science and mathematics education for those wanting to teach science to K–12 students, or to simply gain further expertise in the field. This online master’s in science education also allows working educators to use their workplaces to conduct research for a required project within the degree.

Applicants must have a 3.0 cumulative GPA in undergraduate courses, a bachelor’s degree in a related field, at least a year of teaching experience, and access to an educational setting in which to conduct coursework research. This program also accepts up to 15 transfer graduate credits. This program does not provide professional licensure outside of Oregon.

OSU’s master’s degree is a two year, cohort–based program, which enables students to participate in an active learning community throughout their education. All courses are completed online — though some require locally proctored exams — and are taught by the same expert faculty as their on–campus counterparts. The 45 credit degree requires 18 credits in core courses, 12 credits for specialized courses, and the remaining 15 credits for electives. Coursework includes advanced science and mathematics education, educational leadership, and research methods in education and action research. OSU runs on a quarter system, each lasting 11 weeks. Out–of–state students pay the same in tuition as their in–state counterparts.

Nova Southeastern University true View School Profile $$$$ Fort Lauderdale, FL 42% Nova Southeastern University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

NSU’s Fischler College of Education, located in Fort Lauderdale, offers a master of science in education with a specialization in science education. This master’s in science education online program prepares graduates for middle and high school level science education, and is geared specifically for educators looking to boost their expertise in their field. Applicants must possess a minimum cumulative 2.5 GPA from their undergraduate degree to apply.

Coursework in this master of science include interdisciplinary earth science for teachers, teaching comprehensive ocean studies, and teaching inquiry–based life science. Students complete 36 credits to graduate, and participate in a culminating professional experience, where they apply learned coursework to a real life teaching scenario. A 3.0 cumulative GPA is required to graduate.

The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) provides accreditation to NSU’s College of Education, and covers the online advanced educator programs, but does not cover re–licensure. Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges give accreditation to the NSU school as a whole. Students residing outside of Florida should check with their state department of education to make sure that this degree meets their state’s education requirements. Out–of–state students pay the same as their in–state counterparts.

Hamline University true View School Profile $$$$ Saint Paul, MN 56% Hamline University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Hamline offers an online master of arts in education: natural science and environmental education that features a required field research component within your community. Located in Saint Paul, MN, Hamline is the only United Methodist university in the state. Students in this online master’s in science education complete coursework asynchronously, and in as little as 18–24 months. Graduates pursue careers as teachers, naturalists, non–profit leaders, and museum directors, among many others.

This 34 credit master’s degree contains 24 credits of required courses in topics like the environment and society, history of the environment, and ecological systems. The remaining 10 credits are electives, and may be earned via finishing the school’s Environmental Education certificate, taking continuing studies courses within the graduate school, or from classes offered in any other continuing studies certificate program. Students also complete a capstone project or capstone thesis to graduate. A maximum of five graduate credits can be transferred from previous graduate work at Hamline or another outside institution. Hamline uses a blend of cutting edge online technology platforms to deliver content, including Blackboard, Lynda, Piperline, and Moodle. Professors offer one–to–one feedback through the phone or video software programs like Google Hangouts.

North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE) gives accreditation to this program, which is part of only seven other programs that receive the same accreditation. Out–of–state students pay the same as in–state students.

University of Nebraska at Kearney View School Profile $$$ Kearney, NE 63% University of Nebraska at Kearney is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

UNK is a mid–sized, public university that makes up one of the four schools in the University of Nebraska system. The online master of science in education: science/math education is designed for educators looking to gain further expertise in their field as 7–12 grade educators. Applicants must provide proof of a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certificate in physical science, math, biology, chemistry, or physics.

Students complete 36 credits to graduate, including 12 credits in a specific focus like chemistry, physical science/physics, biology, or math. Other coursework includes natural science curriculum and curriculum development in multicultural education, each designed to build a solid foundation for science/math education. Students in this master’s in science education online program also must pass a comprehensive final exam within their field of study, while a three–credit capstone course provides an opportunity to create a new curricular unit — or recreate an old one — to use within the classroom.

The remaining curriculum consists of nine credits of general teaching courses, six credits of math or science outside the student’s area of focus, and six credits of electives. Degree seekers should expect a three–credit course to take, on average, 9–12 hours per week. Online students use Microsoft Imagine, and SmarterMeasure, which helps learners understand their strengths and weaknesses in distance learning.

Applicants from out–of–state should determine if this program fulfills their state’s educational requirements as an advanced degree in science/math education.

Northern Arizona University View School Profile $$ Flagstaff, AZ 54% Northern Arizona University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

NAU, located in Flagstaff, AZ, offers a master of arts in science teaching (MAST) completely online. The program is designed for secondary educators to enhance their knowledge in the field or advance their current careers, especially those who specialize in chemistry or biology. Graduates find careers in a range of educational settings, including middle schools and high schools, both private and public, as science education leaders, and are prepared for advanced study for a Phd. or Ed.D. CAEP accredits this degree program, ensuring quality in educator preparation. Students must show a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 from their undergraduate studies to be admitted.

This online master’s in science education requires students to complete 30 credits with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. The curriculum includes 15 credits of science content courses, 12 credits of science education courses, and a three–credit thesis or non–thesis capstone project. NAU gives a maximum of six years for students to graduate from the program.

NAU offers this online MAST degree only in a synchronous format; students attend courses through video conferencing at predetermined times. For learners living in the Flagstaff area, NAU offers first year science classes on campus as well as online. For part–time students, the degree can take an average of two years to complete, with six credits taken every semester, and 3–6 credits during the summer.

Columbus State University View School Profile $$ Columbus, GA 49% Columbus State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

CSU’s College of Education and Health Professions, located in Columbus, GA, offers an online master of arts secondary education: science for educators looking to boost their careers. This school provides top notch teaching programs both on–campus and online. Admission to this master’s in science education online program requires a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA on all previous undergraduate and graduate coursework, a passing score on the Georgia Assessments for the Certifications of Educators or the GRE, ACT, or SAT, and a bachelor’s degree in a related field or 26–44 hours of related coursework from a regionally accredited school. CSU allows a maximum of nine transfer credits with a C grade or higher. This program only accepts incoming students in the fall semester.

This 39 credit master’s degree includes coursework in classroom management, knowledge of students, and methods in teaching secondary science. Students also complete in–classroom teaching with either a teaching internship or student teaching course. Learners must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 throughout the program and cannot graduate with two or more courses with a C or lower grade. All students must complete this degree within seven years of their admission.
CAEP and Georgia Professional Standards Commission grants accreditation to CSU's educator preparation programs. Out-of-state applicants must check that this online educational degree matches their state's educational regulations by emailing the program beforehand.

Western Michigan University View School Profile $$$ Kalamazoo, MI 34% Western Michigan University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

WMU’s Mallinson Institute for Science Education provides a fully online master of arts in science education that prepares graduates to teach science in a primary or secondary school setting, or for advancement to a doctoral program in science education. This program does not require the GRE, and individuals may submit applications any time of the year due to rolling admissions. Students may use up to six transfer credits from another graduate science teaching program.

This 30 credit online master’s in science education requires science education core courses, science content classes, and higher level science education courses. The final six credits are completed via elective courses, a thesis, or an independent project.

Diverse course offerings include cognition and teaching, evolution for teachers, and intro to astronomy. WMU also provides online students the chance to take the history/philosophy of science, the history/philosophy of science education, and models of teaching and learning courses on–campus if they live locally. Online students benefit from many assistance, including the ability to set up Skype appointments with the Writing Center. Out–of–state students pay the same tuition as in–state students.

WMU, located in Kalamazoo, MI, has been a leading national research university for over a century. WMU boasts three campuses throughout Kalamazoo, as well as regional locations throughout Michigan and Florida.

Montana State University View School Profile $$$ Bozeman, MT 56% Montana State University – Bozeman is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

MSU, located in Bozeman, MT, offers an online master of science in science education to educators looking to advance in their careers. MSU is Montana’s largest university and boasts a national reputation for providing excellent educational opportunities. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities grants accreditation to MSU, as well as CAEP for the school’s educational degree programs.

This 30 credit online master’s in science education requires 12 credits of interdisciplinary science courses in a variety of related fields, including environmental science, physics, earth science, biology, chemistry, engineering, and microbiology. The remaining credits consist of 14 core education credits, and four elective credits from either science or education departments. Degree–seekers take, on average, two to three years to complete their program. Starting dates at the beginning of the fall, spring, and summer semesters provide flexibility to students who need to build their course schedules around their busy personal and professional lives.

This program features nearly 80 percent of its courses delivered online in an asynchronous format, while the remaining classes occur on the Bozeman campus, including field and lab classes offered in the summer. Students must take a minimum of a single two credit field/lab on–campus course. Students also present their final capstone project on–campus as well during the Summer Science Education Symposium.

Applicants must provide proof of a cumulative undergraduate 3.0 GPA, as well as demonstrating two years of successfully teaching science in an educational setting.

Best Online Master's

Online Master's in Science Education Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

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Featured Online Master's in Science Education Programs

What Is an Online Master's in Science Education?

A science education master's degree blends coursework in the natural sciences and pedagogy. An online master's in science education develops enrollees' abilities to develop curricula; organize experiments; and engage learners in elementary, middle, or high school science classrooms.

Many online master's degrees in science education suit working teachers by developing both science and pedagogical expertise. The minimum education requirement for a master's degree in science education is a bachelor's degree, but it does not necessarily need to be in a science-related discipline. Individuals who want to switch careers and become science teachers can earn degrees to prepare for that role.

These programs generally last two years. Lecture coursework accompanies interactive activities, individual and cooperative assignments, and field experience. Students may also take comprehensive exams, complete projects, or deliver research papers.

What Can I Expect in Pursuing a Master's in Science Education Online?

During a master's degree in science education online program, students participate in lectures and collaborate with classmates. Assignments, both individual and with groups, accompany activities that allow learners to implement course content in classroom scenarios. Students use teaching methods and strategies to develop lesson plans, design science experiments, and explore effective and efficient classroom practices.

Elective and specialized coursework may allow learners to focus on one subset of science, including biology, physics, and chemistry. Many science education master's degrees include research components. Students may design, develop, and complete thesis or research projects.

Common Courses in Science Education Online Programs

Coursework varies by individual science education master's degrees, but most programs share similar classes. Enrollees study both education and natural science, integrating the two as they develop teaching expertise.

By exploring educational psychology, teaching strategies, and the foundations of natural science, learners can enhance their abilities and STEM instruction as a whole. Common classes include:

  • Laboratory and field safety
  • Teaching chemistry
  • Earth science and systems
  • Diversity in the science classroom
  • Curriculum and instruction

Science Teaching Certification and Licensure

To become a teacher in public elementary, middle, or high schools, each candidate needs a bachelor's degree and a teaching license. As part of a bachelor's degree, aspiring teachers must complete student teaching with a requisite number of hours in the classroom.

Requirements for licensure differ by state and type of school. Licensed teachers may benefit from reciprocity between states.

To teach science, individuals need a requisite number of credit hours in that subject and, in some instances, additional certifications. A master's degree in science education may fulfill many of the requirements for advanced teaching credentials.

Choosing an Online Master's in Science Education Program

Students should consider several factors when researching online master's in science education degrees. Online programs provide convenience and flexibility, which is ideal for working teachers. Prospective students should determine whether a program uses synchronous or asynchronous course delivery. This can influence the time commitments and the length of a program.

Learners should investigate specific courses, research requirements, and practical experience expectations. Tuition, fees, and additional costs should similarly factor into the decision, along with course delivery and timelines.

A student looking to focus on a specific aspect of science should seek out programs with that concentration. Researching faculty members and their research interests can also provide insight into the opportunities available within a program.

Accreditation for Online Master's in Science Education Degrees

When choosing a college or university, students should research its accreditation status. Institutions in the United States can receive regional or national accreditation. Programmatic accreditation attests to a program meeting the requirements and standards established by a discipline-specific body.

The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation accredits educational programs. The Department of Education also provides a list of recognized accrediting bodies. You can also ask individual schools to confirm which accreditations they hold.

What Can You Do With a Master's in Science Education?

Career options for individuals with master's in science education degrees include positions inside and outside of the classroom. Additional opportunities include positions as researchers and instructors in non-educational settings.

Instructional Coordinators

Median Annual Salary (2020): $66,970

Instructional coordinators supervise educational curricula and teaching standards. They also develop and implement instructional materials and assess program efficacy with teachers and administrative staff. An instructional coordinator can benefit from teaching experience and often needs a master's degree or specialized degree. Some states require instructional coordinators to possess teaching or educational administrator licensure.

High School Teachers

Median Annual Salary (2020): $62,870

High school teachers instruct students in grades 9-12. They develop lesson plans, instruct students, conduct classroom activities, and assess student performance through assignments and exams. High school teachers coordinate with colleagues and administrators to develop curricula within a specific subject.

To become a high school teacher, each candidate needs a bachelor's degree and state licensure.

Middle School Teachers

Median Annual Salary (2020): $60,810

Middle school teachers work with students in grades 6-8. They create lesson plans, teach students, assign and grade coursework, and enforce classroom rules. Some middle school teachers specialize in specific subjects, such as science, while others teach numerous disciplines.

Middle school teachers need at least a bachelor's degree. Each state requires public middle school teachers to maintain licensure, but requirements vary by location.

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers

Median Annual Salary (2020): $60,660

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers work with children in kindergarten through grade five. They instruct students in basic subjects like English, science, and math. Some elementary school teachers may focus on one or two disciplines, like science and math or language arts and social studies.

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers develop lesson plans, teach classes, grade assignments, and assess student performance. They also work with administrators and parents to identify learners' strengths and challenges.

Each kindergarten and elementary school teacher needs a bachelor's degree and state licensure.

Archivists, Curators, and Museum Workers

Median Annual Salary (2020): $52,140

Archivists, curators, and museum employees work at institutions that house, display, and research art, science, and historical items. Archivists authenticate, document, and organize archival material and content, while curators design exhibits and workshops. Museum workers include technicians and conservators — individuals who preserve, prepare, and treat museum collections.

Educational requirements vary for each museum position, but archivists and curators typically need master's degrees. Museum technicians and preparers generally need bachelor's degrees.

Common Questions About Master's in Science Education Programs

What's the Difference Between a Master's in Science Education and a Master of Science in Education?

A master's in science education prepares students to teach science, while a master of science in education emphasizes education without focusing on a specific subject.

Can I Teach With a Master's in Education?

Yes. You can teach with a master's in education. Most states only require a bachelor's degree and state licensure to instruct in the classroom.

How Many Years Is a Master's Degree in Education?

Most master's degrees in education include two years of coursework, research, and practical requirements. Some programs may include accelerated options or allow learners to enroll part time.

Melissa Sartore holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her BA and MA in history are from Western Illinois University. A medievalist by training, she has published on outlawry in medieval England with additional publications on outlaws in popular culture and across geographic and historical boundaries.

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