Best Online Master’s in Science Education

by Melissa Sartore

Updated October 14, 2022

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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

#1 Best Online Master’s in Science Education

North Carolina State University

  • Raleigh, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

North Carolina State University, located in Raleigh, offers a flexible online master's in science education. The master of arts in teaching program builds specialized skills for advanced practice, preparing graduates for leadership positions with increased salary potential. With a master's degree, candidates can also pursue new career opportunities.

The master's curriculum blends theory and practice to provide an advanced understanding of science education. Learners focus their training by choosing electives based on their interests and career goals. Applicants without a science education background may need to complete prerequisite courses to enroll in the program.

Online enrollees work with the program to find internship opportunities in their local area. The program encourages graduate students to expand their professional connections through internships and networking events.

North Carolina State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 45%

Total Online Master's Programs: 38

Program Name: Science - secondary education master of arts in teaching

Graduate Tuition In State: $9,095

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $26,421

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,535
Out-of-state
$26,654
Retention Rate
94%
Admission Rate
45%
Students Enrolled
36,304
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Best Online Master’s in Science Education

East Carolina University

  • Greenville, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master's in science education program, offered by East Carolina University from its Greenville campus, ranks as a top program in the field. The M.A.Ed. in science education builds specialized skills for advanced practice, preparing graduates for leadership positions with increased salary potential. After completing a master's degree, candidates advance in their current field or pursue new opportunities.

The master's curriculum explores science education research and methodologies. Learners choose electives or a specialization to gain focused career training. Applicants with a background in science education typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees work with the program to identify internship opportunities at approved sites in their local community. Internships and other networking events help graduate students expand their professional network.

East Carolina University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 79%

Total Online Master's Programs: 41

Program Name: M.A.Ed. in science education

Graduate Tuition In State: $4,749

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $17,898

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,452
Out-of-state
$20,729
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
79%
Students Enrolled
28,651
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Best Online Master’s in Science Education

Oregon State University

  • Corvallis, OR
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master's degree in science education at Oregon State University, located in Corvallis, offers high academic quality. The master of science in education program emphasizes advanced practice skills, training graduates for leadership roles with increased earning potential. With a master's degree, candidates advance their current career or more into new career paths.

The master's curriculum covers methodological and research perspectives. Learners choose electives and concentrations to prepare for focused career paths. The master's program recommends a background in master of science in education or a related field when applying.

Online enrollees complete internship programs in their local area to gain hands-on experience. The program hosts networking events and other professional development activities to help graduate students expand their professional connections.

Oregon State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 82%

Total Online Master's Programs: 13

Program Name: Master of science in education

Graduate Tuition In State: $12,933

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $24,975

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,846
Out-of-state
$29,445
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
82%
Students Enrolled
31,719
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#4 Best Online Master’s in Science Education

Nova Southeastern University

  • Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

From its campus in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Nova Southeastern University offers an online master's in m. Graduates train for leadership roles in the field while earning their degree from the master's in science education program. A master's degree can also prepare candidates for opportunities in new fields.

The master's curriculum explores advanced methodologies and research in science education. Learners individualize the course of study by selecting electives and concentrations. Applicants without a degree in science education or a related field may need to meet prerequisite requirements to enroll in the program.

Online enrollees fulfill any in-person requirements, such as internships, at approved sites in their local area. The program encourages graduate students to attend networking events to expand their professional connections.

Nova Southeastern University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Admission Rate: 80%

Total Online Master's Programs: 46

Program Name: Master's in science education

Graduate Tuition In State: $19,665

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $19,665

Average Tuition
In-state
$31,150
Out-of-state
$31,150
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
80%
Students Enrolled
20,576
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
45% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Best Online Master’s in Science Education

Hamline University

  • Saint Paul, MN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The master's in science education degree at Hamline University, located in Saint Paul, uses a flexible distance learning format. Graduates train for leadership roles in the field while earning their degree from the MA in education program. With a master's degree, candidates often advance their current career or move into new professional paths.

The master's curriculum emphasizes the best practices in science education. Learners focus the program with electives or a concentration. The master's program builds on undergraduate training or professional experience in science education.

Online enrollees complement the classroom experience with internship opportunities in their local area. Graduate students grow their professional connections through internships and virtual networking events.

Hamline University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Admission Rate: 68%

Total Online Master's Programs: 4

Program Name: MA in education: natural science and environmental education

Graduate Tuition In State: $9,596

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $9,596

Average Tuition
In-state
$41,734
Out-of-state
$41,734
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
68%
Students Enrolled
3,404
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
18% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
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%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

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.

Portrait of Melissa Sartore

Melissa Sartore

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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