Science Education

The Science Education major in the Curriculum and Instruction degree is designed to prepare you to address current issues or problems related to learning, teaching, diversity, and policy in science education through research. Overall, the science education major has four signature features:

  • A 21st century understanding of science education best practices. Teachers guide students as they engage in productive, meaning-making work in the classroom—work that involves a talk, joint attention, and shared activity aimed at the construction and critique of explanations.
  • An interdisciplinary experience. Our science education graduate degrees are designed to foster connections and collaborations between education and the sciences.
  • Methodological pluralism. The questions challenging science education today are complex and multifaceted and cannot be adequately addressed through a narrow range of methods. Thus, the major is designed to help you develop a familiarity with a wide range of methods and approaches used in educational research.
  • An intellectual community of scholars. In this major, you will not only move through a set of required and elective courses, but you will also be part of a diverse and collaborative community of inquiry. You will be viewed and treated as a colleague who has relevant experience and expertise as you relate to questions of shared importance.

DEGREES

We offer an online master’s degree for individuals who are practicing educators. In addition, there are face-to-face masters and specialist degrees for individuals who want to perfect their science teaching and/or explore the world of science education research.

In the doctoral program, we select students with the necessary preparation and dedication needed to succeed in this content and research-intensive major. The major has been designed to maximize interactions between faculty and students and to focus on current issues of research and practice. It also provides you with considerable flexibility as you pursue your developing goals and interests. A central feature of the major is the scaffolded teaching and research apprenticeships to allow you to become a productive researcher and scholar of science teacher education.

Please note: These are advanced programs designed for current teachers. If you are seeking teacher certification for Science Education (grades 6-12), please see our FSU-Teach program.

 

FACULTY

Faculty who advise graduate students in the Science Education program include:

Lama Jaber: Dr. Jaber’s research explores learners’ engagement in scientific inquiry in various contexts, focusing on learners’ feelings and emotions within that engagement as well as the study and design of responsive teaching classrooms that promote students’ engagement and epistemic agency.

Amal Ibourk: Dr. Ibourk is interested in finding ways in which elementary students engage in deeper learning when using learning technologies and develop the ability to engage in STEM practices.

Sherry A. Southerland: Dr. Southerland’s research focuses on the interplay between culture, emotions, and affect in the learning of science, the ways in which instruction and instructors can effectively navigate this interplay, and the barriers and affordances to the adoption of novel instructional practices.

Miray Tekkumru-Kisa: Dr. Tekkumru-Kisa’s research focuses on designing and studying the effectiveness of tools and environments (e.g., video cases, educative curriculum materials, professional development programs) for supporting science teachers’ learning and instructional improvement.

Roxanne Hughes: Dr. Hughes’ research focuses on the science identity of underrepresented minorities in STEM, mentoring in STEM and informal STEM education.

Check out the currently funded projects in Science Education at FSU!

Admission Requirements

In order to meet minimum University admission requirements, applicants must have:

  • A bachelor’s degree with at least a 3.0 GPA – An earned bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution, or a comparable degree from an international institution, with a minimum 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) grade point average (GPA) in all coursework attempted while registered as an upper-division undergraduate student working towards a bachelor’s degree.
  • GRE test scores. Official test results are required from the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). These scores are considered official only when they are sent directly to the Office of Admissions from the testing agency. Examinee copies are not considered official. Graduate Record Exam (GRE): http://www.ets.org/ – FSU Institution Code: 5219.

M.S. and Ed.S. Applicant Target Scores:
Verbal – 146+
Quantitative – 140+

Ph.D. Applicant Target Scores:
Verbal – 151+
Quantitative – 145+
Writing – 3+

The Educational Testing Service (ETS) does not retain scores longer than five years. If your test scores are older than five years, you may have to retake the test to have official scores sent directly to FSU from the testing agency. If you have the report that was mailed to your home address for older scores, then FSU will accept that report.

NOTE: The GRE admission requirements for master's and specialist programs have been waived through Fall 2022.

  • Language proficiency test (international students only) – FSU accepts scores from TOEFL (minimum 80), IELTS (minimum 6.5), MELAB (minimum 77), Cambridge C1 Advanced Level (minimum 180), Michigan Language Assessment (minimum 55), and Duolingo (minimum 120)
  • Transcripts – Applicants must submit an official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college and/or university attended to the Office of Graduate Admissions. The address for submitting transcripts is:

Florida State University
Office of Graduate Admissions
314 Westcott Building
P.O. Box 3061410
Tallahassee, FL 32306-1410

Applicants must upload the following REQUIRED supporting documents to the Admissions Application Portal:

  • Statement of purpose – should describe your purpose for pursuing a degree, qualifications and long-term career goals.
    • At least one (1) page for M.S. and Ed.S. applicants
    • At least two (2) pages for Ph.D. applicants
  • Letters of recommendation
    • Two (2) for M.S. and Ed.S. applicants
    • Three (3) for Ph.D. applicants
  • One page resume/curriculum vitae
  • Writing Sample – it is acceptable to submit a paper used in another class, or one that was published.

Application Deadlines

Master’s and Specialist programs:

Fall: July 1
Spring: November 1
Summer: March 1

Doctoral program:

Fall: December 1

 

Tuition & Aid

Information about tuition and fees at Florida State is available here. You can learn more about the scholarship and aid opportunities for College of Education students here.

Career Opportunities

Curriculum choices in our master’s and specialist programs are designed to enable students to become teacher leaders, college instructors, as well as curriculum specialists, state testing specialists and textbook company representatives. Doctoral program graduates are prepared to become university professors, researchers and leaders in the field.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job outlook for high school teachers is expected to grow 7.5%  through 2026, which equates to approximately 79,500 new jobs. The job outlook for instructional leaders/coordinators is expected to grow up to 10.5% through 2026. That translates into over 17,000 new jobs nationwide. The median national annual salary range for instructional leaders/coordinators is $64,450 per year.  For university or college professors, the Bureau predicts a 9.9% increase in jobs by 2026, totaling 2,300 new jobs. The median national salary is $79,550 per year.

A career in science education can be very rewarding, and a typical path offers ample opportunities for professional development and growth. Educators make a difference in the lifelong learning experience of their students, as well as, the quality and standards of the programs they teach.

Admissions Contact

On-campus programs: Katie Sanchez

Online master's program: Jeannie McDowell

Our Students

Alicia Batailles
Alicia Batailles
Doctoral Student
Degree: Science Education
Hometown:

Advisor: Dr. Sherry Southerland

Alicia is a part-time doctoral student interested in undergraduate research. Alicia is also an Associate Director of Florida State University’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Academic Engagement. She earned a BS in Biological Science from Florida State University and an MS in Marine and Atmospheric Sciences from Stony Brook University. Her focus is on

I love being part of the supportive community in science education and discovering new aspects of learning. Everyone is encouraged to share their unique perspectives and engage in productive intellectual discussions. As a part-time student, who is also a mother and full-time employee, I really appreciate the support from my peers and advisors.

Ryan Coker
Ryan Coker
Doctoral Student
Degree: Science Education
Hometown:

Advisor: Dr. Miray Tekkumru-Kisa

Ryan is a doctoral candidate interested in how novice and beginning science teachers learn to draw out and work on their students’ thinking as resources for learning. His research adds to a growing wealth of knowledge about supporting pre-service teachers’ learning to engage students in meaningful science learning.

The other grad students in this program have been so important for my own success. There is a grad student culture here that prioritizes sharing and working together on our nascent ideas and works-in-progress, and that’s really special. Being able to talk about ideas I’m not sure about and receive thoughtful feedback has been so critical in my growth as a student and researcher.

Dionne Gerri W
Dionne Gerri W.
Doctoral Student
Degree: Science Education
Hometown:

Advisor: Dr. Christine Andrews-Larson

Dionne Gerri W. holds a B.S. degree in Marine Biology from Texas A&M University and is a doctoral candidate in Curriculum & Instruction in Science. Dionne has taught science in formal classrooms, afterschool and summer programs, and at the National Aquarium. Additionally, Dionne is certified to teach multiple SCUBA courses (including but not limited to Open water, Advanced Open War, Dry Suit, Fish Count, and Nitrox) and has taught SCUBA in Texas, Honduras, and Florida. Her research focuses on, 1) the science identity development of Black learners in tandem (or in tension with) their racial identities and 2) the local manifestations of historical discourse on informal scientific spaces. 

I love the deepened enlightenment on systemic inequities that I’ve gained from certain courses and faculty. 

Victor Kásper
Victor Kásper
Doctoral Student
Degree: Science Education
Hometown:

Advisor: Dr. Lama Jaber

I’m a doctoral student interested in using critical theories to support STEM pre-service teachers—particularly those from historically excluded groups—in developing their sociopolitical awareness and anti-racist and equitable teaching practices. Also, I’m interested in highlighting the importance of emotions and feelings involved in teaching and learning. Prior to starting the program, I was a middle school science teacher in Miami and Peace Corp Volunteer in Colombia.

Throughout my time in the program, I’ve appreciated my advisors' time and effort to cultivate a personal and professional relationship. Also, I owe a big part of my development to my peers, who continue to push me and support me as we navigate higher education together.

asli kaya
Asli Kaya
Doctoral Student
Degree: Science Education
Hometown:

Advisor: Dr. Sherry Southerland

harini Krishnan
Harini Krishnan
Doctoral Student
Degree: Science Education
Hometown:

Advisors: Dr. Lama Jaber and Dr. Sherry Southerland

Harini is a fifth-year Ph.D. student in Science Education examining the dynamics of students’ disciplinary engagement in science classrooms. In particular, how the student negotiations along conceptual, epistemological, social, and affective dimensions initiate and sustain or terminate the disciplinary engagement. Prior to starting the program, she got a Master's in Neuroscience from Florida State University and a Bachelors in Biotechnology Engineering from India.

What I love most about the program: The encouragement and support that I receive from my advisors, other faculty members as well as peers is what I love and value the most in this program. Also, the structure of the program with its courses as well as research opportunities has challenged me intellectually.

allison metcalf
Allison Metcalf
Doctoral Student
Degree: Science Education
Hometown:

Advisor: Dr. Lama Jaber

Allison is a Science Education Ph.D. student interested in the relationship between epistemic empathy and epistemic justice, and how to support preservice teachers in their development of this empathy. Prior to joining the program, she received a B.S. degree in Environmental Science and an M.S. degree in Science Education from Florida State.

I really love how supportive and caring the faculty and my peers are in this program. Ever since I started in the Master’s program here, I’ve felt like a valid member of the community. The program is rigorous, but I feel very supported in the work.

Sierra Morandi
Sierra Morandi
Doctoral Student
Degree: Science Education
Hometown:

Advisor: Dr. Sherry Southerland

Sierra is a science education doctoral student interested in teacher learning and supporting the creation of NGSS aligned assessments through teacher-researcher collaboration. Prior to joining the science ed group, Sierra graduated from the FSU-Teach program which allowed her to graduate with her degree in biology and secondary STEM education.

What I love most about the science education program is the support from my peers and the faculty. My ideas are valued and I am constantly challenged by those around me to think deeper and figure out what kind of researcher I want to be when I finish.

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Ivanna Pengelley
Doctoral Student
Degree: Science Education
Hometown:

Ivanna is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, with a Bachelor's degree in Educational Studies, and of the University of Florida, with a Master's Degree in Agricultural Education. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction in Science Education at Florida State University, where her research interests focus on equity, justice, and healing in science learning contexts. Ivanna’s professional career has centered around supporting the education and growth of marginalized youth, with a focus on those who have experienced the foster care system. Through this work, she studied the skill of empathetic communication, as a tool to facilitate understanding and connection. In conjunction with her academic and professional pursuits, Ivanna is actively engaged in developing an intentional community centered around empathetic communication and sustainable designs.

Ivanna appreciates the ways that faculty members in this department provide empathetic learning supports for the complex journey into academia.

Danielle Rhemer
Danielle Rhemer
Doctoral Student
Degree: Science Education
Hometown:

Advisor: Miray Tekkumru-Kisa

Danielle is a doctoral candidate whose research interests focus on teacher learning, and instructional improvement in science classrooms through (1) facilitating rigor in science learning focused on students’ experiences with uncertainty in the service of sensemaking and (2) examining tools and environments that support teacher sensemaking.

The thing that I love the most about our science education doctoral program is the support that we get from the professors who are a part of our program. Though my research interests have changed dramatically from my first day. They have always supported me in pursuing any research interest that I had.

Sam skrob-martin
Sam Skrob-Martin
Doctoral Student
Degree: Science Education
Hometown:

Advisor: Dr. Sherry Southerland

Sam is a 3rd year Ph.D. student who is interested in how undergraduate non-majors biology students wrestle with scientific uncertainty that is present in their lab work and how undergraduate teaching assistants support their students’ wrestling and learning. Her research contributes to the growing understanding of how to engage undergraduate students in authentic science experiences.

My favorite part about our science education doctoral program is the support I get from my advisors to seek out interesting experiences that will help me in my future career. I do not think I could have sought out some of the opportunities I have without their encouragement.

Our Alumni

Shannon Davidson
Shannon Davidson
Graduation Year: 2019

Advisors: Dr. Sherry Southerland & Dr. Lama Jaber

Bio: Shannon is a recent graduate of the science education doctoral program. Her research interests are centered around supporting the development of teachers’ and students’ disciplinary understandings of science, the entanglement of emotions and cognition in science learning, and how this entanglement can shape students’ perseverance and sense of belonging in science. Currently, Shannon is a post-doc at FSU working with Dr. Jaber on an NSF CAREER grant focused on cultivating teachers’ epistemic empathy to promote responsive teaching in science classrooms.

In addition to the incredible support and collegiality fostered by faculty and fellow graduate students, my favorite thing about the science education Ph.D. program is the intellectual drive of the department, the mentorship offered by faculty, and the way grad students are considered as colleagues and co-thinkers by the faculty from the start. We are pushed to think profoundly and grapple as a community with essential questions in our field while also being allowed time to marinate on new and complex ideas.