May 23, 2024  
2012-2013 Graduate Bulletin 
2012-2013 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Science Education (Physics Education), Ph.D.

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Doctor of Philosophy in Science Education

The Center for Science and Mathematics Education offers programs leading to the Doctor of Philosophy in Science Education with emphasis in biology, chemistry, coastal science, computer science, earth and environmental sciences, marine science, mathematics, physics, or polymer science.

Within the framework of the overall curriculum requirements, programs are planned to accommodate the professional goals of the individual graduate student. For students holding Class-AA certification from the Mississippi State Department of Education, the doctoral program in each emphasis area can be planned to provide for Class-AAAA advanced certification if desired. Graduates of the program are prepared as candidates for teaching positions at the secondary school, community college, and senior college levels as well as positions in curriculum supervision, curriculum development, educational research, and the informal delivery of education in their chosen discipline.

Admission Requirements

In addition to the general admission and academic requirements for all graduate programs as set forth in this Bulletin, regular admission to the doctoral program in science education requires a master’s degree, a Class-AA teaching certificate in one of the emphasis areas if an advance in certification to Class-AAAA is desired, three years of teaching experience at the secondary or college level, and a minimum GPA of 3.5 for all previous graduate work. Applicants are required to present for consideration verbal, quantitative and writing scores on the Graduate Record Examination, three letters of recommendation, and a letter of intent expressing academic, professional, and research goals to the center director. Letters of recommendation should be from persons qualified to assess the applicant’s readiness for graduate study.

Initial admission to the program may be conditional. Students are expected to possess proficiency at the undergraduate level in the chosen emphasis for advanced study. Students not proficient may be required to take additional undergraduate courses. Regular status will be granted with the completion of 9 semester hours of Southern Miss SME graduate courses numbered 600 level or higher with a 3.5 GPA, a positive recommendation from the center director, the removal of any deficiencies, and acceptable performance on the qualifying examination.

Program Requirements

The doctoral degree in science education requires a minimum of fifty-seven (57) semester hours of graduate work beyond the master’s degree, excluding the hours for the dissertation and research tool requirements, as specified below.

  1. Qualifying exam
  2. Twenty-four (24) semester hours in a content area with a minimum of 15 hours in an emphasis discipline
  3. Twenty-four (24) semester hours in science education including three (3) semester hours of SME 789 - Seminar SME 761 , SME 762 , SME 701 , SME 703 SME 700  or SME 720 , and SME 725  for students in the mathematics emphasis with a maximum of nine (9) semester hours of SME 791  and a maximum of three (3) semester hours of SME 792 
  4. All students must subscribe to the TK20 Assessment System. TK20 provides an electronic portfolio and storage system for students as well as tracks, stores, retrieves and analyzes data for accredidation purposes.
  5. Research tool
  6. Comprehensive exam
  7. Dissertation and oral defense of dissertation (9 hrs of SME 898  required)

Plan of Study. Students must submit their signed, official Plan of Study Form to the Graduate School by the end of the second semester they are enrolled. The Plan of Study Forms are available at - click on the “Plans of Study” link.

Responsible Conduct of Research Training

All faculty holding Regular or Associate graduate faculty status, must complete RCR training modules required by the Graduate School and their departments. All graduate students must complete the RCR training modules required by the Graduate School and their departments the first semester they are enrolled in graduate school. The RCR policy and training information are found on the Graduate School web page – Contact the Dean of the Graduate School if you have any questions regarding the policy of training information.

Research Tool

Additional requirements include demonstrated proficiency in a research tool, usually educational statistics (REF 761  and REF 762 )and independent research culminating in an acceptable dissertation. The research may focus on a problem in the student’s emphasis area that is related to the teaching/learning of the discipline or a more general educational research problem.

Exams and Committee

The department requires a written qualifying examination. This examination is designed to assess both the student’s fitness to pursue doctoral work and to provide diagnostic information to the student’s committee in planning a program. The student’s program will be directed by a five-member graduate committee consisting of two faculty members affiliated with the Center for Science and Mathematics Education, one from the emphasis discipline, one from educational research, and one open for selection according to the student’s research focus. The committee will approve the student’s program plan and dissertation prospectus, and conduct the comprehensive examination, which is administered near the completion of the student’s coursework. Upon acceptance of the dissertation by the student’s committee and following the timeline of the Graduate School, a final oral examination in defense of the candidate’s dissertation will be administered.


Students must meet the residency requirements specified in this Bulletin.

Continuous Enrollment Requirement: Students must meet the requirement specified in the front section of this Bulletin.

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