The program of study at the master’s degree level is designed to increase the professional competency of science and mathematics educators. The Master of Science in STEM Education degree includes STEM education research coursework and STEM content area specializations. Students are encouraged to complete a minimum of 12 hours in a STEM content area offered at the University (e.g., biology, chemistry, computer science, geology, mathematics, marine science, physics, polymer science).
Recipients of this degree will demonstrate (a) graduate-level mastery of knowledge in the student’s selected content area; (b) the ability to integrate content knowledge into curricular, teaching, and assessment strategies for students at different educational levels; and (c) the ability to formulate, implement, and sustain changes in reforming STEM education to meet national standards.
In addition to meeting the Admission Requirements and Procedures , regular admission to the master’s program in STEM education requires a previous a degree in STEM-content area, education, or related field with a minimum GPA of 3.0 for all previous postsecondary coursework with at least a 2.75 grade point average on the last 60 hours. Applicants are required to submit the following materials:
- A résumé or curriculum vitae
- Three letters of recommendation from people qualified to assess the applicant’s readiness for graduate study
- A one- to two-page statement of purpose that depicts the applicant’s teaching experience (e.g., philosophy, methods, assessment experience) and professional interests.
The Center for STEM Education honors a rolling admission deadline. Applicants must complete the online application through the Graduate School and supply all necessary documentation. Graduate applicants must complete the review process before the semester begins or be admitted the following term. Please review the academic calendar for term start dates.
Students who fail to meet the criteria for regular admission may be considered for conditional admission if the Program Admissions Committee and Center Director are satisfied that the applicant shows promise of successfully completing graduate degree requirements. Regular admission will be granted with the completion of nine (9) semester hours of Southern Miss graduate work (500-level or higher of which 3 hours must be in SME) with a minimum of a 3.0 average on all courses taken while completing this nine (9)-hour requirement, the removal of deficiencies, and a positive recommendation from the student’s adviser.
Program Requirements and Academic Policies
The master’s degree requires a minimum of thirty-four (34) semester hours of graduate work with a 3.0 GPA as specified below (18 hours must be 500-level or higher).
- Twenty-one (21) semester hours are earned in graduate coursework, with a suggested minimum of 12 hours in a STEM content field. Additional coursework options may include courses from relevant interdisciplinary programs. These courses should be planned in coordination with their advisor.
- Six (6) semester hours are earned in research methods courses that include a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods.
- Seven (7) semester hours are earned in STEM education
Comprehensive Exams: To graduate, students must complete an approved program of study with a 3.0 grade point average, complete written comprehensive examinations or compile and submit a portfolio showing evidence of mastery of the program learning outcomes, and pass an oral comprehensive examination administered by the student’s graduate committee. After completing all required coursework, students must work with their graduate committee to develop a completion plan for taking written and oral comprehensive exams.
Research and Scholarly Integrity Education: All faculty holding Regular or Associate graduate faculty status must complete CITI training modules required by the Graduate School and their respective schools. All graduate students must complete the CITI training modules required by the Graduate School and their schools the first semester they are enrolled. The RSIE policy and training information are found on the Graduate School web page –www.usm.edu/graduate-school. Contact the Dean of the Graduate School if you have any questions regarding the policy of training information.
See General Degree Requirements and General Academic Information for other requirements and expectations.
Course Requirements (34 hours)
Content Area Graduate Coursework (21 hours)
- Content hours in STEM emphasis area from BSC, BEE, CHE, PSY, COS, CS, CSC, CSS, ESC, GHY, GLY, COA, HYD, MAR, MAT, PHY, PSE, and/or DPH.
- Related interdisciplinary content from SME, CIE, SOC, ANT, HE, PHI, and/or WGS
Research Methods (6 hours)
STEM Education Coursework (7 hours)
Select 1 course from any of the three areas of STEM Education listed below (3 hours)
- SME 532 - Science Methods for Elementary Teachers
- SME 602 – Teaching & Learning STEM in Higher Education
- SME 609 – Dimensions of Learning in Science Education I
- SME 610 – Dimensions of Learning in Science Education
- SME 650 – Informal STEM Education
- SME 695 – Applications of Basic Concepts in Biology for Secondary School
- SME 695L – Applications of Basic Concepts in Biology for Secondary School
- SME 700 - Science Curriculum in the Public Schools
- SME 720 – Mathematics Curriculum
- SME 733 – Earth Science for Elementary School Teachers
- SME 756 – Marine Science for Teachers – Field Work
- SME 757 – Marine Science for Teachers
- SME 792 - Special Problems
Critical & Current Issues
- SME 600 – Dimensions of Science Communication
- SME 622 – International Studies: History of STEM Education
- SME 652 – Critical Histories of US STEM Education
- SME 653 – Culture and Equity of STEM Learning
- SME 701 - Issues in Science and Mathematics Education
- SME 792 - Special Problems
Traditions of Inquiry
- SME 703 - Foundations of Science and Mathematics Education
- SME 725 – Research in Mathematics Education
- SME 762 - Qualitative Educational Research Practicum
- SME 791 - Research in Science Education
- SME 792 - Special Problems