Jun 17, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Bulletin 
2023-2024 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

STEM Education MS


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 18 hours in a content area offered at the University (e.g., BSC, CHE, CSC, MAR, MAT, GLY, PHY, PSE).

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; and (d) demonstrate an understanding of ethical research practices and STEM education research knowledge and skills to complete a thesis project.


Campus: Hattiesburg, Online 100%

Admission Requirements

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-six (36) semester hours of graduate work with a 3.0 GPA as specified below (18 hours must be 500-level or higher).

  • Eighteen (18) semester hours are earned in interdisciplinary graduate coursework.  Additional coursework options may include courses from relevant interdisciplinary programs. These courses should be planned in coordination with their advisor.
  • Eighteen (18) semester hours are earned in STEM Education. Six (6) of these semester hours are earned in research methods courses that will prepare the student for their thesis project.

Comprehensive Exams: To graduate, students must complete an approved program of study with a 3.0 grade point average, complete written comprehensive examinations to demonstrate 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.

Thesis Project: Completion and successful defense of a thesis under the direction of a thesis chair. The thesis chair must be selected from the Center for STEM Education graduate faculty at the end of the first semester.

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 (36 hours)

Content Area Graduate Coursework (18 hours)

  • 12 credit hours in a single prefix from the following list: BSC/BEE, CHE, COA, COS/CS/CSC/CSS, ESC, GHY/GLY, HYD/MAR, MAT, PHY, or PSE.
  • 6 hours from any prefix listed above or the following additional options: ANT, CIE, DPH, HE, PHI, PSY, SME, SOC, WGS

STEM Education Coursework (18 hours)

Students choosing an Action Research thesis are required to take:

Students opting for a different thesis research type are required to take two (2) of the four (4) courses listed below. The courses selected should be chosen in a discussion with the student’s thesis chair and advisor.