Graduate Program Course Requirements

The Master of Arts in Science Education has one major: M.A. Science Education. For more specific needs, it can be completed as one of 2 emphases – Physics Education or Earth Science Education.  All three options are available as either a Thesis or Non-thesis based program and all require the Science Education Core courses (Table 1).

Table 1: Science Education Core (required by all programs and emphases)

Course Number Title Credits  
SCI ED 6500 or MEASRES 6205 Research Methods in Science Education (for Educational Research) 3
SCI ED 6600 Developing Science Curricula 2
SCI ED 6700 History, Philosophy and the Nature of Science 2
SCI ED 6800 Teaching-Learning Models in Science Education 2
SCI ED 6900 Trends and Issues in Science Education 2
Total   11

In addition to the Science Education Core, course requirements differ slightly between Thesis and Non-Thesis options (Table 2).

Table 2: Course Requirements for Thesis vs. Non-Thesis options

  Thesis Option Non-Thesis Option
Science Education Core (Table 1) 11 11
Science Content Electives 8 11
Education, Science or Science Education Electives 5 7
Research (SCI ED 6299) 6 3
Total 30 32


Emphases in Earth Science or Physics require a total of 36 combined semester hours of undergraduate and graduate course work in Earth Science/Physics. At least 8 hours of those must be at the graduate level (and will count towards the Science content electives). 

Immediately after being assigned an advisor, it is your responsibility to arrange a meeting (by phone, e-mail, skype if available or in person) to discuss your program intentions, plans and course schedule.  This is the only way to ensure timely progression through the program. Please note that only eight (8) credits (from either UNI OR transfer credits) of course work earned prior to admittance to the Graduate Program can be applied to your program.

Additionally, teaching licensure and endorsement is a requirement of this program. If licensure is not held upon entering the program, it must be completed by the end of the program. International students returning to their home country upon completion of the degree should work with their advisor with respect to licensure and endorsement requirements.

Course Offerings and Cohorts

Required Core Course Rotation

The five Science Education core courses are offered throughout two academic years and summer sessions (Appendix A). Course offerings vary in format and are typically “blended” between synchronous and asynchronous instruction.  It is expected that all core courses will require some time on-campus in addition to the on-line component.  Since most students are full time teachers, this on-campus component will be conducted on the weekends or in the summers. Currently, no core course is offered totally asynchronous and on-line although some electives might be.  Consult with your advisor for the current rotation schedule.

Science Education Distance Education-Cohort

Every odd numbered summer (2013, 2015, etc.), Science Education starts a cohort program in which the five (5) core course rotation is offered via distance education.  These courses are listed each semester in the Continuing Education course brochure. Distance Education registration should be done through Continuing Education and Special Programs online.

Course Load

A minimum load to be considered a full time graduate student is nine (9) hours, all of which must be 5000 or 6000 level courses.  Graduate Assistants must be full time students.  The maximum load for graduate students who are not on a Graduate Assistantship is fifteen (15) hours, nine (9) of which must be 5000 or 6000 level courses.  Maximum load for Graduate Assistants is twelve (12) hours, nine (9) of which must be 5000 or 6000 level courses.

Full-time teachers enrolled in the program part-time are strongly encouraged not to exceed three (3) hours of graduate course work per semester.  However, many teachers opt to take more during the summer months.

Research Credit (SCI ED 6299)

Both the Thesis and Non-thesis programs require the successful completion of a final culminating project, during which, research hours (SCI ED 6299) are earned. It is strongly recommended that SCI ED 6500 Research Methods in Science Education  (or comparable course) be completed before initiating the research project and enrolling in research hours. Research hours may be spread over more than one semester and for varying number of hours per semester, depending on individual project plans. Although research hours may be earned at any time, they are frequently taken during the last 2-4 semesters of the graduate program. No more than the listed number of research hours is counted toward completion of the program.  Requirements to be met for each number of credits are listed in Appendix B.

For projects not completed within the designated term of research registration, a designation of “Research Continuing” (RC) will be assigned as a grade until the project criteria for those credits are completed. RC designations must then be changed to a letter grade before graduation. Project completion requirements for SCI ED 6299 credits are listed in Appendix B.

Continuous Registration (CR)

Students who are not enrolled in courses or research credit will automatically be enrolled in "Continuing Registration" for a fee of $50 in lieu of regular tuition fees.  This type of registration allows access to MyUNIverse and university library resources.  Continuous Registration only applies to Fall and Spring semester enrollment.

Advisement Report and Student Requests

Advisement Report

Upon admission to the MA in Science Education Program an official Advisement Report is automatically created in MyUNIverse.  It is strongly encouraged that you log into MyUNIverse and check your Advisement Report at least twice a year.  Access to your Advisement Report and grade reports is available up to 180 days after your last program update/course enrollment, after which, you will no longer have access.  Contact your Graduate Advisor if you cannot view your Advisement Report.

The Advisement Report (Appendix C) lists all five required core courses, research hours, and initially designates non-thesis program.  Students who chose to pursue the thesis option can change this on their program through a student request.  Elective courses which carry a BIOL, CHEM, EARTHSCI, ENV SCI, or PHYSICS prefix, will automatically be applied to "Science Content electives (LN-020)".  Elective courses which carry a SCI ED pre-fix will automatically be applied to "Education or Science Education Electives (LN-030)."  Movement of these courses between these classifications in order to satisfy graduation requirements can be done via student request in consultation with your advisor. Student requests (see below) can be filed multiple times over the course of program completion as specific courses are taken.

Transfer courses are only applied to the advisement report after an official transcript is received and THEN a student request is filed.

Student Requests

Student Request forms (Appendix D) are available in MyUNIverse and are completed and submitted online. The most common student requests include forms:

  • G: Exception to Policy: Extension of 7-year time limit to complete degree/Waiver of recency

  • M: Declaring electives for the degree (to move electives from one category to another)

  • N: Change to Thesis or Non-Thesis option for MA or MS degree

  • P: Graduate transfer course credit approval (to transfer in and or apply courses from another institution)

Approvals by your advisor, the Science Education Graduate Coordinator and the Graduate College are done electronically.  It is strongly recommended you discuss the details of your student request (including RQ and LN #'s) with your advisor before submission.

Credit Limitations (Workshop, Transfer and Expiration)

A maximum of six (6) hours of workshop credit and seven (7) hours of SCI ED 5500 (Techniques for Science Teachers) can be used on the program.  Transfer credits from other institutions can account for up to ten (10) hours of the degree program.  Only graduate level courses are accepted on graduate degree programs at UNI and only eight (8) credits (from either UNI OR transfer credits) of course work earned prior to admittance to the Graduate program can be applied to your program. 

For transfer credits, it is the student's responsibility to check the applicability of transfer courses using the “Graduate Transfer Credit Evaluation” form available on the Graduate Student Webpage.  It is best to check a course from another institution before you enroll in it.  Generally, courses taken through Iowa Area Education Agencies through Drake or other universities will not apply to graduate programs at Iowa Regents Universities, including UNI.  Graduate-level courses taken at Iowa State University and the University of Iowa are accepted automatically at UNI once the transcript has been sent (no transfer evaluation is required). However, a student request must still be filed to apply the credit to your program.  Check with your advisor regarding whether accepted graduate transfer credits will count toward science content or open electives (if at all) on your Advisement Report. 

All course credits are viable for 7 years from the time of enrollment in the first course counted on a program.  After 7 years those specific courses cannot be used as part of your program unless extenuating circumstances warrant the approval of an extension from both the Science Education program AND the Graduate College.  Requests for extension can be filed via Student Request.  For example, if a course was taken in the Spring of 2010 but the student does not graduate until Fall of 2017 that course will not count toward program requirements. However, courses completed in Spring of 2010 CAN be applied for a Spring 2017 graduation.  Required core courses older than 7 years must be retaken and content or elective courses must have more recent course work substituted.

Page last updated 2-2-2018