STEM Education Master's Degree Programs

The Master’s degree program in STEM Education provides a unique experience for students in that it examines STEM education from a research perspective. Students who choose the to complete the Master’s degree will have the opportunity to engage in research in STEM teacher education and learning. Our faculty are able to provide interesting perspectives on education and are involved in academic research that investigates current issues in STEM education.  

Please note: Required STEM Ed Core and Advanced Topics courses must be taken for a letter grade. Other coursework (including content courses, research methods, and supporting coursework) may be taken as credit/no credit with instructor permission. However, no more than 20% of a student’s program of work (no more than 9 credit hours for Ph.D. students; no more than 6 credit hours for master's students) can be taken as credit/no credit.

Master’s Degree Programs (M.A. or M.Ed.)

M.A. with Thesis

  • Intended for students who want to develop their potential as researchers and move into leadership positions in education.
  • Requires 9 hours of graduate coursework in a discipline content area, which may be waived for students with a master's degree in a STEM discipline (e.g., physics or chemistry, not science education).
  • Typically take 3 years to complete the degree.
  • Not designed for students seeking certification as teachers.

M.A. with No Thesis (Academic Year and Summer)

  • Intended to be a terminal degree for students who want to develop themselves as teachers or move into leadership positions in teaching or curriculum development.
  • Designed with working teachers in mind. Coursework is scheduled so that it can typically be completed in the evening or during summers.
  • Students taking courses during the academic year can complete the master's degree in 2 years.
  • Those taking courses in the summer can complete either degree in three summers with 1 online course during each long semester in the intervening years.
  • Not designed for students seeking certification as teachers.

Minimum Requirements for the Master of Arts Degree Plan

  • Core courses (12 hours)
  • STEM content courses (9 hours)
  • Research methodology course (6 hours)
  • Supporting courses (3 hours for thesis option or 6 hours for non-thesis option)
  • Thesis (6 hours; only for those pursuing thesis option)
  • Total of 36 hours for thesis option; Total of 33 hours for non-thesis option

Core Courses (12 hours)

All master's students are required to take four core courses.  They must take:

  • STM 385 Knowing and Learning in STEM Education
  • STM 386 Curriculum History in STEM Education

The remaining two classes are chosen from the following:

  • STM 390-1 Equity in STEM Education
  • STM 390-2 Research on Teaching and Teacher Development in STEM Education
  • STM 390-3 Systemic Reform in STEM Education
  • STM 390T Advanced Topics in STEM Education (titles will vary- consult with your advisor)

STEM Content Courses (9 hours)

The minimal course work in a STEM content area (Engineering, Mathematics or Natural Science) is 9 hours of study. These courses must be taken at the upper division undergraduate or graduate course level.

Research Methodology Course (6 hours)

Two courses in research design or specific quantitative or qualitative research methods are required.  Courses must be approved by the Graduate Advisor to meet this requirement.

Supporting Courses (3 hours for thesis option; 6 hours for non-thesis option)

Students are expected to broaden and deepen their program of work through taking a variety of related course work consonant with their scholarly interests, in consultation with a graduate advisor. 

Thesis for M.A. Candidates (6 hours)

All Master of Arts students are required to register for at least two semesters of thesis work.

See the Graduate School's Format Guidelines for Master's Theses and Reports.

Sample Theses & Dissertations are available at the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations.

Master of Education (M.Ed.)

In addition to the requirements for the program for Master of Arts with thesis (see above), students must already be certified to teach at the elementary or secondary level.

Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Certification

Teacher Certification programs for individuals with a Bachelor’s degree are available through the UTeach post-baccalaureate program. Please note that this is a separate program from the Master’s program. We do not recommend that certification be undertaken at the same time as the Master’s Degree.

For further information on certification contact:

Early Childhood-Grade 4 Certification
UT Teacher Certification Office in the COE Dean's Office
(512) 471-3223

Grades 4-8 & 9-12 Certification
UTeach Program Office
(512) 232-2770

Additional program information is available on the STEM Education Graduate Student Wiki