Best Online Master’s in Science Education Degrees

Earning a master’s in science education is a convenient way to obtain the skills and credentials necessary to teach science to elementary, middle school, and high school students. Learn more about top programs.

Earning a master’s degree in science education online is a convenient way to take the next step in your teaching career. It gives you the extra knowledge and skills necessary to teach science topics like chemistry, physics, biology, and space science to primary and secondary students. The remote learning format offers the flexibility you need to continue working and manage your family responsibilities while also earning your degree.

This guide showcases today’s top science education online master’s degrees to help you find a quality, affordable program. You’ll also learn more about the curriculum, specialization options, and get answers to common questions prospective students just like you have.

Top Science Education Online Master’s Programs for 2022

The three online master’s in science education programs profiled below stand out from the rest in terms of their academics, learning flexibility, and financial value. These top programs have what you need to take the next step in your education and career and provide a standard of excellence you should expect in any quality program.

Northeastern State University

The online Master of Education in Science Education from Northeastern State University is specifically designed for working teachers. In addition to flexible learning options, the curriculum has numerous opportunities for group learning, including group projects, student presentations, and discussion boards. The curriculum includes 36 credits with 15 credits covering professional core classes that deal with teaching methodologies and 15 credits in science subjects like earth and environmental science. The final six credits come from two capstone classes where students complete a project applying what they learned in the program.

This program is intended for students with bachelor’s degrees and K-12 teaching licenses who want to take on teaching roles with more science education. For more depth, Northeastern State University also offers a STEM Education Certificate students can earn while completing their master’s degrees. This certificate includes teaching on leadership skills necessary for administrative roles.

Eastern Carolina University

The Master of Arts in Education – Science Education from Eastern Carolina University is a standout program in terms of flexible and convenient learning. Its 30-credit curriculum can be completed fully online in 12 or 21 months. The longer option allows progression through your coursework with a cohort of peers and makes working full-time as an educator while earning a master’s degree easier. The shorter option works well for students who can dedicate a full year without working to the program.

Even though students can finish their coursework 100% online, they have the option to finish some academic requirements in person. One example includes a study abroad program that takes place during the summer. Like most online master’s level science education programs, the curriculum is designed for educators wanting to enhance their teaching skills in both a pedagogical and science-oriented manner.

Western Governors University

Western Governors University’s Master of Arts in Science Education online program focuses on preparing students who already have their teaching credentials to teach science subjects to middle school and junior high students. The curriculum covers topics like biology, physics, and earth and space but also helps teachers learn how to better provide instruction to their students and assess their learning progress.

Western Governors University separates itself from similar programs through how students pay for classes and complete coursework. Unlike many institutions, students at WGU can pay by the term and complete one class at a time. How quickly or slowly they complete the course is up to them, but most students can finish all 14 classes and earn their master’s degree in science education in just 18 months. After completing their classes, students write research papers to demonstrate their ability to design and carry out a learning plan covering one or more science topics for middle or junior high students.

3 Key Benefits of Earning a Master’s in Science Education Online

Most states require only a bachelor’s degree for new teachers. However, many strongly encourage teachers to also earn master’s degrees. Below are three key benefits of earning a master’s degree in science education even if you already have a bachelor’s degree and teaching license.

  • Flexible Learning

    Most students who enroll in master’s in science education programs are fully licensed teachers and want to continue their full-time teaching duties while earning their master’s degrees. Many graduate-level science education programs are online for this reason and give students the flexibility to learn from home at times most convenient for them. Online learning also creates learning options for students who couldn’t otherwise attend if they had to take classes in person. Additional flexibility comes through full-time and part-time options.

  • Pay Increase

    Many school districts want their teachers to further their education and incentivize them with automatic pay boosts when they get their master’s degrees. Teachers also enjoy an immediate return on their education investment by simply being able to continue teaching as they did before enrolling in a graduate program.

  • Increased Responsibilities

    Earning a master’s degree in science education online gives teachers the opportunity to add to their teaching credentials. This enhances their professional prospects by allowing them to teach a different group of students or a science subject they wouldn’t otherwise be qualified to teach. A master’s degree can also open doors to a career shift into an administrative role.

What You’ll Learn in a Science Education Online Master’s Program

Every school varies in its philosophical approach to education, and most curriculums offer some flexibility in what classes students take. Even with this variety, most online master’s in science education programs include many of the same types of courses. Coursework focuses on teaching students both scientific principles, theories, and concepts along with advancing teaching skills. Most programs also have a final paper or capstone project to allow students to show what they’ve learned. Below are some of the more popular courses found in a typical online science education master’s program.

Popular Courses

  • The History, Philosophy, and Nature of Science

    This course overviews how society has taught and viewed science throughout history. Elements include not just major scientific discoveries in human history but how they affected scientific approaches and later scientific developments and advancements.

  • Space Science

    This curriculum briefly looks at human progress in terms of space exploration, but its primary focus is astronomy. Specifically, students learn about fundamental concepts of astronomical study, including tools and techniques used during observation and how to interpret astronomical data.

  • Teacher Performance Assessment

    The core premise of this class is to reinforce a teacher’s ability to identify a learning need, then create a learning plan and measure how well students learn from that plan. Besides measuring a student’s ability to learn course material from a particular syllabus, this course also teaches how to conduct self-evaluations to find ways to improve your teaching methods.

  • Research Methods in Education

    Students look at both qualitative and quantitative research and data analysis methods to learn about educational research. A multi-faceted approach is used, which includes not only looking at how to design a research project but how to critically analyze scientific literature, examine scientific data, and implement a research plan.

  • Capstone

    The course begins with students reviewing currently published research about how K-12 students learn academic topics about science. Next, students choose a research topic that relates to teaching K-12 science-related topics in the classroom. Once their topics are approved, they complete their research, gather data, then present their findings in a comprehensive research paper.

Specialization Options

As with other professions, specializing can improve your chances for professional development and advancement. Most science education master’s degree programs allow students to focus on a particular science subject while remaining practitioners. They can also shift their job duties from teaching to administration. The opportunity to specialize sometimes exists at the programmatic level where students choose a science education program with a particular focus, like STEM, for example. Others allow you to customize your education through electives.

  • STEM Education

    A STEM education specialization includes courses covering education and mathematics. This specialization is ideal for meeting future education needs given the importance of STEM. Because of the broader area of knowledge and STEM’s importance in curriculum development, this concentration can serve as a steppingstone into academic administration or policy creation.

  • Climate Change

    The basics of weather processes, the greenhouse effect, and other factors that influence climate are identified and explained in this specialization. Both the physical and chemical science principles of climate change are addressed. Students learn about climate models and the climatological data that helped create those models.

  • Cell Biology

    This specialization is ideal for anyone interested in teaching about topics relating to how life exists and works at the cellular level. Both chemical and physical theories are applied to understand cellular processes like respiration, genetics, cell division, and enzymes.

  • Particle and Wave Science

    This concentration teaches the physics of particles and waves and how they interact with each other to create the fundamental forces found in the universe. Students learn about light, water, and sound along with the characteristics each possesses from the perspective of particle and wave physics.

  • Environmental Science

    An environmental science specialization often comes through electives. While earth and environmental science are parts of most core curriculums, elective courses cover additional topics, such as how organisms respond and react to their environmental changes, natural disasters, and sustainable science and engineering.

Accreditation for Science Education Master’s Degree Programs

There are two main types of post-secondary accreditation, institutional and programmatic. Institutional accreditation, also known as regional accreditation, applies to an entire school while programmatic applies to a particular program or department at a school. While many online master’s in science education programs do not have programmatic accreditation, they’ll still likely be approved by the department of education of the state where the school is located. Schools should still be regionally or institutionally accredited, though. To find out if a school you’re interested in has regional or institutional accreditation, visit the U.S. Department of Education Data of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs (DAPIP).

What You Can Do with a Master’s in Science Education

An online master’s degree in science education prepares students for careers that focus on teaching science subjects from elementary through high school. Certain programs focus on teaching at the postsecondary level or shifting into more policy-driven or administrative roles. Most students who graduate with a master’s degree in science education teach science in schools. They also enjoy higher pay than they did with just a bachelor’s degree. Below are five potential careers that are well-suited for teachers with a master’s in science education.

Career/Technical Middle School Teacher

If a technical or career class curriculum covers many technology or STEM-based careers, earning a master’s degree to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of science subjects as well as recent developments is essential for effective teaching middle school at a career/technical school.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$47,040

$61,820

$99,470

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

Elementary School Teacher

For current elementary school teachers with little to no scientific training or experience, a master’s degree in science education is essential for taking on teaching roles explaining scientific concepts to students.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$43,950

$61,400

$99,420

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

High School Teacher

For existing high school teachers, a master’s degree can provide an instant boost in salary. For those teaching at the elementary or middle school levels, however, a master’s degree in science education can provide advanced teaching skills and science training to teach science courses for more advanced students.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$46,090

$61,820

$100,310

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

Instructional Coordinator

An instructional coordinator creates guidelines and policies for teachers to develop lesson plans and curricula for their students. A master’s degree is helpful because it teaches advanced pedagogical skills and offers coursework that incorporates recent developments in science.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$38,890

$63,740

$101,090

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

Biological Science Postsecondary Teacher

Most postsecondary teachers need a doctorate, especially if they wish to engage in research in addition to their teaching duties. A master’s degree is often sufficient to teach biology and similar courses at a community college, though, especially foundational courses and prerequisite science classes.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$48,720

$81,440

$169,410

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

Costs and Financial Aid for Online Master’s Degrees in Science Education

Like any other graduate program, the limiting factor to earning an online master’s in science education degree is often cost. There are several forms of financial aid available to help you pay for school. Some of the most common include grants and scholarships, which don’t need to be paid back, and private and public school loans, which usually do need to be paid back. Other sources of financial aid include employer tuition assistance and fellowships. Learn more about financial aid and how to obtain it through our financial aid page.

What Your Online Master’s in Science Education Could Cost

School Name No. of Credits Cost/Credit Est. Total Tuition Cost

36

$370/credit (in-state) 

$1,050/credit (out-of-state) 

$13,320 (in-state) 

$37,800 (out-of-state) 

30 

$572/credit 

$17,160 

30 

$517/credit 

$15,510 

*Tuition costs only. Does not include additional program fees or the costs of books, supplies, internet service, etc.

FAQs About Online Science Education Master’s Degrees

What are the typical admissions requirements for an online master’s in science education?

Each school has its unique admissions and enrollment requirements, but the admission requirements are also sometimes influenced by a state’s licensing or certification requirements and processes. Some of the more common application requirements include:

  • An admissions application
  • A personal statement or statement of purpose
  • A resume or curriculum vitae
  • One or more letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts showing completion of a bachelor’s degree program from an accredited institution and a minimum GPA

Depending on the program, applicants may also need to provide GRE test scores and proof of a valid teaching license or certification.

How long will it take to finish my master’s in science education online?

Most students complete the 30 to 36 credits of their online master’s degree in science education in one or two years. One-year completion is possible for full-time students, but it makes continuing to teach while taking classes difficult. Most students choose to take two years, so they can continue teaching full-time while earning their degree part-time. The University of Northern Colorado – Extended Campus is one school offering this pacing option.

Can I earn a master’s in science education completely online or will I need to visit campus?

Most online master’s in science education programs can be completed 100% online. If there’s an on-campus or in-person requirement, it’s likely either optional (e.g., a study abroad opportunity) or a unique characteristic of a particular school’s curriculum design.

Will completing an online master’s in science education qualify me for initial teaching certification?

Most online master’s degree in science education programs are intended for those who already have their teaching licenses or certifications for public schools. By completing the graduate program, they can upgrade their licenses and/or shift their teaching focus into a new area or a different group of students. However, there are a few programs, like the Online Master of Education – Science in Education program from Lesley University, that give students the option to enroll in licensure or non-licensure tracks. The licensure track allows students to obtain their Massachusetts Professional Teacher License while completing the program.