Earning a PhD in Science Education can help you advance your science teaching career or help you prepare for a more research-oriented path.
Science education is an ever-evolving field, and earning a doctoral degree can allow you to develop specialized skills and expertise in this area.
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There are a number of PhD programs in science education, so it’s beneficial to research your options in order to find the program that is best suited for your goals and aspirations.
Online PhD in Science Education Programs
A Doctor of Philosophy in Science Education can be useful for careers that involve teaching science, utilizing science knowledge, and helping others understand the continual development of the scientific community.
Doctorate degrees are highly specialized for professionals who seek to enhance their skills in specific areas and want to pursue knowledge in those fields.
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Science education PhD programs, while minimal in program variety, are abundant in content. They can often help qualify doctoral students for roles as professional educators or researchers in postsecondary institutions and beyond. Some doctoral programs options include:
- Science Education. This program is the most common title for this particular doctorate. Professional educators can learn how to teach science and share its concepts and theories with others who are both in and out of the scientific community.
- Chemistry. This program equips doctoral students with the knowledge of chemistry and how to utilize this subject in science education.
- Teaching and Learning. This program is designed to prepare professional educators for leadership positions by helping them develop a substantial knowledge base in science education.
Because the subject of science education is very particular, you will likely notice a small variety of doctoral program options.
Science Education Careers & Salaries
Because this field is so specialized, there are a range of science education careers that can be structured in educational, developmental, and corporate settings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are a few career paths that can relate to the field of science education, along with their median annual salaries.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals||$98,420|
|Postsecondary Education Administrators||$96,910|
|Postsecondary Physics Teachers||$93,070|
|Postsecondary Biological Science Teachers||$81,440|
|Postsecondary Geography Teachers||$81,440|
|Postsecondary Chemistry Teachers||$79,410|
|High School Teachers||$61,820|
|Middle School Teachers||$61,320|
Your career options may vary greatly depending on what area you specialize in. Your salary options can also depend on a number of factors, such as your education, work experience, employer, industry, and location.
Science Education PhD Curriculum & Courses
The doctoral program you select will consist of particular courses and an overall science education curriculum. You can expect to see a few common doctoral science education courses across many program maps as you do your research.
- Science in Childhood Education: This course provides an introduction to the creation of science curriculum and is geared toward teaching science well to children.
- Environmental Science: This course focuses on connections between contemporary environmental issues and environmental science concepts.
- Quantitative Methods in Science Education Research: This course offers a critical analysis of current published research in science education.
- Nature of Science: This course is designed to help students develop an adequate understanding of the nature of science or how science is practiced.
- Science Teacher Education: This course examines the classic and contemporary knowledge base of teacher education as well as current issues and questions in the realm of science education, such as multicultural education, for example.
- Qualitative Methods in Science Education Research: This course is designed to support students in qualitative educational research methods.
- Informal Science Education: This course goes over the development of curriculum and teaching practices that support learning in informal settings.
- Concepts in a Specific Science Subject: These types of science education courses examine the major concepts in a specific scientific field, such as biology, chemistry, or physics.
- Science Knowledge and Curriculum Design: This course goes over the organization of and the relationships between learning sciences and scientific concepts, with a focus on classroom-based analytical techniques suitable for curriculum design research.
- Modern Principles of Evolution: This course features scientific theories about the origin and evolution of life on earth.
Depending on your concentration in science education courses and area of expertise, you might intend to utilize your doctoral degree in a traditional classroom setting, in an informal environment, or in a research setting.
Ph.D. in Science Education Admissions Requirements
The specific admissions criteria required to enter into a PhD program in science education will often vary for each school. Here are some common requirements, though, that you may come across:
- GRE or GMAT test scores (if required)
- Letters of recommendation
- Curriculum vitae (CV) or resume
- Letter of intent or statement of purpose
- Masters degree in science, science education, or related field
You can contact a prospective school’s admissions office if you have any questions or concerns about their listed requirements.
Science Education PhD Programs Accreditation
Regionally accredited colleges and universities meet high quality standards for educational and student services. They are also regularly assessed by regional accrediting organizations in order to maintain their accreditation status.
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There are many benefits to attending an accredited school. For instance, postsecondary institutions typically only consider accepting transfer credits if they were earned at an accredited institution. In addition, accreditation can also be a precondition for some forms of financial aid.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
There are various types of financial aid available for doctoral programs students who qualify. Financial aid options can include federal and private loans, scholarships, and payment plans. You can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see if you’re eligible for federal or state aid.
When it comes to scholarships, you may want to explore opportunities provided by your university and public organizations. At the PhD level, there may also be grants or work study programs that you can look into. A number of employers also offer tuition assistance to workers who are advancing their education in graduate programs.
What Can You Do with a PhD in Science Education?
Professionals with a PhD in Science Education can pursue a variety of career options. Graduates tend to pursue careers in educational research or academia. Some prefer to teach science in the classroom, either at the secondary or postsecondary level. Others aim to teach other science teachers or to influence science curriculum for various grade levels, including multicultural education.
Professionals with this degree can often qualify for leadership or administrative positions in the education field as well.
How Long Does It Take to Get a PhD in Science Education Online?
In general, a PhD takes 3 to 5 years to complete, depending on the number of credit hours required and how long it takes you to complete your dissertation. If no dissertation is required, a doctoral program can typically be completed in 3 years with full-time study.
Much like with an online masters in science education program, when earning an online PhD, your schedule can also impact your timeline for degree completion. For instance, if you’re balancing schoolwork on top of additional responsibilities, such as a job or a family, you might benefit from enrolling part-time. This would likely push your graduation date back, but it could also allow you to maintain your various responsibilities.
What’s the Difference Between an EdD vs. PhD in Science Education?
There are generally two types of degrees to consider when pursuing science education at the doctoral level: a PhD and an EdD.
- Doctor of Philosophy: A PhD is a terminal degree that allows educators to pursue a career in higher education as professors or researchers. This degree is research-focused, and educators may aim to inspire change based on their research and studies.
- Doctor of Education: An EdD is an applied or professional doctorate that allows experienced individuals to advance in their careers within their respective organizations. This degree is more practice-based.
Both a Ph.D. or Ed.D. in Science Education can allow you to advance in your career. Your career goals may help you determine which is best for you.
Is a PhD in Science Education Worth It?
Yes, a PhD in Science Education is worth it for many students. Pursuing a doctoral degree in science education can expand your current skills and advance your career options in this lucrative field.
Jobs related to science education are steadily growing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for education, training, and library occupations is expected to grow 10% over the next ten years. Schools and organizations are in need of science education professionals in order to meet standards in student training and administrative achievement.
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Common careers in this field include postsecondary teacher, instructional coordinator, educational administrator, and academic researcher.
Universities Offering Online Doctorate in Science Education Degree Programs
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Indiana University offers a Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction: Science. The program requires the completion of 60 credit hours, including a dissertation. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75, a master’s degree, two recommendation letters, and a personal statement.
Indiana University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.
Texas Tech University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction with a track in STEM. Students must complete 63 credit hours to graduate. Those interested in the program must have a master’s degree in education and submit college transcripts, GRE test scores, and three professional recommendations.
Texas Tech University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University at Albany offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction with the option to add a specialization in Science and Mathematics Education. To graduate, students must complete a dissertation, a qualifying exam, and an educational research tool exam. Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation, all official transcripts, and GRE test scores.
UAlbany is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The University of Colorado—Denver offers an online Doctor of Education in Leadership for Educational Equity, Science Education. Students must complete 54 credit hours to graduate. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have a master’s degree. They must also submit a written statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, and official transcripts from all schools attended and complete an interview.
The University of Colorado – Denver is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Miami offers a Doctor of Education in Applied Learning Sciences. The program can typically be completed online in 2.5 years. A final project and two one-week residencies at the school are required to graduate. Applicants must submit official transcripts, a resume, a personal statement, and two letters of recommendation.
The University of Miami is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
The University of Mississippi offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Education with an emphasis in Secondary Education. A specialization in science may also be added to the degree. Applicants must have two years of professional experience, a GPA of 3.5 or higher from all previous graduate courses, two references, and an AA license.
The University of Mississippi is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Pennsylvania offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Learning Sciences and Technologies. Students must complete 12 classes and a final dissertation to graduate. Applicants must have a master’s degree and two years of experience and submit a statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, and GRE test scores.
The University of Pennsylvania is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The University of South Carolina offers a Doctor of Education in STEM Education. Classes are offered online and are 8 weeks long. To graduate, students must complete 60 credit hours. Those interested in the program must submit two letters of recommendation, a personal statement, a writing sample, and official transcripts from all previously attended institutions.
The University of South Carolina is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Texas—Rio Grande Valley offers a Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with the option to add a specialization in Science Education. Applicants must have a master’s degree with a GPA of 3.25 and three years of experience in the field and submit GRE test scores and three letters of recommendation.
UTRGV is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Virginia Tech offers a Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Integrative STEM Education. A total of 90 credit hours, a dissertation, and a residency must be completed to graduate. Applicants must have a master’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.3 and submit three recommendation letters and a current resume.
Virginia Tech is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Getting Your Doctorate in Science Education Online
Pursuing a Science Education PhD can enable you to further develop your skills and expertise in this growing field.
The field of science education has a positive job outlook, and a PhD can help you qualify for advanced teaching, administrative, or educational research positions. A growing number of accredited universities with graduate programs now offer credible online education degree programs as well, offering more flexibility and convenience as you complete your coursework.
If you want to contribute your expertise to the educational community, you can start exploring accredited universities to find the doctoral program that works best for your schedule and aspirations.