The Master of Science in Science Education (MSSE) program provides a broad content-based science curriculum for the preparation of master teachers of science. The program is focused on contemporary, inquiry based science content and integrates the most current research findings on how students learn science. It encourages and models the skills of scientific inquiry, as well as the curiosity, openness to new ideas, and skepticism that characterize science. Some of the unique features of the program include a strong emphasis on contemporary science content; the use of inquiry-based learning; the integration of mathematics and technology; and the incorporation of the Next Generation Science Standards.
The Program requires 12 courses (48 credit hours) and draws upon faculty in both the College of Science and Health and the College of Education. The first three courses, Ecology and the Nature of Science, Mathematical Modeling for Middle School Teachers, and Foundations of Physical Science II, are foundational and are intended to be taken early in the program. These courses explore the nature of scientific inquiry from both a historical and contemporary perspective, and they introduce key quantitative concepts and methods in science. The following eight courses, focusing on specific scientific disciplines, can be taken in any order. Reflecting increased emphasis on earth and space science in state and national science standards in the grades 6-9, this set of courses include Astronomy, Geology and Planetary Science, Environmental Science, and Heat and Energy, and in addition to the core subjects of Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. A capstone course in the teaching of science specifically focusing on national and state standards for science and on the latest research in science teaching and learning concludes the program. The capstone course includes action research in the classroom.
The MSSE was designed to help currently certified teachers advance toward endorsement in Middle School General Science and NCLB "highly qualified" status in the State of Illinois. Endorsement is based on a transcript evaluation of university level work in science and education.
Support of the program is managed through DePaul University's STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Center.
The program provides a supportive environment for all teachers, including members of groups traditionally underrepresented in science, and encourages a broad perspective on science and its continuing important role in our society.