Montana State University
The Graduate School > MSSE Home > Degree Information

Intercollege Programs for Science Education

Montana State University
P.O. Box 172805
Bozeman, MT 59717-2805

Tel: (406) 994-5679
Fax: (406) 994-5575
Location: 401 Linfield Hall


Dr. Peggy Taylor

MSSE Degree Program

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MSSE is an intercollege, interdisciplinary effort. Online graduate courses are offered during the fall semester, spring semester, and summer session and will be taken by asynchronous, computer-mediated communication. Montana-based field and lab graduate courses are offered during the summer session.

The program of study may begin with online courses in any semester or summer classes at the MSU-Bozeman campus. Study continues with distance learning courses that students take from their homes or workplaces, and ends with a second visit for presentation of the results of a personalized science education capstone project. Over 80% of the courses and credits may be taken online by asynchronous, computer-mediated communication. Thirty semester credits are required for the degree. Students typically will complete the degree in two or three years.

Please see the MSSE Degree Timeline

In addition to completing a group of core courses (14 credits total) which includes a 3-credit capstone project, students develop interdisciplinary combinations of science courses (12 credits minimum) from offerings in biology, chemistry, earth science, microbiology, plant sciences, physics, and other related areas. The final 4 credits in the 30-credit program are electives selected from education and/or science courses. See Course Catalog.

Interdisciplinary efforts and incorporation of both science content and pedagogy have been encouraged during the development of courses. Each student seeking the degree is advised by a three-person faculty committee, and programs are designed taking into account the student's background, interests, and career goals.

Program Features:

  • Designed for science educators by experienced science, science education, and mathematics faculty with the collaboration of outstanding classroom teachers
  • Over 80% of the courses may be taken on-line by asynchronous, computer-mediated communication
  • The opportunity to work at home without frequent trips to campus
  • The chance to participate in classes when it is most convenient for you
  • On-campus summer experiences that vary in length from one to two weeks
  • Emphasizes Next Generation Science Standards
  • Personalized science education capstone project for each student
  • Interdisciplinary-intercollege program
  • Large selection of science content courses
  • Self-paced program


The MSSE degree program was developed by Montana State University faculty members who are active in science, science education, and mathematics. The program is a unique, cooperative effort of several colleges and departments. Faculty members of the departments of Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Earth Science, Education, Health and Human Development, Land Resources and Environmental Science, Mathematics, Microbiology, Plant Science and Plant Pathology, Physics, and other related areas will teach most courses. Faculty members of other departments and units will play a major role in some courses. When appropriate, courses may be taught by faculty members of other institutions.

Degree Program Information

Because different students have different responsibilities at work and home, not all students will progress in the program at the same pace. Most students will complete the degree in 2-3 years. The Division of Graduate Education allows up to six years to finish the degree. That means all coursework for a masters degree must be completed within a 6-year window of time.

Students may take a maximum of nine credits as a non-degree student (someone not yet admitted to the degree program) and upon admissions, transfer into a graduate program of study.

MSSE is not a licensing and/or endorsement program. Students interested in initial licensure should check with the Department of Education in their states for local certification policies. MSSE program coursework is commonly used toward licensure/endorsements depending on the requirements of individual states.

Northern Plains Transition Teaching is a MSU distance delivered, secondary education licensure program offering teacher certification for those with a bachelors degree, or higher, in a teaching content area.

Online Course Logistics

On-line courses are offered by asynchronous, computer-mediated communication. From their home, workplace, or other convenient location, students use a personal computer (either MacOS or Windows-based) equipped with a modem or a direct Internet connection to connect with instructors and participants from across the country. On-line courses may use manuals, textbooks, case histories, problems, computer software, databases, Web sites, evaluation activities, and other sources of information - but there are no lectures. Instructors and students work through the material together, discussing topics and issues by using a computer network that allows for private messages and group discussions. Courses are structured, but not conducted in real time; therefore, students can access the class at times during the day or night that are most convenient to them.

Equipment Requirements

  • MAC OS X.5 (Leopard) or higher OR
  • PC running Windows XP Service Pack 3 or newer
  • Computer with CD-ROM
  • Internet access with a browser
  • Some courses have additional hardware and software requirements

Campus-based Course Logistics

MSSE requires at least one visit to campus, two visits are suggested. The first on-campus visit, usually done early in the program, for lab and/or field classes, can be as short as one week (the minimum to meet the 2-credit campus field or lab course requirement) or as long as several weeks. This is the student's choice. The second visit is a week-long session in the final summer to present a Capstone Project at the Symposium in Science Education and to fulfill the remaining requirements for the final EDCI 575 course. This means you may complete the degree with two weeks in Bozeman. However, for those who can afford the time, we believe a longer campus session provides the best experience. Campus courses are excellent models of using fieldwork to teach science. Teachers are always welcome to take campus classes.

Campus housing includes several options:

  1. Single or double dorm rooms in Johnstone Hall are recommended for students staying three weeks or less.
  2. Apartments, townhouses, or houses offered on a contractual basis through Family and Graduate Housing are recommended for students staying longer than three weeks or traveling with families. If this is your choice, submit a contract as soon as possible - as housing assignments are based on the date of the contract.