A. Advising Instruction

Welcome to the Master of Science in Science Education (MSSE) degree program!

The MSSE Academic Advisors are your primary “point people” on campus.  Visit with us first about any question or concern.  We are always happy to help!

The MSSE Advising Center provides advising information to assist your start in the MSSE degree program. Your input will help us to improve the provided information for future students, therefore be sure to let us know if anything is vague or unclear!

The Health History/Immunization and TB screening forms are required by MSU Student Health Services prior to registering for coursework. Please visit with your medical provider and file these forms with MSU Health Services as soon as possible!  NOTE:  If you completed an undergraduate degree from MSU Bozeman, you only need to alert Student Health Services to lift the hold placed upon graduate admissions.

If you are registered for four or more credits in a semester, you may be billed for the MSU Student Health Insurance plan. If you would like to waive the health insurance fees you can do so in My Info. For instructions on how to waive the health insurance and fees, please click here. If you are unable to waive the fees online or have any questions about the Student Health Insurance plan, please call the Student Health Insurance office at (406) 994-3199 or email immune@montana.edu. For more information about the Student Health Insurance plan, please visit http://www.montana.edu/health/insurance.php.

We look forward to working with you as you begin this degree program.  Again, please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.

Best Regards,

Gregory Francis

Diana Paterson
Associate Director & Academic Advisor

Return to Top

 B. Registration, “MyInfo”, Ordering Transcripts

How Do I Register?

Course listings and web registration information for our campus or distance courses can be found on the MSSE website:


MSSE campus and online course registration in handled through the Registrar’s Office.  Typically an e-mail from the MSSE office will announce the opening of registration.  Be sure to register as early as you can to ensure a place before courses begin to fill and close!


Course descriptions may be accessed on the MSSE website under the current semester or session. Read the course description carefully and order any required texts or materials.  

Your payment options will be: check, credit card, Financial Aid or Third Party (such as loans, fee waivers, scholarships, or school district payments).

Check Option: You will send your check to Business Services.  An address will be provided if you select this option. A HOLD will be placed on the Student Account until the check payment is received.

Pay Online through MyInfo with Credit Card Option: When you register through MyInfo, you will provide credit card information and confirmation of the registration will be posted.

Financial Aid/Third Party Option:  If you expect to receive a financial aid award from MSU or your institution is paying for your course, select this option. Your tuition bill will remain on your MSU Student Account and await the posting of your financial aid award or payment from your institution.


Please be aware that when you register early, your tuition/fee bill may not be assessed immediately.  Business Services assess tuition/fees approximately a week after the previous semester ends.  For instance if you register for a Spring 2018 course in November 2017, your tuition/fee bill will not be assessed until after the completion of the Fall 2017 semester.  When you are registering for MSSE 504, MSSE 505, or MSSE 509, indicate your instructor preference.  Your choices are Eric Brunsell, John Graves, Marcie Reuer, Kate Solberg, or Walt Woolbaugh.  If you do not have a preference, contact the Academic Advisor who will work with you to determine the best match.

Contact the MSSE Office (406-994-5679 or dianap@montana.edu) if you have any questions and/or concerns about course or instructor choices.


The MSU "MyInfo" is a secure area for you to see your student account and unofficial transcript.  This is also the place to make changes in contact information (i.e. address, phone, email).  Remember to let the MSSE office know of any changes too!

For information regarding accessing your MyInfo, go to the  “MyInfo” Help Page at http://www.montana.edu/registrar/MyInfoHelp.html

To access “MyInfo”, go to this website:  https://atlas.montana.edu:9000/pls/bzagent/twbkwbis.P_GenMenu?name=homepage

If you encounter problems accessing your student record or come across a “HOLD”, contact the Registrar’s Office (406-994-2601).  They will help you determine the reason for the “HOLD” and will direct you to the appropriate office.  If you are unable to resolve the problem, then call the MSSE office.

To Order an Official Transcript

For information regarding ordering an official transcript, go to the Registrar’s Transcript webpage at http://www.montana.edu/registrar/transcript

Transcript requests are generally processed in 3 to 5 working days, but if you have a specific due date please include that information in your request.

Return to Top

 C. Financial Aid

Student Loans

The MSU Financial Aid office will assist you with loan information.  Visit them at their MSU Financial Aid website or call 406-994-2845.

To qualify for financial aid you must (1) have admissions into a graduate program of study (such as the MSSE Program) and (2) be registered for a minimum of 6 credits per semester for campus and/or online classes.

For summer term two applications must be completed. You must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and, in addition, complete a MSU Summer Supplemental Application Form.  Late June is the deadline set by the federal processor.

Student Loan Deferment

You are classified as a “part-time student” (for the purpose of loan deferment) once you are (1) admitted to the MSSE degree program and (2) enroll in a minimum of six credits in any semester. Credits may be any combination of campus and/or online courses.

MSU enrollment qualifies you for student loan deferment as a part-time student in any semester with a minimum six credit registration.

MSU participates in a web-based Loan Deferment Clearinghouse that shows enrollment for any semester, with a minimum of 6 credits.  However, some loan institutions require that you file their specific student loan deferment form with the MSU Registrar.  If your loan institution requires such a form, please (1) secure the required form, (2) complete “student” section, and (3) sign.  Include the address where the completed form is sent, e.g., your loan institution or organization.  Typically, this address is found on the back of a two-sided form.

Send your completed form to:
Master of Science in Science Education Department
451 Reid Hall,  PO Box 172805
Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717-2805

The "In-School Deferment Request" forms are processed by the Registrar’s office.  Once your mail request is received, the form will be forwarded to the MSU Registrar, who will then process for your loan institution.

Most loan institutions use the WEB Clearinghouse, which means you will be covered by an automatic system triggered by your six credit per semester MSU registration.

Return to Top

 D. Sample Classes by Department

See MSSE Course Catalog for Course Descriptions.:  

Biology/Ecology/Plant Science

  • BIOE 513 Terrestrial Ecology of Plains and Prairies (1 cr, online, summer)
  • BIOE 516 Terrestrial Ecology of the Northern Rocky Mountains (2 cr, campus, summer)
  • BIOE 519 Biology of Riparian Zones and Wetlands (2 cr, online, summer)
  • BIOE 520 Understanding & Managing Animal Biodiversity in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (2 cr, campus, summer)
  • BIOE 522 Birds of Prey of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (2 cr, campus, summer, odd yrs)
  • BIOE 523 Wildlife Ecology of the Northern Rocky Mountains (2 cr, campus, summer, even yrs)
  • BIOE 593 Alpine Ecology (2 cr, campus, winter)
  • BIOE 595 Ecology & Conservation of World's Marine Ecosystems (2 cr, online, fall)
  • BIOL 596 Land Use Issues in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (2 cr, campus, summer, even yrs)
  • BIOE 597 Ecology of Trout Streams
  • BIOE 599 Advanced Ecology (2 cr, campus, summer)
  • BIOL 591 Teaching Evolution (3 cr, online, fall)

Cell Biology & Neuroscience

  • BIOH 595 Anatomy & Physiology (3 cr, online, summer)

Chemistry & Biochemistry

  • CHMY 505 Critical Concepts in Chemistry (3 cr, campus, summer)
  • CHMY 506 Integrating Computers into Laboratory Instruction (2 cr, campus, summer, even yrs)
  • CHMY 587 Exploring Chemistry  (3 cr, onlline, summer)
  • CHMY 593 Special Topics in Chemistry: Kinetics, Equilibrium, & Thermodynamics (3 cr, online, spring)
  • CHMY 594 Science Lab Safety and Risk Management (1 cr, campus, summer)
  • CHMY 595 Chemistry of the Environment: Water, Air, Earth (3 cr, online, summer)
  • CHMY 596 Exploring Organic Chemistry for Teachers (3 cr, online, fall)
  • CHMY 597 Exploring Biochemistry for Teachers (3 cr, online, spring)
  • CHMY 598 Exploring Biochemistry for Teachers II: Metabolism (3 cr, online, spring)
  • CHMY 599 Atoms-First Primer for AP-IB Chemistry (3 cr, online, fall)

Civil Engineering

  • ECIV 562 Snow and Avalanche Physics for Teachers (3 cr, online, spring)

Computer Science

  • CSCI 581 Computer Science in the Classroom: Computational Thinking for Teachers (2 cr, campus, summer)
  • CSCI 582 Computer Science in the Classroom: The Joy & Beauty of Data (2 cr, campus, summer)

Earth Science

  • ERTH 516 Northern Rocky Mountain Geology (2 cr, campus, summer)
  • ERTH 519 Watershed Hydrology for Teachers (3 cr, online, spring)
  • ERTH 520 Fundamentals of Oceanography (3 cr, online, spring) 
  • ERTH 522 Middle School Earth System Science (3 cr, online, spring, summer)
  • ERTH 528 Understanding Climate Change  (3 cr, online, summer) 
  • ERTH 521 Geology of the Moon (3 cr, online, fall)
  • ERTH 522 Middle School Earth Systems Science (3 cr, online, spring, summer)
  • ERTH 524 K-14 Earth System Science (2 cr, online, fall, summer)
  • ERTH 527 Weather and Climate for Teachers (3 cr, online, spring)
  • ERTH 528 Understanding Climate Change (3 cr, online, summer)
  • ERTH 591 Vertebrate Paleontology for Teachers (3 cr, online, summer)
  • ERTH 594 Geology Seminar (1 cr, campus, summer)
  • ERTH 595 Historical Geology (3 cr, online, fall)
  • ERTH 596 Geology of Glacier National Park (2 cr, campus, summer)
  • GEO 521 Dinosaur Paleontology I (2 cr, campus, summer)
  • GEO 522 Dinosaur Paleontology II (2 cr, campus, summer) 
  • GEO 560 Geology of the Yellowstone Volcanic Center (2 cr, campus, summer)

Education (Required Core) 

  • MSSE 501 Inquiry through Science & Engineering Practices (2 cr, online, fall, spring, summer)
  • MSSE 504 Formative Assessment in Science Education (3 cr, online, fall, spring) 
  • MSSE 505 Foundations of Action Research in Science Teaching and Learning (3 cr, online, spring only
  • MSSE 509 Implementing Action Research in Teaching and Learning (3 cr, online, fall semester only
  • MSSE 575 Capstone Project & Symposium in Science Education (3 cr, campus, summer)

Education (Electives)

  • EDCI 591 History of Spaceflight and Space Technology (2 cr, online, fall, spring)
  • EDCI 591 Technology in the Science Classroom (3 cr, online, summer)
  • MSSE 502 Emerging Technology & the Science Classroom (3 cr, online, summer)
  • MSSE 503 Integrating Literature in the Science Classroom (3 cr, online, spring)
  • MSSE 506 Crime Science Investigators: Forensics Science for Teachers (2 cr, online, spring)
  • MSSE 507 Capstone Data Analysis (2 cr, online, summer)
  • MSSE 518 Master Teaching Strategies for Science Educators (3 cr, online, spring)
  • MSSE 536 Construction of Curriculum (3 cr, online, summer)
  • MSSE 537 Contemporary Issues in Science Education (2 cr, online, summer)
  • MSSE 594 Statistics Bootcamp for Capstone Projects (2 cr, online, summer)

Electrical Engineering

  • ELEE 508 Solar Cell Basics for Teacher (2 cr, campus, summer)
  • ELEE 591 Introduction to Logic Circuits for Teachers (3 cr, online, summer)

Health and Human Development   

  • NUTR 526 Nutrition for Fitness and Performance (3 cr, online, TBD)

Land Resources and Environmental Science

  • LRES 557 Thermal Biology in Yellowstone National Park (2 cr, campus, summer)
  • LRES 569 Ecology of Invasive Plants in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (2 cr, campus, summer)
  • LRES 582 Streamside Science (3 cr, online, summer)
  • LRES 583 The Dirt on Soil Science for Elementary Teachers (3 cr, online, fall)
  • LRES 585 Water Quality (3 cr, online, spring)
  • LRES 586 Lake Ecology (2 cr, campus, summer)


  • MB 533 Current Topics in Microbiology (3 cr, online spring)
  • MB 536 Exploration of Microbiology (3 cr, online, fall)
  • MB 538 Cell and Molecular Biology (3 cr, campus, summer)
  • MB 539 Infection and Immunity (3 cr, online, summer, even yrs)
  • MB 540 Environmental Microbiology (3 cr, online, spring 2008)
  • MB 541 Microbial Genetics (3 cr, online, summer)
  • MB 542 Microbial Ecology (3 cr, online, spring)


  • PHSX 401 Physics by Inquiry I (3 cr, campus, summer)
  • PHSX 402 Physics by Inquiry II (3 cr, campus, summer)
  • PHSX 403 Physics by Inquiry III (3 cr, campus, summer)
  • PHSX 405 Special Relativity (3 cr, online, fall)
  • PHSX 491 Conceptual Physics (3 cr, online, spring)
  • PHSX 511 Astronomy for Teachers (3 cr, online, variable fall and spring)
  • PHSX 512 General Relativity (3 cr, online, spring)
  • PHSX 513 Quantum Mechanics (3 cr, online, fall)
  • PHSX 514 Comparative Planetology (3 cr, online, summer)
  • PHSX 582 Astrobiology for Teachers (3 cr, online, variable fall and spring)
  • PHSX 591 Electric Circuits & Magnetism (2 cr, online, summer)
  • PHSX 591 Physics for Renewable Energy for Secondary Teachers (3 cr, online, summer)
  • PHSX 591 World of Motion (1 cr, online, summer)
  • PHSX 591 World of Force (1 cr, online, summer)
  • PHSX 595 Teaching Mechanics Using Research-Based Curriculum (2 cr, campus, summer, even yrs)
  • PHSX 596 Teaching Electricity & Magnetism Using Research-Based Curriculum (2 cr, campus, summer, odd yrs)

Plant Sciences

  • PSPP 547 Biomimicry: The Technology of Biology (2 cr, online, spring)
  • PSPP 548 Flowering Plants of the Northern Rocky Mountains (2 cr, campus, summer)
  • PSPP 549 Plants, People, and Health (2 cr, campus, summer)

See MSSE Course Catalog for more information.  

Return to Top

 E. Drop/Withdraw Deadlines

Click here for information on registration and drop/withdraw deadlines.

To drop a course visit https://btc.montana.edu/secure/drop.aspx

Return to Top

 F. Summer Campus Housing Options

Dorm Housing

Dorm rooms are available for summer MSSE participants.  The dorms have a computer lab, laundry facilities and are located close to dining options. This is a good residence option for you and the best option if you are attending for three weeks or less.


Room rates start at $28/night for a single and $46/night for double occupancy. For stays longer than two weeks, after 14 consecutive days the rates drop to $14/night for a single and $24/night double occupancy for the remaining stay. Pets are not allowed in any campus housing.

For more information visit http://www.montana.edu/cs/accommodations.html

Family & Graduate Housing

The Family and Graduate Housing Office provides information and a housing application at the time of graduate admissions. Plus, housing information can be found at the campus web site. If you prefer an apartment and/or plan to have a family with you on campus this summer you must complete an application to Family and Graduate Housing with a $100 deposit. Housing assignments are made by order of application date, so apply early to increase the chance of getting the unit of your choice! Be sure to indicate the exact dates you plan to be in residence. Please note that rent will be pro-rated for your 6-week stay (i.e. you are not required to rent an apartment for 2 months in order to stay for 6 weeks). Family and Graduate Housing will provide a two-week rental, but at a minimum "one-month" rental fee. They require a 30-day notice to terminate their month to month contract.

See the Family and Graduate Housing Office web site for more details, including rent and location, for the various types of housing.

Pets are not allowed in any campus housing.

For more information about Family and Graduate Housing, contact:

Family and Graduate Housing
1502 West Garfield
Bozeman MT 59714
Phone: (406) 994-3730
E-mail: fgho@montana.edu

Return to Top

 G. Guide for Program of Study Preparation

The 30 credit MSSE degree program requires the following:

  1. Fourteen (14) credits of core education classes (listed below);
  2. Minimum twelve (12) credits of science courses from two or more content areas; and
  3. Four (4) credits of elective courses which may be any combination of education, mathematics and/or science credits accepted by the graduate committee as appropriate.


  • MSSE 501 Inquiry through Science & Engineering Practices (2 credits) (fall, spring, summer)
  • MSSE 504 Assessment and Evaluation (3 credits) (fall or spring)
  • MSSE 505 Foundations in Action Research (3 credits) (spring only)
  • MSSE 509 Implementing Action Research (3 credits) (fall only)


  • MSSE 575 Capstone Project/Symposium in Science Education (3 credits) (summer only)

Classes listed above are required education classes for the MSSE degree. You must complete MSSE 504 and MSSE 505 BEFORE you are eligible to enroll into MSSE 509.  MSSE 504, MSSE 505, MSSE 509 must be completed before you are eligible to enroll in MSSE 575.


Select science courses from at least two (or more) science content areas, such as Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Earth Science, Geology, Land Resources and Environmental Science, Microbiology, Nutrition, Physics, and Plant Science, or other appropriate content area.  The MSSE Graduate Program must include a minimum of 12 credits of science content classes from two or more science content areas. You must complete a minimum of one two-credit Montana-based lab or field science course (e.g., you may not do all of your science classes as online coursework). 

Note 1: “EDCI” and "MSSE" classes are education classes, even when the area is “science education”.  The credits may not be used for science content credit for the MSSE degree, but may be used as elective credits.  The one exception is the MSSE 507 Capstone Data Analysis course.  This course may be counted as science credits.

Note 2:  MSU classes with the number “588” (workshops or professional development) may not be used for a graduate degree program of study.


Four credits of electives are selected from any combination of education, science, or mathematics classes.  Additional classes will become available as course development is completed and approved.

The graduate Program of Study with a minimum of 30 credits of coursework must be submitted to the Graduate School. The MSSE academic advisor will contact you after your completion of your first semester to begin drafting your Program of Study. Upon completion of this graduate plan, the MSSE advisor will file your Program of Study with the Graduate School. At a later date, if you decide to enroll in a science or education elective course not included on your Program of Study, this will handled by submitting a Program of Study Change form the semester before you graduate.

It is never too early to draft a program.  If you wish to transfer credits into the program, we should file your program in your first semester. Contact the MSSE office to begin your program of study draft.

Return to Top

 H. Program of Study

Three samples of different Programs of Study are included below. Sample 1 illustrates completion of the MSSE degree with summer campus courses. No transfer or non-degree graduate credits are included. Sample 2 illustrates the opportunity to take MSSE 504 and MSSE 505 during the same semester in preparation for enrolling in MSSE 509 for the fall semester and online science courses. Sample 3 includes transfer credits from MSU taken prior to admissions to the MSSE degree program and illustrates a program that is completed over 3 1/2 years.

Note: In each sample, the bolded black lettering indicates the required core education courses; the highlighted blue lettering indicates science and/or education elective courses taken at MSU; the highlighted green lettering indicates online science courses; and the highlighted red lettering indicates transfer credits taken at another institution or MSU.


Return to Top

 I. Faculty Graduate Committee

You will have a 3-member faculty graduate committee assigned before your final program year to advise your Capstone Project.  Graduate committee members are typically selected because they have the unique attributes to advise your project.  Students often select faculty they know from completed coursework.

The first committee member is the MSSE Director who serves as your academic advisor and is designated the Committee Chairperson.

The second committee member is the Project Advisor.  You want a faculty member interested in your capstone topic area and therefore is usually your MSSE 505 and/or MSSE 509 instructor.

The third committee member is the Project Science Reader. The Reader takes a less active role in project advising, but is asked to approve the project proposal and poster, done in consultation with the major advisor.  The MSSE Director, listed as chairperson, does NOT generally advise the capstone project.  Your oral exam is conducted by the Capstone Project Advisor and Project Science Reader.

The Science Reader must be from a science content department.  The Project Advisor is usually your MSSE 509 instructor unless your capstone is a science-based project.  Often the Project Reader plays a minor advising role.  This may vary somewhat between advisors, but the norm on campus is for the Project Advisor to take primary responsibility.


Select your Project Advisor and Project Science Reader before your final academic year.  If you do not select the Science Reader by mid-September, the MSSE Academic Advisor will help you select an appropriate faculty science instructor for your graduate committee.

Work closely with your Project Advisor to develop initial project ideas, focus the study, and craft the focus question for your research.  Frequently students start with too broad a scope.  Your Project Advisor will ensure your study is reasonable for a three-credit Capstone Project.

You will learn about types of data, data collection and data analysis in core classes (MSSE 504 & MSSE 505) and conduct an action research project for MSSE 509.  These education classes prepare you for developing and researching your Capstone Project.

Once your Project Advisor and you agree on the focus question and methods, you must enlist the support of your Project Reader.  Advisors approve projects that are well planned and executed.  Getting prior approval from project advisors is critical to project success.

Communication with the Project Advisor and Science Reader is critical to capstone project success.  You are expected to initiate that communication.  Depending on your project and Project Advisor’s style, plan an appropriate schedule to regularly meet via e-mail or phone.

Return to Top

 J. Faculty and Staff Directory

Go to Faculty/Staff Directory for list of Advisors.

Return to Top

K. Institutional Review Board

Click here for MSU IRB information

Return to Top

 L. Capstone Project


Each Master of Science in Science Education (MSSE) student, with the cooperation of her or his graduate committee, identifies and completes a science education capstone project. Each project is designed to provide experience and information that aids our understanding of science teaching-learning or science curriculum.  The capstone project topic is identified during the first year of the student's graduate program and relates to science education in the MSSE student's educational setting; it links multiple courses in the student's program of study in both the core and science content areas.  A student begins the capstone in the fall of the final year by submitting a brief proposal to his/her advisor in MSSE 509.

During the spring semester, students participate in the Capstone Forum. The Capstone Forum is an online forum in D2L that requires student participation during the spring before the capstone presentation. It is where the student will continue communication with their advisor regarding the capstone project/paper and will receive important information on the requirements and deadlines from the MSSE office regarding capstone week and graduation. Your participation is mandatory and part of the MSSE 575 capstone course that students will register for during the summer. No formal registration by the student for the Capstone Forum is required as the student will be automatically entered by the MSSE Academic Advisor.  The Capstone Forum requires no tuition/fees and no credits are assigned.

Students earn a total of three credits for the capstone project, MSSE 575 Capstone Project, in the final summer of degree completion.  The results of each student’s capstone project are summarized in a written, professional paper completed the final summer.  In addition, each student presents their capstone project to their committee, their classmates, and other interested people as part of the "Science Education Symposium."

Capstone Project Criteria

Focus Question:  Each capstone project has a focus question that addresses a current topic in science education.  The question must be researchable and relevant to science education.

Conceptual Framework:  The framework of concepts, principles and theories underlying and informing the project is a synthesis of science and education topics.  It is based on modern and innovative approaches and ideas documented in the existing literature.

Methods: Appropriate methods for answering the focus question are selected and used to generate data.

Data and Analysis: Data is expected to stand tests of validity and reliability.  Analysis is appropriate to the question and setting of the study.

Interpretation and Conclusion: Student interpretations of results should lead to clarification or resolution of the focus question.  The project's claims are expected to meet criteria for validity.

Value:  The project is part of the student's professional development.  The results are expected to generate new questions.  The project is expected to have implications for teaching-learning beyond the individual MSSE student's classroom.

Return to Top

 M. Plagiarism Statement

Paraphrasing or quoting another’s work without citing the source is a form of academic misconduct. Even inadvertent or unintentional misuse or appropriation of another's work (such as relying heavily on source material that is not expressly acknowledged) is considered plagiarism. All sources of information that are not your original thoughts need to be cited.  This includes, but is not limited to, journal articles, textbooks and online resources. Adapted from MSU Syllabus language page.

Return to Top

  N. MSU Campus Map

Go to MSU Map

Return to Top

  O. AlcoholEdu for College, Haven, and Transit

MSU- AlcoholEDU/Haven/Transit: As of October 15th, 2014 the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education has mandated all new, incoming students to Montana State University (regardless of age) are required to complete an authorized program in alcohol education, sexual assault awareness and prevention, and financial literacy. Please see this link for information on how you complete this module, dates and deadlines. Participation in this program is not an elective; if the modules are not completed in the time allotted, a hold will be placed on your ability to register for the following term.

Return to Top