Mission

The mission of the Master of Science in Science Education (MSSE) program is to provide an exemplary, accessible, responsive, and student-centered science and applied science education master’s degree resulting in enhanced teaching and learning of science for educators and their students.

Vision

MSSE promotes effective and innovative science teaching to a diverse community of science educators through the delivery of unique online and on-campus graduate courses designed specifically for science educators with a dual focus on content and pedagogy.

Values

Excellence – Strive to be an exceptional, adaptive, dynamic and rigorous program that results in high rates of successful completion and student satisfaction by utilizing best practices in teaching, learning, business, and customer service.

Service – Provide exemplary service that is professional, seamless, efficient, responsive, and prompt, that advocates for students, and that leads to open communication among students, staff, faculty, and administration. 

Opportunity – Improve opportunities and access to education through innovative modes of program and course delivery as well as flexible options for research focus.       

Diversity – Embrace diversity at all levels: student backgrounds and experiences, students’ settings and teaching assignments, faculty backgrounds, interdisciplinary curriculum options, individualized programs of study, and capstone research opportunities.  

Learning – Encourage, promote, and model life-long learning through comprehensive long-term action research, field and laboratory experiences, exposure to cutting edge research and researchers, and innovative instructional strategies. 

Empowerment – Work to empower students, graduates, faculty, colleagues, and staff by providing, and promoting participation in, professional development and leadership opportunities such as presentations and/or representation at state and national conferences, assisting program faculty with research and instruction, mentoring/coaching new students and/or faculty, and serving on STEM related committees and boards at all levels.  

Community – Promote the development of a community of life-long learners by creating opportunities for networking through campus-based field/laboratory courses and the annual symposium; by connecting alumni and providing for post-graduation involvement; by maintaining the program’s interdisciplinary focus; by continued communication with program stakeholders; and by celebrating the success of students, graduates, staff, and faculty. 

History

The intercollege-interdisciplinary Master of Science in Science Education (MSSE) degree has a history spanning multiple decades. Below are some key program highlights.

  • The Montana Board of Regents of Higher Education approved the MSSE program at Montana State University-Bozeman in May of 1996.
  • Original sponsors of the MSSE program included the College of Agriculture; the College of Education, Health and Human Development; the College of Letters and Science; and the Graduate School.
  • The Office of Intercollege Programs for Science Education coordinated the MSSE program, and the Burns Telecommunications Center provided technical support.
  • Today, sponsorship also includes the College of Engineering and technology support is received from Academic Technology and Outreach (ATO).
  • In 2020, MSSE merged with the National Science Foundation-funded National Teachers Enhancement Network (NTEN) project.
  • NTEN project participants, experienced in teaching science courses to teachers online, helped provide a robust, cohesive choice of online content under the MSSE banner.

To date, more than 25,000 teachers, from both the United States and abroad, have taken MSU’s online science education graduate courses. In addition to the master’s degree in science education program, graduate certificate programs are also available. Certificates in science education are currently offered in the areas of chemistry, climate science, earth science, elementary school science, life science, physics, and STEM.   

Instructors

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 includes courses taught by faculty in the following departments:

  • Biology
  • Cell Biology and Neuroscience
  • Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Earth Science
  • Education
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Land Resources and Environmental Science
  • Mathematics
  • Microbiology
  • Nutrition
  • Physics
  • Plant Sciences

Instructors have doctorate and master's degrees in the subjects they teach.

Program Assessments