See also MSU distance learning FAQs and the Web quiz, Is online learning right for me?

About Science Education Graduate Courses


The Graduate Certificates in Science Education program is part of Montana State University, which has been accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) since 1932.

In general, courses follow a schedule similar to Montana State University's regular academic calendar, with new courses starting in fall, spring and summer. Courses can vary in length. Some last nearly a full semester, although most run over shorter periods--6 to 12 weeks. The shorter accelerated courses still cover the equivalent of a full semester of content, so the weekly workload is increased accordingly.

All courses are graduate level, so expect to spend from 3 to 20 hours per week or more depending on the number of credits, the length of the course and your prior familiarity with the subject, as well as your individual study habits. You should plan on studying at least 3 hours per credit hour (e.g. 3 credit course equals 9 hours of studying per week)
Yes, you can log on and access the assignments and lessons any time, day or night. Like a traditional college course, our courses begin and end on pre-established days. You will have assignments that are posted and due at a specified time on a weekly basis.
Because courses are graduate level and can be quite rigorous, we recommend you carefully consider your other commitments: work, family, travel, etc, before taking more than one course. A 3-credit course typically takes 135 hours of work per semester, which works out to about 9 to 12 hours per week for a 12-week course.
12-credit graduate certificates in six different science teaching areas are offered: 
  • Chemistry
  •  Climate
  • Earth Science
  • Elementary School Science
  • Life Science
  • Physics
  • STEM

Some students choose to earn a graduate certificate and then apply those credits toward a master's degree. Learn more on our graduate certificates page.

Course credits can be transferred to a degree program at MSU or elsewhere at the discretion of individual institutional programs and policies. MSU offers a Master of Science in Science Education (MSSE) degree that is of interest to many science educator. Most teachers choose to first earn a 12-credit graduate certificate in science education; all of those credits will apply toward the MSSE degree program at MSU.

Our Science Education courses offer graduate-level credits from Montana State University, and these credits can be transferred to degree programs at MSU or elsewhere at the discretion of individual institutional programs and policies. Before taking a course, always check with your educational institution to see if it will count toward your program.

Rules vary by state and by school district. Talk to your district first about whether the academic credits from courses of interest will count in your district. All of the online science education graduate courses are fully approved for academic credit by Montana State University and are fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). All credits for the courses are recorded on an official MSU transcript and may be used toward a degree program at the discretion of individual institutional programs and policies. Learn more about MSU's accreditation.

Registering for Science Education Graduate Courses


First, you must be admitted to Montana State University (see information below). Then, register for all courses through MSU's MyInfo system. You can see detailed information about courses on our course catalog page.

Yes. Apply through the MSU Graduate School as either a degree-seeking or non-degree-seeking MSU student through the formal Admissions process.

Only students who are admitted to Montana State University with graduate standing are allowed to take our courses.

Most courses are designed specifically for practicing teachers, including informal educators. If you are not a teacher, please contact the course instructor or Science Education staff before enrolling.

No, you do not need to take the GRE if you want to take a few courses or to earn a Science Education graduate certificate.

However, if you wish to apply the credits from your coursework toward a different degree or certificate program, you may have to take the GRE. Individual program requirements vary, so always check with your program advisor of interest first.

Nearly all of out courses are designed for practicing teachers. However, if you are a working professional and are interested in taking one of our courses, first read the course description to see if the course is open to all. Non-teachers should check directly with the instructor or Science Education staff to get permission to enroll in a course.
Any course that is 500-level or higher (e.g., ERTH 527) is a graduate-level course, and participants must have earned a bachelor's degree and be admitted to MSU before enrolling. It does not matter what subject your degree is in, although some courses have very specific prerequisites that must be met.

No. If you are a fully online non-degree graduate student or certificate student, the immunization requirement will be waived by emailed [email protected].

Health insurance is required whenever a student is enrolled for six or more academic credits, and you may be automatically billed for health insurance through MyInfo. If you have your own insurance, you may waive participationin the student policy via MyInfo after you register. View the detailed instructions

Courses offered through Montana State University may be eligible for financial aid if you are admitted to Montana State University and enrolled in a degree program. Certificate students are not eligible for financial aid.

For information about financial assistance, please visit MSU's Office of Financial Aid.

The Deferred Fee Payment Plan is an installment payment plan available for qualified applicants who are unable to make full payment of current semester tuition and fees on regular fee payment day. For more information on payment plans visit the Student Accounts website.

After Enrolling


Yes. While off-campus, current students can connect to the MSU Library online. The Library offers a variety of services to help people access materials in our library and in other libraries. Our faculty and staff will be glad to be of assistance in helping you find and retrieve the information that you need.

You will receive an automated e-mail from the MSU Registrar's Office after you register for an online course. This e-mail will have detailed instructions for logging in to Brightspace by D2L, MSU's Learning Management System. 

See the Brightspace guide for new students.

You can log in by the first day of class. Occasionally course access is allowed a few days before a course begins. The Brightspace by D2L log-in page is
Follow the link to Forgot My Password on the Brightspace by D2L log-in page.
First talk to your advisor.

Drop: When you drop a course, you will not receive a grade for the course and the course will not appear on your transcript. Students have a limited length of time at the beginning of a course to drop. 

Withdrawal: Unlike a drop, students who withdraw from a course will receive a grade of W on their transcript for the course. You withdraw when you request to drop after the posted drop deadline. It is allowed only under extraordinary conditions. Note that non-attendance does not constitute a drop or withdrawal from a course.

If you are receiving financial aid, speak with the Office of Financial Aid to determine how the drop or withdrawal will affect your status.

Courses are dropped through MyInfo during the drop period. If you cannot drop through MyInfo, please go to the online drop request form.

See also the Retroactive University Withdrawal Policy for medical and other emergencies.

All credits are listed as Montana State University academic credits.
Log in to MyInfo to access grades or an unofficial transcript.

You may also request a copy of your official transcript.