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

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 may be used toward licensure/endorsements depending on the requirements of individual states. Montana State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

To be accepted into the MSSE program, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a bachelor's degree in science, science education, elementary/middle school/secondary education, or a related area.
  • Be a practicing educator with a strong science background. 
  • Have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students with a GPA of less than 3.0 have the opportunity to begin the program as a non-degree student to earn admission.

Note: No GRE is required for admission.

Visit the How to Apply page for further information.

The MSSE program is a total of 30 credits, consisting of 14 credits of core education courses and 16 credits of science/elective credits.

Required Coursework Information

The 30 credit MSSE degree program requires the following:

  • Fourteen (14) credits of core education classes (listed below). Core courses must be taken sequentially*
  • Sixteen (16) credits of elective courses, including at least two credits from a campus-based summer field or lab course. No more than four (4) elective credits may come from education elective courses. 

Core Education Classes:


      • 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 Forum (2 credits) (spring only)


      • MSSE 575 Capstone Project/Symposium in Science Education (1 credit) (summer only)

Summer Field and Lab Courses

      • Immersive courses held during the summer months at MSU. Courses vary, but most are held over the course of one week and offer 2 credits. One-day, one-credit courses are also available.
      • The next summer’s field/lab course schedule is posted by end of January.
      • Housing options are available on campus (see information in FAQ).
*MSSE 501 is the only core course not required to be taken sequentially, however, it must be taken prior to MSSE 509. MSSE 504, 505, 509, 575 are designed to be taken sequentially, without breaks, and scheduled so that you end with the MSSE 575 Capstone Symposium in your final summer of the program. 

Up to 9 credits of non-degree or non-MSU coursework may be transferred in, with the approval of MSSE Leadership and the Graduate School. If an MSU Graduate Certificate in Science Education is completed, all 12 credits will count toward MSSE.

Yes, there is a 3-credit minimum residency requirement. A minimum of 2-credits of summer field or lab courses and the 1-credit Capstone Symposium week. This requirement can be completed in one short visit (6 day minimum) during the final summer of the program.

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. This is in lieu of a thesis. Learn more about the Capstone Project.

While study needs vary for each student, you should plan on studying at least 3 hours per credit hour (e.g. 3 credit course equals 9 hours of studying per week)

Courses are located online via Brightspace/D2L. All courses are asynchronous, meaning you can login when it works for you. Each course is designed a little differently, but all offer levels of flexibility. Learn more about MSSE Online Learning here.

The MSSE degree can be completed in as little as 2 years or at your own pace during a period of up to 6 years. An accelerated option is not available. Upon admission to the program, a plan of study will be prepared to guide a timeline to completion.

More Questions?

We're happy to answer them!

Email [email protected] or call (406) 994-7485