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An online master’s in science education will help students develop their skills in engaging learners in K-12 science classrooms, designing curricula, and organizing experiments and other hands-on learning experiences. Coursework in this degree blends an understanding of natural sciences with educational best practices and pedagogy.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the education field is expected to grow by 7% through 2031. Students who earn a master’s in science education will choose a specific learning group to focus on, such as elementary teacher (median annual salary: $61,350), middle school teacher (median annual salary: $61,320), and high school teacher (median annual salary: $61,820).

A standard online master’s in science education requires 30-36 credit hours and can be completed with 1-2 years of full-time study. Although the cost of this degree will vary by school, the average cost of a master’s degree in education is $59,840, according to

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Science Education Program

Choose your area of study

There are two types of master’s programs in science education. Some programs are oriented toward educators who already have a state-issued teaching license or certification, while others prepare graduates to become licensed and certified teachers. Consider your educational and professional status so you can find the program that best aligns with your needs.

Many programs also offer specializations and elective coursework that allow students to concentrate on a single science subfield, including biology, chemistry, physics, oceanography, or natural sciences. Students who are interested in a concentration in one of these areas should seek out programs that offer this option.

This is also a good time for students to reflect on their personal needs regarding scheduling and logistics. For example, a current teacher earning their master’s while teaching full-time may benefit from an asynchronous program that allows them to complete their lessons and assignments whenever their schedule allows. Other students may prefer a synchronous program, with pre-set class meetings, that provides more opportunities for interaction with classmates and faculty.

Research schools and programs

One of the first things students should confirm when researching schools and programs is that they are accredited by a reputable regional accrediting agency, as well as the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). These accreditations are important because they demonstrate the high quality and standards of the programs. Additionally, students must enroll in an accredited program in order to access financial aid, professional licensure and certification, and job opportunities.

A school’s website is an excellent place to start for gathering information about the institution and its online master’s in science education program. If available, students can attend virtual information sessions or open houses to speak directly with admissions counselors and program representatives. Following schools and programs on social media and reading online reviews can also provide insight into whether a program is a good fit.

Students should be sure to get answers to the following questions while doing their research:

  • Are courses delivered synchronously or asynchronously?
  • Does the program prefer applicants with bachelor’s degrees in education?
  • Is there an experiential learning component in the curriculum, such as student teaching? Can students who are currently teaching complete this requirement at their jobs?
  • What services are available to online students, including tech support, academic and career advising, counseling, and library resources?
  • Who are the faculty, and what are their qualifications?
  • Does the program meet all necessary state requirements for teaching licensure and certification?

Prepare for tests and applications

When researching programs, find out what their requirements are in terms of undergraduate and professional background. Some online master’s in science education programs are designed for individuals who already have a teaching license or teaching experience. They may also require specific prerequisite coursework and a minimum undergraduate GPA.

Students should also confirm what application materials they need to submit and what admissions deadlines are. A typical application for a master’s in science education includes:

  • Application and required fees
  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate institutions attended
  • Letters of recommendation from work supervisors, colleagues, or current or former professors
  • Resume/CV highlighting educational background and relevant work experience
  • Personal essay or statement of intent detailing interest in the program and why you would be a good fit
  • GRE scores

Select your program

Review the information you’ve gathered, find the ones that most closely align with your needs in terms of curriculum, time commitment, and cost, and submit applications to those programs. In some cases, this may mean only submitting one or two applications. Other students may want to cast a wider net to increase their chances of acceptance. There’s no right or wrong answer, but students should bear in mind that most schools charge application fees, which can quickly add up.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

During the research phase, it’s also a good idea to get information about the overall cost of the program (including tuition, fees, and other expenses) and what types of financial aid are available to students. This information is usually available from the school’s financial aid office.

For most students, completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a key step in the financial aid process. Colleges use the information from this application to determine eligibility for need-based aid, such as federal student loans, grants, institutional scholarships, and work-study. Students should also inquire about merit-based aid such as scholarships and fellowships.

The U.S. Department of Education also offers Teacher Loan Forgiveness and the TEACH Grant to students who agree to spend four years teaching in a high-need field at a low-income elementary school, secondary school, or educational services agency.

Individuals currently working should inquire with their employer about tuition assistance benefits to help offset the cost of their degree. Veterans and active-duty military members should determine if the school accepts GI Bill benefits or offers military tuition discounts.

Best 50 Accredited Online Master’s in Science Education Programs

Best Online Master's in Science Education Degree Programs

North Carolina State University

ECU College of Education

UGA College of Education

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

Hamline University

Lesley University

Georgia State University

Western Governors University

NSU Florida College of Education & School of Criminal Justice

Montana State University

University of Nebraska at Kearney

Colorado State University

FSU College of Education

Northeastern State University

Oklahoma State University

UMass Amherst

Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences

University of Minnesota

Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

Western Michigan University

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How We Rank Schools

This list focuses on graduate-level programs in science and STEM education. Students can earn a variety of degrees in this field, including Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), Master of Science (MS), and Master of Education (M.Ed).

We specifically sought programs that are delivered entirely or primarily online, ensuring accessibility for the greatest number of students, regardless of location or schedule.

To guarantee that programs meet the highest quality standards, we only included schools with regional accreditation. Additionally, many programs are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educational Programs (CAEP), a specialized agency overseeing postsecondary education programs.

Once we found the programs that met our criteria, we evaluated each of them on the basis of faculty, flexibility, reputation, cost, and outcomes. Using this information, we calculated an Intelligent Score for each program on a scale of 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

What Can You Expect from an Online Master’s in Science Education Program?

Narrow the program’s usual study areas:

  • K-12 Science Education
  • Methods and Educational Theory
  • Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Oceanography, or Natural Science
  • Foundational Scientific Inquiry
  • Technology and Distance Learning
  • Pollution and Environmental Biology

Students typically need to complete 30-36 credit hours to earn an online master’s in science education. A full-time student can usually finish the program in 1-2 years, while a part-time student might take longer.

In addition to coursework, most programs require experiential learning. Students who are not currently working as an educator should be prepared to spend at least one term in a school setting to fulfill a practicum or student teaching requirement. Programs may also require a thesis or capstone project to demonstrate research or practical knowledge obtained through the program.

Some science courses may require lab work. Online programs often ship students lab kits to conduct experiments in their homes. However, students should confirm if they’ll be required to participate in on-campus labs.

The core curriculum of an online master’s in science education will usually cover the following areas:

  • Methods and educational theory
  • Assessment and outcomes
  • Life sciences
  • Foundational scientific inquiry
  • Technology and distance learning

Potential courses you’ll take in an online master’s in science education program

  • Science, Technology, and Society. Students study how technology affects and influences scientific understanding and how social psychology influences scientific inquiry.
  • Earth Science for Educators. Lessons encompass climate, energy, the water cycle, rocks and minerals, and geologic time. A lab kit is required.
  • Teaching Inquiry-Based Life Science. As an investigative approach to teaching and learning, learners explore concepts, ideas, and research. The course offers resources to conduct inquiry-based lessons.
  • Methods in Science Education. Science teachers discuss state standards, show science content awareness, and think about how students’ psychosocial developmental stages affect teaching science.

What Can You Do With an Online Master’s in Science Education?

Career outlook

The demand for skilled science educators remains high, driven by a growing emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of high school teachers, including science educators, is projected to remain steady, with a growth of roughly one percent over the next decade. High school teachers make a median income of $62,360 a year, with those in the top ten percent of the field earning more than $101,710.

Career paths

Earning a master’s degree in science education deepens educators’ understanding of scientific concepts and opens diverse career paths. This advanced degree equips professionals with the knowledge and skills to excel in roles beyond traditional teaching. Following are some potential job options for individuals with a master’s in science education, offering a glimpse into the dynamic and impactful careers available in the field.

  • Educational consultant — shares expertise with schools or organizations, providing insights into effective science education strategies and program development.
  • Online science instructor — facilitates engaging virtual science courses, leveraging digital tools to reach students globally.
  • Elementary school science teacher — introduces young students to the wonders of the natural world, fostering curiosity and foundational scientific understanding.
  • Environmental education specialist — integrates environmental science concepts into curricula, leading outdoor learning experiences and advocating for environmental awareness.
  • High school STEM coordinator — oversees STEM programs, fostering interdisciplinary approaches to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.

High School Science Teacher

Earning Potential: $50,534-$67,178 annually
Education Required: Master’s degree in education, science education, or a related field

A high school science teacher educates students in specific scientific disciplines such as biology, chemistry, or physics, imparting comprehensive knowledge through lectures, laboratory experiments, and interactive activities. They design and implement curriculum plans, assess student progress, and prepare learners for academic challenges and future careers in science. Additionally, high school science teachers often mentor students, foster critical thinking skills, and inspire a lifelong appreciation for scientific inquiry, contributing to the development of well-rounded individuals with a solid foundation in science.

Curriculum Developer

Earning Potential: $58,280-$74,190 annually
Education Required: Master’s degree in education, science education, or a related field

A science curriculum developer is responsible for creating and enhancing educational materials and strategies that align with academic standards, ensuring an effective and engaging learning experience. They design comprehensive science curricula, incorporating innovative teaching methods, educational technologies, and real-world applications. Collaborating with educators, they stay abreast of educational trends and research to continuously improve curriculum content. Science curriculum developers play a pivotal role in shaping the educational journey, fostering a deeper understanding of scientific concepts, and equipping students with the skills needed for future success in science-related fields.

Science Education Specialist

Earning Potential: $46,844-$58,404 annually
Education Required: Master’s degree in science education or a related field

A science education specialist operates at the district or state level, influencing educational policies and practices related to science education. They provide expertise in curriculum development, teacher training, and program evaluation, ensuring alignment with educational goals and standards. Collaborating with educators and administrators, they implement initiatives to enhance the quality of science education, fostering innovative teaching methods and promoting student engagement. Science education specialists contribute to shaping the broader educational landscape, advocating for effective strategies that empower students with the knowledge and skills necessary for success in the ever-evolving world of science.

Online Master’s Degree in Science Education Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online master’s in science education degree program?

Before starting an application, confirm the requirements, process, and deadlines with an admissions representative. If applying to multiple schools, make a spreadsheet or checklist to keep all relevant information organized.

Students typically can submit their applications and supporting documents through a school’s online application portal. Schools may require college transcripts and standardized test scores to be sent directly from the school or testing agency.

Review the program’s eligibility requirements to confirm that you meet the thresholds for undergraduate GPA, prerequisite coursework, and professional experiences and credentials.

How much does an online master’s in science education degree cost?

According to, the average cost of a master’s in education degree is $59,840. However, there is a lot of variance in what an individual student pays to earn this degree.

The type of school a student attends has a significant influence on the overall cost of the program. Private institutions tend to charge higher tuition than public universities. However, public universities often charge different tuition rates based on whether students are considered in-state or out-of-state. If attending a public school, online students should check to see if they charge students the same tuition regardless of residency.

Many schools charge students additional fees for technical support, virtual classroom technology, student services, and more. These additional fees can be weighed against cost-savings for online programs, including transportation, childcare, and room and board.

For the most accurate information about what a program will cost, it’s best to speak to a financial aid counselor.

How long does it take to earn an online master’s in science education degree?

The time it takes to earn a degree varies based on the number of credits the individual program requires. A full-time student will usually be able to complete the program in 1-2 years. However, some schools offer accelerated programs that condense coursework into a shorter time frame. Meanwhile, if a student enrolls in a program part-time, it can take another semester or two to finish.

Is an online master’s in science education worth it?

Earning an online master’s in science education is worth it for educators seeking to advance their careers and make a meaningful impact in science instruction. The online format offers numerous benefits, making it a practical and effective choice for busy professionals.

One key advantage is flexibility. Online programs allow educators to pursue advanced degrees while balancing work and personal commitments. This flexibility is particularly valuable for those already working in the field, as it enables them to enhance their knowledge and skills without the need for a career hiatus. Online courses often provide the convenience of asynchronous learning, which allows students to access lectures and materials at their own pace.

Another benefit is accessibility. Online programs break down geographical barriers, providing access to reputable institutions and expert faculty regardless of location. This accessibility broadens opportunities for educators who may not have a local institution offering a comparable program.

Pursuing an advanced degree online demonstrates a commitment to professional growth and proficiency in online learning platforms. This can enhance an educator’s marketability and open doors to leadership roles, curriculum development positions, or specialized roles as science education specialists.

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