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Photo of Stanford GSE doctoral students

CTE - Science and Environmental Education

The program in Science and Environmental Education prepares students for teaching and research in a number of research areas. The research conducted in the program in Science Education includes research on teaching, teacher education, curriculum development, assessment, program evaluation, the informal learning of science, environmental literacy and policy formulation. Classes are offered on Research in Science Education, Policy and Practice in Science Education, the Science Curriculum, Science Assessment and Evaluation, Science and Environmental Education in Informal Contexts, Learning in Science, and the Theory and Practice of Environmental Education.

For those interested in science and/or environmental education, there are opportunities for participation in the ongoing research projects of Professors Nicole Ardoin, Bryan Brown and Jonathan Osborne, directed reading or research, and internships in the fields of special interest (like non-formal science education in museums or environmental education centers). Recent science education research projects have focused on students’ attitudes towards science, argumentation in science education, the role of language and identity, exploring issues of access for STEM majors, formative and summative assessment with an emphasis on performance assessment of students, reading science for understanding, and climate change and environmental behavior. Currently, there are projects in argumentation in science education in the science classroom and evaluation of programs that promote gender equity in science, mathematics, and engineering. There is also a laboratory group, which holds regular seminars on research in science education that meets 7/8 times a quarter. For those interested in science teacher education and teacher professional development, there are opportunities to develop materials for pre-service and in-service teachers and to work in the Stanford Teacher Education Program (a master's level program for students working for a secondary-school California teaching credential). In addition, Stanford is a leading site for research in science itself with many outreach programs for those interested in communicating science or working with scientists.

Science teaching experience in a classroom or an out-of-school setting is required for admission to the program. An undergraduate degree in a science field is also necessary, and graduate work in science is desirable.

Please e-mail any one of Professors (Ardoin, Brown or Osborne) for further information about the program.

Job placement

Virtually all of our students seeking employment find employment within a year after graduation. Many of our masters students go back into teaching. into departments or ministries of education, or non-profits. Most of our doctoral students assume academic positions and the balance find work consistent with their interests in research companies (e.g., Rand Corp, WestEd, American Institutes for Research, SRI International).

Other Information

Students in the masters program complete a project that reflects their interests and future endeavors.  These projects have focused on policy issues revolving around curriculum, formative assessment, teacher-research and development as well as alternative forms of education including experiential and museum education.

Doctoral students dissertations are wide ranging from public engagement in science to impact of robotics on programming skills, to impact of formative assessment on motivation and learning, to argumentation in inquiry teaching and learning, to mathematical barriers to learning understand laws in physics to the nature of learning progressions in physics to an evaluation field-based environmental education program to impact of language background of teachers’ scoring science performance of native and non-native English speakers.

Recent student Dissertations

Ryoo, K. (2009). Teaching science as a language: A 'content-first' approach to science teaching. (The substance of this disseration was published in the Journal of Research on Science Teaching and won the Best Paper award in 2009)

Dewitt, J. (2007) Supporting Teachers on Science-Focused School Trips: Towards an integrated Framework of theory and practice. (A paper from this dissertation was published in the International Journal of Science Education in 2007)