May 20, 2024  
2012-2013 Graduate Catalog 
2012-2013 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Science and Mathematics Education (MST)

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Graduate Programs, Certificates, Specializations, Emphases

The MST is offered by the University’s Center for Research in STEM Education. The goal of the MST program is the improvement of learning in science and mathematics. The program is designed to increase the number of qualified teachers in science and mathematics and to offer a research-based professional development opportunity for pre- and in-service teachers seeking Master’s degrees. The program also attracts doctoral students interested in improving their knowledge of teaching.

The MST is a 31-credit Master’s program requiring specific coursework, a research thesis, and guided teaching experiences in introductory science and mathematics courses on campus. Students will participate in and understand the results of education research in their discipline(s) and its application to teaching and learning. Students may use the degree to work toward teacher certification by choosing electives that meet some certification requirements, including a student teaching experience in a secondary classroom. The MST’s initial certification track for secondary science and mathematics is approved by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. 

MST Concentrations

Concentrations currently available:

  • Earth Science
  • Mathematics
  • Physics and Astronomy
  • Generalist

The Master of Science in Teaching program is designed for: 

  • Recent graduates from science, mathematics, and engineering programs who want to prepare for a career in secondary science or mathematics teaching.
  • In-service teachers desiring a Master’s degree containing courses that integrate content with research-based science or mathematics instruction.
  • Scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and those in related fields wishing to make career changes into secondary science or mathematics teaching.

Program Highlights

  • The MST coursework is both rich in discipline-specific content and focused on the integration of that content with research-based instructional “best practices.” Coupling this coursework with thesis research into student learning and supervised teaching experiences prepares MST students to engage in research-based instruction and develop teaching and learning philosophies consistent with it.
  • Each MST student is required to conduct a thesis project based upon original research related to the teaching and learning of science or mathematics.  Additional research opportunities exist for MST students through a UMaine collaboration with the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor and through independent study projects in the UMaine science and mathematics departments.
  • Courses are offered late in the day and rotated through the summer sessions, so part-time students may tailor their study to their individual schedules. Practicing teachers are encouraged to develop thesis projects that take advantage of the teaching and learning in their own classrooms. Since full-time students generally receive teaching or research assistantships, some teachers might find it beneficial to take a year’s sabbatical and spend it on campus completing part of the requirements for the MST, while being supported by a graduate assistantship.

 Participants in this program will:

  • Strengthen their backgrounds in the subjects that they teach;
  • Study topics included in the Learning Results but often not covered in traditional introductory science and mathematics courses;
  • Learn science and mathematics in courses taught using research-guided pedagogy and curricula, including hands-on, inquiry based methods;
  • Participate in courses that combine content and methods, rather than taking separate content and methods courses;
  • Learn how to design, conduct, and interpret science and mathematics education research;
  • Obtain training in the effective use of technology in the secondary classroom;
  • Have supervised teaching experience in classrooms implementing best practices indicated from research; and
  • Work toward certification to teach at the secondary level in their field (if desired).


Teaching and research assistantships, including stipends and tuition waivers, are available for students accepted for full-time MST study.


Applications are considered for full- or part-time study, beginning in the spring or fall semester. For full consideration for an assistantship, applications for fall admission should be received by January 15th and for spring admission should be received by October 31st, although applications received later will be considered for financial support if funds are still available. 

Application and additional information may be obtained from:

Further information about the MST program may be found at:

MST Prerequisites

The prerequisites for the MST program differ for each of the concentrations, but generally include: 

  • An undergraduate degree in a field closely related to science, mathematics, or secondary education
  • A course in psychology
  • Grades of B or better in undergraduate introductory science and/or mathematics courses (see the MST website for the specific requirements for each concentration:
  • Passing score on all required Praxis exams (for students working toward certification)



Graduate Faculty

Francois Amar, Ph.D. (University of Chicago, 1979), Associate Professor of Chemistry

David Batuski, Ph.D. (University of New Mexico, 1986), Chair, Dept. of Physics & Astronomy & Professor of Physics

Mitchell Bruce, Ph.D. (Columbia University , 1985) Associate Professor of Chemistry

Daniel Capps, Ph.D. (Cornell University, 2011) Assistant Professor of Science Education
Robert Franzosa, Ph.D. (Wisconsin, 1984), Professor of Mathematics

Christopher Gerbi, Ph.D. (University of Maine, 2005), Assistant Professor of Mineralogy/Rheology, Department of Earth Sciences

Kirk A. Maasch, Ph.D. (Yale, 1989), Professor of Earth Sciences and Quaternary and Climate Studies

Susan McKay, Ph.D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1987), Director, Center for Research in STEM Education and Professor of Physics

Stephen Norton, Ph.D. (Harvard University, 1967), Professor Emeritus of Geological Sciences

Eric Pandiscio, Ph.D. (University of Texas at Austin.1994), Associate Professor of Mathematics Education

Molly Schauffler, Ph.D. (University of Maine, 1988), Assistant Professor, Climate Change Institute

Jonathan Shemwell, Ph.D. (Stanford University, 2011), Assistant Professor of Education and Cooperating Assistant Professor of Physics

Michelle Smith, Ph.D. (University of Washington, 2006), Assistant Professor, School of Biology and Ecology

Natasha Speer, Ph.D. (University of California at Berkeley, 2001), Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education

MacKenzie Stetzer, Ph.D. (University of Pennsylvania, 2000), Assistant Professor of Physics

John Thompson, Ph.D.(Brown University, 1998), Assistant Professor of Physics and Cooperating Assistant Professor of Education

Michael Wittmann, Ph.D. (University of Maryland, College Park, 1998), Associate Professor of Physics and Cooperating Associate Professor of Education

Further information, including research interests, may be found on the MST program website:

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Graduate Programs, Certificates, Specializations, Emphases