Apr 20, 2024  
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

STEM Education (Emphasis)

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STEM EDUCATION (PhD in Education concentration)

The STEM Education PhD is an interdisciplinary program for those who have an interest in improving the quality of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) education through research. The program is housed in the College of Education and Human Development and governed by an interdisciplinary committee consisting of STEM education faculty associated with the Maine Center for Research in STEM Education (RiSE Center). The program prepares students for faculty positions in STEM education within discipline departments and in colleges of education, or for education research positions in museums, research centers, policy agencies, and think tanks. It requires a minimum of 45 credits of coursework and a dissertation.

The STEM Education PhD is a full-time program in which students are supported through graduate assistantships contingent on available funding and have a day-to-day presence on the University of Maine campus. Students in the program study and conduct research on a broad range of issues related to STEM education through coursework and interdisciplinary research apprenticeships, both of which combine rigorous research methodology with disciplinary perspectives on educational challenges and opportunities. The graduate assistantships may also involve teaching assistantship(s) in undergraduate coursework in science, education, or mathematics.

There are two pathways through the program. Pathway 1 is for interested students who hold both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in a relevant field. Candidates for this pathway will likely have experience teaching STEM in K-12 school(s), informal learning center(s), or at the collegiate level; hold undergraduate and master degrees in education, science, or a combination of education and science; and/or have evidence of progressive professional development experiences in STEM education. Pathway 2 is for interested students who have not earned a master’s degree in a relevant STEM field or STEM education. The following are some of the options for the master’s degree component of the program:

  • The MST program at University of Maine
  • A master’s degree in the Department of Physics & Astronomy with a research thesis in STEM education
  • A master’s degree in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics with a research thesis in STEM education
  • A master’s degree from another STEM department at the University of Maine that includes a research thesis in STEM education

In this pathway, students can enroll concurrently in one of several of UMaine’s master’s degree programs and the STEM Education PhD program.

For both Pathway 1 and Pathway 2, students will be required to pass milestones in order to continue to advance in the program. Details of these milestones will be provided by the advisor and the program once the student is admitted but entail a qualifying paper their first year (unless the student has completed a STEM education research thesis as part of the master’s program), comprehensive exams and their defense at or near the end of coursework, a dissertation proposal and defense, and a dissertation and defense.

Applicants for both pathways are strongly encouraged to look at research profiles of the STEM Education PhD faculty for alignment of research interests. These faculty members are: Drs. Justin Dimmel, Elizabeth Hufnagel, Asli Sezen-Barrie, Natasha Spear, and Michael Wittmann.

For further information, contact Jo Ellen Carr (joellen.carr@maine.edu, 207-581-2444) or Dr. Elizabeth Hufnagel (elizabeth.hufnagel@maine.edu).

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