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Integrative STEM Education

*Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction

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PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The Integrative STEM Education Doctoral program (Ed.D. or Ph.D.) is designed for students who already hold a Master's Degree in education or STEM fields. Either of the Ed.D. or Ph.D. programs will help you build on your existing knowledge and experience as you expand your understanding of STEM education by researching aspects related to integrative strategies for teaching STEM concepts. This degree path is best suited for students who are interested in pursuing a career in fields related to educational research, postsecondary education, teacher education, or educational leadership and administration.

In the Integrative STEM Education Doctoral program, we emphasize the interconnectedness of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines as we help our students explore teaching and learning methods. Real-world problems are rarely limited to a single school subject, and, as educators, we must help our students develop the ability to transfer skills and knowledge among subjects. This holistic and integrative approach to teaching and learning is both more effective and more fun, for both teachers and students alike. In the Ph.D. program, you will be researching these integrative methods and their effects on learning and engagement.

The doctoral degree programs are offered at the Blacksburg campus. The Blacksburg campus offers students the full services of the university, including an extensive library, technology support, and the Graduate Life Center.

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WHAT YOU'LL STUDY

Graduates of our Integrative STEM Education Doctoral programs typically assume dynamic roles as faculty in higher education, advancing research in the field and preparing the next generation of experts in the field.

The Ph.D. is considered a research-focused degree, for those who are interested in pursuing a career in academia where the conduct of research would be an integral part of one's position. For specific requirements for the program, please see this document.

The Ed.D. is an applied degree, for those interested in leadership roles outside of academia. In this case, learning about the application of research to generate evidence-based practices is the focus of this curriculum. For specific requirements for the program, please see this document.

In terms of the individual Plans of Study, the primary difference in terms of the doctoral programs of study is related to the research requirements. The Ed.D. requires 12 credit hours and the Ph.D. requires 15 credit hours of research studies. Both degrees involve theoretical and practical learning outcomes and both are 90 credit hours total. 

The coursework is organized as:

Integrative STEM Education Core Courses

(15+ semester hours)

  • EDCI 5804: STEM Education Foundations (3 semester hours – Fall Semester)
  • EDCI 5814 STEM Education Pedagogy (3 semester hours – Fall Semester)
  • EDCI 5824: STEM Education Trends and Issues (3 semester hours – Spring Semester)
  • EDCI 5834: STEM Education Research (3 semester hours – Alternate Spring Semesters)
  • EDCI 5844: STEM Education Seminar (3 semester hours – Fall and Spring Semesters)
  • EDCI 5854: Biotechnology Literacy by Design (3 semester hours – Alternate Spring Semesters)
  • EDCI 5774: Readings in STEM Education (3 semester hours – Fall and Spring Semesters)
  • EDCI 5964: Field Studies in [I-STEM] Education (3 semester hours – Fall and Spring Semesters)

Education Electives

  • Learning Sciences, Educational Foundations, Educational Administration, etc.

Research & Dissertation Courses

  • Ed.D. Students: 12+ semester hours of coursework and 30+ semester of EDCI 7994 (Research & Dissertation), as approved by the doctoral student's committee
  • Ph.D. Students: 15+ semester hours of coursework and 30+ semester of EDCI 7994 (Research & Dissertation), as approved by the doctoral student's committee

DISSERTATION

The doctoral degrees in Integrative STEM Education are not awarded solely on the basis of coursework completion. To graduate, each student must also conduct an original research study culminating in the presentation and defense of a dissertation. Most students write their dissertations in the traditional five-chapter format (i.e., as a research paper with an introduction, literature review, methodology section, results, and conclusion).  Other options such as a journal article dissertation are available.  Students work with the dissertation chairs and committees to determine the best format for their dissertation.

Course Descriptions

Provides an introduction to the nature of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, and their corresponding STEM education disciplines; the inherent connections, confluences, and differences among the STEM and STEM education disciplines; the frameworks, standards, and infrastructures that govern the teaching of these subjects in K-16 STEM education; and other social, political, theoretical, and philosophical ideas and influences that underlie K-16 STEM education. Graduate standing required.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Provides an ordered investigation into the instructional practices and signature pedagogies of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines as a means for developing purposefully integrative approaches for teaching/learning the content of these disciplines. Through study of the epistemologies, philosophies, strengths, and limitations associated with STEM signature pedagogies, students come to know a set of blended pedagogical practices that serve to enhance individual practices within their chosen fields. Graduate standing required.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

An exploration of contemporary K-16 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education trends and issues, including both integrative and within-discipline STEM education trends/issues. Topics addressed include STEM literacy, integrative approaches to STEM education, the changing role of design and inquiry in STEM education, STEM education-related legislation, change theory, state and federal funding, and extracurricular STEM education initiatives. Graduate standing required.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Designed as a structured investigation into the educational research methods and priorities among the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education disciplines. This course examines the various research methodologies used in studying teaching/learning issues within the context of STEM education disciplines. Students examine the similarities, distinctions, and overlaps among questions posed, research designs, and methods of studying best practices in order to better understand the teaching and learning processes among STEM education disciplines. Student gains in their understanding of these processes serve as the framework for preparing individual STEM-related action research proposals. Graduate standing required.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

An open forum for the exploration of topics and issues reflective of the national educational reform efforts impacting the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, with particular attention to the broader context of concerns for developing a technologically literate populace within our educational system. Through a blend of readings, presentations, discussions, expeditions, and reflections on personal experiences, students develop an appreciation for STEM discipline perspectives relative to the educational process. Graduate standing required.

Credit Hour(s): 1

Lecture Hour(s): 1

Level: Graduate

Addresses the field of biotechnology through technological design as a core curricular requirement reflective of the national Standards for Technological Literacy (STL) (ITEA, 2000). Using problem/project-based instruction, students develop a level of general science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education literacy necessary for K-12 STEM educators to teach about biotechnology from a technological/engineering design approach. Students examine the content areas of biotechnology and apply the technological design method as they explore a variety of purposefully designed integrative instructional strategies for teaching at the intersections of the STEM disciplines. This project-oriented course provides students with the opportunity to apply instructional theories, principles, and practices in the design of authentic problem-based instructional units appropriate for inclusion into the K-12 STEM Education curriculum. Graduate standing required.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Applied study in one or more educational institutions. Research, evaluation, curricular, and instructional projects are examples of appropriate projects of study. The student is graded on the basis of the design of the project and ability to carry it through and report the results.

Credit Hour(s): 1 TO 19

Lecture Hour(s): 1 TO 19

Level: Graduate

Historical & philosophical foundations, contemporary trends & issues, research, etc.

Credit Hour(s): 1 TO 6

Lecture Hour(s): 1 TO 6

Level: Graduate

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Credit Hour(s): 1 TO 19

Lecture Hour(s):

Level: Graduate

NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FACULTY

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John Wells, Professor and Program Leader
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Bradley Bowen, Assistant Professor