Campus:  Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus

            Virginia Tech Online (Virtual)

Instructions: Residential/On Campus 

                                            Online Courses for Virtual Option

Expand your understanding of STEM education, as you research curricular connections and integrative strategies for teaching and learning STEM concepts

30+ Semester Hours
15 Hours of Integrative STEM Education Core Courses
100 % faculty commitment
Intensive Research Opportunities
Our Education Specialist in Integrative STEM Education

A program for those holding master’s degrees in education and STEM fields that develops STEM educators, leaders, and scholars for the 21st century. Scholar/practitioners in this program expand their understanding of integrative STEM/STEM education, investigate curricular connections among the STEM subject areas, and apply integrative strategies to the design of instructional materials for teaching and learning STEM concepts. In this 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.

Why Study Integrative STEM Education Here?

What makes Virginia Tech's Integrative STEM Education program different from other S.T.E.M. programs is our emphasis on the integrative approach and the connections among the subjects. We have found that framing problems in terms of a design-based challenge provides an excellent springboard for such investigations. For example, challenging students to design a prototype power source for an off-grid hospital location would lead to (student-directed!) investigations of weather, climate, and electricity; solar- and wind-based technologies; material properties and specifications; and calculations of area and speed. Placing these concepts in a relevant context helps students see the immediate value of what they are learning, while they are constantly practicing their 21st-century skills of teamwork, communication, and problem solving. 

At Virginia Tech, Integrative STEM Education is operationally defined as "the application of technological/engineering design-based pedagogical approaches to intentionally teach content and practices of science and mathematics education through the content and practices of technology/engineering education. Integrative STEM Education is equally applicable at the natural intersections of learning within the continuum of content areas, educational environments, and academic levels"

(Wells & Ernst, 2012/2015)
Faculty Research Interests

Dynamic intervention means for STEM education students categorized as at-risk of dropping out of school

The cognitive demands addressed through technological and engineering design based teaching and learning

Instructional strategies for design based biotechnology literacy

Integrative pedagogical practices among STEM education areas

Instructional design and technology


K-12 teacher professional development in engineering education

Design and implementation of project-based classroom activities


Methods and design for non-formal and community based education

Engaging girls in STEM fields

Instructional design and teacher professional development for K-12 integrative STEM learning


Integrative STEM Education Research Highlights

Ernst, J. V., Glennie, E. & Li, S.  (2017). Performance-based task assessment of higher-order proficiencies in redesigned STEM high schools. Contemporary Issues in Education Research.10(1), 13-32.

Love, T. & Wells, J. (2017). Examining correlations between preparation experiences of U.S. technology and engineering educators and their teaching of science content and practices. International Journal of Technology and Design Education Online First. doi: 10.1007/s10798-017-9395-2.

Wells, J. (2017). Design to Understand: Promoting higher order thinking through T/E design based learning. Proceedings of the Technology Education New Zealand and International Conference on Technology Education-Asia Pacific, pp.325-339. TEMS Education Research Center, University of Waikato, New Zealand.

Ernst, J. V., Clark, A. C., & Bowers, S. W.  (2016). Flexible and job-embedded professional development for in-service technology, engineering, and design educators. Journal of Technology Studies. 42(2), 65-74.

Wells, John G., (2016). Efficacy of the technological/engineering design approach: Imposed cognitive demands within design based biotechnology instruction. Journal of Technology Education, 27(2), 4-20.

Wells, John G., (2016). PIRPOSAL Model of Integrative STEM Education: Conceptual and Pedagogical Framework for Classroom Implementation. Technology and Engineering Teacher, 75(6), 12-19.

Li, S., Ernst, J. V. & Williams, T.O.  (2015).  Supporting students with disabilities and Limited English Proficiency: STEM educator professional development participation and satisfaction.  International Journal of STEM Education, 2(20), 1-10.

Ernst, J.V. & Williams, T.O.  (2014).  Technology and engineering education accommodation service profile.  Journal of Technology Education, 26(1), 64-74.


  • At-Risk Post-secondary Student Learning Strategies
  • At-Risk Secondary Learner Preference in Engineering/Technical Graphics
  • At-Risk Social Competence for Technology Education
  • At-Risk STEM Learner Note Taking Quality
  • Augmented Reality as a Visual and Spatial Learning Tool
  • Authentic Assessment for New Schools Project STEM Teachers
  • Computational Modeling for Secondary Virtual Public Schools
  • Developing 3D Modeling Courses for Online Teaching
  • Engineering By Design [EbD]
  • Estuarine Ecosystems: Informal Integrated STEM Education
  • Experiential Learning in Technology Teacher Preparation
  • Integrative STEM Education: U.S & Zimbabwe Collaboratory
    [Virginia Tech/Hampton University (U.S.) & NUST/Hillside (Zimbabwe)]
  • K-12 STEM Education Colloquium: Exploring Models of STEM Integration
  • Re-Designed High Schools for Transformed STEM Learning (TSL)
  • Research In Engineering Education [RiEE]
  • Transforming Teaching through Implementing Inquiry (T2I2)
  • Virginia Initiative for Science Teaching and Achievement (VISTA)
Related Programs

Instructional Design and Technology (Ed.S.) Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (Ed.S.)
Students interested in applying to the Integrative STEM Education (Ed.S.) degree should contact the program director, Dr. Jeremy Ernst, by email at or by phone at 540-231-9193.

Visit our office 317 War Memorial Hall , 370 Drillfield Drive, Blacksburg, VA 24061

Domestic Application

Spring: January 1

Summer: May 1

*Fall:  August 1

International Application

Spring: September 1

Summer: January 1

*Fall: April 1

*Deadline for early decision admission with full funding consideration for Fall: March 1.



Jeremy Ernst
Program Leader
115 War Memorial Hall

Sherri Albert
Administrative Assistant
226 War Memorial Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061

School of Education

226 War Memorial Hall (0313)

370 Drillfield Drive

Blacksburg, VA 24061