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Integrative STEM Education

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Campus (s): Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus and Virginia Tech Online (Virtual)
Instructions: Residential/On Campus  and Online Courses for VIrtual Option

Program Overview

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 choose this program?

  • 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 provide 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.

What You'll Study

The Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree is designed for students who already hold a Master's Degree in education or STEM fields. The Ed.S. program will help you build on your existing knowledge and experience as you expand your understanding of STEM education through explorations of integrative strategies for teaching STEM concepts, often through design-based and transdisciplinary challenges.

Integrative STEM Education Core Courses (15+ SH)

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

Research & Evaluation (6+ SH, including EDCI 5834 above)

  • EDRE 6605: Quantitative Research Methods in Education (3 SH), Or,
  • EDRE 6504: Qualitative Research Methods in Education (3 SH)

Educational Foundations (6+ SH, including EDCI 5804 above)

Educational Foundations Elective (3 SH)

Field Study / Project (3+ SH)

EDCI 7964: Field Studies in [I-STEM] Education (3 SH)

Cognate (3+ SH)

Courses outside the SOE, including: STS; STEM content area courses; Engineering Ed; etc.

Graduates of the Virginia Tech Integrative STEM Education program are among the most sought after professionals in higher education.

The School of Education provides students with a plethora of research opportunities, including experimental and observational research, field research, and secondary data analysis. Graduate students are also encouraged to lead research projects and publish in scholarly journals. The school provides support for professional development to participate in conferences through travel grants. Additional professional development and research support resources are provided by the Graduate School at Virginia Tech.

This degree program is 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. 

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)

  • Applicants must hold a Master’s degree from an accredited college or university with a 3.3 grade point average (GPA).
  • Your graduate school application packet must include three letters of recommendation and your current resume.
  • Once your graduate school application is accepted, the program leader will contact you for a faculty interview (face-to-face or through internet/phone) and two writing samples.

Visit this page for more information on how to apply, including requirements, deadlines, and what you'll need in detail.

There is a discount for in-state K-12 teachers; use this application form in order to receive the reduced costs. Otherwise, as with on-campus students, we refer you to the VT Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid for information on financial assistance. Generally, distance learners may qualify for federal loans if they take 5 or more credit hours per semester.

Find out what loans are available as a graduate student and other opportunities.

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.

John Wells
Program Leader
Public Safety Building, Suite 201 (0313)
330 Sterrett Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Nancy Nolen
Enrollment Services Assistant
402 Wallace Hall (0565)


John Wells
Program Leader
Public Safety Building, Suite 201 (0313)
330 Sterrett Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Faculty Experts in Integrative STEM Education