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Graduate School of Education
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Ed.D. in Science Education
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  The Graduate School of Education 2007-2009 Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Programs Programs in the Department of Learning and Teaching Ed.D. in Science Education  

Ed.D. in Science Education

The doctoral program in science education is intended for education professionals who wish to study learning and teaching in the area of science education. The program is appropriate for individuals who want to pursue a career as college or university faculty in science education, as curriculum developers and evaluators, leaders of teacher education and professional development, instructional leaders in schools or other informal science environments. Students will have opportunities to develop expertise in science education in general and to specialize deeply in a particular science content domain. Program faculty members have expertise in physics, biological science, and earth sciences.

The goals of the program are to provide students with broad competencies in:

1) Teaching - teacher thinking and learning in both preparation and professional development programs.

2) Learning - student learning in science with a focus on the development of scientific practices, discourse, and epistemology.

3) Learning environments - the design, implementation, and evaluation of formal and informal learning environments for science education.

Program goals follow from the philosophy that: 1) students actively construct and evaluate knowledge claims, 2) science learning is situated in socioculture and epistemic contexts, and 3) mediation of learning employing quality assessments is critical.


The doctoral program in science education incorporates the following areas of study: (1) research on science teaching, learning, and policy; (2) foundations of scientific inquiry; (3) cognitive and social psychology; (4) computer-supported learning; (5) advanced study in science; and (6) research methodologies.

When an applicant is accepted into the doctoral program, he or she is assigned an academic adviser. Within the first or second term student and adviser meet to develop a proposed program of study. This Proposed Degree Program is guided by the courses listed below but may vary depending on individual interests and goals. The Proposed Degree Program indicates the specific courses for the plan of study, the credits that are being transferred (if any), and the anticipated dates of residency and dissertation research. Degree Program forms are available in the department office. The Proposed Degree Program must be filed within the first 18 credits of course work and must be approved by the student's academic adviser, the department chair, and the associate dean. Although the Proposed Degree Program may be modified, it provides a "roadmap" for study and encourages students to think early on about the directions they wish to pursue and the preparation they need in order to carry out dissertation research.

Students may choose to change academic advisers if and when they identify faculty members whose interests are more consistent with their own. Please note, however, that the Proposed Degree Program should be developed with the academic adviser with whom the student will be continuing to work. It should also be noted that the academic adviser is not necessarily the faculty member who serves as the student's dissertation adviser.


The goal of the science education Ed.D. program is to develop knowledgeable leaders and critical thinkers in formal or informal preK-16 science education domains. Graduates will be prepared to engage at the interface of research and practice, capable of providing important information regarding research and policy developments in science education to educators, policy makers, and the general public.


(9 credits, with minimum of 3 in each area) The 9 credits will be outside the student's area of specialization.

A. Learning in a Content Area

B. Policy and Leadership

C. Social and Philosophical Foundations

D. Psychological Foundations


(30 credits of work in the candidate's basic research area with some work in closely

associated areas are required. Additional credits in science education can be taken

within or outside ofthe GSE. Adviser's approval is required for elective courses)

A. Area of Specialization:

15:256:450 Biology and Society:

15:256:551 Development of Ideas in Physical Science

15:256:552 Teaching Physical Science

15:256:553 Teaching Life Science

15:256:555 Research Internship in Science

15:256:556 Understanding Evolution: A Classroom Perspective

15:256:557 Multiple Representations in Physical Science

15:256:650 Seminar in Science Education I

15:256:651 Seminar in Science Education II

15:256:655 Independent Study leading to a Qualifying Paper

B. An additional 12 credits taken in science education or in relevant areas within or

outside the GSE. Elective courses require adviser's approval.


(Containing courses in two of the following areas: 9 credits) The existing approved

research courses will be used as well as new courses designed in the future.

A. Quantitative Foundations

B. Qualitative Foundations

C. Program Evaluation


There are two components to the qualifying examination--written and oral presentation. A written examination prepared by the adviser and appointed faculty should be completed near the midpoint of the candidate's program of study. The exam is strongly aligned with the candidate's program of study and research
interests. The oral presentation will be a report of the candidate's dissertation proposal.

V. DISSERTATION (24 credits)

250:701 Dissertation Study in Learning & Teaching (Note: No more than 12 credit

hours for dissertation may be taken before the successful completion of the qualifying


The candidate writes a dissertation following guidelines provided by the dissertation

committee. The candidate and adviser select the dissertation committee. Research

topics should be directed at current developments in science education practice and/or

policy and make an original, meaningful contribution to the field. The dissertation will require students to do a research project aimed at informing educational practice. The investigation must be informed by current research and theory, but may be directed to policy makers in aspecific context rather than to the larger field.

The Dissertation Committee consists of at least three members approved by the program faculty and department chair. The chair of the Dissertation Committee must be a member of the Graduate School of Education, and at least one committee member must be a member of the student's program. At least two committee members must be Rutgers faculty members; at least one must be from outside the student's department.


Foundations of Education 9 credits

EC/Elementary Education 30 credits

Research Methodology 9 credits

Dissertation Study 24 credits

TOTAL 72 credits

Please Note:

1. Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 in the doctoral course work and dissertation research courses.

2. Students may petition the faculty to transfer up to 18 graduate credit hours of course work taken elsewhere to partially meet these requirements. Transfer of credits is not guaranteed, and it must be demonstrated that the course meets the specific goals of the program. Transfer courses used to fulfill core program requirements should have content equivalent to these courses. The faculty will review each petition and decide if the course work taken elsewhere meets the standards of courses sponsored by the Ed.D. Program.

3. Degree programs will be approved by both students' program adviser and by the chair of the department.

Time Limits: Students have seven years from the time of admission to complete course work and qualifying examinations, and they will have a total of 10 years to complete all requirements.

For additional information, contact RU-info at 732/932-info (4636) or
Comments and corrections to: Campus Information Services.

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