PhD in STEM Education


Read more about this program on the institution's website

Program Description

Applicants are invited for NDSU's interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics (STEM) Education. The program conducts and disseminates empirical research to improve STEM learning and teaching in higher education.

Coursework centers on graduate-level courses in the discipline area, a common core of STEM Education courses, and elective courses focused on research training. An interdisciplinary team of faculty-supervised the candidate's dissertation research, which will investigate teaching and learning within/across one or more STEM disciplines.

Although interdisciplinary in nature, graduate students in the STEM Education Ph.D. The program has an academic home in the STEM department/program of their discipline preference. Graduate committee membership includes faculty from the STEM Education program and from the department/program of discipline preference.

STEM Education Courses

College Science Teaching (STEM 810, formerly Biol 705/Educ 705)

Designed for graduate students interested in science teaching and student learning at the undergraduate level, this course asks (1) What do we know about learning, (2) How do we assess learning, and (3) How do we facilitate learning? Discussions of readings, observations, and activities will help students develop (1) a robust, personal definition of teaching and learning, and (2) an understanding of what facilitates learning in science.

Curriculum and Assessment (STEM 820, formerly STEM 704)

Designed for graduate students interested in evidenced-based undergraduate instruction in math and science. This course focuses on research on assessment and curricula designed to identify and address the conceptual and reasoning difficulties of students in math and science. Students will explore relevant discipline-based education research literature, practice analyzing student-generated data, and design instruction and assessments.

Research Methods in STEM Education (STEM 830, formerly STEM 706)

Designed for graduate students in the STEM Ed Ph.D. program but suitable for Master's and Ph.D.'s students in related fields seeking to improve their understanding of common methods employed by Discipline-based Education Researchers. We specifically aim to:

  • Develop skills for reading primary literature in STEM Education
  • Evaluate the methods employed within the research literature as they relate to the research questions posed by the study investigators
  • Articulate your understanding of the course readings through written and oral argumentation
  • Pose a measurable research question and propose qualitative and quantitative methods that would be appropriate for providing evidence for that research question
  • Embed research questions within the context of the published literature and within their chosen theoretical framework
  • Present a professional-quality presentation for the class that demonstrates an understanding of methods appropriate for a novel research question

Degree Requirements

Applicants will not be considered without a core faculty member who has agreed to serve as the major advisor.

Applicants for the STEM Education Ph.D. program must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Completed a Masters's (or Ph.D.) degree in a STEM discipline.
  • Accepted into an NDSU Master’s program in a STEM discipline.
  • Accepted into an NDSU Ph.D. program in a STEM discipline.

The program requires 60 semester hours beyond the Master’s Degree. Additionally, by the completion of the doctorate, the coursework must include either a Master’s Degree or its equivalent coursework in the chosen STEM discipline (this applies if the Master’s Degree is in Education or another related field). In consultation with the student's graduate committee, a plan of study will be developed to ensure that the student has a strong background in

  1. discipline-based educational research at the undergraduate level,
  2. curriculum, teaching, learning, and assessment, and
  3. content expertise within a discipline.

Students enrolled in the program must maintain an overall GPA of at least 3.0 both within the content area and STEM courses. If the GPA in either component should drop below 3.0, then the student is placed on academic probation within the program for the following semester. If at the end of that semester the GPA still remains below 3.0, the student is subject to dismissal from the program.

Last updated Oct 2020

About the School

NDSU is a student-focused, land-grant, research university with a graduate student population of about 2,000 across 75+ programs. Our students work with world-class faculty on innovative, and often in ... Read More

NDSU is a student-focused, land-grant, research university with a graduate student population of about 2,000 across 75+ programs. Our students work with world-class faculty on innovative, and often interdisciplinary, research. Additionally, our students have access to professional development opportunities, and events such as Three Minute Thesis. Our low tuition costs make NDSU a bargain, and our career outcomes are excellent. We are located in Fargo, ND – a Midwestern “hidden gem,” and a welcoming and vibrant community of about 230,000 with a unique rural-urban feel. We have a bustling entrepreneurial atmosphere; rich culture; great local fare, arts, and entertainment; and family friendly environment. Read less