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Earth Systems Science

Earth Systems Science Track: 
For Enhanced Content Knowledge

Earn a Master of Science in Applied Science Education, and meet the nation’s need for earth science educators at the secondary level.

Earth science is a critical component of middle- and high-school curricula because it teaches processes that students can observe in everyday life and apply to their personal experiences. A firm understanding of the natural world makes other science course work more meaningful.

The earth systems science track is ideal for certified science and math teachers who wish to teach earth science. Our graduate program will support your professional development through summer institutes at Michigan Tech and online course work during the school year.

Earth and Space Science Teaching Endorsement

Upon receipt of your degree, you will be qualified to take the subject area endorsement test in earth and space science.

An advanced degree leading to earth science teaching certification is a smart option that lends you professional versatility. There are also financial and career benefits associated with an application-focused master’s degree; however, the most rewarding outcome of your training will be the positive impact you have on your students’ understanding of the world around them.

An Innovative, Experiential Curriculum

We know: the last thing you want to do is sit around in a classroom all summer, which is why the earth systems science track emphasizes field-oriented activities. Our summer institutes will give you the opportunity to get outside and explore the geology of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula or Utah’s National Parks, natural hazards and human impacts, and more.

Teachers in our program interact with world-class faculty in science education, science, and engineering—benefiting from their classroom experiences and successes—and receive training in innovative teaching methods and applications. Join an inquiry-based graduate community that supports your professional development and addresses your students’ needs.

Our master’s degree curriculum design is based on the Common Core State Standards Initiative and the Next Generation Science Standards. The Michigan Tech Teacher Preparation Program is nationally accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council.

Degree Components

Science Education Core Courses, 6 credits

Offered as online distance learning courses during the academic year

ED 5700 Introduction to Education Research2 credits
ED 5730 STEM Learning Materials, Inquiry and Assessment2 credits
ED 5740 Designing Education Research2 credits

Applied Science Core Courses, 12 credits

GE 5020 Earth Systems Science I4 credits
GE 5030 Earth Systems Science II4 credits
ENG 5300 Engineering Applications in the Earth Sciences4 credits

Field Courses, 7 credits

SS 5150 Natural Hazards and Human Impacts3 credits
GE 5130 Geology of the National Parks: Field Experience4 credits

Graduate Research Report, 2 credits

ED 5900 or GE 5999 Graduate Research in Educationvariable to 6 credits

Elective Science Education and/or Science Courses, 6-7 credits

Only credits approved by the department will be accepted.

Recommended Timeline and Sample Schedule

This is not an official list of degree requirements.
Adjustments may be required due to curriculum changes.

Year One

SemesterCourseCourse DescriptionCredits
SummerGeology of the National Parks (GE5130)Two-week field course, taught in Utah4
SummerNatural Hazards and Human Impacts (SS5150)Two-week classroom and field course taught at Michigan Tech3
FallEarth System Science I (GE5020)Online Course, covers basics of physical and historical geology4
SpringEarth System Science II (GE5030)Online Course, covers basics of oceanography, astronomy, and meteorology4

Year Two

SemesterCourseCourse DescriptionCredits
SummerEngineering Applications in Earth Science (ENG5300)Two-week classroom and field course taught at Michigan Tech4
SummerApproved Applied Science or Science Education Electives*
(3 credits minimum)
FallEducation Research (ED5700)Online course on research methods in education2
SpringSTEM Learning Materials, Inquiry and Assessment (ED5730)Online course on inquiry-based methods2

Year Three

SemesterCourseCourse DescriptionCredits
FallSTEM Standards and Research (ED5740)Online course on connecting instruction with standards in STEM2
SpringGraduate Research in Geology (GE5999)Independent research and report preparation supervised by geoscience faculty2

* Michigan Tech summer professional development courses can be applied as electives. This includes, for example, the Educator's Science and Mathematics Institute Series (ESMIS), Geology of Utah Institute, and the Earth Science Institutes.

University Degree Requirements

Report Option

This option requires a report describing the results of an independent study project. The scope of the research topic should be defined in such a way that a full-time student could complete the requirements for a master’s degree in twelve months or three semesters following the completion of course work by regularly scheduling graduate research credits. The report must be prepared following the current procedures.

At least two weeks prior to the oral examination, students must

  • Schedule their examination using the Pre-defense form
  • Distribute the report to the examining committee

The Degree schedule form must be approved before a defense is scheduled.

Students must also report the results of the oral examination and submit a single paper copy of the corrected and approved report in a sturdy binder including an original signature page to the Graduate School.

Of the minimum total of 30 credits, at least 24 must be earned in course work other than the project.

Course work 24 credits
Report 2–6 credits
Total (minimum) 30 credits
Distribution of course work credit  
5000–6000 series (minimum) 12 credits
3000–4000 level (maximum) 12 credits

For additional requirements, see the MS-ASE Handbook.