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Graduate Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Below you'll find answers to our most Frequently Asked Questions. If you have additional queries, please give us a call at (562) 985-4801 and we will do our best to point you in the right direction!

  1. How long will this program take?
  2. How much does it cost?
  3. How many units do I take at a time?
  4. Can I keep teaching while I'm in the program?
  5. Are there prerequisite courses to the program?
  6. Can I take the program from off campus?
  7. How many students are in the program?
  8. When is the application deadline?
  9. When I fill out the university application, what should I put in as my major code? Is it the same as that for a Master's in Education?
  10. Do I need to take the GRE?
  11. What should I take to start?
  12. What courses should I take from the College of Education?
  13. If I'm already enrolled at the university, do I need to reapply?
  14. I teach middle school. Should I enroll in the Elementary Education option or the Secondary Education option?
  15. What if I have already filed to graduate but something happens and I need to push back my graduation date to a later semester?

Answers

  1. How long will this program take?
    That depends on you! Like all master's programs, our M.S. is 30 units. Any prerequisite courses you need to take are above and beyond the program's 30 units (this also is standard). If you take one course (3 units) per semester, it will take you about ten semesters to complete the program. However, classes will always be available during summer semesters. If you took 12-15 units per semester, as a full time student, you might be able to complete the program in one calendar year. Most students will be somewhere in between those two extremes.

  2. How much does it cost?
    Tuition costs change frequently and the best place to check is with the university financial information. However, one helpful piece of information is that the university charges one fee for graduate students taking 0-6 units in a semester (regardless of the number of units), and a different fee for students taking more than 6 units (regardless of the number of units).

  3. How many units do I take at a time?
    We recommend people working full time while enrolled in the program not take more than one or, possibly, two courses at a time. Full time students could take 9 or more units per semester.

  4. Can I keep teaching while I'm in the program?
    Yes, we have designed the program with full time teachers in mind. Most courses will be offered in the late afternoon or early evenings. We also have summer offerings.

  5. Are there prerequisite courses to the program?
    You must meet University and Department admissions requirements. Beyond these, if you are planning on being a student in the Elementary Option, the program has three prerequisite courses: Biology 200, Physical Science 112, and Geology 102/104 (or the equivalents for any of the courses). If you graduated from CSULB with a degree in Liberal Studies within the last several years you probably took these courses.

    If you are planning on being a student in the Secondary Option, your program will include 9 units of science coursework at a level high enough to count toward a graduate degree. These courses may have prerequisites.

  6. Can I take the program from off campus?
    Generally, no--this was designed to be an on campus program. In theory, you could complete much of your thesis/project from off campus, if you kept in close contact with your advisor (and it was OK with him or her). In addition, some students in the Secondary option may complete some of their science course requirements via online coursework. The majority of the program, however, must be completed on campus.

  7. How many students are in the program?
    We limit enrollment to no more than 15 students per year. We want to be sure the student to faculty ratio does not become too large for us to provide you with quality advising, and that the program is small enough that you feel you're a member of a cohort.

  8. When is the application deadline?
    We will begin reviewing candidates and making acceptance decisions after May 1. We will accept applications until June 1st. There is a non-refundable fee for admission to the university. Remember, also, that the departmental application is separate from the university application . You must be accepted by both the university and the Science Education department before being eligible as a Classified Graduate Student. International Students have an earlier application deadline and should contact the Center for International Education for information.

  9. When I fill out the university application, what should I put in as my major code? Is it the same as that for a Master's in Education?
    The major code is a number identifying you as someone applying for the M.S. program for Science Education. Your application should indicate you are applying for the Elementary Option of the M.S. in Science Education (SCEDMS01); the Secondary Option for the M.S. in Science Education (SCEDMS02); or the Informal Option for the M.S. in Science Education (SCEDMS03).

  10. Do I need to take the GRE?
    No, we are not currently requiring students to have taken the GRE. We do require a teaching credential (or something a Science Education department committee deems equivalent), as well as various other requirements discussed on the previous web page. The application includes a writing sample.

  11. What should I take to start?
    SCED 550 is a good place to start. This class introduces things like how to make use of the library's research databases and how to read a research paper. If SCED 550 is not being offered the semester you begin the program, good alternates include one of your science courses or one of the courses from the College of Education. Almost all students should take EDP 520 as their first College of Education course.

  12. What courses should I take from the College of Education?
    If you feel like you're really 'bad' or afraid of math, then you may want to take the EDP 400 Statistics class before taking other EDP courses, even though we will not count EDP 400 toward your master's degree.

    We recommend most students begin with EDP 520. Once you have taken EDP 520, the recommended follow-up course is EDP 519 if you think, at that point, that you are most likely someday to complete a quantitative research based thesis. I know it sounds a little strange, but you take EDP 520 before taking EDP 519.

    A second path would be appropriate for those who know they want to do qualitative research--case study, interview, observation, or other anthropological or sociological type or work. If you know that you are much more interested in talking to or watching people than anything even remotely involving numbers, you might fall into this category. You can take EDP 595 (Qualitative Research), which has no prerequisite. Your best bet would be to combine this with EDP 520, if you can.

    If you're interested in program evaluation, you could take EDP 520 and EDP 596 (Program Evaluation in Education).

  13. If I'm already enrolled at the university, do I need to reapply?
    Yes. You need to apply (and be accepted by) both the University and Department. However, you will not need to provide the university with a new set of transcripts. In addition, the university will calculate your GPA in a manner that includes the most recent courses you have taken at the university.

  14. I teach middle school. Should I enroll in the Elementary Education option or the Secondary Education option?
    Technically, you can enroll in either option. The options are quite similar. The only difference is that students in the Elementary option will take SCED 500, 501, and 502 (three science courses created specifically for elementary teachers with relatively little science background), whereas students in the Secondary option will take 9 units of science in a discipline of their choice. The 9 units of science, of course, must be at a level high enough to count toward a graduate degree at CSULB. We currently have middle school teachers in both options. It's something we could discuss further, either before or after you have applied. It's easy to switch between options, especially early in your program.

  15. What if I have already filed to graduate but something happens and I need to push back my graduation date to a later semester?
    If a graduate student is not ready to graduate, then he/she is required to change the expected graduation date with Enrollment Services. You should submit a Request to Change Graduation Date form to Enrollment Services Windows 101. There may be a $10 processing fee. The form is available on the website under the Progress Toward Degree and Graduation