College of Education Offers Rare Doctorate Specialization in Science Education

Texas Tech University’s College of Education recently unveiled a new doctoral option in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in science education – attainable mostly at a distance – that should appeal to location-locked education professionals.

“To the best of my knowledge, we are alone among research universities in the U.S. in offering a blended delivery Ph.D. that specializes in science education, not including mostly online schools like the University of Phoenix,” said Walter Smith, Helen DeVitt Jones Professor of Education.

The department is taking applications through the end of April; review of applicants will begin May 1, with coursework beginning in the fall 2012 semester.

“We are targeting people who want to be a science educator at the university level, a science supervisor for a school district, or a regional or state science coordinator,” Smith said. “Probably the majority of students will be from Texas because of the cost; half as much for Texas students as for out-of-state, but students can be from anywhere in the world, as long as they can get to the face-to-face meetings.”

Applicants are required to have a master’s in science education or a closely related field, and they must have three years’ experience teaching science in K-12 or in informal science, such as a zoo or museum.

Smith said everything is online except for two weeks on campus face-to-face each summer (2013, 2014 and 2015) and attendance each spring (2013, 2014 and 2015) at a three-day national conference of a professional association. Those are the National Science Teachers Association in April 2013, Association for Science Teacher Education in January 2014, and National Association for Research in Science Teaching on a date to be decided in 2015.

The program is designed to produce graduates who can make a difference in science education at the local, state, national or international level with skills attained for positions such as a science education researcher; school-based science education change agent; advocate for science education policy and practice; science teacher leader or global science educator.

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CONTACT: Walter Smith, Helen DeVitt Jones Professor of Education, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-1998 ext. 430, or