Master's in Science Education Program

The MA in Science Education is a flexible program designed for secondary science teachers, and for science educators and specialists working in informal or outdoor education. The curriculum is designed to augment and broaden an educator’s background in science education theory and practice, as well as to enhance scholarly teaching. All Science Education Master's students create and produce a culminating project which allows them to exhibit the knowledge and skills they learn from participating in this program. 

Prospective students do not need a teaching credential to apply, but a teaching credential is required to teach secondary school science in California public schools. If you would like to earn a credential, you may be interested in our joint credential and MA program. Accepted science credential students have the option to take additional graduate coursework that counts towards a master's degree in science education. This is a very flexible program tailored to each individual student.

The MA program is 30 units in total. Students without a credential can complete the program in two years (full-time) or three years (part-time). Students who have already completed a credential can transfer between 9 and 12 units, and can therefore complete the program in two years, part-time.

The Science Education Program's Graduate Advisor is Dr. Elizabeth Walsh. You can reach her at

How to apply to the Master's Program:

Students applying for admission to MA Science Education program will interface with both the Science Education program AND the University's Graduate Application and Evaluation program (GAPE). Here's a brief guide to help you know what the requirements and procedures are for each. We strongly encourage you to go to the GAPE website for prospective students for important additional information.

Application Deadlines:

Domestic Deadlines

Spring: Opens August 1 of each year

Summer: Opens November 1 of each year

Fall: Opens October 1 of each year


International Deadlines

Spring: Opens August 1 of each year

Summer: Opens November 1 of each year

Fall: Opens October 1 of each year


    Application Deadline Final Document Deadline
Fall 2021 Domestic Applicants April 1, 2021 April 20, 2021
  International Applicants April 1, 2021 April 20, 2021

1. Requirements for Admission.

The MA Science Education is open to qualified science educators from different content backgrounds. However, before the MA degree may be conferred, a student must demonstrate subject matter competency in science and have "classified" standing. Depending on your bachelor's degree or your science subject matter competency, you may be admitted as either a classified or a conditionally classified student.

Requirements for Admission to Classified Standing

Minimum requirements for admission to the Graduate Division are in the catalog. In addition, classified standing requires the following:

  • An undergraduate major with a grade point average of 2.75;
  • Demonstrated subject-matter competency in science, either through a baccalaureate degree in science or by passing the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) Science Subtests I (test code 215) and a Specialized Science CSET Subtest II test in one of the following areas: Life Sciences 217, Chemistry 218, Earth and Space Science 219, or Physics 220).
  • Evidence of appropriate goal(s) and commitment to graduate-level study as demonstrated by a letter of intent written by the applicant and letters of recommendation from two or more persons qualified to judge the applicant's potential as a graduate student;
  • Approval of the graduate advisor and/or graduate committee.
  • We do not require the GRE.

Requirements for Admission to Conditionally Classified Standing

A student who meets all requirements for admission to classified standing except subject matter competency in general science may be admitted to conditionally classified standing. Classified standing may be achieved by demonstration of subject matter competency, as evidenced by an undergraduate degree in a science discipline or through successful completion of the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) Science Subtests I and II (test codes 118 and 119). Lower division and/or general education coursework used to achieve subject matter competency may not be used for credit towards the master's degree.

2. Check the deadlines for applications and supporting documents!

Your best source of information is on the deadlines page of the GAPE website. The MA Science Education program is listed under College of Science - Science Education.

Note: The MA Science Education program currently accepts students in the Fall semester only. However, if you wish to begin your graduate coursework in the spring, consider enrolling through Open University. The University permits students to transfer up to 6 units from select courses taken through Open University. For more information, see our FAQ page.

3. Fill out and submit the Application for Admission.

Applications may be obtained from

Overview of Application Quadrants in Cal State Apply:
There are four quadrants in the application process. Quadrants one (top right, Academic History), and two (top left, Personal Information) should be fairly self explanatory, and need to be completed. The third quadrant (bottom left, Supporting Information) does NOT need to completed for our degree. If the online system requires you to write something there in order to submit the application, you may write, "N/A" in those required fields in quadrant three. There is information required from you in the fourth quadrant (bottom right, Program Materials). 
Quadrant 4 (Program Materials):
The two required elements in quadrant four (bottom right) are a "Personal Statement" and two letters of recommendation. When you click on the fourth quadrant, some instructions will pop up. If you click the "Documents" tab at the top of the page, you will be provided instructions for what to include in your Personal Statement and how to upload it. Follow those directions to submit your personal statement.
In the same quadrant, next to the tab called "Documents" is a tab called "Evaluations." This is where you will request letters of recommendation. Follow the instructions there to have the online system email the individuals you would like to write you a letter of recommendation. (It's a good idea to also email those individuals and let them know to expect the email, as we can't ensure that the system generated email won't go to the recipient's spam folder.)
Once you have requested the letters of recommendation through the Cal State Apply system (and completed all other parts of the application), you may submit the application for review. You DO NOT need to wait for your letter writers to complete and submit their letters before submitting. We will be notified when those letters show up.
Other Questions:
If you have other questions about the application process and/or the Science Education master's program itself please email me (Dr. Elizabeth Walsh, Graduate Coordinator - Science Education, and I will either answer your question or direct you to someone who can. If your question is specifically about technical difficulties with the website, you should contact for help. If you want to know more about the minimum graduate CSU requirements, you may visit the Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations (GAPE) website: (GAPE) This is also a handy flowchart for understanding how your application is processed.
4. Write and submit a letter of intent.
This should describe your interests in science education, background and current goals. The letter should be sent to the Graduate Coordinator in Science Education.
Graduate Coordinator
Science Education Program
San José State University
1 Washington Square
San José, CA 95192-0099
5. Arrange for original copies of your transcripts to be sent to GAPE:
Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations
San José State University
1 Washington Square
San José, CA 95192-0017
It is essential that you follow up with GAPE to ensure your transcripts are received. An alternative to having the transcripts sent from your previous schools to SJSU is to have your official transcripts sent in a sealed, unopened envelope to you directly. Leave these in their sealed, unopened envelopes - you may bring them in person to the front desk at GAPE in the Student Services Center (SSC) (first floor of the North Garage at S. 10th and E. San Fernando) to request that they be added to your application file.
6. Arrange for two letters of recommendation to be sent to the Graduate Coordinator in Science Education:
Graduate Coordinator
Science Education Program
San José State University
1 Washington Square
San José, CA 95192-0099
7. See the GAPE website for information on tracking the status of your application.
Please note that the Science Education program cannot make a determination until your application is complete and it is forwarded to us from GAPE.