Designed for Educators Wanting to Teach Geology or Earth Science
Earth science (geosciences) is one of the fundamental sciences all American high school students are expected to learn before graduation. By making geology, meteorology, oceanography, and astronomy interesting and challenging, you can help engage your students' minds, strengthen their confidence, and lead them to a better appreciation of the world in which they live.
This online master's in science education program can prepare you to teach earth science at the junior high or high school level*. The program helps ensure your proficiency in natural sciences, general chemistry, earth and space science, ocean systems, and advanced geosciences.
*The specific grade levels you will be eligible to teach depend on your state’s licenses and endorsements.
Eligibility note: WGU's M.A. Science Education programs are for already-licensed teachers. The M.A. Science Education (Secondary Earth Science) program is for certified teachers who already hold a bachelor's degree and wish to add secondary earth science to their existing licenses. This program is not intended for aspiring teachers seeking licensure or certification. If you are seeking your teaching certificate, please view our programs leading to teacher licensure.
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COURSES & COMPETENCIES
Earth Science Education Courses
A nationally recognized curriculum designed to help you upgrade your teaching career with geoscience credentials.
WGU's online M.A. in Science Education (Secondary Earth Science) degree program is an affordable, flexible path for current teachers who want to add a geoscience specialization or endorsement to their license. (The specific grade levels you will be eligible to teach depend on your state’s licenses and endorsements.) Our curriculum focuses on effective strategies for teaching middle school or high school earth sciences and geology.
This program is made up of the following courses. You will complete them one at a time as you make your way through your program, working with your Program Mentor each term to build your personalized Degree Plan. You’ll work through each course as quickly as you can study and learn the material. As soon as you’re ready, you’ll pass the assessment, complete the course, and move on. This means that you can finish as many courses as you're able in a term at no additional cost.
WGU is the nation’s largest provider of math and science teaching degrees. Our M.A. for aspiring secondary geoscience/earth science teachers was designed (and is regularly updated) with input from experts on our Education Program Council, who know what it takes to successfully teach earth sciences in junior high, middle school, or high school. (The specific grade levels you will be eligible to teach depend on your state’s licenses and endorsements.)
The program also includes a home science lab kit. You will be provided with a self-contained laboratory kit—including science equipment, specimens and chemicals—to complete lab experiments at home.
Geology I: Physical provides undergraduate students seeking initial licensure or endorsement in secondary science education with an introduction to minerals and rocks, the physical features of the Earth, and the internal and surface processes that shape those features. This course has no prerequisites.
Geology II: Earth Systems provides graduate students seeking licensure or endorsement and/or to earn their MA degree in secondary science education with an examination of the geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere and the dynamic equilibrium of these systems over geologic time. This course also examines the history of Earth and its lifeforms, with an emphasis in meteorology. A prerequisite for this course is Geology I: Physical.
Astronomy provides graduate students seeking initial licensure or endorsement and/or to earn their MA degree in secondary or middle grade science education with essential knowledge of astronomy. This course explores Western history and basic physics of astronomy; phases of the moon and seasons; composition and properties of solar system bodies; stellar evolution and remnants; properties and scale of objects and distances within the universe; and introductory cosmology. A prerequisite for this course is General Physics.
This course investigates the complex ocean system by looking at the way its components—atmosphere, biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere—interact. Specific topics include the origins of Earth’s oceans and the early history of life; physical characteristics and geologic processes of the ocean floor; chemistry of the water molecule; energy flow between air and water and how ocean surface currents and deep circulation patterns affect weather and climate; marine biology and why ecosystems are an integral part of the ocean system; the effects of human activity; and the role of professional educators in teaching about ocean systems.
This course covers the advanced content knowledge that a secondary earth/space science teacher is expected to know and understand. Topics include basic scientific principles of earth and space sciences, tectonics and internal earth processes, earth materials and surface processes, history of Earth and its life-forms, Earth's atmosphere and hydrosphere, and astronomy.
This course provides a broad overview of the principles of mechanics, thermodynamics, wave motion, modern physics, and electricity and magnetism and invites students to apply them by solving problems, performing labs, and reflecting on concepts and ideas.
Ecology and Environmental Science is an introductory course for graduate students seeking initial licensure or endorsement and/or to earn their MA degree in secondary or middle grade science education. The course explores the relationships between organisms and their environment, including population ecology, communities, adaptations, distributions, interactions, and the environmental factors controlling these relationships. This course has no prerequisites.
Chemistry with Lab for graduates provides already licensed teachers seeking an additional license or endorsement in middle grades science or secondary physics, biological science, or earth science with an introduction to the field of chemistry. Designed for those not majoring in chemistry education, this course highlights how the topics covered can be applied within various branches of science. This course provides students with opportunities to examine the electronic structure of atoms, study periodic trends, name chemical compounds, write chemical formulas, determine the structure of molecules, balance chemical reactions, and discover the changing states of matter. Laboratory experiences facilitate the study of matter and the application of laboratory safety and maintenance procedures. Concepts in Science for graduates is a prerequisite for this course.
Concepts in Science for graduates provides already-licensed teachers seeking an additional license or endorsement in science education with an introduction to essential science themes present within and across all science disciplines, including chemistry, physics, biology, and the geosciences. These themes include comprehending the magnitude of the physical and natural world, analyzing and converting measurements, understanding the basic nature and behavior of matter and energy, examining atomic structure, identifying and naming basic types of chemical bonds, and analyzing and interpreting scientific data. Concepts in Science provides a solid foundation for future, in-depth, scientific studies and should be taken prior to any other science content course. There are no prerequisites for this course.
Science, Technology, and Society explores the ways in which science influences and is influenced by society and technology. A humanistic and social endeavor, science serves the needs of ever-changing societies by providing methods for observing, questioning, discovering, and communicating information about the physical and natural world. This course prepares educators to explain the nature and history of science, the various applications of science, and the scientific and engineering processes used to conduct investigations, make decisions, and solve problems. There are no prerequisites for this course.
Science Methods—Secondary Earth Science focuses on teaching methods specific to science for graduate students seeking an endorsement in secondary earth science. Course content focuses on the design and teaching of standards-based lessons using the three dimensions of science (science and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas) and the appropriate integration of technology into those lessons. Students in this course work within their content areas to evaluate, enhance, and plan appropriate science instruction. This course includes laboratory safety training and certification, which includes safe laboratory practices and procedures for science classrooms and the proper use of personal protective equipment. A prerequisite for this course is Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment.
MA, Science Education Teacher Performance Assessment contains a comprehensive, original, research-based curriculum unit designed to meet an identified educational need. It provides direct evidence of the candidate’s ability to design and implement a multi-week, standards-based unit of instruction, assess student learning, and then reflect on the learning process. The WGU Teacher Performance Assessment requires students to plan and teach a multi-week standards-based instructional unit consisting of seven components: 1) contextual factors, 2) learning goals, 3) assessment, 4) design for instruction, 5) instructional decision-making, 6) analysis of student learning, and 7) self-evaluation and reflection.
Program consists of 12 courses
At WGU, we design our curriculum to be timely, relevant, and practical—all to help you show that you know your stuff.
Teacher Work Sample
Special requirements for this program
The final project requires that you write an original, comprehensive research paper that provides direct evidence of your ability to design and implement a multi-week, standards-based unit of instruction, assess student learning, and then reflect on the learning process.
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A Different Way to Learn: Degree Programs Designed to Fit Your Life—and All the Demands on Your Time
No rigid class schedules. Just a solid, career-focused science teaching program that meshes with your current lifestyle. You'll be challenged. You'll work hard. But if you commit yourself and put in the hours needed, WGU makes it possible for you to earn a highly respected degree as a busy working adult.
WGU's geosciences education master's degree program is designed for licensed teachers who already have a bachelor's degree and who wish to improve their knowledge and teaching skills to teach earth science or geology at the junior high, middle school, or high school grade levels. This program is specifically designed for working adult students, so you can honor your current work and family responsibilities while completing your coursework.
Calling All Teachers with a Passion for Earth Sciences
A nationwide shortage of STEM teachers has created a demand for educators with the knowledge and training to help students build solid science skills in the middle school/junior high and high school grades. WGU's M.A. in Science Education (Secondary Earth Science) degree program is specifically designed to prepare you to teach middle school or high school geology and earth science. The specific grade levels you will be eligible to teach depend on your state’s licenses and endorsements.
With a M.A. in Science Education (Secondary Earth Science) degree, you could qualify to teach earth science or geology at the junior high or high school level. Adding a master’s degree to your résumé can increase your career opportunities, employability, salary, and contribution to your department.
WGU Alumni Teach in Schools Across the Country
Graduates of WGU’s Teachers College have found meaningful, rewarding careers in classrooms at:
- Inclusionary K–12 classrooms
- Middle/junior high schools
- High schools
- Private and charter schools
Impressive Class of Graduates
Graduates of the WGU Teachers College include recipients of many professional honors, including:
- Gates Millennium Scholars
- Intel Grant for Mathematics and Technology
- Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction Award
- Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award
- Association of Public Charter Schools Educator of the Year Award
Focused on Equity and Accessibility
The WGU Teachers College is in the top 1% for granting degrees for Black and Hispanic/Latinx educators at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. It is second in the nation for combined graduate and undergraduate degrees and credentials for students of color, according to the federal Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).
Master's Degree in Earth Science Education Admissions Requirements
If you enroll in a program that also includes a special endorsement, (such as the M.A. Science Education, with an endorsement to teach secondary geosciences) and you plan to eventually apply for the endorsement, the following is required of you:
- A copy of a valid teaching license.
- Official transcripts that demonstrate you have earned a bachelor’s degree from a recognized accredited university.
An Enrollment Counselor will instruct you as to when and how to submit your teaching license prior to or during your program.
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More About Earning This Degree
- About the M.A. in Science Education
- About Financial Aid
Our M.A. Science Education program is designed for licensed teachers who want to expand their abilities by adding a science endorsement.
You should pursue a master's in education based on what you want to do for your career. For many current teachers, adding to their existing license to expand or adjust the kind of teacher they want to be can be helpful. For example, a teacher who wants to pivot and teach science courses can pursue a master's degree in science education that allows them to expand on their current license.
Yes! There are online, accredited universities like WGU that allow students to pursue a master's degree in education online. Be sure to find a program that is reputable and will help you get the correct license for your state.
There will be a small practicum in the capstone for the degree. You will be teaching a multi-week lesson plan to a body of at least 10 students. This lesson plan usually consists of about 10 hours of in-class time.
Scholarships are available for new WGU students and returning graduates. This video shows more about scholarship opportunities and how they can help you pay for school. Get information on:
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- Eligibility requirements
- Examples of scholarships
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- Other financial aid options
WGU's tuition is a flat rate that is charged every six months. You can take as many courses as you are able in that six-month term—with no extra cost. You simply pay for the term and do as much work as you can or want to during that time. This means that finishing faster helps you save money—a major benefit you won't find at most other schools.
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