Jun 09, 2023
Return to: Graduate Degree Programs
Program Mission: The Master of Science in Natural Sciences may be earned through the successful completion of course work offered through concentrations in the following disciplines: biological sciences and physical sciences. Students should contact the concentration coordinator in the discipline area of interest for additional program guidance. The purpose of this program of graduate study is to offer experiences designed to advance the professional and personal competencies and scholarship of science teachers. This degree provides advanced study in the biological and physical sciences and education theory. Courses specifically designed for in-service teachers are available primarily during the summer term. Other advanced undergraduate and graduate level courses are available during the nine month academic year. A study plan consisting of appropriate course work from participating department will be determined in consultation with the student’s graduate advisor based upon the student’s background and interests and current or anticipated teaching assignments.
Admission Requirements: To be eligible for degree candidacy in any of the Master of Science in Natural Sciences concentrations, applicants must meet all the requirements for admission to the Graduate School (see “Admission to Graduate Degree and Certificate Programs”). In addition, applicants must submit evidence of successful completion of accredited teacher education programs from Eastern Illinois University or other equally accredited institutions and a GRE General score. Applicants must also possess a valid teaching certificate.
Degree requirements include those outlined for the master’s degree by the Graduate School (see “Requirements for the Master’s Degree”). Additional requirements are outlined below.
It is assumed that applicants are interested in increasing their current competencies in one or several scientific domains. All degree candidates must successfully complete courses designated as the scientific core. The purpose of this group of required courses is to present aspects of fundamental theory and practice specific to scientific endeavor.
Students in the Program Will Enroll in the Following Courses:
In addition to the required scientific core, each student must
choose one area of concentration and complete courses as specified
Biological Sciences: Minimum of 15 semester hours in biological sciences with thesis option; 18 semester hours minimum with non-thesis option.Physical Sciences:
Minimum of 15 semester hours in physical sciences (chemistry, earth
sciences/geology, and/or physics) with thesis option; 18 semester hours
minimum with non-thesis option.
The student, in consultation with the advisor, shall select appropriate
elective courses to complete the remaining hours for the degree.
These courses may be taken in a single discipline or in more than one
discipline; the unifying principle is their significance to the
teaching field or the specialized professional work of the
candidate. The unity displayed in the selection of courses of
this group is the primary consideration in the process of approving the
If the student elects not to submit a thesis, the minimum credit
required for graduation is 32 semester hours, to include the 11
semester hours of the required scientific core, 18 semester hours in an
area of concentration, and 3 semester hours of electives to be
determined by the candidate in consultation with the advisor.
Although preparation of a formal paper or thesis is not required of
candidates for the degree, Master of Science in Natural Sciences, a
student may elect this alternative. If the student elects to submit a
thesis, the minimum credit required for graduation is 30 semester hours
to include the 9 semester hours of the required scientific core, 15
semester hours in an area of concentration, and 6 semester hours of
thesis and research to be determined by the candidate in consultation
with the advisor. The thesis must be read by at least two faculty
members other than the advisor before it is given final approval.
Candidates who contemplate graduate study beyond the master’s degree
are urged to write a thesis.
Education Theory Courses
Students may elect to include graduate courses from the Department of Secondary Education and Foundations to satisfy a portion or all of the elective hours beyond the scientific core and discipline concentration requirements. Selection of appropriate courses should be made after consultation with the student’s advisor.
Comprehensive Examination and the Examining Committee
The candidate for the Master of Science in Natural Sciences must successfully complete a final comprehensive examination. The nature of this examination will be determined by the Graduate Committee from the candidate’s area of concentration. The candidate’s examining committee shall consist of a minimum of the candidate’s advisor and two other faculty members agreed upon by the candidate and advisor. Successful completion of the examination in a specific concentration must be filed in the Graduate School at least one week prior to the graduation date.
Up to six semester hours of transfer credit from another accredited graduate school may be applied to the degree. Course work must be applicable to the degree program. The concentration coordinator must approve transfer credit. All transfer credit must meet the requirements for transfer credit established by the Graduate School.
Study Plan Approval
The student in consultation with the advisor must obtain approval of the study plan from the program coordinator prior to the completion of 12 semester hours of graduate credits which count toward the graduate degree.
Information on graduate assistantships may be obtained by contacting the concentration coordinator.
Return to: Graduate Degree Programs