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Science and Engineering Education


rsenk326
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Hey all, I was hoping to get a little advice from this wonderful forum. I have stumbled across a few science education related threads, but had a few questions myself that I was hoping to get a little input on.

 

I'm majoring in physics at a large public school and will be graduating in the upcoming spring. I have had my heart set on graduate school, but I have been more and more leaning towards science or engineering education as my path, so much so that I don't plan on applying to any physics/astronomy programs.

 

I will be in my fourth year working for my school's engineering education department (one of very few in the country) and have pretty good connection there. I am currently in an internship at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and I am planning on talking to Dr Phil Sadler when here and possibly a few other faculty in the science education field.

 

I am planning on going for my phd, but I don't have much experience with science education research (I'm more familiar with engineering education and will be doing research in the field in the fall, I'm assuming the two fields don't differ very much).

I am planning on applying to HGSE, Purdue's engineering education program, Berkley, and Michigan, but I am not sure what other schools to look at. I was wondering if anybody had an idea of other good (or even mediocre) science or engineering education phd programs, or had an idea of any specific journals or papers I should look in to.

 

Thanks so much!

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I am planning on going for my phd, but I don't have much experience with science education research (I'm more familiar with engineering education and will be doing research in the field in the fall, I'm assuming the two fields don't differ very much).

I am planning on applying to HGSE, Purdue's engineering education program, Berkley, and Michigan, but I am not sure what other schools to look at. I was wondering if anybody had an idea of other good (or even mediocre) science or engineering education phd programs, or had an idea of any specific journals or papers I should look in to.

 

 

I don't know much about engineering education, but I'd wager that it's quite different from science education. My question for you is why those schools? I'm not at any of those by the way. What are your criteria for selecting schools? That would help with advice about potential schools.

 

"Science education" is a very broad field. Can you be more specific about what your research interests are? For example, if you are interested more in curriculum, instruction, or teacher education, then you might look at colleges of education. However, if you are interested in DBER (discipline-based educational research), then you should look at colleges of engineering or physics departments (e.g., Colorado). I'm in a college of education (I have a BA in a science field and taught middle and high school science for ten years in public schools). In my experience, the DBER students are not as well-versed in basic educational research. For some reason (maybe bias against the social sciences), DBER grad students tend to underestimate the complexity of theories, methodologies, and concepts in education. Thus, they can sometimes do work that has little value in education because they tackle an issue that is way too complex (and their advisor may not be knowledgeable enough to understand that). Ideally, if you are a DBER student, you'd have faculty from both your discipline and education on your committee (my two cents).

 

Science education programs are not ranked in US News, so that report won't help you. My best advice to you is to read widely and figure out whose research sounds most interesting to you... then follow the research, not the rankings (that's how I found my institution). For science education, I would look at NARST and their journal JRST (the premiere journal for science education research). That will give you a good idea of what scholars are interested in right now.

 

If you plan on becoming a professor, especially at an R1, you should get the best advisor and program you can. I like my program because, outside of science education, we also have faculty doing research in areas that I'm interested in... discourse analysis, language and literacy, critical pedagogy, etc. Feel free to PM me if you want more details.

Edited by wildviolet
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Thanks for the response! It was immensely helpful.

 

I looked at those schools first because they have very respected education programs. I also looked at the faculty and research being done and found that much of it inerests me. I am interested mostly in pedagogy, but I'm not terribly sure what specifically within that area. I also found myself very interested in the research a professor I worked for did, which focuses on classroom dynamics, team formation, and student migration to and from stem disciplines.

 

Again, thanks for the wonderful response.

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