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Degrees and Career

Our graduate program in chemical education is designed to meet the needs of students with a broad range of backgrounds and interests. Among the students who have enrolled in our program are individuals interested in a career at the college or university level, either in chemistry or science education; graduate students who find that they prefer teaching at the high-school or two-year college level to a career in chemical research; and high-school teachers who want to update their training in chemistry or enter careers in teaching training. For some of these students, a Ph.D. degree is necessary; for others, a M.S. degree is sufficient. Some students also chose to obtain a high school teaching license.

The chemical education faculty will be happy to work with you to develop a plan of study for an M.S. or Ph.D. degree that best meets your individual needs.

The Ph. D. in Chemical Education

The Ph.D. is a research degree awarded to those who demonstrate their ability to make original contributions to knowledge in a field. Research in chemical education requires a combination of talents. In addition to their chemistry background, students in this area may also require a strong background in cognitive psychology, statistical or qualitative research methods, testing and measurement, computer science, or curriculum theory.

There are different routes to a Ph.D. in chemical education at Purdue. Students can earn a Ph.D. from the Department of Chemistry with a thesis in chemical education, or they can receive their Ph.D. from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the School of Education.

Students in the Chemistry Department's Ph. D. program with a thesis in chemical education select one of the five traditional areas of chemistry or one of the specialty areas as their area of concentration. They take enough course work in that area to pass the cumulative exams in the area and enough courses in education to write and defend an original proposal and to carry out the research they wish to do for their Ph.D.

For a Ph. D. in Chemical Education through the Department of Chemistry

  • Admission to the Chemistry graduate program
  • 9 credit hours in a traditional area of concentration or in one of our specialty areas
  • 9 or more graduate credits in 2 outside areas (which includes courses needed as background for the original proposal and thesis)
  • Pass cumulative exams in a traditional content area
  • A proposal for original research in chemical education not related to your Ph. D. project
  • A dissertation proposal that describes the research intended for the Ph. D. dissertation
  • Ph.D. dissertation on a chemistry education topic

For additional information, click here.

Students with research interests that are directed towards education, but also include chemistry, can work towards a Ph.D. in Science Education with one of the faculty in chemical education as their research director. Those interested in computers in chemical education can earn a Ph.D. in the Educational Computing and Instructional Design (ECID) program. Ph.D. work in either of these programs requires a strong background in chemistry. As a result, all candidates for chemical education-oriented Ph.D. degrees from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction must have an M.S. in Chemistry.

For a Ph.D. in Science Education or Educational Computing and Instructional Design through the Department of Curriculum and Instruction

  • M.S. in Chemistry
  • Admission to Education graduate program
  • 40 - 45 graduate course credits in education and chemistry (beyond those earned during M.S. degree)
  • Preliminary exam in Education
  • Proposal for research in chemical education
  • Ph.D. dissertation on a chemistry education topic

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The Masters Degree

To date, more than 40 students have earned the M.S. degree from the Division of Chemical Education at Purdue. The M.S. degree is awarded on completion of a program within the Department of Chemistry that requires a minimum of 18 hours of graduate-level course work. At least 9 of these credit hours must be in chemistry. Because our students take courses in both Chemistry and Education, they often finish with one or two courses beyond the required 18 hours.

M. S. in Chemistry

  • Admission to Chemistry graduate program
  • 9 credit hours in a traditional area of concentration or in one of our specialty areas
  • 9 or more graduate credits 2 outside areas (which includes courses needed as background for the M.S. thesis)
  • Master's thesis

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Teaching License

Some students in chemical education obtain certification to teach high-school chemistry at the same time as their M.S. degree.

Requirements for certification

  • Admission to the teacher licensure program
  • 22 hours of professional education courses
  • A 10-week period of student teaching. 

Chemical Education Graduate Students

Chemical Education graduate students.

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