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Science Education Online (SEO) at the UMass-Amherst Campus:

FAQ for UMass-Amherst: Education (Secondary Teacher Education)
M.Ed. or Ed.S.,
Specialization: Science Off-Campus--Science Education Online

Note: UMA = UMass Amherst.

1. Who can apply to the Program?

2. Will the program earn me professional licensure?

3. How long does it take to complete the degree requirements?

4. May I take courses prior to matriculation? (Also see question 11)

5. What is the application process?

6. What are the application deadlines?

7. Does my undergraduate degree need to be in science?

8. Will I have an advisor?

9. Will I need to come to campus at any point?

10. How do I register to take a course from UMA?

11. Can I transfer in courses from other institutions?

12. What will the degree cost?

13. If I find a course is not for me can I withdraw?

14. How will I find out about my grades?

15. What is the grading system?

16. What are the computer requirements for taking an online course?

17. What type of computer software is required? What is the format of a course?

18. Who do I contact if I have a technical problem?

19. What is the online learning platform used for the courses?

20. Where can I get a copy of my syllabus?

21. Is there a course schedule? Do I have to be "in class" at a certain time?

22. Are books required?

23. How much time should I expect to spend on each course each week?

24. When I have completed my courses, how do I receive my degree?

25. OK - I am interested, what should I do now?


1. Who can apply to the Program?

The program is intended for elementary and middle school classroom teachers who wish to increase their science content knowledge and teaching skills. Special Education teachers who wish to increase their ability to teach science are also encouraged to apply. Although not intended for high school teachers, some may find the courses beneficial. Please note that this program is not a teacher preparation program and is NOT appropriate for those seeking initial teacher licensure in their state.

2. Will the program earn me professional licensure?

If you are a Massachusetts teacher and already hold initial licensure in elementary education or middle school general science, you may be eligible for professional licensure through this program. Please consult with the MA Department of Education regarding this. Teachers from other states must consult their own state licensing regulations.

3. How long does it take to complete the degree requirements?

Generally, online students take a maximum of two online courses per semester. The program requires completion of 30 credits of coursework for an Education Specialist Degree and 33 credit hours for a Masters Degree in Education. Courses are offered in fall, spring and summer semesters. Depending upon scheduling and your choice of classes, it is possible to finish the program in less than two years.

4. May I take courses prior to matriculation? (Also see question 11)

You may take two courses, but this is not recommended and does not guarantee your acceptance. You are permitted to transfer in up to 6 credit hours from UMass as a non-degree student and up to 6 credit hours from institutions outside of UMass.

5. What is the application process?

Applications can be found online at the UMA Graduate School web page: http://www.umass.edu/gradschool/. You may complete the initial form and submit the application fee online. Apply to the Education [Science Education Online] M.Ed. (or EdS). The specialization is "Science Off-Campus--Science Education Online." You must then send two letters of recommendation, two copies of official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended, undergraduate and graduate, where 6 or more credits were taken are required, and a one to two-page essay explaining your reason for seeking acceptance to this degree program.

6. What are the application deadlines?

A Rolling Application procedure is in place; we try to admit students year-round. However, to guarantee that your application will be reviewed in time for registration you should meet the following deadlines: for summer/fall acceptance your complete application should be received by February 1; for spring acceptance your complete application should be received by October 1.

7. Does my undergraduate degree need to be in science?

NO - in fact this program was developed for teachers who teach some science, but do not have a background in the subject.

8. Will I have an advisor?

Yes, once you are accepted into the program, you should regularly email your assigned advisor. You will be informed of his/her name on your letter of acceptance.

9. Will I need to come to campus at any point?

No, all courses are online and all administrative procedures can be accomplished online.

10. How do I register to take a course from UMA?

You must go to https://www.umassulearn.net/ where you will find registration information.

You will then receive an e-mail that will provide you with a username and password. This will allow you to have access to your UMA courses.

11. Can I transfer in courses from other institutions?

You may transfer in a maximum of 2 courses (6 credits) from institutions outside of UMass with approval of your advisor and the Graduate School. In order to provide a wider offering of courses, this program was developed jointly by UMA and UMass/Lowell (UML) faculty. By special arrangement, you may take up to an additional five courses (15 credits) from UML with permission of your academic advisor.

12. What will the degree cost?

At current tuition and fee rates, the approximate cost to complete the program will be ~$18,000 for a master's degree and about $2,000 less for the EdS. Rates are the same for in-state and out-of-state students.

13. If I find a course is not for me can I withdraw?

UMA posts the dates for dropping a course with full return of course fees and tuition or partial refund. Once the drop date has passed you may withdraw from the course, but will receive no refund. The final withdraw date is also posted on the graduate calendar or on the continuing education website. (Bursar's office website: http://www.umass.edu/bursar/)

14. How will I find out about my grades?

As a UMA student you will be given a SPIRE account which allows you to access your grades at the end of the semester. Once you have filled out a transfer of credit form to transfer in courses taken at UML, these will also appear on your SPIRE account.

15. What is the grading system?

Graduate courses are graded A, A-, B+, B, B-,C+,C or F. The minimum allowable grade is a C. You must maintain a GPA of 3.0 in order to graduate.

16. What are the computer requirements for taking an online course?

Please refer to the Continuing Education website
(http://www.umassulearn.net/online-learning/technical-requirements)
for more information.

17. What is the format of a course?

To get a sense of what the platform looks like, see http://www.umassonline.net/CourseDemo.cfm.

To see what some of the course activities are like, go to http://www.umass.edu/seo/activities.htm.

18. Who do I contact if I have a technical problem?

For students currently enrolled in online courses, including after hours and weekends, please see the 24/7 UMassOnline Helpdesk. (http://uma.echelp.org/)

19. What is the online learning platform used for the courses?

All courses are taught using Blackboard Learn.

20. Where can I get a copy of my syllabus?

Once the course opens, you will be able to access the syllabus for the courses you are enrolled in through your course web page.

21. Is there a course schedule? Do I have to be "in class" at a certain time?

The course schedule will be guided by the syllabus, which you will find online for your particular course. SEO courses are asynchronous. Each online class lesson is "released" to students on a specific day. Students may complete class assignments during the week or on the weekends to meet instructor deadlines.

22. Are books required?

Just like a face-to-face course, all requirements for books and/or materials will be listed on the syllabus that appears for your course online. Books can be purchased through http://www.amazon.com or other online vendors. Additionally, you will be required to purchase kits for some courses. For each course, information will be posted on the Spire website regarding books and materials to purchase and where they might be purchased.

23. How much time should I expect to spend on each course each week?

The amount of time students should expect to spend each week on each SEO course will vary. Each course will be different in content, semester projects, and weekly assignments -- including online discussions with instructors and students. The university indicates that, as a rule of thumb, students enrolled in graduate courses should expect to devote approximately 3 hours per week for each credit earned in the course. Thus, for a 3-credit graduate course, students should plan to invest at least 9 hours per week for course attendance, reading, completion of activities and written assignments, and online interactions with instructors and peers.

24. When I have completed my courses, how do I receive my degree?

You will complete the necessary paperwork required by the Graduate School during your last semester of coursework. You may elect to come to campus for Commencement (usually held in May). Your diploma will be mailed to you.

ALL POLICIES THAT PERTAIN TO GRADUATE DEGREES ARE PRINTED IN THE GRADUATE CATALOG ONLINE AND APPLY TO THIS PROGRAM.

http://www.umass.edu/gradschool/

25. OK - I am interested, what should I do now?

Email Sharon McDonald, smcdonald@umass.edu to find out how to apply and which courses are available this semester.

Last modified on April 5, 2018
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