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Science Education

Are you looking for an exciting profession where the end of every day will bring you the satisfaction of knowing that you really made a difference? Are you fascinated by the natural world and curious about how things work? Do you love working with children, adolescents, or adults? If so, you really should look into the opportunities in Science Education.

The Department of Science Education at CSU, Chico is an interdisciplinary community of faculty, staff, and students from the College of Natural Sciences with an integrated and holistic view of science. In association with our colleagues in the School of Education, we serve as a crucible for innovation and research in science teaching and learning, as collaborative partners with science teachers in public and private schools, and as a model of excellence in science teacher education. We are committed to providing the North State region, the State of California, and the nation with rigorous, high-quality, up-to-date programs in science teacher subject matter preparation and professional development while contributing to an expanding knowledge base of theory, research, and practice.

Undergraduate Programs

The B. A. in Natural Sciences was designed to provide training for students with broad science interests. The program provides an excellent preparation for teaching science at the intermediate school level, teaching introductory high school science or working as an elementary science specialist. If you are interested in teaching science in informal settings such as zoos, botanic gardens, arboreta, aquaria, museums, observatories, nature centers, preserves, state parks or national forests, then our B. A. in Natural Sciences may be just what you are looking for. The program also provides training for students who intend to work in interdisciplinary arenas such as environmental law, science policy, science writing, scientific illustrating, environmental advocacy, business consulting, and sustainability.

If you would like to become a high school teacher in a specific science discipline (biology, chemistry, geology, or physics) you must complete a designated major in that discipline. You can find these degree programs and their advisors on our web site.

At CSU, Chico, our programs in science education will get you where you want to be, when you want to be there, and prepared to do what you want to do. Our programs are collaborative efforts that combine the strengths of faculty from several departments to offer you a strong background in the natural sciences, a concentration in one specific content area, and the professional knowledge and skills you need to be successful in your chosen profession. Advisors in the department will help you develop an individual plan that will set you on your desired path, including meeting all the requirements for teacher certification programs in the State of California if that is your eventual goal.

Professional Development

If you are already in the science classroom and want to enhance your knowledge and professional skills, consider The California Science Project. CSP is a university-based professional development network for teachers of science at all levels. This statewide program works toward the common goal of improving science education for all students in California. Our CSP site, Inland Northern California, is under the direction of Professor Bev Marcum.

Special Facilities

The department administers two special facilities for elementary science, the Hands-on Science Lab and the Science Education Learning Lab. In the Hands-on Science Lab, our students have the opportunity to work directly with elementary school children and their teachers on activities that support the California Science Teaching Standards. In the Science Education Learning Lab, students learn to integrate content knowledge of basic science concepts and teaching skills that are appropriate for elementary school students. In addition, our students get the chance to become docents at the Gateway Science Museum and have the opportunity to share their love of science with visiting with K-12 classes by providing hands-on lessons and exhibit tours.

Employment Outlook

Science teachers are on the cutting edge of a new generation of knowledge professionals, and the need for well-educated science teachers has never been greater. A recent report of the National Science Foundation found that over 50% of all public secondary schools in the United States currently have vacant positions in biology/life sciences and physical sciences. In response to this national crisis, the CSU system has made a long-term commitment to increasing the number of science teachers. We have some very serious financial assistance available for future science teachers that could pay for a substantial fraction of your education. Come by and see us; we are waiting to help you start an exciting career in science education.

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