General Science (1-6)

  • Grade Levels: 1-6
  • Credits for Licensure: 35
  • Credits: 32
  • Degree:
    Master of Education
  • Program Approved:
    Massachusetts Dept. of Elementary & Secondary Education

Program Description

The General Science Education program provides essential science content, integrated with best practices in hands-on, inquiry-based science education. The curriculum is firmly rooted in the Massachusetts science education model with a balance of earth, life, physical and engineering sciences. Students experience a blend of seated and online content science courses. 

Please note: At Cambridge College locations outside of Massachusetts, this program is currently non-licensure only.

Learning Outcomes

Students will understand the principles guiding modern scientific thought and master science content knowledge. They will design and conduct scientific inquiries to test scientific hypotheses, using appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data. They will develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence to communicate scientific procedures and explanations. Students will know how science, technology, and math inform each other and serve as mechanisms for inquiry into the nature of the universe. Students will understand historical and philosophical theories in science, and identify common misconceptions. They will identify socially important issues including the impact of technology on our environment.

Teachers will use professional “best practices” in teaching inquiry based science. They will develop a balanced approach to hands-on science instruction using appropriate methodology. They will learn to engage students of varied learning styles and abilities.


Elementary science specialist, grades preK-5; middle school general science teacher/earth, life, physical and engineering sciences, grades 5-8; science museum educator, nature center specialist/guide, aquarium and zoo educator.


For more information, please contact Admissions at 1-800-829-4723.


Non-licensure option: All program components are required except the Practicum, Practicum Seminar and teacher tests. Non-licensure students must complete all pre-practicum hours embedded in the courses. Two more credits of graduate level science content electives are chosen in consultation with program chair. MAT623 may be replaced with science content electives. 

Please note: At Cambridge College locations outside of Massachusetts, this program is currently non-licensure only.

Professional Seminar and Project
Professional Seminar I: General Science
ESE 691 2 credit(s)
During Professional Seminar 1, the middle school science teacher will learn how incorporate science content and hands-on methods of presentation. Special focus will be directed to: science safety in the middle school setting, the design process, engineering standards (the integration of life, earth and physical sciences to the art of problem solving/engineering). Attention will be directed to the “best practices” model of standards-based science instruction in the middle school classroom. Integration of mathematics in the middle school science classroom. Reinforcement of the use of the metric system as a tool in science. The introduction of the Independent Learning Project and research methods will be addressed.
Professional Seminar II: General Science
ESE 692 2 credit(s)
Professional Seminar 2 will continue to be directed to best practices in inquiry-based science in the middle school setting, the design process, engineering standards engineering standards (the integration of life, earth and physical sciences to the art of problem solving / engineering). In addition new topics including mapping and navigation, the integration of the museum in the curriculum, science of the compass, use and fabrication of a clinometer, seismology and the appropriate use of current hands-on technology in the middle school classroom. Special attention will be directed to the pedagogy related to science teaching (the professional standards for teachers). Those standards as identified by the National Science Teaching Standards will be covered. ProSem 2 continues to guide the research and writing of the Independent Learning Project to completion.
Independent Learning Project: General Science
ESE 800 3 credit(s)
The Independent Learning Project is a culminating learning experience for students at Cambridge College. It helps students define, re-define, and address a problem in general science education at the grade (1-6) or (5-8) level. They develop a problem statement and proceed to use research skills: library resources, computer databases; planning and organization; consultation with experts in the field to solve the problem. The Professional Seminar provides a vehicle for the gradual development of thinking about prominent issues in the field that are of concern to students. Students, through reading and discussion, as well as practical experiences in the classroom and in the school, develop the theme of the ILP and questions which need to be answered. The ILP represents a tangible, symbolic culmination of the Cambridge College learning experiences. It demonstrates the ability to apply learning derived from course work, seminars and workshops to professional work in education. It is a marriage of theory and practice, original thought and focused research. The ILP requires the student to create an original project which contributes to the body of knowledge on a topic and reflect on what he or she has learned from the entire experience. The project enables students to develop skills in time management, critical thinking and professional writing which they may not previously have had.
Science Methods Courses (grades 1-6)

Option: take SCI 680 or ELE 653.

Teaching Numeric and Geometric Structures
MAT 623 3 credit(s)
This course covers the teaching pedagogy of the basic foundation of the mathematics curriculum in terms of its numerical and geometric structures. Major topics include: number sense, numeration, estimation, mental math, modeling operations using concrete objects, geometry, spatial sense and measurement. Pre-practicum hours of directed field-based training required.
Attaining Science Literacy
SCI 680 3 credit(s)
This course addresses science literacy by (1) examining the development of the knowledge and skills needed to understand the natural world and to intelligently participate in decisions that affect it, (2) considering science as a way of knowing and as a basis for thinking and problem-solving, and (3) reviewing strategies for promoting science literacy in school programs. Course content includes practical and theoretical constructs with emphasis on connecting theory to practice, applying conceptual understandings to individual teaching settings, and developing skills for independent professional development and scholarship. Pre-practicum hours of directed field-based training required.
Methods and Materials for Teaching Life Science
SCI 682 3 credit(s)
Educators will develop competency in the skills and methods used in the teaching of natural science. Basic concepts in chemistry, biology, and ecology will be illustrated with applications suitable for the classroom. Educators will demonstrate their knowledge of concepts, methods, and classroom management of the experiences that help their students construct understandings in these areas. Pre-practicum hours of directed field-based training required.
Methods and Materials for Teaching Earth Science
SCI 684 3 credit(s)
Educators will develop competency in the skills and methods used in the teaching of earth science. Basic concepts in astronomy, geology, geography, and paleontology will be illustrated with applications suitable for the classroom. Educators will demonstrate their knowledge of concepts, methods, and classroom management of the experience that help their students construct understanding in these areas. Pre-practicum hours of directed field-based training required.
Methods and Materials for Teaching Physical Science
SCI 686 3 credit(s)
Educators will develop competency in the skills and methods used in the teaching of physical science. Basic concepts in matter and energy will be illustrated and supplemented with a rich assortment of activities suitable for the classroom Educators will demonstrate their knowledge of concepts, methods, and classroom management of the experiences that best help their students construct understandings in these areas . Attention will be given to the construction and understanding of inquiry skills as they apply to traditional classroom experiments and activities. Pre-practicum hours of directed field-based training required.
Science Content Courses (grades 1-6)

SCI 688 is an in-class course option that replaces three 1-credit online courses below.

Introduction to Online Science Learning
SCI 591 1 credit(s)
This course introduces students to the principles of teaching and learning science as defined by the National Science Education Standards and the 2012 Framework for K-12 Science Education, and to the ways in which these principles can be implemented in an online environment. Students explore how online teaching and learning can capitalize on diverse learning styles and multiple intelligences. They assess their own experiences, abilities, learning styles and intelligences to evaluate the appropriateness of online learning in their own professional development. They analyze the standards which are used to guide instruction in their local districts and states, comparing them to the National Science Education Standards. Finally, they use the National Science Education Standards’ vision of professional development to design their own plan for future professional growth including online learning where appropriate.
Aquatic Ecology
SCI 601 1 credit(s)
Online course. This course leads teachers to investigate principles of ecology through examples from fresh water, marine, and other water environments. Content includes interactions among living organisms, energy flow within and among living communities, dynamics of adaptive evolution, and survival strategies. Week one focuses on the variety of water habitats from rain puddles to oceans. Week two examines adaptations of organisms for survival in water. Energy flow and interactive relationships among producers, consumers, and decomposers are featured in weeks three and four. The final course week considers the human impact on aquatic environments. Each course participant becomes an in-depth expert in at least one ecosystem.
Electricity and Magnetism
SCI 603 1 credit(s)
This course explores concepts in electricity and magnetism by addressing basic topics and fundamental misconceptions. Topics include electrostatic charging; charge separation and its role in electric pressure, current electricity, and the circuits through which it moves; Ohm’s Law; schematic diagrams; and current that flows from wall outlets—all leading to exploration of the intimate relationship between magnetism and electricity.
Structure of the Earth
SCI 607 1 credit(s)
Online course. This course examines the physical earth including its internal structure and the processes that make it an ever-changing place. Week one begins by looking at rock formation and its characteristics. The second week explores sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic processes and their contribution to the rock cycle. Week three takes a close-up look at constructive forces of earthquakes and volcanoes and at weathering, erosion, and other destructive forces that re-shape earth’s surface. Finally, in week four, the learner digs deep into the inner depths of the planet to examine plate motion and plate tectonic theory and in week five a geological locale project pulls together greater understanding of the forces which help shape and drive our dynamic earth.
Ocean Science
SCI 611 1 credit(s)
The oceans dominate our planet, influencing every aspect of Earth’s environment. This course reviews the physical science, geology, and biology of the oceans emphasizing a systemic approach. Week one reviews the basic geography and geology of the Earth’s oceans and the forces that shape and propel ocean waters. Week two looks at the water in the ocean, its chemistry, and what is dissolved in it. The mysteries of the ocean depths are explored in week three, with investigations of how humans explore the world beneath the ocean surface. Week four examines the effect of Earth’s oceans on climate and on the land. In week five, learners examine ocean life and investigate the effects of ocean environments on the living things within the water.
Earth in the Solar System
SCI 613 1 credit(s)
Online course. Learn more about our neighborhood in space. This course examines the earth’s relationship to the sun, moon, and other planets in the solar system. The first week focuses on earth-bound celestial observations and the origins of modern astronomy, including the development of the heliocentric model. Week two features an in-depth look at the moon, our partner in space and the explanations for such phenomena as eclipses, phases, and tides. Weeks three and four present a detailed inventory of the solar system including the planets, moons, meteoroids, asteroids, and comets. Finally week five concludes with the current ideas about the formation of the solar system with a close-up look at the star of our solar system, the sun.
Teaching Project-Based Science
SCI 619 1 credit(s)
Online course: This course presents the advantages of project-based science, guidelines on how to succeed in using this instructional and assessment approach, and strategies for customizing for individual school settings. Week one presents comparisons between traditional and project-based science curriculum and includes management issues and requirements for student success. Week two deals with student projects that involve science, society and decision-making and connections to service learning. Assessment and evaluation of student projects are the focus of week three. In weeks four and five, teachers develop a unit of instruction for use with their own classes and to share with online colleagues.
Cell Biology
SCI 600 1 credit(s)
This course examines the origin, evolution, fine structure and function of cells. Beginning with single celled organisms such as archaea and bacteria, the student looks at how cells conduct the processes necessary for life. Students examine the processes through which eukaryotic cells differentiate into tissues, organs and systems and review the basics of continuity and genetics. Enzyme function and physiology are linked to genes. Finally, students explore the future of cell biology.
Chemistry Through Inquiry
SCI 627 1 credit(s)
This course focuses on the national science education content standards for physical science and “science as inquiry”. As teachers do hands-on science investigation, read science background, and participate in discussions, they will enhance their own science content knowledge and develop an inquiry-based approach to science learning.
Practical Meteorology
SCI 629 1 credit(s)
This course examines meteorology from a practical perspective. The course is cross-disciplinary when appropriate and is especially designed for educators who have degrees and backgrounds in sciences other than meteorology. The course combines technical explanations of weather and climate phenomena with practical guidelines for observing, evaluating and forecasting weather. The course content web pages are supplemented by images of weather phenomena, links to other web-based resources and self-directed reviews of literature on various weather and climate phenomena.
Methods and Materials in Teaching Middle School Chemistry
SCI 688 3 credit(s)
Seated course: This course will focus on providing middle school science teachers with a clear understanding of scientific inquiry and basic chemistry concepts. Grade level appropriate activities will be highlighted with special consideration for the middle school classroom environment and safety issues. Fundamental chemistry concepts discussed and reinforced with experimentation will include: physical properties and physical change, states of matter, density, solutions, mixtures, compounds, chemical change and the applications our elements to technology. This will be a lab-centered course. Pre-practicum hours of directed field-based training required.
Practicum (licensure students only)

Practicum Prerequisites:

  • Pass all teacher tests required by the state for this license. Massachusetts: Communication & Literacy test and successful completion of coursework
  • SEI605 Sheltered English Immersion (3 additional credits) or Mass. ESE-endorsed course or SEI MTEL.
  • Pre-Practicum — 75 hours in diverse settings  (0 credit).
  • Pass all required courses.

The practicum is guided and evaluated by a licensed/certified general science teacher in the classroom and a Cambridge College general science supervisor. Practicum locations are subject to MA DESE regulations and must be approved by the program chair. Students are responsible for discussing options for practicum with the program chair.

SEI (Sheltered English Immersion) Content License Endorsement Course
SEI 605 3 credit(s)
This Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) Content License Endorsement Course is designed for educator licensure candidates in all core academic areas, to prepare them to address the needs, and build on the multilingual and multicultural assets, of a diverse and ever-changing student population in Massachusetts. The course is a key element of the Massachusetts RETELL initiative (Rethinking Equity and Teaching for English Language Learners). RETELL also includes statewide implementation of the WIDA ELD (English Language Development) standards, and the WIDA-ACCESS assessment tools. Participants will be introduced to ELD standard and WIDA tools, and will practice applying research-based SEI instructional strategies as they teach their content to English language learners (ELLs). They will also be introduced to a variety of professional growth opportunities to prepare them to extend their learning by making SEI the focus of professional practice within the new educator evaluation process.
Practicum in Science Levels (1-6) 300 hrs
SCI 790A 3 credit(s)
300 hours, levels 1-6. Prerequisites: complete pre-practicum with 75 or more hours of directed field-based training in conjunction with selected courses, pass all required courses, pass all teacher tests required by Massachusetts for this license. Practicum Seminar required concurrently: ESE790. The practicum, required for all concentrations that lead to Massachusetts initial licensure, must be completed in a school that uses the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and Next Generation of Science Standards (NGSS). Practicum hours must be in the role and at the level of the license sought under a cooperating practitioner with the appropriate license, with Cambridge College supervision. The Practicum experience provides student teachers with an opportunity to gain insights into the profession and to master the current Professional Standards for Teachers by working with young people in public schools and classrooms. This Practicum experience is geared primarily for those teachers seeking the position of elementary science specialist. The content delivery within this experience is aligned to the Next Generation of Science Standards at the prek to 6 level of comprehension. Students work with the guidance and support of an experienced science teacher and by observing his/her instructional and classroom management strategies in action. Students develop instructional strategies for a variety of learning formats, align lesson plans with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks/NGSS, appropriate curriculum materials for the science teacher, classroom management skills, strategies for creating a learning environment that fosters an appreciation of diversity and interactive learning. Students reflect on their own professional growth and examine theory through actual classroom practice. An Exit Performance Portfolio documents their experiences. The Exit Performance Portfolio and its artifacts will be uploaded to a web-based portfolio system/Task Stream. (3 formal assessment observations required by College supervisor)
Practicum Seminar: General Science (1-6) (5-8)
SCI 791 2 credit(s)
The seminar for classroom experience supports students’ growth as they assume the teaching role. It is the setting for students to interpret their field-based experiences and transform them into skills, knowledge constructs, attitudes and values. The seminar provides a cohort/support for students to address problems and find solutions, while utilizing current academic research and practices. They master understanding and practice of the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for Science/Engineering Technology, develop the skills necessary for the teacher tests, and become familiar with the current reforms and changes in state regulations on educator licensure. The Next Generation of Science Standards reflecting the national science initiatives is also referenced as a guide to best practices in science education. As evidence of the Practicum experience, each student will develop an Exit Portfolio as an integral part of the Practicum Seminar. The Exit Portfolio will be contained and uploaded to a web-based evaluation program called Task Stream. Each student will open their own Task Stream account and contribute the necessary academic artifacts and evidence that demonstrates their competency as they complete their fieldwork experience in the science classroom. The artifacts and evidence can be viewed in Task Stream.

Core Faculty

Senior Instructor



  • Admission Test:

    Passing grade on TOEFL (English language proficiency test) is required for international students.

  • Admissions Office:
  • Application:
  • Application Fee:
    $50, nonrefundable ($100 for international students; $100 for EdD)

General Requirements

Official Transcript
Two Completed Recommendation Forms
Current Résumé

Personal Statement

Learn more about General Requirements 

State Requirements

College students are required to comply with state laws regarding individual health insurance and immunization. Compliance requirements currently exist for students in Massachusetts, Virginia and Tennessee. Learn more

International Students – Additional Requirements

International Students will need to complete supplemental documentation when applying. International transcripts must also be translated prior to submission in order to be evaluated for applicability. Learn more about international student requirements.

Transfer Credit Request Form

Only needed if you wish to have prior course work evaluated for transfer credit. Learn more about transferring credits.



  • Credits for Licensure:
  • Credits:
  • Cost per credit hour:
  • Application Fee:
    $50, nonrefundable ($100 for international students; $100 for EdD)
  • Graduation Fee:
    $110 (charged in last term)
  • Health Insurance Fee:
    $1,497 - Required for Massachusetts students only. See waiver details on Tuition & Fees page.

Note: Rates are as of September 2013, and are subject to change without notice. Rates apply to all students, unless otherwise noted.

Financial Aid

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