Master of Science in Education Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any prerequisite courses for the program?

Yes!  Please see the prerequisite courses.

When exactly does the program start? 

The program officially begins during Summer Term. You'll be enrolled in intensive courses that combine methods for teaching science or mathematics with a practicum focusing on instructional rounds. These courses are designed to prepare you for your first student teaching practicum Fall term.

You'll begin the same day that the teachers go back to work. This varies from district to district, but typically falls somewhere around the last week of August. Some districts also have special inservice days for new teachers before the rest of the teachers go back to work.

On my graduate school application, I applied for Fall term instead of Summer. Do I need to change it? 

Yes. Contact the Office of Admissions to change your term date to summer. They can be reached by phone at (541) 737-4881 or by email at graduate.admissions@oregonstate.edu.

When will I find out where I'll be doing my student teaching?

As soon as we get back all of the placement requests forms that we sent out with your acceptance letters, we'll begin contacting schools to arrange your placements. We'll use the information on the sheet to find the best placement for you. Once we have an arrangement, we'll contact you with the information so that you can get in touch with your cooperating teacher.

Placements are made throughout the spring and summer. School administrators sometimes don't know for sure who will be teaching in their buildings until later in the summer, so it may be that you won't know your placement until August. In any event, we'll let you know as soon as a placement has been arranged for you.

The default and most common placement is for teacher candidates to spend their fall placements in a middle school and their spring placements in a high school.  This allows for more time and experience at the high school level.  If, however, you are interested in obtaining more experience at the middle school level, those placements can be reversed.  Please indicate this on the placement request form if this is what you would like to do. 

In general, most students will be placed within the greater Corvallis area.  However, it may be necessary to place students up to a one hour drive away.  Please be prepared for this contingency.  Placements outside of that radius are not permitted except under special circumstances.

I've heard that it might be possible to get more than one endorsement on my license. How do I find out what endorsements I'm qualified for?

Yes.  Please see the Advising Sheets for the appropriate coursework necessary.  It is important to discuss multiple endorsements with the program coordinator.

What will the rest of the year be like?
September: 

From the day your school district starts until classes start at OSU in late September, you'll be doing your first practicum, the September Experience. This is a time to find out about your school and become established in your classroom. You will be spending approximately four hours a day at your student teaching placement site. You will follow the schedule of the school you are placed in for your entire time in the program.

October: 

Once OSU classes begin, you'll be taking classes in the afternoons. You'll also have a seminar one afternoon a week to help you prepare for your part-time student teaching in November. The rest of the mornings are free for planning your unit and visiting your school. You'll be expected to spend every morning at your school so you can continue to build a relationship with your students and your cooperating teacher.

November/December: 

In late October, you'll continue your part-time student teaching. For the next five weeks, you'll spend every morning teaching at your school, and afternoons at OSU taking classes. You will follow the schedule of your school, rather than that of OSU.

Winter term:

During Winter term, you'll divide your time between taking classes at OSU and observing in your Spring placement classroom. The coursework focuses on your edTPA assessment, and completing your Master's Project.

Spring term:

During Spring term, you'll spend every day in your new placement doing your full-time student teaching. In addition, there will be a seminar at OSU one afternoon a week. You'll be in your placement until students are released for summer, based on your school's schedule.

I've heard we have to take 3 graduate level subject matter courses. Is that still true?

Yes, the program requirements include 9 credits of graduate level subject matter coursework. (Science students are required to take at least one History of Science (HSTS) or Philosophy of Science course towards these credits.) These can be completed before the program begins or taken during the summer, fall, and winter terms.  It is not possible to take additional coursework in Spring term.  Please note that these graduate content courses can not appear on another program of study (i.e. another Masters or Ph.D. program of study). 

That sounds like a really intense year!

It is! Think about it: in 10-1/2 months, you'll be completing all of the requirements for an initial teaching license, as well as a Master's of Science in Science or Mathematics Education. Not to mention doing two student teaching practicums! This is a very rigorous program, and you can expect the year to be challenging on many levels. Most students also find that it is extremely satisfying to begin such a rewarding career.

What can I do to make things go smoothly next year?

We asked the students in this year's cohort what advice they have to offer you so that you can have the best experience possible. Here's what they had to say:

Get the 'teacher tests' done this spring! It's a lot of extra work and hassle to take them during the program.

Get as many of the graduate subject courses as you can out of the way before the program starts!!!

NOTE: If you are still an undergraduate, you can take graduate level courses and reserve them for the program. At OSU, this requires getting an override from the department offering the course, and then filling out a form from the registrar to reserve the courses for graduate credit. You are only allowed to reserve a maximum of 6 credits per term. Not more than 15 graduate credits reserved in combination as an undergraduate and postbaccalaureate can be used in a graduate degree program. If you took courses in another graduate program at any university, you can transfer these in as long as they did not count towards another Master's.

Be prepared for a commute to your student teaching practicum sites.

NOTE: This is true. We will try to place you as close as possible to where you live. HOWEVER, 'as close as possible' may mean up to a one hour drive each way. This year we have people placed in schools from Salem to Eugene to Sweet Home. We will try to cluster people in schools so that carpooling might be a possibility, but it doesn't always work out that way. Also, keep in mind that you will be spending from 2 - 5 days a week throughout the entire year at your school sites.

Don't try to hold down a job while you're in the program.

NOTE: This is good advice. The program is very intensive, and student teaching takes a tremendous amount of physical and mental stamina. Any time not spent in classes is generally spent writing lesson plans and grading your students' work. Be prepared for a very busy year!

Be prepared for long days. Figure out ahead of time how you'll arrange your life to take care of other responsibilities.

NOTE: During your student teaching practicums, you'll need to be at your school when the teacher work day begins. Some schools start as early as 7:30 am and teachers need to be there even earlier. In September and in the spring, you'll also need to stay at your school until the teacher work day ends.

Most important of all, keep your eyes on the prize! Remember what made you want to be a teacher in the first place and stay focused on your goal. Teaching is hard work, but it's also a lot of fun!