Science Licensure (M.A.T.)

Do you already have an undergraduate degree in science? Are you looking for a challenging and rewarding career teaching science to students in grades 7-12?

The ISU Educator Preparation Program offers a masters level licensure program for individuals already possessing an undergraduate science degree. Our program is designed to produce highly effective science teachers and includes:

  • Multiple science methods courses (not just a general methods class)
  • Multiple early field experiences under the guidance of a cooperating teacher
  • Educational psychology and coursework taught by faculty who are both scholars in the field and have significant K-12 teaching experience.

Timing: The program begins each May and successful individuals graduate 15 months later at the end of the summer in time to begin working that fall.

Degree/licensure: Graduates of the program will have a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) and will have completed all requirements for licensure in the state of Iowa.

Required courses

Summer I

C I 514 Introduction to science teaching (2 credits)

20 clock hours of field experience

C I 529 Educational Psychology and the Secondary Classroom (3 credits)

SP ED 501 Teaching Students with Disabilities (3 credits)

H P C 504 Foundations of American Education (3 credits)

Fall I

C I 518 Science Methods I 2 credits

C I 591D 40 clock hours supervised field experience (2 credits)

C I 547 Nature of Science and Science Education (3 credits)

C I 506 Multicultural Gender Fair Education (3 credits)

Spring I

C I 519 Science Methods II (2 credits)

C I 591D 60 clock hours supervised field experience (2 credits)

C I 517 B, D, J, or M Student Teaching (12 credits)

Summer II

C I 546 Advanced Pedagogy in Science Education (3 credits)

C I 505 Using Technology in Learning and Teaching. (2 credits)

C I 599C Creative Component (3 credits)

Total Required Credits = 45

Frequently asked questions

Full-time commitment Can I keep my full-time job while I complete this program? The program, which is designed to produce highly effective science teachers, is demanding and requires students be full-time graduate students during those 15 months.
Course format Are courses offered online or through the ICN? Because learning to effectively teach requires face-to-face interaction and modeling of effective teaching by faculty, we limit the science methods courses to 27 students, and all courses are offered on campus except for the extensive field experiences that occur in public schools.
Cost What is the cost of the program? The graduate college provides tuition information.
Teacher preparation courses Are the teacher preparation courses part of the master’s degree? The 15-month program is a master’s level licensure program, so all of the teacher preparation courses count toward the M.A.T. degree. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will have a master’s degree from ISU and will be recommended to the State of Iowa for licensure. The state actually issues the license. It requires completion of a state-approved licensure program and a background check.
Quality teacher education focus How is this program different than alternative licensure programs such as those offered online or through some school-district “fast track” programs? If you are going to make the significant commitment and take on the enormous responsibility of teaching children, a quality program is much more likely to help you become an effective science teacher. Those who graduate from alternative licensure programs are rarely prepared for the demands of teaching in today’s schools, and are more than twice as likely to leave the profession.

Effective science teacher education requires that complex sets of teacher behaviors and pedagogical strategies be modeled and explicitly taught to teacher education students, and that these experiences are coupled with closely supervised field experiences where important support and feedback is provided.

Whatever avenue you pursue for science teacher licensure, ensure that you receive multiple science methods courses (not just a general methods class), multiple early field experiences under the guidance of a cooperating teacher, educational psychology, and coursework that is taught by faculty who are both scholars in the field and have significant K-12 teaching experience. Teaching is a very difficult profession that is both cognitively and emotionally taxing. Quality preparation is a must!

Limited enrollmentIs there a limit on the number of people admitted to the program? Enrollment is limited because students must be placed in classrooms for practicum experiences and student teaching.

Admission requirements

Qualifications for our program include:

  • A bachelor’s degree in a science or science-related field
  • Acceptable GRE scores (a minimum score of 146 Verbal and 144 Quantitative)
  • A letter of intent
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Complete transcripts
  • Application materials downloaded from the graduate college webpage.

Apply: Follow the procedures in the Educator Preparation Program graduate application procedures.

Deadline:Applications are due on or before February 1. However, late applications may, at faculty discretion, be accepted and reviewed.

Financial aid

Scholarships and financial aid

See the Educator Preparation graduate programs scholarships and financial aid page for School of Education and College of Human Sciences scholarships and other financial aid options. may be available.

Loan forgiveness

Because secondary science is a state shortage area, the state offers loan deferment and loan forgiveness programs. The Iowa College Aid site provides information on this program.

Other helpful sites/resources:

Matt Brown at Iowa Student Loan, 800-273-7656 or 515-273-7656

The program adds up to $9000 in loan forgiveness over five years for qualifying students. Students who qualify for this program and additional existing programs potentially may receive up to $30,500 in loan forgiveness.

Licensed teaching areas

Primary areas of endorsement

Certain undergraduate degrees from accredited institutions qualify for licensure without the need to take additional coursework. In each case transcripts must indicate a minimum of 24 credit hours in the licensure area or 30 credit hours of science with at least 15 of those credits in the licensure area.

For licensure in Acceptable major(s)
Biology Biology
Chemistry Chemistry

Chemical Engineering


Materials Science Engineering

Soil Chemistry



Environmental Science (Not Environmental Studies)

Forensic Science

Physics Physics

Aerospace Engineering

Agricultural Engineering

Construction Engineering

Electrical Engineering

Engineering Science

Industrial Engineering

Materials Engineering

Mechanical Engineering

Earth Science Geology



Primary areas of endorsement, other majors

If your degree is in a more specialized or hybrid field, such as horticulture or animal science, we must review your transcripts. The state of Iowa has specific requirements for licensure and we must ensure your coursework is aligned with those requirements.

All primary areas of endorsement must have 24 credit hours in the desired content area or 30 hours in science with 15 of those hours in that content area. All majors other than those listed above must have transcripts reviewed and courses approved by program faculty.

When we review your transcripts, we must see a bachelors degree in a science-related field, the required credit hours in science listed above, and a minimum of the following coursework:

For licensure in Essential coursework
Biology 1 year general biology with lab

Genetics course

Cell/molecular biology (e.g. cytology, histology, biochemistry)

Ecology course

Biological evolution course

4 additional biology courses at the 300+ level (12 credits)

2 years of chemistry

Options at ISU: 177, 177L, 178, 178L, 331, 331L, 332

Or: 163, 163L, 164, 164L, 231, 231L, 211, 211L

Or: 163, 163L, 164, 164L, 231, 231L, BB301

1 semester of physics

1 year of math/statistics (one course has to be math, not statistics)

Chemistry 1 year of inorganic chemistry for majors plus lab (8 credits)

1 year organic chemistry for majors plus lab (8 credits)

Quantitative analysis (Chem. 211 and 211L) (4 credits)

Physics 1 year classical physics plus lab

Modern physics plus lab

12 credits of upper-division physics, astronomy, or physical chemistry, fluid mechanics, statics of engineering, dynamics, thermodynamics, or engineering thermodynamics, or electrical engineering coursework from 200 level and above related to circuits

Earth Science 1 year of geology plus lab

Methods in geology (technology)

Field study

Mineralogy/earth materials

Structural geology




1 year astronomy

1 year chemistry plus lab

1 year physics

1 mathematics course

1 biology course

Additional endorsements

You can get additional endorsements, depending on your university science coursework. For example, many biology majors find that a second endorsement in chemistry is quite easy to obtain. In some situations, an individual’s coursework may already meet state requirements while in other cases a few additional courses will be needed.

We advise earning multiple endorsements as this will give you optimal flexibility when you look for a teaching position. However, you should avoid endorsement in an area where you do not possess sufficient content understanding. Strong science content knowledge is necessary for effective teaching and children deserve teachers who are knowledgeable in their field.


  • Second areas of endorsement in biology, chemistry, physics, or earth science require a primary area of endorsement plus an additional 15 credit hours in the content of the second endorsement area.
  • For a second area of endorsement in general science, a primary area of endorsement in biology, chemistry, or physics is required, with at least one course in each of these areas.
  • For a second endorsement area in physical science, a primary area of endorsement in chemistry, physics, or earth science is required, with at least one course in each of these areas.

Classroom locations and schedule

Courses vary by semester, and student teaching can be done in several locations near Ames, including Des Moines. The program structure may vary, but tends to look something like this:

May One course meets two or three evenings a week for three or four weeks.

During this course you will also be required to spend a minimum of 20 clock hours observing teachers and students in the public schools.

Another late afternoon or evening class likely will meet beginning sometime in May.

Mid-June — mid-July Two courses typically meet Monday through Friday during the day.
Fall semester Three classes meet Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings (the days may change in the future).

A semester-long field experience requires you to keep open your mornings (8:00 to noon) or afternoons (noon to 3:00) the entire semester so that you can be placed in a field experience where you will be videotaped.

Spring semester 16 weeks of student teaching

One course that meets on Monday evenings

May/July One course meets three late afternoons a week for four weeks.

A second class will meet sometime during May through July.

The creative component is also completed at this time.

  • Contact Information

    Jesse Wilcox, adviser

    Michael Clough, co-coordinator

  • Did You Know?

    The ISU Science licensure M.A.T., with it's face-to-face- interaction and modeling of effective teaching by faculty (who are both scholars in the field and have significant K-12 teaching experience) coupled with closely supervised field experiences featuring important support and feedback, is much more likely to help you become an effective science teacher than alternative licensure programs, where students are more than twice as likely to leave the profession.

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