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Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education

About the Program

The STEM Education program at Tufts began in 2003, as MSTE, before anyone was saying "STEM." In 2013 we decided it was time to permute our initials, although some of us still think Math comes first!


The STEM Education program seeks candidates with backgrounds in STEM disciplines, as well as from the Learning Sciences and related areas. The MS program is for students who would like to strengthen their understanding of current theory, research, and practice related to Mathematics, Science, or Engineering Education. The PhD program is for students committed to advancing knowledge in STEM Education through original research.

The masters program enrolls a maximum of 15 students per year, full or part-time. The doctoral program enrolls a maximum of five full-time students per year. Part-time is unusual in the doctoral program; we consider it only in special cases.


Students work closely with program faculty to develop research on learning and teaching in STEM disciplines, as well as on the cultural, historical and philosophical influences on educational thought and practices. Coursework in the program reflects learning sciences perspectives on disciplinary knowledge and practices, social context, and design and instruction. Students also work on independent projects; doctoral students generally work in research assistantships on externally funded projects.

Those projects reflect the faculties' research interests, including: the beginnings of STEM thinking in learners' knowledge and abilities; how students progress toward disciplinary practices and understandings; teachers' noticing, attending, and responding to student thinking; diversity and access in K-16 STEM education; and the design and study of technologies to support thinking, learning and inquiry. You can learn more about our work on the Research Projects page.

STEM Education

Faculty research projects share common goals: (1) To uncover, respect, and build upon all students' natural curiosity and productive intellectual resources for learning and inventing. (2) To engage learners in scientific, mathematical, and engineering-based thinking: asking questions, building arguments, thinking systematically, and designing solutions to meaningful problems.

For a formal statement of learning outcomes, please see the STEM Program Objectives.

Job Placement

Our MS and PhD graduates work in all corners of PreK-16 STEM education. All of our graduates for whom we have data are employed in the field. For our PhD graduates, about one fourth are K-12 educators, about 40% teach in higher education institutions, and 35% have research or administrator positions in educational institutions including museums and universities. Our MS alumni include a grade 9 teacher at City Polytechnic High School in Brooklyn, NY, an AP Biology Teacher at Lexington High School in Lexington, MA, and a Research Associate at TERC in Cambridge, MA. Our PhD alumni include a Research Scientist at ETS, the Manager of Research and Evaluation at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, IL, and the Director of STEM Elementary Education at Tufts University. Many of our graduates have been successful in securing external funding to support their research at their new institutions. To learn about our alumni visit the Meet Students and Alumni page.