Graduate Programs in Biology Education Research (BER)

The following programs grant advanced degrees in biology education research. To find out more about any of the programs, please write to them directly at the provided contact information.

If you represent a degree-granting biology education research program which would like to be listed here, please fill out this form. (You can also use the same form if your program is listed but the information needs to be updated.)

Listings

(If you prefer, download an excel sheet with headers that allow you to filter results by degree type and state.)


Arizona State University Tempe, Arizona

Ph.D. in Biology

Ph.D. In Biology and Society

M.S. in Biology

Department: School of Life Sciences

Link: http://sebbers.wixsite.com/biology-ed-lab

BER Contact Person: Sara Brownell (sara.brownell@asu.edu)

Program Details: Students can pursue a Ph.D. in Biology or Biology and Society and can exclusively conduct biology education research. There is also the option of doing a split Ph.D. or a chapter of their dissertation in basic science. The program has no specific course requirements, so each student's program is backward designed based on their ultimate career interests. Most students teach biology courses and take graduate courses in biology, statistics, education, psychology, and/or learning sciences. There are opportunities to pursue a Graduate Certificate in Scientific Teaching, interact with a university-wide group of discipline-based education researchers, and conduct research at an institution that is defined by who it includes, not who it excludes.

Auburn University Auburn, Alabama

Ph.D. in Biological Sciences

M.S. in Biological Sciences

Department: Department of Biological Sciences

Link: https://balle027.wixsite.com/cjballen

BER Contact Person: Cissy Ballen (mjb0100@auburn.edu)

Program Details: Auburn supports a large community in our Department of Biological Sciences (DBS). Students can apply to join the Biology Education Research program at the M.Sc. and Ph.D. level, but admission requires an undergraduate degree in biology or closely related field. The application for admission to the DBS graduate program includes a CV, personal statement, official transcripts, and three letters of recommendation. Auburn University and the Ballen Lab are interested in candidates who are committed to high standards of scholarship and to fostering a climate that supports equality and diversity.

Bowling Green State University Bowling Green, Ohio

Ph.D. in Biological Sciences

M.S. in Biological Sciences

Department: Department of Biological Sciences

Link: https://www.bgsu.edu/arts-and-sciences/biological-sciences.html

BER Contact Person: Karen Sirum (ksirum@bgsu.edu)


Brigham Young University Provo, UT

Ph.D. in Biology

M.S. in Biological Science Education

Department: Department of Biology

Link: https://biology.byu.edu/ms-biological-science-education; https://biology.byu.edu/phd-biology

BER Contact Person: Jamie Jensen (jamie.jensen@byu.edu); Liz Bailey (liz_bailey@byu.edu)

Administrative Contact Info: Gentri Glaittli (biogradsec@gmail.com)

Program Details: MS program can be specialized to precede an education PhD, to prepare you for higher ed teaching, or to add to a licensure program. The PhD program is in Biology with a specialty in Science Education. It is a normal research dissertation program. Your advisor may or may not require you to complete non-education biology research.

Cornell University Ithaca, New York

Ph.D. in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Field

Department: Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Link: https://ecologyandevolution.cornell.edu/graduate

BER Contact Person: Michelle Smith (mks274@cornell.edu)       

Administrative Contact Info: Patty Jordan (pj17@cornell.edu)

Program Details: Students are admitted into a particular lab, so contacting potential advisors ahead of time and expressing interest is important. Student projects can be 100% BER or co-mentored by non-BER faculty. Faculty in physics education and other relevant fields can serve on committees. Graduate students in the EEB department are required to TA for two semesters. However, graduate students usually TA for multiple semesters and there is a supportive culture that values both teaching and research. Fostering diversity among students, researchers, and faculty is a priority for EEB. We work to create an inclusive environment and are committed to improving the representation of minority groups in our field. There are several graduate school recruitment fellowships in support of diversity for incoming students: https://gradschool.cornell.edu/diversity-inclusion/funding-and-resources/graduate-school-fellowships-in-support-of-diversity/


Danforth Plant Science Center St. Louis, Missouri

Ph.D. in Biology

Department: Education Research and Outreach

BER Contact Person: kcallisduehl@danforthcenter.org

Program Details: In collaboration with St. Louis University (SLU), the Danforth Plant Science Center offers a unique opportunity for students interested in Biology Education Research with a plant science focus. Our major research programs include, but are not limited to: (1) engagement in science practice and examining identity, attitudes and productive failure through research experiences and citizen science projects, (2) improving access to and inclusion in STEM for underserved populations including homeless students or refugee student both in-person and through virtual education, and (3) examining "plant blindness" among various populations and developing interventions and activities to counter plant blindness.


Florida International University Miami, Florida

Ph.D. in Biology

Department: Department of Biological Sciences & STEM Transformation Institute

Link: https://biology.fiu.edu/academics/degrees-and-programs/phd-biology/index.html

BER Contact Person: Melissa McCartney (mmccartn@fiu.edu); Sarah L. Eddy (seddy@fiu.edu)

Administrative Contact Info: Yookyung Song (yosong@fiu.edu)

Program Details: Although the program is based in biology, we work closely with the STEM Transformation Institute which is composed of 15+ education researchers from across the STEM fields. This network of support will provide a large community of DBER graduate students, access to training in methods and theories used across these fields, and collaborations within and across STEM disciplines. Student research projects will commonly use undergraduate biology education spaces as a context, but can expand to research topics encompassing additional educational spaces and levels. In addition, there is flexibility in the courses students can take to meet the PhD requirements including courses in education, psychology, and sociology.


Georgia Southern University Savannah, Georgia

M.S. in Biology

Department: Biology

Link: https://cosm.georgiasouthern.edu/biology/graduate-program-2/

BER Contact Person: Sue Ellen DeChenne-Peters (sdechennepeters@georgiasouthern.edu)

Program Details: Students can pursue a M.S. in Biology and conduct biology education research. The program is tailored to each student’s interests and includes coursework in biology, statistics, and education. The biology department has a vibrant teaching and learning community. Georgia Southern has a unique three campus system in Southeast GA, providing research and teaching opportunities with diverse student populations. Dr. DeChenne-Peters is located on the Armstrong campus in Savannah, GA.


Idaho State University Pocatello, Idaho

D.A. (Doctor of Arts) in Biology

Department: Biological Sciences Department

Link: https://www.isu.edu/biology/degree-programs/graduate-degrees/dainformation/#d.en.62387

BER Contact Person: Anna Strimaitis Grinath (grinanna@isu.edu)

Program Details: The D.A. in Biology Education is a highly individualized degree that can be tailored to each student's career goals in biology education research and teaching. D.A. Students may work directly with Anna Grinath's research group or with any other biology faculty member. The student may choose to include biology coursework and research in non-education labs in their program of study and research proposal if it supports their career goals (see Timelines & Benchmarks). A completed Master's degree which included a thesis of original biological research is strongly preferred for entry to the program. The department is currently allotted 8 D.A. fellowships, which include a stipend and tuition and fee waivers. Timelines & Benchmarks: https://www.isu.edu/biology/forms--guidelines/graduate-program-timeline/


Middle Tennessee State University Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Ph.D. in Biology Education

Department: Department of Biology, Mathematics & Science Education Ph.D. Program

Link: https://www.mtsu.edu/programs/math-science-education-phd/

BER Contact Person: Grant Gardner, BER Faculty Advisor (grant.gardner@mtsu.edu)

Administrative Contact Info: Jennifer Kaplan, Program Director (jennifer.kaplan@mtsu.edu)

Program Details: The Biology Education Ph.D. is a focal area in MTSU's Interdisciplinary Mathematics and Science Education (MSE) Ph.D. program that resides in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences. Student coursework includes biology content as well as education research theory and methods. Students are part of a cohort in the larger MSE program that includes students studying in other focal areas: Chemistry Education, Mathematics Education, and Interdisciplinary STEM Education. There are currently 4 faculty that serve the Biology Education focal area at various levels. Students are admitted into the program and not a particular research team, but it is recommended that interested students review Biology Education faculty research https://www.mtsu.edu/biology/research.php before applying. Assistantships are available for qualified students.


North Dakota State University Fargo, North Dakota

Ph.D. in Biology

M.S. in Biology

Ph.D. in STEM Education

Joint Ph.D. in Biology and STEM Education

Department: Biological Sciences

Link: https://www.ndsu.edu/cider/

BER Contact Persons: Jenni Momsen (jmomsen@gmail.com), Lisa Montplaisir (lisa.montplaisir@ndsu.edu)

Program Details: Students at NDSU join a community of discipline-based education researchers, including Biology, Physics, Chemistry, and Psychology. Our program values both teaching and research and support students’ development of skills in both areas. Students interested in conducting research in biology education should contact potential mentors in advance of applying. Students may pursue research exclusively in BER. We encourage students to form diverse mentoring committees that draw broadly on our department and DBER community. Coursework varies depending on student interests and needs and includes courses in biology, education, STEM education, and statistics.


Northern Illinois University DeKalb, Illinois

M.S. in Biology

Ph.D. in Biology

Department: Department of Biological Sciences

Link: https://www.niu.edu/biology/academics/graduate-studies/biology-education.shtml

BER Contact Person: Heather Bergan-Roller (hroller@niu.edu)

Program Details: NIU offers flexible graduate programs in biology education research such that students may focus solely on BER or integrate BER along with research in biology. Student would construct their own experience to potentially include coursework in biology, education, and/or psychology and have teaching opportunities. Students would join a DBER community that includes Anatomy, Geology, Chemistry, Physics, and Math.

Portland State University Portland, Oregon

Ph.D. in Biology

M.S. in Biology

Department: Department of Biology

Link: https://www.pdx.edu/biology-education-research/

BER Contact Person: Erin Shortlidge (eshortlidge@pdx.edu)

Program Details: Students pursuing graduate work will work directly with Dr. Shortlidge's group but will have the opportunity to engage with a broader DBER group on campus. Students will conduct research in biology/STEM education and will be expected to participate in biology, education, and quantitative and qualitative methods coursework. Graduate students typically work as teaching assistants, and will have the opportunity to participate in a Teaching Certificate program. Prior experience in basic biology research is preferred.

Purdue University West Lafayette, Indiana

Ph.D. in Biology

M.S. in Biology

Department: Biological Sciences

Link: https://www.bio.purdue.edu/Academic/graduate/pdf/BioEdAreaGradOpportunities.pdf

BER Contact Person: Nancy Pelaez (npelaez@purdue.edu)

Administrative Contact Info: Gina Rupp, Graduate Program Coordinator (ruppg@purdue.edu, 765-494-8142)

Program Details: If a faculty position that involves great teaching is your hope or ambition, Purdue's Biology Education Area (BEA) will help grad students achieve a competitive edge. BEA is for everyone who is interested in teaching, in teaching-related research, or in understanding the importance of community, a sense of belonging, and cultural relevancy for educating the next generation. We are committed to helping all students develop the advanced reasoning and problem-solving abilities that are so critical to new discoveries in the life sciences and to society.


Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Edwardsville, IL

M.A. or M.S. in Biology

M.S. in Education

Department: Biological Sciences

Link: http://www.siue.edu/artsandsciences/biologicalsciences/graduate/index.shtml

BER Contact Person: Maurina Aranda (maarand@siue.edu)

Administrative Contact Info: Peter Minchin (bio_grad@siue.edu)

Program Details: Students can complete a non-thesis or thesis plan, where they participate in biology and education coursework and do graduate-level research in biology education. No prior biology or education research needed to apply.


Syracuse University Syracuse, New York

Ph.D. in Biology

M.S. in Biology

Department: Department of Biology

Link: http://biology.syr.edu/graduate/programs.html

BER Contact Person: Jason R. Wiles (jwiles01@syr.edu)

Program Details: BER Ph.D. students complete all regular requirements for the Ph.D. (or M.S.) in Biology and engage in biology education research in post-secondary contexts for their thesis or dissertation research. Their degree is in Biology. Apply to the Biology Graduate program and indicate interest in the Wiles lab.


Syracuse University Syracuse, New York

Ph.D. in College Science Teaching

Department: Department of Science Teaching (College of Arts and Sciences)

Link: http://sciteach.syr.edu/

BER Contact Person: Jason R. Wiles (jwiles01@syr.edu)

Administrative Contact Info: John Tillotson, Department Chair (jwtillot@syr.edu)

Program Details: The doctoral degree program in College Science Teaching serves those who aspire to teach STEM content courses (Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Physics, Engineering and/or Mathematics) at the collegiate level and who desire to conduct discipline-based STEM education research focused on teaching and learning in undergraduate and graduate environments. The doctoral program centers on deepening student’s STEM content-area knowledge, as well as their understanding of evidence-based STEM teaching and learning in collegiate classrooms. Applicants are expected to either hold a Master's in their content discipline or earn one concurrently.

University of Central Florida Orlando, Florida

Ph.D. in Biology

M.S. in Biology

Department: Department of Biology

Link: https://katelyncooper1.wixsite.com/bioedlab

BER Contact Person: Katelyn Cooper (katelyn.cooper@ucf.edu)

Program Details: In this program, students conduct biology education research exclusively- there is no basic science research requirement. Coursework is flexible: there are five required biology courses and the remaining coursework is decided by the student and advisor. Students in this program are encouraged to take courses outside of the department (e.g. courses in statistics, education, sociology, or psychology). UCF has a strong team of discipline-based education researchers including chemistry and physics education researchers that can serve as dissertation committee members.

University of Colorado Boulder, CO

Ph.D. in Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology

Department: Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB)

Link: https://www.colorado.edu/mcdb/graduate-program

BER Contact Person: Jenny Knight (knight@colorado.edu)

Administrative Contact Info: mcdbgrad@colorado.edu

Program Details: Students are admitted into the program, not into a particular lab. All students are required to do 4 rotations in the department; one of these can be with a BER researcher. Students choose a lab at the end of the first year, and can then take additional education courses and become part of the CU DBER community as they work to establish a research project and take their comprehensive exams (1st semester, 2nd year). Students who already have a masters in biology or significant laboratory research (not education research) experience are more likely to be admitted. Best course of action if interested is to directly contact Jenny Knight.


University of Colorado Boulder, CO

Ph.D. in Biology

M.S. in Biology

Department: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Link: https://www.colorado.edu/lab/corwin-reach/

BER Contact Person: Lisa Corwin (lisa.corwin@colorado.edu)

Administrative Contact Info: cora.fagan@colorado.edu

Program Details: All students are welcome to apply. A masters in biology, and specifically in an ecology or evolution related topic, is strongly preferred for applicants to the PhD program.


University of Colorado Denver Denver, Colorado

Ph.D. in Integrative Biology

M.S. in Integrative Biology

Department: Department of Integrative Biology

Link: https://clas.ucdenver.edu/integrative-biology/academics/graduate-programs#admissions-79

BER Contact Person: Laurel Hartley (laurel.hartley@ucdenver.edu)

Administrative Contact Info: Ginny Ware, VIRGINIA.WARE@UCDENVER.EDU

This posting last updated: November 6, 2019

Program details:

Applications due: December 1 + off cycle applications

Non-BER experience: Not needed

Thesis/Dissertation: Can be all BER or not

Rotations: No, Students should contact PI of interest

Committee: Can be all BER

Other Comments: This department considers BER to be a subdiscipline of Biology.


University of Colorado Boulder, CO

Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Department: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

BER Contact Person: Andrew Martin (am@colorado.edu), and Lisa Corwin (lisa.corwin@colorado.edu)

Program Details: Training program is flexible but we encourage students to engage in education research focused on issues in ecology and evolution. Graduate student cohorts will be mostly biological (rather than education) research focused. Many of the faculty and graduate students in the program pursue scholarship of teaching and learning and a few have federally-funded biological education research programs.


University of Georgia Athens, Georgia

Ph.D. in a field of life sciences (e.g. biochemistry, cell biology)

Department: Integrated Life Sciences

Link: https://ils.uga.edu/ and https://ils.uga.edu/faculty/by-interdisciplinary-groups/biology-education-research/

BER Contact Person: Paula Lemons (plemons@uga.edu)

Administrative Contact Info: Eric Lafontaine (ilsgradc@uga.edu)

Program Details: The purpose of Biology Education Research at UGA is to promote research that requires integrated thinking about biology and university education and to develop interdisciplinary scientists who can do educational research and life sciences research. Graduate students who choose Biology Education Research will be co-mentored by a biology education researcher and a life science researcher. The student and advisors will collaborate to develop a mentoring arrangement, training plan, and research objectives that will best prepare a student for his or her career goals.

University of Massachusetts Lowell Lowell, Massachusetts

M.S. in Biology: Education, Communication and Outreach Option

Department: Biological Sciences

BER Contact Person: Naomi Wernick (naomi_wernick@uml.edu)

Program Details: Graduates of the Master of Science in Biological Sciences: Education, Communication and Outreach option will gain expertise in the biological sciences, while also taking appropriate coursework in education, psychology, and business that is tailored to their desired career. This program would be a great fit for students with career interests in education, curriculum development, as well as life science and sustainability training. Students selecting from this option would have a choice of completing coursework only, or coursework with a project or thesis; a project or thesis could be in biology or biology education depending on future career plans. This is a relatively new program and the website is still being updated. Please contact Naomi Wernick with any questions.


University of New Hampshire Durham, New Hampshire

M.S. in Biology

Ph.D. in Biology

Department: Department of Biological Sciences

Link: https://colsa.unh.edu/biological-sciences or https://mypages.unh.edu/mla1011

BER Contact Person: Melissa Aikens (melissa.aikens@unh.edu)

Program Details: Students can pursue an MS or a Ph.D. in Biology under the Integrative and Organismal Biology option, though students applying for the PhD program are strongly encouraged to have a Master’s degree in a life science discipline. Students apply to work in specific labs, so it is important to contact potential advisors early in the application process. Projects can be entirely based within biology education research, or students can be co-mentored on projects that involve both biology education and basic science research. Biology education graduate students at UNH have the opportunity to interact with a supportive community of discipline-based education researchers in chemistry, physics, and mathematics.


University of Northern Colorado Greeley, Colorado

Ph.D. in Biological Education

M.S. in Biological Sciences

Department: Biological Sciences

Link: https://www.unco.edu/nhs/biology/

BER Contact Person: Emily Holt (emily.holt@unco.edu)

Administrative Contact Info: Cindy Budde (biology@unco.edu)

Program Details: All students in our doctorate program have two pedagogical requirements regardless of the topic of their research: (1) take a biology-specific graduate course in pedagogical practice at the collegiate-level and a biology-specific graduate course in learning theories; and (2) do a supervised teaching experience where the student serves as the primary instructor of a semester-long course, under direct supervision of the usual course instructor. Within this degree program, the research topic of the dissertation may be bench, field, or education research (or a blend of several, as appropriate). For the master’s program, biology education-focused students are encouraged to take both of the graduate courses listed above and the research topic of the thesis is biology education-focused. Students are admitted directly into faculty labs, thus advised to reach out to faculty who share common biology education research interests.


University of Tennessee Knoxville, Tennessee

Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

M.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Department: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Link: http://eeb.bio.utk.edu/graduate-studies/application-information/

BER Contact Person: Beth Schussler (eschussl@utk.edu)

Program Details: Some EEB coursework is required (Core courses in ecology and evolution). Other coursework can be focused on biology education methods and theory. All research included in the dissertation can be education-based. Support in the department is typically via teaching assistant positions. The faculty support the biology education work in the department, and there are DBER faculty in Engineering and some Education faculty who work collaboratively with students.


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