Candidates will complete a program of studies individualized to their goals and future career desires that consists of 30 credit hours of approved graduate-level coursework, including a 12-credit-hour STEM Education Leadership core, 12-credit-hours of content electives, and 6-credit-hours of additional teacher leadership electives.

Why You Should Enroll

Designed in collaboration with P-12 school partners, our transdisciplinary Master of Science in STEM Education program provides candidates with individualized coursework, professional development opportunities, and job-embedded experiences culminating in a capstone experience that combines action research, teacher leadership, and innovation.

Program Details

Delivery Method:

Credit Hours:

Time to Completion:

Tuition Cost: Refer to Full-time per Credit Hour Rates for Undergraduate Students on the UK Tuition and Mandatory Fees page.

Coursework Requirements

The program includes 30 hours of coursework culminating in a thesis study designed by the student.   The links below outline the curriculum requirements for the two programs.  The Rank II Certification program is only for KY teachers seeking a rank change. If you are not a KY teacher, then you will complete the traditional program.

The program is not a fully online program and students must be able to commute to UK’s campus in Lexington, KY at least once a week for courses.  However, there are some courses available fully online and others that are hybrid (half online and half on campus) to assist with those students within lengthy driving distances.

The time needed to complete the program varies based on students’ education and professional experiences, interests, and career goals.

Within the first year of the program, you should choose an advisor from STEM Education faculty that has similar background and interests.  See Dr. Fisher if you need help choosing.  Your advisor helps you choose your courses each semester.

You will be issued a curriculum contract via Google Docs by Dr. Fisher. It is your responsibility to keep it up-to-date so you and your advisor can monitor your coursework requirements.

You are allowed to transfer coursework from other institutions under the following rules:

  • Can only transfer up to 9 hours
  • Coursework must fit within the curriculum contract of your degree program
  • Hours can’t already be applied to another degree
  • Must be a grade of B or higher
  • You must fill out Transfer of Credit form and attach transcript

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to take a leave of absence, then you alert your advisor and the DGS.  Once you have done so, you must contact (via email) Mary Richardson (mrich6@nulluky.edu) in the Graduate School to alert her of your absence, and copy your DGS and advisor on the email.  You are allowed to take up to two consecutive (fall, spring) semesters of leave. If you must be away longer than that, then you must re-apply for the program and complete the full application process upon return.

You have 6 years to complete your coursework and thesis!  This time clock starts from the date of your first graduate course (even if that course was transferred into the program).  You can formally request a one-year extension, if needed, but you must be showing progress toward completion.

You must choose a committee of three members (1 is already your advisor) with the following criteria:

  • At least 1 is a tenured faculty member
  • At least 2 are from the STEM Education department

Prior to beginning your thesis work, you will work with your advisor to schedule a meeting with your committee to discuss your plans for your thesis.  Upon committee approval during this meeting, you will work with your advisor to gain IRB approval and begin your thesis work.

When you begin your thesis work, you MUST enroll in SEM 748 in order to continue as a student.  You will select the section of SEM 748 in which your advisor is the instructor. You will enroll in SEM 748 every fall and spring semester until you defend your thesis.  If you defend your thesis during the summer semester, then you must enroll in SEM 748 during that summer semester as well.

During the semester of your thesis defense, you must follow these guidelines:

  • Apply for your degree within 30 days of the start of the semester. You will apply through myUK and filling out the “Application of Degree” form.
  • At least two weeks before your thesis defense, you must schedule your thesis with the Graduate School here. Prior to filling out this form, you must have a date, time, and location for the defense scheduled.
  • You must have at least a 3.0 GPA to defend your thesis.
  • Thesis defense must be conducted at least 8 days prior to the last day of classes.
  • After defense, you have 60 days to submit the final copy of the thesis to the Graduate School.
    • All formatting instructions are available at this site as well.
    • While the deadline is 60 days, you can not graduate until this has been completed.
  • If you fail the thesis defense, your committee determines the conditions that must be met in order to pass on second attempt.
    • Second attempt must be between four months and one year from the first attempt.
    • Third attempt is not permitted.

For thesis examples from students in this program, click here.


How To Apply

Required Materials:

  1. GRE scores (optional, not required)
  2. TOEFL or IELTS (for international students whose native language is not English)
  3. GPA requirement: 2.75 undergraduate; 3.0 Graduate work
  4. Official transcripts: official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended must be submitted to the Graduate School (send to The Graduate School, Attn: Admissions Office, 201 Gillis Building, Lexington, KY 40506-0033) – unofficial transcripts can be submitted to initiate application process, but all admissions are contingent upon receipt of official transcripts
  5. A short statement about your career goals and interests
  6. Three letters of recommendation (the online system will email your references to submit their letters)
  7. Interview with STEM Ed faculty specializing in your area of interest (Interview will be scheduled upon completion of application materials)
  8. Onsite writing sample prior to interview
  9. $65.00 admissions fee paid in full (international students: $75.00)

Gather the required materials and submit an application to the Graduate School.

Applications are accepted throughout the academic year. In order to guarantee accept/deny decision and time to enroll, domestic applications must be submitted AT LEAST one month prior to the beginning of the semester in which you wish to enroll. International applications must be submitted by April 15 (to start during the fall) and by September 15 (to start during the spring).

The onsite writing sample and interview can be conducted virtually in cases where applicants are not living within driving distance of UK.

Funding Opportunities

Graduate Assistantship opportunities are available for our students. We begin reviewing applications for teaching assistantships in April for funding to begin in the fall semester. However, applications are accepted throughout the year. Availability and renewal depends upon classroom teaching and research needs, and priority is given to students enrolled in our degree programs.

Full-time assistantships involve about 20 hours of job duties and include a stipend, full tuition waiver, and student health insurance.  Please note that assistantships are not guaranteed to be available for all students needing this opportunity as positions are limited.  In order to be considered for a funded assistantship, students must have already applied to the program.

I'm Ready to Apply!



Check out the FAQ below or feel free to contact us with any questions you might have regarding this program. We can’t wait to hear from you!


photo of Dr. Molly Fisher
Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
(859) 257-1643

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State Authorization & Licensure

If you plan to complete a University of Kentucky online program while living outside of Kentucky, you should check the Out-of-State Students page to determine if the University of Kentucky is authorized to provide this program in your state of residence. If you plan to use the degree to seek licensure, you should also determine if the degree meets the educational requirements for licensure in your state.

Refund Policies

You can find tuition refund policies, deadlines, amounts, and other important information on the UK Student Account Services website.