FAQs for Graduate Programs in STEM Education

1. Are there funded positions available for graduate students?

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.  Positions are typically one-year positions and some have the option to be renewed (depending on performance review) for additional years.  The type and number of positions fluctuates each year, depending on the funding opportunities at that time.

2. Can I apply for a position prior to being accepted into the program?

No.  We can not consider you for a funded position until you have applied and been accepted into a graduate program.

3. Where can I get information about other funding opportunities outside of the STEM Education department?

Please visit the student funding information available on the Graduate School’s website.

4. Where will my references send their reference letters?

When you apply online, you will provide email addresses for your references.  They will then receive an email with instructions for uploading their reference for you.

5. Do I have to have P20 teaching experience to apply for the graduate programs in STEM Education?

No, we do not require teaching experience to apply for our programs, but we do only want students with a genuine interest in STEM Education.

6. Do I get to choose my own advisor?

Yes.  Once accepted, the DGS will allow you to choose your own advisor. If you do not have a preference on an advisor, then the DGS will help you choose a suitable faculty member for you.

7. How long will the program take me to complete?

We get this question a lot!  This is a hard question to answer as it depends on your motivation and time commitment.  For masters-level students, you have 6 years to complete your coursework and thesis.  For doctoral-level students, you have 5 years to complete your coursework and qualifying exam, then another 5 years to complete your dissertation research.  If you are a full-time graduate student without any roadblocks, it is feasible to finish the masters program in 3 years and the doctoral program in 4 to 5 years.

8. What if I don’t have an idea of a research interest?

No worries!  Throughout your coursework, you will read and experience a wide range of research ideas in STEM Education.  Plus, the STEM Education faculty are very supportive in helping you hone in on a topic of your interest.

9. But, writing a dissertation/thesis is scary!

Yes, it can be overwhelming, but there are ways to ease the fear.  Our best advice for graduate students is to choose your research interest very early in your program. Then, throughout your coursework, you can tailor your course projects and research papers to match your research interests.  By doing so, when it is time to write a dissertation (doctoral) or thesis (masters), you have a strong foundation and literature base on your interest to begin your work, which will save you a tremendous amount of time and stress!

10. Do you offer classes online?

The courses in the STEM Education course (those with an SEM prefix) are many times offered as hybrid courses.  This means that roughly half of the weekly class meetings are held online (either asynchronously or synchronously, based on the preference of the professor), and the other half of the weekly class meetings are held on UK’s campus.  Occasionally, an option for an online course will be presented, but typically, you should expect to be on campus once a week for each course.

11. What if I’m not comfortable in ALL areas of STEM?

The majority of our students begin the program being very strong in just one of the four STEM fields and only vaguely familiar of the others. Even if you feel you are deficient in some of the STEM fields, you can still be successful in our program.  Our faculty is experienced with working with students from all types of backgrounds and they will ensure you are taught the entire range of STEM topics.  Your research and projects can be tailored to your interest and comfort level in the STEM field of your choice.

12. How do I apply and what are the application requirements?

Master’s program application instructions and requirements

Doctoral program application instructions and requirements